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  1. #1
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    Default Re-Romanization of English

    Hi everybody!

    I would appreciate any comments and opinion of yours regarding the site titled "Re-Romanization of English", URL

    http://members.lycos.co.uk/rre/

    The paper featured there introduces a twenty-two letter system providing a diacritic-free, easy and simple phonemic orthography for the English language.

    In greater detail, the paper also narrates the history of creation and officialization of the 1995 Streamlined System for the English transliteration of Bulgarian.

    The latter system has been used in the process of designing the former, which however is self-contained and could have been designed from another starting point instead, with no reference to Cyrillic or Bulgarian which are NOT part of it. Indeed, the Basic Roman Spelling of English requires no knowledge of Cyrillic alphabet, Slavic languages etc. While not specifically proposed as an English spelling reform, this new approach could possibly be of some academic and educational interest I believe.

    Apcbg

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Re-Romanization of English

    It could be used as an alternative way of transcribing sounds as many learners don't like using phonemic script.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Re-Romanization of English

    No, I can't see it having any serious application at all.

    The biggest problem is that it brings together many sounds that are in fact different phonemes and perceived by native speakers as totally different sounds, even if they sound the same to a Bulgarian. Most problematic is the grapheme 'a', used to represent at least four different phonemes. Words like "bat" and "but", which sound entirely different in most dialects of English, would be spelled the same. On the other hand, a distinction is made between the "a" in "ask" and in "farm", but these are the same phoneme in most dialects.

    Also, "r" is not written where it is not pronounced in non-rhotic dialects, which means that in many British dialects, the words "hat", "heart" and "hut" could all be spelled identically.

    Given these problems, not only is this not a good proposal for spelling reform, it's useless as a phonetic script.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Re-Romanization of English

    what is wrong with IPA? it was the first thing we had to learn at school. and you don't have to be Einstein to understand it. and once you learn it you can pronounce almost every word in the dictionary. learners don't like many things becuse they find it difficult. can't really understand this. entropy is everywhere. wish I was a light year away from these "take it easy man" people

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Re-Romanization of English

    Dear Tdol, Rewboss & Light:
    Many thanks for your comments. A couple of remarks.
    (Quote)
    ... a distinction is made between the "a" in "ask" and in "farm", but these are the same phoneme in most dialects ... "r" is not written where it is not pronounced in non-rhotic dialects, which means that in many British dialects, the words "hat", "heart" and "hut" could all be spelled identically.
    (End of quote)
    The phonemic approach stipulates that you write what you pronounce – but so do the others. If you do not distinguish between ‘a’ in ‘ask’ and ‘ar’ in ‘farm’ then you write ‘ask’, ‘fam’; if you do then you write ‘ask’, ‘faam’ or whatever you pronounce.
    Same for ‘hat’ and ‘heart’.
    There is no rule to skip ‘r’ as you suggest; if you speak rhotic you write it; if not then you don’t.
    The sample text (Hamlet) adduced in the paper for illustration is no rule. Using the same Basic Roman Spelling people speaking differently than the paper’s author would write the same text differently.
    Yes ‘bat’ and ‘but’ are spelled equally as ‘bat’ -- same like ‘hat’ and ‘hut’ are spelled ‘hat’ -- and yes the vowels are completely different. You guess the right vowel (and thus the right word) from the context. Sorry ‘u’ is reserved for a different vowel, the one in ‘book’.
    Bulgarian language has had no impact on the Basic Roman Spelling of English. However, the paper ‘On the Romanization of Bulgarian and English’ offers no adequate explanation of the Re-Romanization of English, its focus being elsewhere. That’s why I have written a brief introduction to the system that possibly gives a better idea of its essential properties. It could be seen in the same web page
    http://members.lycos.co.uk/rre/
    entry ‘Introduction to the Basic Roman Spelling of English’.
    Best, Apcbg.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Re-Romanization of English

    Quote Originally Posted by Apcbg
    in many British dialects, the words "hat", "heart" and "hut" could all be spelled identically.
    I know no dialect of British English in which these three words are pronounced identically. In particular, I have never encountered any dialect in which "heart" contains a short vowel.

    The phonemic approach stipulates that you write what you pronounce – but so do the others. If you do not distinguish between ‘a’ in ‘ask’ and ‘ar’ in ‘farm’ then you write ‘ask’, ‘fam’; if you do then you write ‘ask’, ‘faam’ or whatever you pronounce.
    If the system is intended to be used in everyday life, that's asking for trouble. If the system is intended to replace the IPA, it is inadequate. It has to be; there are far more vowel sounds in English than you can represent with this system, as illustrated by your comment here:

    Yes ‘bat’ and ‘but’ are spelled equally as ‘bat’ -- same like ‘hat’ and ‘hut’ are spelled ‘hat’ -- and yes the vowels are completely different. You guess the right vowel (and thus the right word) from the context. Sorry ‘u’ is reserved for a different vowel, the one in ‘book’.
    We have enough trouble in English with homographs -- different words which are spelled the same but pronounced differently. This system eliminates them all but creates new ones.

    Sorry to be so harsh, but it's hard to see what application this system could possibly have.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Re-Romanization of English

    kwayt an intresting papr. (pliys forgiv may speling. aym nu: at tis.) ay dzhast kant siy it hapanin aal tat kwikliy. asayd fram lingwistik cansidrashans, af wich ter ar meiniy, da mein prablam wit speling riyform, as ju: ar prababliy awer, is tat it involvs riyedzhuukeishan, nat tuu menshan atoritiyz in priyriyform speling sistams. laybreriys af buks tuu biy transleytid, raytrs tuu biy riytat. ten ters ta houl langwidzh cheindzh ishuu. wiy ar wat wiy spiyk. wil speling riyform hav an efekt on spokan langwidzh? most importantliy, wil ay biy abl to riyd wat atrs rayt. ay kin berliy figr aut wat speling to juus (juuz?). tat is, if ay say [kIn] for <can>, das tat miyn ay should rayt "kin", or shud ay rayt "kan"? at einy reit, it is a ratr intresting subdzhekt.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Roman Phonetic Alphabet for English & Spelling reform issues

    Dear Rewboss:

    Spelling is not exactly the same thing as ‘pronunciation guide’, and the Basic Roman Spelling (BR) is not meant as a phonetic system. However, you have been so persistent here on the possibility of using BR as a phonetic alphabet (and I do appreciate your criticism) that you made me consider this problem too. As BR is very close to full phonemicity (is there such a word?), I designed one possible version of a phonetic alphabet for English based on BR, with very few modifications, let’s call it Roman Phonetic Alphabet for English (RPA). Unlike BR it provides for the one-to-one correspondence between phonemes and graphemes at word level. Its principal difference from IPA is that it uses Roman letters alone, plus some stress marks. You may see the result posted in my Re-Romanization website, the entry

    ‘Roman Phonetic Alphabet for English’
    http://members.lycos.co.uk/rre/RPA-English.html


    Dear Casiopea:

    You are putting some pretty difficult questions, and let me say in the first place that I am not the proponent of spelling reform that ought to give the answers. There is a good summary of the arguments in favour and against in the Wikipedia article

    ‘English spelling reform’
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_spelling_reform

    Will spelling reform have an effect on spoken language? Phonemic spelling is supposed to reflect spoken language as it is, not influence it. However, my guess is that there might be such an impact. A relevant recent example of similar influence is seen in the case of Bulgarian language. Namely, while Bulgarian is written in Cyrillic there is an extensive mass practice of writing Romanized Bulgarian in e-mails and SMS messages. As a result, people now make new kinds of writing errors in Cyrillic that never existed before; but tomorrow’s rules are today’s errors.

    How to spell ‘can’ in BR? Well, I would spell it ‘kan’; [kIn] (if the Merriam-Webster transcription is meant) would be spelled ‘kayn’. However, I don’t have the answer to the real question here: If we have the phonemic spelling available, should one write exactly as one speaks (local dialect) or write in some mainstream version of English s.a. Received Pronunciation, American English, Australian English etc? Me, I like the traditional English spelling, which I consider hyerogliphic – one hyerogliph (albeit constructed from letters) for each English word; yet spelling reform advocates may have some point as far as the education of children and non-native speakers is concerned (not the reeducation of people accustomed to traditional spelling).

    Best, Apcbg

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Re-Romanization of English

    Following the above discussion, the Basic Roman spelling approach was redeveloped jointly with Valerie Yule and, together with the companion Roman Phonetic Alphabet for English, presented in the 2007 paper

    L. Ivanov, V. Yule, Roman Phonetic Alphabet for English, Contrastive Linguistics, XXXII, 2007, 2, pp. 50-64. ISSN: 0204-8701

    Available online at

    Roman Phonetic Alphabet for English

    See also Wikipedia articles

    Basic Roman spelling of English - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Roman Phonetic Alphabet for English - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Last edited by Apcbg; 15-Feb-2010 at 15:19.

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