Spelling reform

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Re: Spelling reform

Postby ZLVT » Thu Apr 30, 2009 4:28 pm UTC

Oh yes I rememebr now, yeah, love their speech. It's the moles I had trouble with.
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Re: Spelling reform

Postby dalahäst » Thu Apr 30, 2009 5:31 pm UTC

It took me a while to get used to the moles, after that I've always enjoyed them. :)

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Re: Spelling reform

Postby n7a7v7i » Fri May 01, 2009 12:53 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
ZLVT wrote:where is it pronounced voiceless?

Pretty sure it's one of those words that even a single speaker might sometimes voice the fricative, and sometimes leave it unvoiced. When I think of the word in isolation, it's always voiceless at the end, though.


I totally agree with this, and I personally very rarely ever use a voiceless "th" for "with"... Ever.

But I don't understand one thing. What would be so terrible about different dialects of English using different spelling patterns? I mean, to some extent, this happens anyway. I just don't understand why we allow English speakers to spell words differently on a mix-'n-match level, but then we freak out as the linguistic guardians of our language when people start using actual different symbols for sounds aside from our normal alphabet.

I mean, sure, it's no problem that the Brits spell "color" as "colour", but why does it suddenly become problematic and confusing when people want to use colœr, or colær? Why the random panic?

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Re: Spelling reform

Postby gmalivuk » Fri May 01, 2009 3:58 am UTC

n7a7v7i wrote:But I don't understand one thing.

Ha.

What would be so terrible about different dialects of English using different spelling patterns? I mean, to some extent, this happens anyway.

Sure, but "to some extent" is nowhere near the same extent as it would be happening if we actually did things completely phonetically. Right now, I can communicate in writing without any problem with someone from Scotland or Jamaica or New Zealand or wherever. Sure, a couple words are spelled differently but they're really not all that common. But if we switched to totally phonetic spelling the language would fracture completely. Suddenly I'd have to actually know how every one of those different dialects sounds to know what they're typing at me. Go here to see some transcriptions for how different accents sound, and then explain to me again why it would be a good idea to write like that all the time.
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Re: Spelling reform

Postby Velifer » Fri May 01, 2009 1:18 pm UTC

But aren't we already reforming spelling?

I had a great collection of old books when I was a kid, picked up by the box from estate sales and such. Most were wartime editions printed on crappy paper, but there were a few old textbooks from 1900-1930. In school, I was forever getting marks off for spelling things incorrectly, or using incorrect terms, but I was correct! ...just 80 years out of date. (btw, it's not "sulphur" here anymore.)

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Re: Spelling reform

Postby Rinsaikeru » Fri May 01, 2009 2:46 pm UTC

Spelling reform isn't really unilateral though--as a Canadian I sometimes get confused by it because certain words here are spelled like they are in the UK, others are baed on US spelling. In some cases we use both/either.
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Re: Spelling reform

Postby dalahäst » Fri May 01, 2009 3:08 pm UTC

Well yes, you have "tire" and "cheque", but no "tyre" or "check". Someone wanted the best of both worlds when designing Canadian spelling.

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Re: Spelling reform

Postby n7a7v7i » Sun May 03, 2009 6:52 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
n7a7v7i wrote:But I don't understand one thing.

Ha.

What would be so terrible about different dialects of English using different spelling patterns? I mean, to some extent, this happens anyway.

Sure, but "to some extent" is nowhere near the same extent as it would be happening if we actually did things completely phonetically. Right now, I can communicate in writing without any problem with someone from Scotland or Jamaica or New Zealand or wherever. Sure, a couple words are spelled differently but they're really not all that common. But if we switched to totally phonetic spelling the language would fracture completely. Suddenly I'd have to actually know how every one of those different dialects sounds to know what they're typing at me. Go here to see some transcriptions for how different accents sound, and then explain to me again why it would be a good idea to write like that all the time.


Well, I see what you mean. I think you could've done a much better job of pointing out the problem, though.

Spelling reform is a lot like a socialist revolution. It's a great idea at its foundation, but applied as quickly as they would have us do so, it would tear everything apart pretty damn fast. And yet, I think we can all agree that the success of previous examples of supposed socialism says very little about how well such a system might function in the future.

Ha.... what an ass. I don't understand one thing.... Damn, that really is funny. BURN, eh?

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Re: Spelling reform

Postby BrainMagMo » Mon May 04, 2009 10:24 pm UTC

dalahäst wrote:Australian vowels can be difficult to transcribe. I don't remember where I found the chart that I absolutely love and keep printed at all times, let's see if I can rediscover it. *google* Found it, here's a copy. I love that PDF so much, I saved it to disk as IPA.pdf, without all that copyright stuff. Print and keep handy.

In English: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPA_chart_ ... h_dialects is more useful
In IPA: eɪtʃ ti ti piː coʊln̩ slæʃ slæʃ iː eːn dɑːt ˈwɪkɪpidijə dɑːt oɹɡ slæʃ wɪkiː slæʃ aɪ pi eɪ foɹ iŋɡlɨʃ daɪəlektsː iz moɹ juːsfl̩

gmalivuk wrote:Sure, but "to some extent" is nowhere near the same extent as it would be happening if we actually did things completely phonetically. Right now, I can communicate in writing without any problem with someone from Scotland or Jamaica or New Zealand or wherever. Sure, a couple words are spelled differently but they're really not all that common. But if we switched to totally phonetic spelling the language would fracture completely. Suddenly I'd have to actually know how every one of those different dialects sounds to know what they're typing at me. Go here to see some transcriptions for how different accents sound, and then explain to me again why it would be a good idea to write like that all the time.

I was able to read all the dialects.
In fact, I was able to tell how it would sound out loud from the transcripts (though my sound doesn't work right now)
I quite would like for dialects to vary when written.

aɪ wʊz ˈeɪbl̩ tu rid ɑl əv ðə ˈdaɪəlɜks
ɪn ˈfækt | aɪ wʊz ˈeɪbl̩ tʊ tɜl hɑʊ ɪt wʊd sɑʊnd ɑʊt ˈlɑʊd frəm ðə ˈʧɹæːnskɹɪps | ðoʊ maɪ ˈsɑʊnd dəzn̩ wɚk ˈraɪʔnɑʊ
aɪ wʌd kwaɪt laɪk fɹ̩ ˈdaɪəlɛks tu ˈveri wen ˈwɹɨʔn̩

Edited since my IPA sucked.
Last edited by BrainMagMo on Thu Sep 17, 2009 7:41 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Spelling reform

Postby gmalivuk » Mon May 04, 2009 10:30 pm UTC

You really looked at *all* of them? That's hella impressive if true.

But still, the fact that you "understand" a whole bunch of different spellings of the same paragraph doesn't really mean you'd have an easy time understanding in general a thick Jamaican or Scottish or whatever accent when written down faithfully in IPA.
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Re: Spelling reform

Postby BrainMagMo » Mon May 04, 2009 10:36 pm UTC

I'd have a hard time understanding them if they spoke, so what's the problem?
Also, for Chaos I need a pronunciation guide.
Damn Britishisms and words I've ne'er seen afore!
(for starters: do pores and paws sound the same in Britain?)
Last edited by BrainMagMo on Mon May 04, 2009 10:58 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Spelling reform

Postby gmalivuk » Mon May 04, 2009 10:58 pm UTC

The problem is that, at least now you can understand them if they write. Under this proposed spelling reform, it'd be as difficult to understand that as to understand someone's terrible pronunciation.

And yes, pores/paws is a homophone pair in a lot of British English.
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Re: Spelling reform

Postby BrainMagMo » Mon May 04, 2009 10:59 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:The problem is that, at least now you can understand them if they write. Under this proposed spelling reform, it'd be as difficult to understand that as to understand someone's terrible pronunciation.
I don't see the problem.

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Re: Spelling reform

Postby Silas » Mon May 04, 2009 11:01 pm UTC

BrainMagMo wrote:I'd have a hard time understanding them if they spoke, so what's the problem?

Don't you enjoy being able to figure out what they've written? That's the whole point of the don't-screw-with-our-spelling argument.
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Re: Spelling reform

Postby gmalivuk » Mon May 04, 2009 11:03 pm UTC

BrainMagMo wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:The problem is that, at least now you can understand them if they write. Under this proposed spelling reform, it'd be as difficult to understand that as to understand someone's terrible pronunciation.
I don't see the problem.

You don't see the problem with making it really really difficult for people to understand each other?
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Re: Spelling reform

Postby BrainMagMo » Mon May 04, 2009 11:06 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
BrainMagMo wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:The problem is that, at least now you can understand them if they write. Under this proposed spelling reform, it'd be as difficult to understand that as to understand someone's terrible pronunciation.
I don't see the problem.

You don't see the problem with making it really really difficult for people to understand each other?

I don't see the problem with writing as we speak.
At least, closer to it than current written English.

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Re: Spelling reform

Postby gmalivuk » Mon May 04, 2009 11:09 pm UTC

But doing that would make written communication, in places such as this forum, much much more difficult. I don't see how that huge cost outweighs the minor benefit of making English slightly easier to learn.
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Re: Spelling reform

Postby dalahäst » Mon May 04, 2009 11:21 pm UTC

BrainMagMo wrote:Also, for Chaos I need a pronunciation guide.
Damn Britishisms and words I've ne'er seen afore!
(for starters: do pores and paws sound the same in Britain?)


I just read the whole thing (with proper accent), that was epic win. I need to print that out and give copies to random people.

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Re: Spelling reform

Postby hocl » Tue May 05, 2009 4:42 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
ZLVT wrote:where is it pronounced voiceless?

Pretty sure it's one of those words that even a single speaker might sometimes voice the fricative, and sometimes leave it unvoiced. When I think of the word in isolation, it's always voiceless at the end, though.

When it's voiced, is it homophonous with "width"?

dalahäst wrote:Oh, and I regularly berate ðose hwo say "Ye olde" instead of "Þe olde".
Why? Isn't it almost always used ironically?

dalahäst wrote:I doubt anyone reading this forum can't read the IPA, but heck, why not?
I doubt that few, if any can read IPA in the sense that they read normal English. Another problem with IPA is that I have yet to find two different sources that agree as to the pronunciation of the IPA symbols. I suppose the IPA website is definitive, but I'm not sure the point of learning a phonetic alphabet when I can't be sure that people mean the same sounds as I think they do. And a single sound file isn't really enough to define a sound; I would need at least half a dozen samples to establish what features are part of the sound and what are particular to each specific speaker.

n7a7v7i wrote:But I don't understand one thing. What would be so terrible about different dialects of English using different spelling patterns? I mean, to some extent, this happens anyway. I just don't understand why we allow English speakers to spell words differently on a mix-'n-match level, but then we freak out as the linguistic guardians of our language when people start using actual different symbols for sounds aside from our normal alphabet.
The differences now are limited, not generally phonetically significant, and rarely result it two different words being confused. We already have people writing "then" for "than", "were" for "where", "floor" for "flaw", etc. because of dialectical differences. As it is, it's extremely annoying. If this were to spread further, I don't think I'd be able to restrain myself from screaming "SPEAK ENGLISH, DAMMIT!" at anyone who doesn't speak in a dialect reasonably close to SAE.

And what about when there's a TV show where someone has a strong accent, so they put in subtitles? If they put subtitles in the speaker's dialect, there'd be no point to having them. So would there be some "standard" dialect for subtitles? If so, why not just have everyone write in that dialect?

I mean, sure, it's no problem that the Brits spell "color" as "colour", but why does it suddenly become problematic and confusing when people want to use colœr, or colær? Why the random panic?
And when we can no longer orthographically distinguish "color", "cooler", "collar", "collared", "colored", "caller", "culler", "crueller", "crueler", and "cola", what then?

gmalivuk wrote:But doing that would make written communication, in places such as this forum, much much more difficult. I don't see how that huge cost outweighs the minor benefit of making English slightly easier to learn.
It wouldn't even make English easier to learn. Learning to write would be a mess. Each teacher would have a different idiolect, and therefore a slightly different spelling regime. In the future, students will almost certainly have online communications be a major part of their linguistic development, which means that they'll be constantly exposed to different spellings. It will be an orthographic free-for-all.

ZLVT wrote:I think the predominant argument was that English's spelling gives all dialects an equal footing whereas most spelling reforms woudl be biased towards one or another.
Current spelling doesn't exactly give all dialects equal footing. But phonetic spelling would require a deliberate choice of a dialect, rather than the "natural" process that has happened so far.

poxic wrote:I'm Canadian, so I might have different habits from, say, someone who lives in England.
You mean "I might have habits different from...". :p

dalahäst wrote:Australian vowels can be difficult to transcribe. I don't remember where I found the chart that I absolutely love and keep printed at all times, let's see if I can rediscover it. *google* Found it, here's a copy. I love that PDF so much, I saved it to disk as IPA.pdf, without all that copyright stuff. Print and keep handy.
The IPA thread has the chart with sound files embedded.

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Re: Spelling reform

Postby gmalivuk » Tue May 05, 2009 4:56 am UTC

hocl wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:
ZLVT wrote:where is it pronounced voiceless?

Pretty sure it's one of those words that even a single speaker might sometimes voice the fricative, and sometimes leave it unvoiced. When I think of the word in isolation, it's always voiceless at the end, though.

When it's voiced, is it homophonous with "width"?

No, not for me anyway. There's no /d/ in "with", whether or not it's voiced, and I actually pronounce the "th" in "width" without voice.

dalahäst wrote:Oh, and I regularly berate ðose hwo say "Ye olde" instead of "Þe olde".
Why? Isn't it almost always used ironically?

Sure, but it's still based on the mistaken notion that what was written with a Y is meant to be pronounced that way. Granted, pronouncing it as a Y does indicate that you're intending for listeners to imagine it written that way. It's just not how the character was actually pronounced back when it was actually used regularly in the word "the".
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Re: Spelling reform

Postby n7a7v7i » Wed May 06, 2009 1:26 am UTC

hocl wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:But doing that would make written communication, in places such as this forum, much much more difficult. I don't see how that huge cost outweighs the minor benefit of making English slightly easier to learn.
It wouldn't even make English easier to learn. Learning to write would be a mess. Each teacher would have a different idiolect, and therefore a slightly different spelling regime. In the future, students will almost certainly have online communications be a major part of their linguistic development, which means that they'll be constantly exposed to different spellings. It will be an orthographic free-for-all.


It already IS an orthographic free-for-all, damnit! And why the hell am I the only person who spells dammit correctly?

Anyway... No, but seriously, there absolutely no problem with allowing a language like English to have more variety. Yes, as it is right now, there'd be some huge obstacles in getting people with different pronunciations of the same words to understand each other, which is exactly why I personally would oppose any immediate and sudden forms of orthographic revolucíon.

But, this does not at all mean that we shouldn't spell more phonetically. If we aim to spell the way we speak, and to speak with each other globally, don't you think that eventually these goals would help create and sustain a global standard dialect of English, even as the language splits into all kinds of other crazy dialects?
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Re: Spelling reform

Postby ZLVT » Wed May 06, 2009 9:42 am UTC

I think the vowels would be a major problem, How many identifiable vowels are there in English, that is to say, if I were to use a number system in the place of vowels, such that in each regiolect/dialect, each number would be pronounced in one and only one way, even though there would be some numbers each dialect pronounces the same, how many numbers would I need? A smallish number means you can actually do it without changing anyone's pronounciation.
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Re: Spelling reform

Postby Dibley » Wed May 06, 2009 3:51 pm UTC

From just a brief glance at the Wikipedia page, General American has 13 monophthongs and 7 diphthongs. It seems to be more complicated than this, as the (very interesting) IPA chart for English dialects lists 26 total vowels for GA and 28 for "compromise" form, which is what they use for their pronunciation guides. However, the "compromise" guide lists 11 monophthongs, 6 diphthongs, 12 r-coloured vowels, and 6 reduced vowels. In case you haven't noticed, English phonology is pretty damned complicated even when you disregard everything but GA or RP.

And this would run into problems where one "number" vowel found in GA would be split in some accent.

Edit: "It may seems"? The fuck was I thinking?
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Re: Spelling reform

Postby gmalivuk » Wed May 06, 2009 3:55 pm UTC

Dibley wrote:And this would run into problems where one "number" vowel found in GA would be split in some accent.

For consonants, too, there are ones pronounced the same in one dialect and different in another. In GAE but not RP, latter/ladder are homophones. In RP but not GAE, roar/raw are homophones.
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Re: Spelling reform

Postby n7a7v7i » Wed May 06, 2009 11:36 pm UTC

Dibley wrote:From just a brief glance at the Wikipedia page, General American has 13 monophthongs and 7 diphthongs. It may seems to be more complicated than this, as the (very interesting) IPA chart for English dialects lists 26 total vowels for GA and 28 for "compromise" form, which is what they use for their pronunciation guides. However, the "compromise" guide lists 11 monophthongs, 6 diphthongs, 12 r-coloured vowels, and 6 reduced vowels. In case you haven't noticed, English phonology is pretty damned complicated even when you disregard everything but GA or RP.

And this would run into problems where one "number" vowel found in GA would be split in some accent.


I agree.... The vowels would definitely be the biggest problem.

Maybe we should just focus on the consonants, and killing silent letters, eh?

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Re: Spelling reform

Postby ZLVT » Thu May 07, 2009 9:47 am UTC

also an issue thanks to r colouring and some consonants which are pronounced in one place and not in another.
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Re: Spelling reform

Postby Velifer » Thu May 07, 2009 3:01 pm UTC

W shd jst gnr ll th vwls. Thy jst cs trbl nywy, nd t's nt lk w nd thm. :roll:
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Re: Spelling reform

Postby gmalivuk » Thu May 07, 2009 3:56 pm UTC

Velifer wrote:W shd jst gnr ll th vwls. Thy jst cs trbl nywy, nd t's nt lk w nd thm. :roll:

f crs w nd thm. whr wd w b wtht vwls? whr wr y whn th wr ws wn? wht dd y wr? wr y wrng wr pnt nd dd y wr wrn pnts.

ls, d y prfr thr r ntrs fr nsths? r s thr thr r ntrs fn?
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Re: Spelling reform

Postby Bobber » Thu May 07, 2009 5:21 pm UTC

Hey, y is totally a vowel.
I don't twist the truth, I just make it complex.
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Re: Spelling reform

Postby ZLVT » Thu May 07, 2009 5:38 pm UTC

I think if you're going down that route, at least go semitic style and add a ' before any vowel not directly preceded by a consonant, and maybe use y and w after long ee and oo sounds. And maybe alos something to mark syllable openness. The final silent e of english does that e.g. hat (closed) hate (orthographically 2 open syllables) to change the pronounciations of a e i o u from short to long.
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Re: Spelling reform

Postby gmalivuk » Thu May 07, 2009 7:14 pm UTC

Bobber wrote:Hey, y is totally a vowel.

Not in the word "you" it isn't.
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Re: Spelling reform

Postby n7a7v7i » Fri May 08, 2009 2:19 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Bobber wrote:Hey, y is totally a vowel.

Not in the word "you" it isn't.


Wait, then what IS the "y" in "you"?

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Re: Spelling reform

Postby Rinsaikeru » Fri May 08, 2009 2:28 am UTC

A consonant.
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Fryie
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Re: Spelling reform

Postby Fryie » Fri May 08, 2009 2:49 am UTC

Or, more precisely, a semivowel.

BTW

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Re: Spelling reform

Postby n7a7v7i » Fri May 08, 2009 3:25 am UTC

Fryie wrote:Or, more precisely, a semivowel.

BTW


I really don't see how it's any different from a simple "ee".

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Re: Spelling reform

Postby Fryie » Fri May 08, 2009 4:22 am UTC

It is not used as the nucleus of a syllable. Also, it's slightly more closed.

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Dibley
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Re: Spelling reform

Postby Dibley » Fri May 08, 2009 6:49 am UTC

Fryie wrote:Or, more precisely, a semivowel.

BTW

Er, no it's not. Try a Palatal Approximant.
Last edited by Dibley on Fri May 08, 2009 8:50 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Spelling reform

Postby ZLVT » Fri May 08, 2009 8:31 am UTC

Because they are so similar phonetically, the concepts of semivowel and approximant are often used interchangeably. In this conflated usage, semivowels are defined as those approximants that correspond phonetically to specific close vowels. These are [j], corresponding to [i]; [w] for [u]; [ɥ] for [y]; and [ɰ] for [ɯ].

from the semi vowel wiki page
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Dibley
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Re: Spelling reform

Postby Dibley » Fri May 08, 2009 8:49 am UTC

Except the way in which they are different is crucial to this conversation. Semi vowels, are, well, sort of vowels. Approximates are more clearly consonants.

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Re: Spelling reform

Postby gmalivuk » Fri May 08, 2009 4:14 pm UTC

Whether you consider it a semivowel or a consonant, the letter y can be as much a non-vowel as the letters w and r and l. Sure, sometimes it's a syllable all to itself, but many other times it's put between syllables to differentiate them, which in my mind at least makes it not a vowel. (The fact that other vowel letters are also sometimes not vowels doesn't affect the status of y.)
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