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17 August 2004 @ 06:00 pm
Spelŋ réfo˞m  
Jst plāyŋ r̈ʊnd wð mī Ŋ̀lʃ Φn̊ēmk Æbjæd prajkt. Ī wund˞ f n̈ēwn kn figy˞ t ʊt wðʊt mī telŋ ðm hʊ t w˞ks.
Current Mood: creativecreative
Alun Clewealun_clewe on August 18th, 2004 05:55 am (UTC)
Well, some things, yes. The rhotacization symbol for the vocalic r (in wonder, and figure, and works), and the upside-down omega thing (that may not be what it is, but that's what it looks like) for the "ow", and, well, most if not all of the other individual symbols.

The main thing that strikes me as odd, though, is that there seem to be a lot of vowels missing, and they don't all represent the same phoneme. There's no vowel in "just", "with", "can", or the second syllable of "project", for example, despite those being four different sounds. Actually, on second glance, it seems to be only the short vowels that are missing, but not all of them, either... the short vowels in the first syllables of "wonder", "telling", and "figure" are present. Is it that short vowels are missing unless they're in the first paragraph of a polysyllabic word? But if so, why? (Wait... that's not it either, actually, because the short vowels in the first syllables of "anyone" and "phonemic" (actually, I'd pronounce phonemic with a long o, anyway, but I can see it being pronounced with a short one) are also missing. So is it only if it's in the first syllable of a two-syllable word that it shows up?) And that makes the alphabet rather less than perfectly phonetic, since, as noted, not all the short vowels have the same sound. (How would you differentiate "just" and "gist"? Or "get", "gut", and "got"? Or, heck, "cat", "kit", "cot", and "cut"? Or, better yet, "bat", "bet", "bit", "bought", and "but"?)

Or is there some symbol there for the short vowels that just isn't showing up on my computer?

The word "Æbjæd" is puzzling me, too. From the context, it seems the word that should be there is "alphabet", but how one could get that out of "Æbjæd" is beyond me... or, if the word in question isn't "alphabet", I'm at a loss as to what it is...

Personally, anyway, no offense, but I've never been fond of phonetic alphabets or attempts at "spelling reform". I like the English language the way it is, weird irregularities and all. ;)
The Watcherrimspace on August 18th, 2004 09:37 am (UTC)
I read Æbjæd as keyboard = "ae-b-j-ae-r-d"

Could be completely wrong though.
Alun Clewealun_clewe on August 18th, 2004 05:28 pm (UTC)
Hm... that almost works, but where's the K? And the b and the j are in the wrong order, and the two vowels are different phonemes and should be represented by different symbols (though, to be fair, maybe the upper-case and lower-case a-e digraph are considered different symbols here)...

Of course, there's always the possibility that "Æbjærd" is a typo... ;)
gwallagwalla on August 18th, 2004 05:30 pm (UTC)
The "upside-down omega" is upsilon. I'm not sure if I want to use that symbol though...I might end up using Ȣ ȣ instead.

Æbjæd is "abjad".

Are the diacritics showing up for you?
Alun Clewealun_clewe on August 18th, 2004 06:05 pm (UTC)
Ah. See, that's why I couldn't identify what "Æbjæd" was. I didn't know the word "abjad". After a Google search, though, okay, it makes a little more sense now, though I'm still not quite sure how you decided which short vowels to include and which to omit.

As for the upside-down omega being an upsilon, though: well, no it's not, not unless there's some weird thing with the font display going on and it looks different on your computer than mine. Or unless there's some variant upsilon I'm not familiar with. At least for every upsilon I've seen, and in both Greek dictionaries I have on hand, a capital upsilon looks like a Y (sometimes with recurving diagonals), and a lower upsilon looks kind of like a squiggly u. (See, for example, here.) I don't know what that upside-down omega thing is, but I'm pretty sure it's not an upsilon.

Ah, according to this page (and others that turned up with a Google search, too), the upside-down omega is called... an "upside-down omega". Well, there you go, then. ;)

To be fair, I also ran across a page or two that did mention "upsilon" and "upside-down omega" as synonymous, but that didn't seem to be attested on any page that actually dealt with the Greek alphabet (none of which gave this form for the upsilon), and I'm going to chalk it down to a mistake unless I see good evidence to the contrary. (I've seen plenty of other falsehoods and misnomers propagate on the web, some much more widely than this one...)

The diacritics are showing up, yes, though displaced from the letters I assume they're supposed to be over. (At least some of them are showing up, but maybe there are others there that aren't, which might explain the apparent inconsistency with the short vowels.) Though whatever you're proposing to replace the upside-down omega with is not showing up; I just see two question marks with a space between them.
gwalla: magmagwalla on August 20th, 2004 12:08 am (UTC)
In the text I gave above, I used a macron accent over a vowel to mean "pronounced like the name of the letter", an un-macronned letter for a short vowel that is stressed, and a diacritic over the following consonant for unstressed vowels (schwas aren't indicated at all). Sort of. I wasn't being particularly systematic about which vowels I showed. I have a reference on the various vowel phonemes in English, but I haven't sorted through it yet and definitively assigned diacritics and full letters to vowels.

As for upsilon/upside-down omega, I was going by the Unicode standard, which calls that letter "Latin letter upsilon". Thanks for pointing out those pages, BTW. I think they got the name from the IPA, but I'm not sure. They've been wrong before; an early version of the standard equated ezh with yogh.

Well, if the diacritics are falling on the following consonants (except for macron which should be over vowels), then it's correct. Some fonts are broken and put the diacritic over the next character instead of the preceding one like they're supposed to. Putting the diacritics over the following consonants instead of the preceding ones is a compromise for words that start with a vowel which I'm not happy with. I guess I could use ʔ (glottal stop) as a carrier for initial vowels, or possibly X (which I'm not otherwise using).

The possible replacement is Latin Letter OU, which is used in Algonquin. I guess it's not found in any of your fonts; it's not in Arial Unicode MS or Lucida Sans Unicode. My browser is probably borrowing the grapheme from Gentium.
Alun Clewealun_clewe on August 20th, 2004 09:03 am (UTC)
Hm... the fact that the standard calls it the Latin letter upsilon may be significant... although I'm not sure how, since epsilon is a Greek letter, so I'm not sure how it could have a Latin version... oh well. Indeed, though, the Unicode chart does explicitly distinguish between a "Latin letter upsilon" and a "Greek letter upsilon". Hm. Maybe the ancient Romans sometimes used their own modified version of the Greek alphabet instead of the now more familiar Roman alphabet?

Ah, no, here we go: this page explains the matter. Apparently the IPA decided to "Latinize" some of the curvier Greek letters by giving them more regular shapes and adding serifs. As the linked page puts it, "The upsilon is so changed in fact as to be unrecognisable: the glyph is more commonly termed a 'bucket'."

So there we have it... the "Latin letter upsilon" isn't a "real" upsilon; it's a variant upsilon created by the IPA to more resemble a Roman letter.

As for the Latin letter OU not being found in any of the fonts on my computer... you know, I actually had an Algonquin font (which presumably included that letter) installed on my old computer, but after getting a new computer I never got around to installing it on this one. For that matter, I haven't installed IPA fonts on my new computer either, which I really need to do, since I actually have quite a few documents in which I've used those. (Currently, where I used the IPA fonts, Word rather inexplicably substitutes the "WP MultinationalB Courier" font, which consists of only twenty characters that don't correlate in any way with those of the IPA font in the same positions and, needless to say, doesn't really work.) I've been meaning to install on my new computer all the fonts I'd had on my old one, but haven't yet gotten around to it...