I was going to do more Oz Comic-Con stuff but I can’t remember what I wanted to say. I then decided to do the Dymocks shop post but I can’t find my photos. Instead you get a new alphabet my nephew is proposing. I’m trying to decide whether I agree or not. Please comment below, he will see them.
Spelling in the English language is overly complicated and is based upon many different languages, or no language at all and is simply a centuries old typo.
I would propose a new alphabet. The actual form of the letters will stay the same, for ease of use and familiarity.
First, and most drastic – usage of vowels changes completely. I propose that a second vowel is no longer used to change the vowel to what I think of as the vowels ‘major sound’, and instead we switch to a dedicated vowel modifier. I would suggest an umlaut.
Consonants become ‘absolute’, that is, that they divide between vowel sounds absolutely, and vowels will not be affected at all by other vowels after a consonant comes between them.
Also, eliminate spelling that english has inherited from latin and french. While it does show the history behind the word, we have no need for it. Use sound as the consistent basis for spelling, and spelling as a consistent basis for sound.
No more kiddies saying “I want to be a k-nigget when I grow up!” Won’t you just think of the poor suffering kiddies!
Late becomes lät, hate – hät, wait – wät, fete – fät.
Feet becomes fët, heat – hët, people – pëpl.
Night becomes nït, hide – hïd, bide – bïd.
Moat becomes möt, load – löd, low – lö.
Rude becomes rüd, loose – lüs, hoot – hüt.
ä ë ï ö ü – umlauts for the win!
Next, we come to how vowels combine. We see lots of vowel combinations, and we usually blend the vowels together. In general this would not change, but some specifics would.
First, vowels with modifiers (umlauted vowels) would not be further modified by other vowels.
I have looked at German and French as representative of the two main language groups that English is built out of to try and come by standard sounds made by blended vowels.
In English, several combinations can create the same sound, depending on the origin of the word.
For instance – eu, ue, and oi can sound the same, but eu and yu can also sound the same, which again is not necessary. This happens to other combinations as well (ou, ao) and is irritating. I would standardize combinations and be done with it.
I am not going to go through every single combination of vowels, although I was tempted, as combinations are greatly complicated by local accents, and so trying to list all the possible sounds would be silly.
For instance, in some places, ear could be spelled ëuh as they don’t pronounce the r, while others it would be ër as they don’t pronounce the a. Many fall somewhere in between, so it would be ëor or ëar or maybe ëur.
The oo would be the sound in wood, would, should, etc. It is NOT the sound in mood, boo, loo, or shoe – those would be ü.
Another one to discuss would be colour – should it be spelled culor, culur, or culr?
When dealing with consonants, first, we lose the ones we have no need of. Q, for example.
Next, we attempt to assign one constant sound per letter. Unlikely, as we would have to add new letters for ‘sh’ and a few others, but we can reduce the amount of confusion.
C no longer produce the S sound, and S no longer can be used as a Z.
Some people might object to this because it is ‘Americanising proper english’ (as several people did when I proposed this online) and I frankly think they are idiots – I am changing everything about spelling, so using Z’s in place of some S’s is a stupid thing to object to.
For example, ‘we can reduce the amount of confusion’ would be ‘wë kan rëdüs the amaont ov konfüzion’. When you first see this, it looks odd, but I find that you can adjust quickly.
Silent letters vanish. There is no need for them.
Gh used to represent the sound made by the ch in loch, and I often see the same sound in hebrew shown as kh. In english, that sound disappeared or sometimes changed to F, leaving us with ‘knight’, ‘cough’, ‘light’, ‘high’, and more.
Compare knight & knecht (german for servant), light & licht (german for light), high & hoch, and so on. Since I mentioned knight and knecht, sergeant also comes from a word meaning servant – so a sergeant-at-arms was a servant employed ‘at-arms’ or for warfare or fighting.
Eliminate gh as it’s used now. The F returns to using F, oddly enough.
Ch, th, kh, gh, sh, and more!
Ideally, the letters would have modifiers in a manner similar to the vowels, perhaps an accent.
First, the letter C takes over from ch, as it has no other use. Ch in spelling is eliminated.
Th – I have wondered if th should be split into th and dh. Old english used to have letters for each, and survive in iceland – þ and ð – thorn and eth.
Examples – dh – that, they, their. Th – thigh, thought, marathon.
Kh – be used on the rare occasions that english acquires a word like loch.
Gh – gone!
Sh – same as always.
Zh – this is for the sound that is almost like a j, but isn’t. It has the same relationship to z that sh does s.
Ph – gone! Legacy greek spellings are irritating! We have a perfectly serviceable F!
Other letters to go – X – seriously, what does it do that can’t be done by ks? Sure, it would mean using two letters rather than one, but why have a combined sound letter?
Q – what does it do that other letters can’t? K replaces it. For words such as quit, where the U is used as a W when paired with a Q, we stop doing that. Quit becomes kwit.
On the Calendar
We have, roughly, 365 ¼ days in a year. Yet the year is divided oddly, with one 28 day month. The only way to remember which month has 30 or 31 days is by looking at a calendar or reciting an annoying little song.
The roman year started in march, which explains why the short month was put where it was. But we are not romans.
I propose that every month has 30 days. The 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 9th have 31, and the 11th has 31 on a leap year.