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Goodheart

(5,649 posts)
Thu Jul 22, 2021, 08:50 AM Jul 2021

Should English spelling be reformed?

I mean, it's just ridiculous, isn't it?

How to spell that thing with gills that swims in the sea? ghoti

Imagine all the grief we could spare our children and others who want to learn the language.

50 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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Should English spelling be reformed? (Original Post) Goodheart Jul 2021 OP
I Totally agree. It must be a nightmare for those who are learning it as a second language. raccoon Jul 2021 #1
It ain't gonna happen, but we can all play a small part. Goodheart Jul 2021 #2
Yes. The internet can lead the way. I also use "thru". NCjack Jul 2021 #8
Punctuation before quote is a really idiotic rule! lagomorph777 Jul 2021 #18
Never hesrd that rule. marybourg Jul 2021 #32
That's are real peeve of mine too TxGuitar Jul 2021 #37
That's why I write, I went to the store with him. marie999 Jul 2021 #41
I believe British and American do it differently too IcyPeas Jul 2021 #45
What's up with Spanish gender exboyfil Jul 2021 #11
I am learning Brazilian Portuguese and it's very similar to Spanish, according to some users. lark Jul 2021 #16
You are a great parent exboyfil Jul 2021 #21
Thank you! lark Jul 2021 #47
Try Duolingo for the time being. róisín_dubh Jul 2021 #30
Yep, Duolingo is my pal - 306 days in a row. lark Jul 2021 #46
English used to have gender as well The Revolution Jul 2021 #22
Yes, it's those dichotomies that kinda drive me crazy as a learner. lark Jul 2021 #48
German has similar head-scratchers. Aristus Jul 2021 #35
Regarding TxGuitar Jul 2021 #42
This seems like an important priority. CrackityJones75 Jul 2021 #3
Would be the first thing I'd do if I were king. Goodheart Jul 2021 #5
You mean like changing phonetics to celletics? BSdetect Jul 2021 #4
Samuel Clemens had the perfect plan to reform spelling: unblock Jul 2021 #6
I love it. Goodheart Jul 2021 #9
Ow... dweller Jul 2021 #10
He really was the master 😂🤣😂 IrishAfricanAmerican Jul 2021 #12
Wai doesn't awai and Bai raim? CrackityJones75 Jul 2021 #13
Iu'l hav tu tak xat up wix klemez unblock Jul 2021 #14
hahahaha CrackityJones75 Jul 2021 #34
rofl treestar Jul 2021 #25
A fun video... BlueSpot Jul 2021 #36
Haha! That's great! I wonder how many takes he had to do! unblock Jul 2021 #43
It's not rocket science Tarc Jul 2021 #7
It would be tuf to do...... lastlib Jul 2021 #15
Teddy Roosevelt tried to do it. That's why many of our spellings are simpler than British. lagomorph777 Jul 2021 #17
Many people have suggested that over the years. MineralMan Jul 2021 #19
But whose sounds do we use? JHB Jul 2021 #20
If you wanted to pick something melm00se Jul 2021 #23
I remember that treestar Jul 2021 #26
We were inroduced to Esperanto in 3rd or 4th grade SharonClark Jul 2021 #31
I didn't know what I.T.A. was so I had to look it up... hunter Jul 2021 #49
No. (nt) Paladin Jul 2021 #24
Oui. lindysalsagal Jul 2021 #27
It won't be iemanja Jul 2021 #28
It spelled and pronounced FISH, not GHOTI (gee-ought-ee) SharonClark Jul 2021 #29
I found Latin, French, and Russian much easier than English. marie999 Jul 2021 #39
I like it just the way it is. Treefrog Jul 2021 #33
Why not reform pronunciation instead? Bad Thoughts Jul 2021 #38
My daughter loved the English language. marie999 Jul 2021 #40
And the irritation to those who took the trouble to learn it when it was offered. nt aka-chmeee Jul 2021 #44
It would be easier to construct a new language. hunter Jul 2021 #50

raccoon

(31,246 posts)
1. I Totally agree. It must be a nightmare for those who are learning it as a second language.
Thu Jul 22, 2021, 08:54 AM
Jul 2021

Totally agree. It must be a nightmare for those who are learning it as a second language.

Spanish is so much easier in that you can read a word even if you’re not familiar with it. In English, there’s a very good chance that you will horribly mangle the word when trying to pronounce it

But I doubt if it will happen in my lifetime.

 

Goodheart

(5,649 posts)
2. It ain't gonna happen, but we can all play a small part.
Thu Jul 22, 2021, 08:58 AM
Jul 2021

For example, we could all start using the obvious, easy ones... like "thru" instead of "through".

I've already started my own punctuation revolt. For example, I believe the accepted punctuation in that sentence above would have placed the sentence-ending period inside the quotation mark, which to me is just ridiculous.

NCjack

(10,280 posts)
8. Yes. The internet can lead the way. I also use "thru".
Thu Jul 22, 2021, 09:09 AM
Jul 2021

No more "ph" where "f" works; "pn" becomes "n". ("physics" becomes "fysiks"; "pneumonia" becomes "neumonia&quot

My favorite word change is: "photochemistry" becomes "fotokemistry".

lagomorph777

(30,613 posts)
18. Punctuation before quote is a really idiotic rule!
Thu Jul 22, 2021, 09:49 AM
Jul 2021

In many cases, it obscures the intended meaning. Often, the punctuation belongs to the person doing the quote, rather than the person who originally said the quoted text. Jamming it inside the quote is just wrong.

marybourg

(12,770 posts)
32. Never hesrd that rule.
Thu Jul 22, 2021, 10:47 AM
Jul 2021

And I was an english major. I learned an intent rule for quotes, wherein your punctustion is absolutely correct.

What drives me bonkers is using *me* for *I* in sentences with compound subjects, so " Me and him went to the store". To me, nothing is worse than this.

TxGuitar

(4,248 posts)
37. That's are real peeve of mine too
Thu Jul 22, 2021, 11:30 AM
Jul 2021

as well as to/too, 's used wrong and fewer vs less. Also the word got; I think it's perfectly fine to be talking to your friend and say "Hey, I got a new car!", but for anyone in journalism or nonfiction tv shows to say "the police got a call at 9pm" is just unforgivable.

exboyfil

(17,894 posts)
11. What's up with Spanish gender
Thu Jul 22, 2021, 09:17 AM
Jul 2021

even for inanimate objects.

The problem but also the greatness of English is that it really is the fusion of two separate languages (Anglo Saxon English and Norman French). That is why we have so many varying names for the same thing.

I think Webster did try to standardize some more on the spelling, but he was beat back by the weight of historical usage. We did get to lose the obnoxious English ou in words like honour.

lark

(23,537 posts)
16. I am learning Brazilian Portuguese and it's very similar to Spanish, according to some users.
Thu Jul 22, 2021, 09:44 AM
Jul 2021

What gets me is that there are rules, but they don't follow the rules so you just have to memorize every single freaking noun as to whether it's male or female. Then you have to have agreement for all adjectives - whoa. However, I do know that English is very crazy with it's rules and many exceptions so very glad I don't have to learn this as a 2nd or 3rd language.

I learned French very easily in school, have forgotten most of it but still remember some. It's so much harder, as a 69 year old, to learn a new language. However, my SIL is Brazilian and his mother who generally spends 6 weeks a year with them doesn't speak English so I am trying to learn. I figure it certainly would also provide exercise for my brain, so I continue my online learning. I would really like to take a in person class to get real feedback because I know my pronunciation isn't great. However, with Covid infections spiking here really badly, now is not a time to be sitting with a bunch of other people in enclosed spaces. So I will continue as I have been until things settle down. I guess an online class with a teacher would be another option, if that's available. Will have to call UNF and FSCJ and see.

exboyfil

(17,894 posts)
21. You are a great parent
Thu Jul 22, 2021, 09:58 AM
Jul 2021

That shows a level of commitment to your family by learning you SILs native language. Hats off to you for knowing what is important.

róisín_dubh

(11,824 posts)
30. Try Duolingo for the time being.
Thu Jul 22, 2021, 10:38 AM
Jul 2021

My Dutch is becoming really good. I'm on 504 days in a row.
Mind you, I am pretty good at picking up written languages. And I have a good ear. I don't like to speak my additional languages, as I don't like to make mistakes. But I am good with reading comprehension and I can understand spoken Spanish almost fluently, Dutch and French reasonably well.

lark

(23,537 posts)
46. Yep, Duolingo is my pal - 306 days in a row.
Fri Jul 23, 2021, 08:38 AM
Jul 2021

I can read Portuguese so much better than I can speak it. I have a decent memory for words and spellings so that really helps. I really just need a class, a teacher to correct my pronunciation. My SIL could help but he works so much as does my daughter. She's also way too judgemental.

The Revolution

(768 posts)
22. English used to have gender as well
Thu Jul 22, 2021, 10:05 AM
Jul 2021

Old English had masculine, feminine, and neuter nouns. The gender got dropped at some point (except in pronouns).

Spanish and other Romance languages inherited grammatical gender from Latin, which also has masculine, feminine, and neuter nouns.

Think of it as a way to categorize nouns. The gender doesn't necessarily have anything to do with human gender. Words that refer to people generally have a gender that matches the person, but there's really no rhyme or reason to the rest. A table is feminine. A dress is masculine. Heck, "uterus" comes from Latin, where it is a masculine noun

lark

(23,537 posts)
48. Yes, it's those dichotomies that kinda drive me crazy as a learner.
Fri Jul 23, 2021, 08:47 AM
Jul 2021

I am one of those people who love logic and patterns and it irritates me a bit when these come into play sometimes and sometimes not.

Once I have them memorized, like (aranha) spider is feminine but (sintoma) which also ends in an a is masculine and the rule is if it ends in a it's feminine, it's ok. I know these 2 words so when I see them I auto think "a aranha" or "o sintoma", but it's just one more point of memorization for any new words.

But wow, uterus being masculine is harder to accept.

Aristus

(67,049 posts)
35. German has similar head-scratchers.
Thu Jul 22, 2021, 11:28 AM
Jul 2021

The word "Mann" for man is a masculine noun. "Frau" for woman is feminine. But Madchen for young girl is a gender neutral noun.

TxGuitar

(4,248 posts)
42. Regarding
Thu Jul 22, 2021, 11:47 AM
Jul 2021

"the greatness of English is that it really is the fusion of two separate languages (Anglo Saxon English and Norman French)", I saw a tweet or meme or something that said English is what you get when you try to make Germans speak Latin
There's also this:

[url=https://postimages.org/][img][/img][/url]

unblock

(53,174 posts)
6. Samuel Clemens had the perfect plan to reform spelling:
Thu Jul 22, 2021, 09:07 AM
Jul 2021

For example, in Year 1 that useless letter “c” would be dropped to be replased either by “k” or “s”, and likewise “x” would no longer be part of the alphabet. The only kase in which “c” would be retained would be the “ch” formation, which will be dealt with later. Year 2 might reform “w” spelling, so that “which” and “one” would take the same konsonant, wile Year 3 might well abolish “y” replasing it with “i” and Iear 4 might fiks the “g/j” anomali wonse and for all. Jenerally, then, the improvement would kontinue iear bai iear with Iear 5 doing awai with useless double konsonants, and Iears 6-12 or so modifaiing vowlz and the rimeining voist and unvoist konsonants. Bai Iear 15 or sou, it wud fainali bi posibl tu meik ius ov thi ridandant letez “c”, “y” and “x” — bai now jast a memori in the maindz ov ould doderez — tu riplais “ch”, “sh”, and “th” rispektivli. Fainali, xen, aafte sam 20 iers ov orxogrefkl riform, wi wud hev a lojikl, kohirnt speling in ius xrewawt xe Ingliy-spiking werld.

lagomorph777

(30,613 posts)
17. Teddy Roosevelt tried to do it. That's why many of our spellings are simpler than British.
Thu Jul 22, 2021, 09:46 AM
Jul 2021

But there's a lot of inertia in such a move. Many people would react negatively to the comical appearance that would result.

Many people wouldn't notice, because they can't spell anyway.

MineralMan

(146,562 posts)
19. Many people have suggested that over the years.
Thu Jul 22, 2021, 09:50 AM
Jul 2021

None of those plans have ever been implemented, though. Spelling has changed, somewhat, though. In our country's founding documents, for example, "choose" was spelled "chuse."

English spelling is a hodgepodge thing. That's because the language is an accretion of words and structures from many other languages. Often, spelling from the donor language got retained. So, we have a very irregular language when it comes to spelling.

On the other hand, how words are spelled can give us clues about the language from which that word was taken. I've always found that interesting.

And then, there's French, where the word for August is août, which is pronounced "oo." English is not the only language with strange spelling.

JHB

(37,192 posts)
20. But whose sounds do we use?
Thu Jul 22, 2021, 09:53 AM
Jul 2021

Would fire be spelled as fyer or fyuh or fahr?

Maybe we keep it as it is, do a better job of teaching it, and use the opportunity to teach about the history of the language instead of erasing memory.

Although I am in favor of developing greater dpfamiliarity with accents, umlauts, and assorted other diacritics.

melm00se

(5,019 posts)
23. If you wanted to pick something
Thu Jul 22, 2021, 10:14 AM
Jul 2021

that had a massive amount of inertia, I think you found something that would certainly be in the top 5.

There must be a compelling reason for change and folks need to be prepared for some backlash and stereotyping of the users. Think "ebonics".

Additionally, my wife was taught I.T.A. which, while primarily a reading tool, created a massive issue for spelling words and it plagues her to this day.

treestar

(82,383 posts)
26. I remember that
Thu Jul 22, 2021, 10:29 AM
Jul 2021

Not used on my class, but on some younger classes. My sister wrote something on the wall and we knew she was the writer because of the ITA shaped letters.

SharonClark

(10,040 posts)
31. We were inroduced to Esperanto in 3rd or 4th grade
Thu Jul 22, 2021, 10:39 AM
Jul 2021

About the time we were taught the metric system.
That's a blast from the past.

hunter

(38,575 posts)
49. I didn't know what I.T.A. was so I had to look it up...
Fri Jul 23, 2021, 08:48 AM
Jul 2021
The Initial Teaching Alphabet (I.T.A. or i.t.a.) is a variant of the Latin alphabet developed by Sir James Pitman (the grandson of Sir Isaac Pitman, inventor of a system of shorthand) in the early 1960s. It was not intended to be a strictly phonetic transcription of English sounds, or a spelling reform for English as such, but instead a practical simplified writing system which could be used to teach English-speaking children to read more easily than can be done with traditional orthography. After children had learned to read using I.T.A., they would then eventually move on to learn standard English spelling. Although it achieved a certain degree of popularity in the 1960s, it has fallen out of use.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Initial_Teaching_Alphabet

SharonClark

(10,040 posts)
29. It spelled and pronounced FISH, not GHOTI (gee-ought-ee)
Thu Jul 22, 2021, 10:33 AM
Jul 2021

The English language is no more difficult to learn than any other language. I've studied Latin, Spanish, French, Italian, and Russian and they were all challenging. Unless you're a polyglot, leaning a new language will always be difficult.

Knowing a little about a lot of languages can make it harder to correctly pronounce words. For example, take the "C" in Italian. . .
c + a, o, u, he, hi k amica, amico, amiche ah-mee-kah, ah-mee-koh, ah-mee-keh
c + ia, io, iu, e, i ch bacio, celebre, cinema bah-cho, cheh-leh-breh, chee-neh-mah
sc + a, o, u, he, hi sk scala, scuola, scheda skah-lah, skoo-oh-la, skeh-dah
sc + ia, io, iu, e, i sh sciarpa, sciupato, scemo shar-pah, shoo-pah-toh, sheh-moh

Then there's the language of my grandparents - Scottish English and Gaelic.

For me, it all started with Latin which I use on a daily basis to identify plants and decipher medical issues. It's a most useful language but I'm intrigued by them all.


 

marie999

(3,334 posts)
39. I found Latin, French, and Russian much easier than English.
Thu Jul 22, 2021, 11:42 AM
Jul 2021

Latin and French in school, 3 years each, Russian, 1400 hours in the classroom in the army.

Bad Thoughts

(2,590 posts)
38. Why not reform pronunciation instead?
Thu Jul 22, 2021, 11:37 AM
Jul 2021

One sound for every letter or specified combinations. Complete liberalism.

One sound for th, ch, sh, etc

Chasm and character will start the same as chat and chart.
TH will always sound like the word the.


No unvoiced letters

Pronounce all rs
Pronounce the ls in could and would.
Mister Rodger parks his car, not Misteh Rowjeh parks his cah.


Pronounce dipthongs as two vowels smashed together rather than a singular sound.

Race and raise should have different vowel sounds.

No extra y sounds with u.

No music, but music.

 

marie999

(3,334 posts)
40. My daughter loved the English language.
Thu Jul 22, 2021, 11:44 AM
Jul 2021

She liked to show me sentences like, "Why did they refuse to pick up my refuse?".

hunter

(38,575 posts)
50. It would be easier to construct a new language.
Fri Jul 23, 2021, 10:12 AM
Jul 2021
Esparanto is one such language.

Esparanto's creator, L. L. Zamenhof, was hoping a universal language shared by all would foster world peace.

"Were there but an international language, all translations would be made into it alone ... and all nations would be united in a common brotherhood."

It's really difficult to construct a language that does not reflect the implicit biases and irregularities of the creator's native language.

People are always hacking away at Esparanto to remove Eurocentric and sexist kinks that were not apparent to the language's creator.

A later constructed language, Interlingua, was less pretentious, explicitly drawing much of its structure and vocabulary directly from the Romance languages.

There's a list of constructed languages here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_constructed_languages

There are a few constructed languages based on English, as Interlingua is based on Romance languages, for example Globish, which the creator M. N. Gogate also calls "parallel English."
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