1069: "Alphabet"

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VanI
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1069: "Alphabet"

Postby VanI » Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:03 am UTC

Image

Mouseover: Do I get to remove letters entirely? Or just rearrange them? Because the "k/c" situation is ridiculous. Look, we can make out whenever. This is *immortality*!

I guess he's never heard of Shavian.
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Re: 1069: "Alphabet"

Postby Plasma Mongoose » Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:11 am UTC

It's kinda of a shame that something like Pitman Shorthand never replaced the alphabet.
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Re: 1069: "Alphabet"

Postby Oflick » Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:14 am UTC

I don't have many problems with the alphabet. Strangely my biggest problem is "c" and "s". I've gotten them mixed up since I can remember. And not just where a "c" sounds like an "s", I mean if someone said "go to the s section in the dictionary", it wouldn't be surprising if I went to the "c" section.

In short, I have no problems that are the fault of the alphabet. It can stay the way it is as far as I'm concerned.

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Re: 1069: "Alphabet"

Postby Eternal Density » Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:14 am UTC

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Re: 1069: "Alphabet"

Postby rhomboidal » Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:16 am UTC

My obsessive-compulsive side has always wanted to eliminate one of the letters just to make it a tidy 25. Maybe they can settle it amongst themselves with a cage-fight among the consonants.

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neoliminal
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Re: 1069: "Alphabet"

Postby neoliminal » Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:21 am UTC

Vowels are stupid.

We should just get consonant/vowel combinations like the Japanese. So much cooler to ask a question by adding a sound to the end of a sentence, ka?
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Re: 1069: "Alphabet"

Postby Quicksilver » Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:24 am UTC

I've never had an issue with the English language, I'm not going to start complaining about it now.

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Re: 1069: "Alphabet"

Postby freded21 » Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:26 am UTC

neoliminal wrote:
We should just get consonant/vowel combinations like the Japanese. So much cooler to ask a question by adding a sound to the end of a sentence, ka?

Some people do do that, no?

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Re: 1069: "Alphabet"

Postby brakos82 » Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:27 am UTC

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Re: 1069: "Alphabet"

Postby drc500free » Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:30 am UTC

First day of Linguistics, our professor asked us if c and k made the same sound. Then she had us say "car key" and note where in our mouth the "c" and "k" were formed. Blew my mind.

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Re: 1069: "Alphabet"

Postby Arky » Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:32 am UTC

I feel like I'm missing the joke here.

It would be funnier if heartbeat was an anagram of alphabet. Or if it would be except for a c/k difference...
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Re: 1069: "Alphabet"

Postby Arky » Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:32 am UTC

neoliminal wrote:Vowels are stupid.

We should just get consonant/vowel combinations like the Japanese. So much cooler to ask a question by adding a sound to the end of a sentence, ka?


Soo des ne.
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5th Earth
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Re: 1069: "Alphabet"

Postby 5th Earth » Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:33 am UTC

The first thing I would do is reinstate the letter Thorn (þ). It's a perfectly good letter that serves a clear and obvious purpose and I don't know why we stopped using it in the first place.
It seemed like a good idea at the time.

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Re: 1069: "Alphabet"

Postby glasnt » Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:34 am UTC

I'd change W and 7.

Seriously, 3-syllables for W, and 2 for 7 is HORRID. You need to have single-syllables for your single characters. The pattern of one letter/number to one beat is IMPORTANT>

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ysth
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Re: 1069: "Alphabet"

Postby ysth » Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:36 am UTC

5th Earth wrote:The first thing I would do is reinstate the letter Thorn (þ). It's a perfectly good letter that serves a clear and obvious purpose and I don't know why we stopped using it in the first place.

It seemed like a good idea at the time

You answer your own question.


I think there's a joke here that I am totally missing. Can someone explain for us idiots?
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Re: 1069: "Alphabet"

Postby Fire Brns » Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:40 am UTC

But the problem is that you would also need to be able to alter writing rules.

If I was in charge there would be closer to 40 letters; I'm a fan of the one letter one sound rule.

Sepporate letters for ch, th, sh, and zh ect.
j and g would be properly distinguished so that g never makes the j sound. (Russians I see make this mistake in English often)
also:
c and k, distinguish the sounds. (I hate that schools teach what letters are but not how they work in you mouth. EX: F and V are the same base sound but one is unvoiced)
s and c (c only makes hard sound)
I would probably double the vowels or require accents (short and long sounds to avoid learning words the wrong way from writing)
get rid of y since most vowel pairings can duplicate the sound ("iel" is read as "yell")
make q a stand alone letter or lose it, quail would become qail or kwail
x would make the the ch in loch and never z. xylophone would become zilofone.

looking back it seems like a 5 year old wrote my example words but maybe they are the most practical people when it comes to writing.
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Re: 1069: "Alphabet"

Postby brakos82 » Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:43 am UTC

ysth wrote:
5th Earth wrote:The first thing I would do is reinstate the letter Thorn (þ). It's a perfectly good letter that serves a clear and obvious purpose and I don't know why we stopped using it in the first place.

It seemed like a good idea at the time

You answer your own question.


I think there's a joke here that I am totally missing. Can someone explain for us idiots?


I have a joke for it, but it's an inside joke from an american football forum, and would make no sense here.
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JohnSmallBerries
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Re: 1069: "Alphabet"

Postby JohnSmallBerries » Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:46 am UTC

drc500free wrote:First day of Linguistics, our professor asked us if c and k made the same sound. Then she had us say "car key" and note where in our mouth the "c" and "k" were formed. Blew my mind.

Okay, but what about "candle kaftan" or "coal koala" -- or " "key karate"? I'm not a linguist, but it seems to me that the vowels adjacent to the consonant contribute somewhat to its placement.

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Re: 1069: "Alphabet"

Postby JohnSmallBerries » Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:48 am UTC

Fire Brns wrote:xylophone would become zilofone.

If you want "one letter, one sound", you might as well do away with that silent 'e' while you're at it.

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Re: 1069: "Alphabet"

Postby Azzy » Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:49 am UTC

Totally agree that "C" is useless as it can be replaced by an "S" or "K".
Also "Q" can be replaced with "K" or "KW".
And "X" can be replaced with "KS" or "Z".


drc500free wrote:First day of Linguistics, our professor asked us if c and k made the same sound. Then she had us say "car key" and note where in our mouth the "c" and "k" were formed. Blew my mind.


That has nothing to do with c or k. It's the vowels that follow after that causes the different mouth and tongue placement. Try saying "kapa captain". See? No difference. Your professor fooled you. She's a sneaky one.

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Re: 1069: "Alphabet"

Postby Typo Knig » Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:50 am UTC

The joke is an old pick-up line "If I could re-arrange the alphabet I'd put you and I close together." I wonder if that ever worked.

Another link relevant to English orthography - the classic 1946 essay "Meihem in Ce Klassrum" http://www.angelfire.com/va3/timshenk/codes/meihem.html

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Re: 1069: "Alphabet"

Postby freded21 » Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:59 am UTC

brakos82 wrote:
ysth wrote:
5th Earth wrote:The first thing I would do is reinstate the letter Thorn (þ). It's a perfectly good letter that serves a clear and obvious purpose and I don't know why we stopped using it in the first place.

It seemed like a good idea at the time

You answer your own question.


I think there's a joke here that I am totally missing. Can someone explain for us idiots?


I have a joke for it, but it's an inside joke from an american football forum, and would make no sense here.


We're waiting.

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Re: 1069: "Alphabet"

Postby xkcdfan » Fri Jun 15, 2012 5:13 am UTC

Arky wrote:
neoliminal wrote:Vowels are stupid.

We should just get consonant/vowel combinations like the Japanese. So much cooler to ask a question by adding a sound to the end of a sentence, ka?


Soo des ne.

Sou desu ne.

The u sound in desu is downplayed but it's still there. です.

JSL pisses me the fuck off. It's おう. Not おお. Spell it fucking correctly.

coredumperror
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Re: 1069: "Alphabet"

Postby coredumperror » Fri Jun 15, 2012 5:18 am UTC

Arky wrote:I feel like I'm missing the joke here.

It would be funnier if heartbeat was an anagram of alphabet. Or if it would be except for a c/k difference...

I believe the joke is based on the pick-up line "If I could rearrange the alphabet, I'd put u and I together."

As for the ideas people are putting forward for improving the written English language, I think that the first half of
Eternal Density wrote:Relevant.

is the best way to go about things. That page was perfect until it fell into the trap of being comedic instead of logical. Do the first part, but stop before the removal of double characters, and you'll have a much better version of English, I think.

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Re: 1069: "Alphabet"

Postby Fieari » Fri Jun 15, 2012 5:19 am UTC

As always when English orthography comes up, the Zompist is quite relevant here. It's helpful to know the current rules before trying to make new ones. And without knowing those current rules, you can waste time trying to fix what isn't broken.
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Re: 1069: "Alphabet"

Postby Hamra » Fri Jun 15, 2012 5:29 am UTC

Having Arabic as my native language, with all its ridiculous complexities and irregularities, I found English to be very simple, and let's face it, it is. You can't appreciate that until you start looking into other languages.

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Re: 1069: "Alphabet"

Postby brakos82 » Fri Jun 15, 2012 5:37 am UTC

freded21 wrote:
brakos82 wrote:
ysth wrote:
5th Earth wrote:The first thing I would do is reinstate the letter Thorn (þ). It's a perfectly good letter that serves a clear and obvious purpose and I don't know why we stopped using it in the first place.

It seemed like a good idea at the time

You answer your own question.


I think there's a joke here that I am totally missing. Can someone explain for us idiots?


I have a joke for it, but it's an inside joke from an american football forum, and would make no sense here.


We're waiting.


5th Earth wrote:We should reinstate the letter Thorn (þ). It's a perfectly good letter that serves a clear and obvious purpose, which is to tell people to kiss my ass!


There. Now you don't get it.
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whateveries
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Re: 1069: "Alphabet"

Postby whateveries » Fri Jun 15, 2012 5:43 am UTC

Changing the alphabet to suit the way words are pronounced is bound to fail. The primary reason for failure is the different ways in which english speakers the world over will emphasise different vowels and consonants, the only result would be a proliferation of standard english alphabets

on reflection this which would actually be fine by me, as it would enable me to deliver a profound 'in your face' to my lovely wife when ever she corrects my pronunciation as I pull out the AS14034-NWQLD Alphbit standrd. rippr hey.
it's fine.

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Re: 1069: "Alphabet"

Postby coredumperror » Fri Jun 15, 2012 5:46 am UTC

Fieari wrote:As always when English orthography comes up, the Zompist is quite relevant here. It's helpful to know the current rules before trying to make new ones. And without knowing those current rules, you can waste time trying to fix what isn't broken.

This was a fascinating read (though I admit I skimmed through a bunch in the middle). I am oddly glad to see that English has a better system than I thought it did.

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Re: 1069: "Alphabet"

Postby Mercurywoodrose » Fri Jun 15, 2012 5:49 am UTC

I feel the same way. If were king of the world, id introduce Unifon (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unifon), where every symbol represents one sound in english, and every sound in english is represented by one symbol. no more spelling bees, no more guesswork or memorization. but, of course, the curse of the installed base makes this impossible.

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Re: 1069: "Alphabet"

Postby ajp_anton » Fri Jun 15, 2012 5:58 am UTC

This is why I love finnish.
We have the same alphabet as english but with 3 additional letters at the end.
However many letters are *never* used in the language itself as sound-wise they are duplicates. Each remaining letter has its own unique pronounciation, and each pronounciation has its own unique letter. It's even more phonetic than japanese, which sometimes omits the sound of the last "vowel" (desu -> des).

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Re: 1069: "Alphabet"

Postby hailthefish » Fri Jun 15, 2012 6:03 am UTC

Fieari wrote:As always when English orthography comes up, the Zompist is quite relevant here. It's helpful to know the current rules before trying to make new ones. And without knowing those current rules, you can waste time trying to fix what isn't broken.


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Re: 1069: "Alphabet"

Postby *Kat* » Fri Jun 15, 2012 6:09 am UTC

What I would like to know is what Randall's ideal alphabet would look like.

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Re: 1069: "Alphabet"

Postby Millumi » Fri Jun 15, 2012 6:26 am UTC

I've always thought the person who made the QWERTY style keyboard must've used that alphabet pickup line...
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Re: 1069: "Alphabet"

Postby Tova » Fri Jun 15, 2012 7:29 am UTC

coredumperror wrote:I believe the joke is based on the pick-up line "If I could rearrange the alphabet, I'd put u and I together."


Great. Now I understand the comic, and wish I didn't.

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Re: 1069: "Alphabet"

Postby NotAllThere » Fri Jun 15, 2012 7:39 am UTC

ysth wrote:I think there's a joke here that I am totally missing. Can someone explain for us idiots?


Even after reading all the comments - and that hint - I didn't understand. Then I suddenly got it. So, for the benefit of similarly slow on the uptake people:

There is a saying "Baby, if I could rearrange the alphabet, I'd put u and I together". Randall is saying that if he had that power, he wouldn't use it for anything so trivial; he'd use it to fix perceived problems with the alphabet.

Be glad if you've only got the 26. I've got to put up with äöü - and occasionally éèàç. But not ß (unless I go to the great Northern Kanton).
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Re: 1069: "Alphabet"

Postby DrZiro » Fri Jun 15, 2012 7:44 am UTC

If I could rearrange the alphabet, I'd put U and I together. Why, you ask? Yes, probably Y as well, since they all typically represent close vowels.

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Re: 1069: "Alphabet"

Postby AvatarIII » Fri Jun 15, 2012 8:01 am UTC

is there any real reason that the alphabet has the order it does anyway, other than tradition?

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Re: 1069: "Alphabet"

Postby JimsMaher » Fri Jun 15, 2012 8:13 am UTC

drc500free wrote:First day of Linguistics, our professor asked us if c and k made the same sound. Then she had us say "car key" and note where in our mouth the "c" and "k" were formed. Blew my mind.

¿"car key" to explain the "difference" between c and k ?
In English, individual letters aren't irreducibly consistent. (edit: meaning, most letters by themselves must have context for a uniquely defined pronunciation)
SYLLABLES

The car/key example has us pronouncing "ca" and "ke" ... by special rules the c in "ce" is soft, yet "ka" is the same as "ca". The only difference between c and k is that sometimes, for ridiculous reasons, c acts like an s. But that example isn't expressing that, it's demonstrating the difference between a c/k followed by an a versus a c/k followed by an e.
PHONEMES

... I wonder ...
Last edited by JimsMaher on Fri Jun 15, 2012 8:27 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1069: "Alphabet"

Postby Arky » Fri Jun 15, 2012 8:26 am UTC

xkcdfan wrote:
Arky wrote:
neoliminal wrote:Vowels are stupid.

We should just get consonant/vowel combinations like the Japanese. So much cooler to ask a question by adding a sound to the end of a sentence, ka?


Soo des ne.

Sou desu ne.

The u sound in desu is downplayed but it's still there. です.

JSL pisses me the fuck off. It's おう. Not おお. Spell it fucking correctly.


I wouldn't say downplayed. I'd say "not pronounced". I was transliterating it not writing in romaji (same with the "soo" instead of "sou"). Romaji among non-speakers is how we get all sorts of comical mispronunciations.... actually, never mind, I should stick with romaji, mispronunciations are fun.
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