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  1. #1
    Frank Antonson's Avatar
    Frank Antonson is offline Senior Member
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    Default Spelling System for Dialect

    I am starting this as a new thread since Shahir of the other thread seems to have disappeared.

    Does anybody know of an easily usable phonetic spelling system that does not use diacritical markings, by which I mean symbols other than letters and punctuation marks that are on a normal English language keyboard?

    As I said in the other thread, I have always found the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) impractical to use for writing writing up to speed.

    Long ago, I studied this matter, considering, for example how Robert Burns wrote in his dialect. I found nothing that was satisfactory. The best at the time, I think, was called "World English".

    \Uy divelupt muy uwn sistem, then, wich werks fuyn for muy perpusiz. But az uy am ekspandyng intw forin langwejiz, uy duwnt wunt tw ryinvent thu wyl, if uy duwnt hav tw.\

    I hope that wasn't too offensive. But I would serious like know if there are other options.

  2. #2
    Frank Antonson's Avatar
    Frank Antonson is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Spelling System for Dialect

    Oops. I spelled "then" wrong. It should have been \dhen\ since the "th" is voiced.

    Sorry.

  3. #3
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Spelling System for Dialect

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Antonson View Post
    As I said in the other thread, I have always found the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) impractical to use for writing writing up to speed.
    The problem with any other system is that nearly everybody reading things written in it would have to learn it first. And, unless you provided recorded materials, they would not know exactly how it was pronounced.

    I can read your \Uy divelupt muy uwn sistem/, but I don't know exactly what sound is represented by, for example, \uy/. If however you write the IPA [šë], then all of use who can read IPA transcriptions know what that sound (that of BrE RP /aɪ/).

    Your system also suggests that in the dialect you are transcribing, the final element of \uy/is a different vowel from the first one of \sistem/. If it is, then it is different from most other varieties of English. I also notice that you use the same symbol, \w/, for the o of 'into' and the first sound after g in 'languages'; I cannot tell how you pronounce these words. You also use the same syllable for the sounds of the letters I have underlined in these words: developed, system, languages. In my variety of English, these are three different vowels; I don't know which of these your \e/ represents - or if it a different vowel altogether. IPA symbols would give me the answer.

    It is not easy to do a narrow transcription with the IPA system, but it is the best system we have for dialects.

  4. #4
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: Spelling System for Dialect

    There is an ASCII-based system, for representing the phonemes of mainstream English - SAMPA, I think. (Yes).

    But it is only good for that one dialect (and I'm not convinced that the word 'good' is appropriate ). If you want to represent sounds and sound systems unambiguously I don't see how you can avoid the IPA.

    b

  5. #5
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Spelling System for Dialect

    SAMPA is based on the IPA.

  6. #6
    BobK's Avatar
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    Default Re: Spelling System for Dialect

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    SAMPA is based on the IPA.
    I've just read that SAMPA page, and realize it's more multinational than I thought If it's based on the IPA, though, I find it an unusually regressive development.

    b

  7. #7
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Spelling System for Dialect

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    If it's based on the IPA, though, I find it an unusually regressive development.
    It's not supposed to replace the IPA, but to make a machine-readable form of it - I think. I don't fully understand the articles I've read on it.

  8. #8
    Frank Antonson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Spelling System for Dialect

    There are, no doubt, flaws in my system. But it is fast. Yes, it was originally developed for my dialect. The schwa sound is a problem. But I still see no better alternative.

    It is a challenge to use my system for German (of even for British English), but I think that it can be done.
    Later this spring I will be trying to use it for Brazilian Portuguese. That may be even more difficult because of the nasal quality of the "-ao". but allowances can be made.

    Thank you for your comments. I am genuinely interested in this subject and am not trying to simply stir things up.

    One of the things that I am aware of is that the way I write must be read as it is written. That could be very awkward for the \Bridish\ ,as we say in America, as opposed to the \Bitish\ as the British say.

  9. #9
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Spelling System for Dialect

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Antonson View Post
    One of the things that I am aware of is that the way I write must be read as it is written. That could be very awkward for the \Bridish\ ,as we say in America,
    It could cause problems for Americans who do not speak exactly the same dialect as you. How do they know which sound you mean when you transcribe 'cot' in your system?
    as opposed to the \Bitish\ as the British say.
    We feel that we pronounce the word as /brɪtɪʃ/, though some pronounce the t as a glottal stop.

  10. #10
    Frank Antonson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Spelling System for Dialect

    OK. First of all, yes, an advantage of the standard spelling system is that people can read it and make the pronunciation their own. Everybody, probably reads it somewhat differently. And that is a good thing. I do not mean to say that one should not use standard spelling. I actually wrote a long essay on this subject entitled "The Folk Makes No Apology", which I will soon put on my blog.

    Secondly, if you mean a "cot" on which one sleeps, I would spell it, as I say it, \kot\.

    Third, the glottal stop ist very frequent in my dialect. For it I use an apostophe, e.g. "mountain" \maw'n\. I know that the British also use it a lot. I hear it as well in the German "Guten Morgen" \gw'n morgen\.

    Finally, the problem for me with your transcription of "British" is that it requires a letter that is not always being used on a keyboard. That slows me way up.

    I continue to thank you for your interest and comments.

    Frank

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