Question about Devera

Fri Feb 28 07:39:04 PST 2003

Jag wondered aloud:
 >Add this to my list of reasons[0] why I wish English had a phonetic

Reasons why English shouldn't have a phonetic alphabet.

1) English has a large set of phonemes, two or three times as many as there 
are letters in the alphabet, so you'd still be stuck with digraphs and 

2) English has a variety of dialects, so that you'd still have confusion, 
e.g. with some people insisting that "cot" was spelled the same as "caught" 
and others insisting they were clearly different.

3) English has the unstressed-vowel-neutralization rule, which would lead 
in a phonetic system to "photograph" and "photographer" being spelt 
differently, which would be bad.

4) Probably most importantly, a word's orthography is very regularly a clue 
to its meaning in a way that phonetic orthography would eliminate.  E.g. 
one of the ways you know "psychology" is head doctorin' is the peculiar 
spelling of "sike" at the head of the word, or how you can reliably guess 
what psittaphobia means if you already know psittacosis and agoraphobia.

Of course, I've always been a pretty good speller 8)
"All dwarfs are by nature dutiful, serious, literate, obedient and
thoughtful people whose only minor failing is a tendency, after one drink,
to rush at enemies screaming "Arrrrrrgh!" and axing their legs off at the
knee."--Terry Pratchett, Guards! Guards!
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