Spelling Accents And Spoken Accents.

Spelling Accents And Spoken Accents. 

The easiest to learn spelling system for English will be one that is based on the alphabetic principle (spelling suggests pronunciation). Compare: <day, they, rain, rein, weigh, male, basic, etc,> dae, dhae, raen, raen, wae, mael, baesik, etc.

There are many “Englishes”. And many variations in pronunciation. In order to standardize a spelling accent, we will have to arbitrarily choose the spelling of many words when we promote a spelling system based on the alphabetic principle.

Mentur’s spelling accent has been criticized for being too American. We should be able to have just one spelling accent to cover all English text. This single spelling standard would be more practical than having several spelling standards.

The idea is a world-wide spelling standard that everyone learns. They don’t have to speak this spelling accent, just learn the difference between their speaking accent and the spelling accent. This will be much easier than learning traditional spelling (TS), which doesn’t have a spelling accent because it is irregular regarding the alphabetic principle. While words might be put together differently in different regions, they can be read by all readers of English because the spelling of individual words will not change to suit local accents.

The spelling is not intended to judge the correctness of pronunciation. It just gives one option in order to achieve word recognition, and provide standardization of text.

Traditional spelling has proven that we can read a spelling accent that is not representative of our personal speaking accent. But a spelling accent will naturally suggest that one speaking accent is preferred. And many can be expected to react negatively to such an idea.

Another benefit to a single spelling standard is that it will need little updating over time. As long as it is taught as the spelling accent, and not as the speaking accent, it can vary quite a bit from the speaking accent without needing to be changed.

English readers presently have just two “standards”—US text and UK text. We surely don’t need a different standard for every major English dialect. If not every one, then why more than one? Besides that, the spelling differences between US and Uk words are not generally based on pronunciation.

The vocabularies will vary a bit from one region to another, but this doesn’t mean the spellings can’t be standardized.

It has been pointed out that some will have more trouble than others if the spelling accent is different from their own. While this can’t be denied, the present system continues to be taught even though it fits no one’s speaking accent. Surely a single spelling accent can be learned. Most words will be trouble free. If we look closely at our speech compared to our spelling—even if it is supposedly in our accent—we see that text is a weak approximation of speech. The main idea is to quickly recognize the words. You can easily recognize <privacy> whether it is spelled; privusy or prievusy. As you read, you will learn the spelling accent. You don’t have to speak in the spelling accent.

Ideally, a word spelled anywhere in the world, will be the same as a word spelled anywhere else.

Consider this comment from another tourist one morning, as I was overlooking a scenic area: “Yur lats ‘r oen”; oe as in <toe>. My wife had to translate it for me. Yet it was from one American to another. “Your lights are on.” My accent would have been more like; “Yur liets ‘r on”; ie as in <pie>. A standardized spelling would be more like; “Yor liets ar on.”

A spelling accent should be as if a single imaginary speaker was chosen, and his speech used to model the spelling after. His vocabulary would cover most of the words found in a common dictionary.

It would be impractical to standardize all the words in English. Those knowledgeable about uncommon words should be expected to decide their spelling accent. We will have to accept some variable spellings in many uncommon words.

We can start with an arbitrarily determined standard. As time goes by, professional linguists might be called upon to “correct” inconsistencies.

For more insight on the subject see; “The Future of English”, by David Crystal. http://www.davidcrystal.com/DC_articles/English70.pdf


About Paul Stought

This blog will only be about spelling reform and Mentur. I am a retired machinist. I have been studying spelling reform since about 2000. I decided Mentur is what I would like to see as a user-friendly spelling system for English. Spelling reformers in general have widely differing views on the subject.
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