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Debates Forum

Debates Forum

  1. 03 Jun '11 08:37 / 1 edit
    A boy who is bidden to spell "debt", and very properly spells it "d - e - t", is caned for not spelling it with a "b" because Julius Caesar spelt it with a "b".
    George Bernard Shaw

    Should English spelling be reformed to make it more consistent and phonetically accurate?
  2. 03 Jun '11 09:03 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Teinosuke
    A boy who is bidden to spell "debt", and very properly spells it "d - e - t", is caned for not spelling it with a "b" because Julius Caesar spelt it with a "b".
    George Bernard Shaw

    Should English spelling be reformed to make it more consistent and phonetically accurate?
    nah, the Yankess tried it to an extent and it became nothing but a bastardisation. Now they just make up their own words. It gives us an air of superiority to remind them that they have not spelt words correctly, a last ditch attempt to remind the world that we once ruled from the sunrise to the sunset. I say keep these peculiarities, its cultural and when we are chided for making a spelling mistake we can always remind the world that we invented English in the first instance and its rather, 'rich', to borrow an American phrase (the irony), of them to try to correct us.
  3. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    03 Jun '11 09:34
    Originally posted by Teinosuke
    Should English spelling be reformed to make it more consistent and phonetically accurate?
    I have no doubt it is evolving apace thanks to the phenomenal proliferation of online/e-writing. These changes will outrun and supersede any attempts to "reform" spelling in a premeditated or prescriptive way.
  4. Standard member Palynka
    Upward Spiral
    03 Jun '11 10:35
    Originally posted by Teinosuke
    A boy who is bidden to spell "debt", and very properly spells it "d - e - t", is caned for not spelling it with a "b" because Julius Caesar spelt it with a "b".
    George Bernard Shaw

    Should English spelling be reformed to make it more consistent and phonetically accurate?
    Why change it if it's not broken?

    We had a spelling agreement recently with Brazil to make it less distinct and most of the silent letters that we use and they don't disappeared. I can't write properly in my own language now and it just looks darn ugly if you ask me.
  5. 03 Jun '11 11:44
    Originally posted by Palynka
    Why change it if it's not broken?

    We had a spelling agreement recently with Brazil to make it less distinct and most of the silent letters that we use and they don't disappeared. I can't write properly in my own language now and it just looks darn ugly if you ask me.
    It might be considered broken if it's harder for English and American kids to learn to read and write their own native language than it is for, say, Germans or Spaniards who have more consistent orthography. This is bound to have a knock-on effect on literacy rates. In addition, with English now a world language, the complex spelling system surely creates needless obstacles for those learning English as a second language.

    Doubtless you will get used to the new Portuguese spellings over time, and other adults will continue to recognise the old spellings if you prefer to go on using them. Most such changes seem odd to those who are used to the status quo, like, say, the change from the escudo to the euro, or from British pre-decimal to decimal currency. One adapts soon enough.
  6. 03 Jun '11 12:11 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Teinosuke
    It might be considered broken if it's harder for English and American kids to learn to read and write their own native language than it is for, say, Germans or Spaniards who have more consistent orthography. This is bound to have a knock-on effect on literacy rates. In addition, with English now a world language, the complex spelling system surely creates ...[text shortened]... he escudo to the euro, or from British pre-decimal to decimal currency. One adapts soon enough.
    From pre decimal to decimal was clearly a mistake, twelve is a much better number for division. I once read the the French even tried to decimalise time. I suggest its the same with language, silent b's are alright, if you think that's bad, you should try to learn Gaelic, its otherworldly when it comes to lack of phonetics.
  7. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    03 Jun '11 13:26
    Originally posted by Teinosuke
    A boy who is bidden to spell "debt", and very properly spells it "d - e - t", is caned for not spelling it with a "b" because Julius Caesar spelt it with a "b".
    George Bernard Shaw

    Should English spelling be reformed to make it more consistent and phonetically accurate?
    I'll consider is after my morning kauphy.
  8. 03 Jun '11 13:58
    Originally posted by sh76
    I'll consider is after my morning kauphy.
    Now that is a clear problem. Whose English?
  9. Standard member Palynka
    Upward Spiral
    03 Jun '11 14:03
    Originally posted by Teinosuke
    It might be considered broken if it's harder for English and American kids to learn to read and write their own native language than it is for, say, Germans or Spaniards who have more consistent orthography. This is bound to have a knock-on effect on literacy rates. In addition, with English now a world language, the complex spelling system surely creates ...[text shortened]... he escudo to the euro, or from British pre-decimal to decimal currency. One adapts soon enough.
    I still think the gain is very marginal for future generations and the loss for the current one less so. Silent letters are just a small nuisance and they only matter for the written form. I think what really counts for the difficulty of a language is grammar simplicity.
  10. 03 Jun '11 14:29
    Originally posted by Palynka
    I still think the gain is very marginal for future generations and the loss for the current one less so. Silent letters are just a small nuisance and they only matter for the written form. I think what really counts for the difficulty of a language is grammar simplicity.
    Japanese has fairly straightforward grammar, but is a nightmare to learn anyway because of an astonishingly complicated writing system.

    On the other hand, no European language has a written form anywhere near as complicated and awkward as Japanese.
  11. 03 Jun '11 14:32
    Originally posted by sh76
    I'll consider is after my morning kauphy.
    Incidentally, I think the point of spelling reform is to erase redundant formations like "ph" and inconsistencies like the use of "y" as a vowel. So even New Yorkers will have to be content with their kaufi.
  12. 03 Jun '11 16:08 / 1 edit
    It seems to me that they could make reforms rather easily by allowing for the traditional and new spellings.

    Seems easy enuff.
  13. 03 Jun '11 16:42 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by Eladar
    It seems to me that they could make reforms rather easily by allowing for the traditional and new spellings.

    Seems easy enuff to me.
    However, as sh76 implied in his post, there might have to be a whole variety of new spellings to cope with the fact that there are a whole spectrum of different pronunciations in modern English. In a way, one of the virtues of our present system is that it's neutral as regards different dialects. If we reform spelling, what should take precedence - US or UK English? Should coffee be spelt "kofi" the way a Brit pronounces it, or "kaufi" the way a New Yorker pronounces it? "Sore" and "saw" are homophones in British Received Pronunciation, as well as in the accents of Australian and New Zealand, but not in Scots or most North American speech. British RP has a long vowel in "bath", "task", "castle" and so on, but Northern English speech has a short vowel (I spent half my childhood in Newcastle upon Tyne, and although I basically speak RP, I still pronounce the name of that city with a short "a" ).

    To accept new phonetic spellings without favouring particular branches of spoken English would mean accepting as wide a variety of spellings as there were in Shakespeare's time. Surely it was because that situation was highly confusing that standardisation occured in the first place!
  14. 03 Jun '11 16:49
    From my experience Californian dialect is pretty universal. When I went to Colorado I couldn't tell the difference.
  15. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    Poor Filipov :,(
    03 Jun '11 16:50
    Originally posted by Teinosuke
    A boy who is bidden to spell "debt", and very properly spells it "d - e - t", is caned for not spelling it with a "b" because Julius Caesar spelt it with a "b".
    George Bernard Shaw

    Should English spelling be reformed to make it more consistent and phonetically accurate?
    Yes.