LINGUIST List 2.266

Sunday, 2 June 1991

Disc: Phonology and Orthography

Editor for this issue: <>


Directory

  1. "Mark Durie", Re: Phonology and Orthograph
  2. , Phonology and Orthography
  3. John Coleman, RE: Phonology and Orthography
  4. , Dutch spelling changes

Message 1: Re: Phonology and Orthograph

Date: 31 May 91 10:01:45 U
From: "Mark Durie" <mark_duriemuwayf.unimelb.edu.au>
Subject: Re: Phonology and Orthograph
 Reply to: RE>Phonology and Orthography
In response to Margaret Fleck's inquiry:

> I would be surprized to find (does anyone know?) the same
> wholesale omission of vowel indications in non-Semitic languages that
> have borrowed e.g. the Arabic alphabet.

Acehnese (Sumatra) has 27 or so vowels, and uses the Arabic script. Some
vowels are regularly omitted in the script, and the rest are just represented
by a few letters, building on a combination of Malay and Arabic conventions.
Needless to say, this traditional Acehnese script is not a language to be read
unless you are already very fluent.

Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Message 2: Phonology and Orthography

Date: Thu, 30 May 91 23:21:54 EDT
From: <Alexis_Manaster_RamerMTS.cc.Wayne.edu>
Subject: Phonology and Orthography
In response to Margaret Fleck's inquiry:
> I would be surprized to find (does anyone know?) the same
> wholesale omission of vowel indications in non-Semitic languages that
> have borrowed e.g. the Arabic alphabet.

Ottoman Turkish, Persian, Urdu, Sindhi, and presumably many
other Turkic, Indo-Iranian, etc., languages of Central and South
Asia that use an Arabic-based writing system, all follow the
Arabic principle of writing some vowels (those perceived as
somehow corresponding to the Arabic long vowels, usually), but
not others (typically those perceived as resembling Arabic
short vowels).
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Message 3: RE: Phonology and Orthography

Date: Fri, 31 May 91 16:07 GMT
From: John Coleman <JSC1vaxb.york.ac.uk>
Subject: RE: Phonology and Orthography
In response to Margaret Fleck's request for
> some concrete examples of languages in which
my statement tha
> The number of symbolic distinctions (bits of information) needed to
> encode a set of CV moras using mora-symbols may be less than if
> alphabetic symbols are used
...

Any mora-based writing system in which the number of legal CV combinations
is less than the number of Cs times the number of Vs will do. In Japanese,
for example, combinations yi, ye, wu are not possible, and not encoded by
the use of mora symbols. As a consequence, ryi, rye, myi, mye, hyi, hye, nyi,
 nye, byi, bye, pyi, pye, dyi, dye, zyi, zye, gyi, gye are also not possible,

The importance of attending to the number of bits of information in the
coding system, rather than the number of distinct symbols, is discussed
in a different context in Halle's 1969 paper in Journal of Linguistics 5.

--- John Coleman
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Message 4: Dutch spelling changes

Date: Fri, 31 May 91 11:24 MET
From: <RICHARDCELEX.KUN.NL>
Subject: Dutch spelling changes
In reply to Derek Gross' abstracts from sci.lang concerning Dutch spelling
changes:

>DUTCH SPELLING CHANGES
>Spelling changes are being introduced in the Netherlands, although more
>successfully than in France.
>
>French loan words such as _bureau_, _cha^teau_, and _cadeau_ are now
>being written as _buro_, _sjato_, and _kado_ by some newspapers, while
>English imports _showroom_, _session_, and _social unit_ are now being
>written as _sjoowroem_, _sesjen_, and _soosjel joenit_.
>(Heroldo de Esperanto, #6, 1991)

For those who are a bit nonplussed by the supposed full-blown phonetic
spelling of words like 'sjato' for 'cha^teau' and 'soosjel joenit' for
'social unit' in Dutch, I can add reassuringly that none of the above
spellings are officially acknowledged, although 'buro' and 'kado' are
widely used informally. The phoneticized spellings of the other words
are most likely remnants of the Sixties' social subculture and definitely
frowned upon by the average user of Dutch. In fact, more and more words
are adopted in their original English spelling under the influence of
films, commercials, TV and music, as must be the case in most other
languages nowadays. Still, there is an ongoing and so far fruitless debate
in the Netherlands about more phonetic spelling, e.g. for cases of
Auslautverhaertung (German for final consonant devoicing) and replacing
'c' with either 'k' or 's' when pronounced that way.

Richard Piepenbrock

[End Linguist List, Vol. 2, No. 0266]
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue