LINGUIST List 9.1522

Sun Nov 1 1998

Disc: German Spelling reform

Editor for this issue: Anthony Rodrigues Aristar <aristarlinguistlist.org>


Directory

  1. The LINGUIST List, Moderators' note
  2. [** Big5 charset **] \165\208\182\174\171\200, spelling reform
  3. Keith Johnson, Re: 9.1520, Disc: German Spelling Reform
  4. carla, Re: 9.1520, Disc: German Spelling Reform

Message 1: Moderators' note

Date: Sun, 01 Nov 1998 20:28:09 +0000
From: The LINGUIST List <linguistlinguistlist.org>
Subject: Moderators' note


Moderators' note: We goofed! As a matter of policy, LINGUIST doesn't
post messages which may be construed as ad hominen attacks. But,
unfortunately, such a message recently slipped by us. And usually
when that happens the discussion grows ever more heated, response by
counter-response. Hence this moderators' note. We want to apologize
for our lapse and to request your cooperation in returning the the
discussion to the usual cooler (some would say, "blander") tone.
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Message 2: spelling reform

Date: Sat, 31 Oct 1998 17:50:28 +0800
From: [** Big5 charset **] \165\208\182\174\171\200 <jakobsaturn.yzu.edu.tw>
Subject: spelling reform

What's missing so far in this discussion of whether or not we should
reform spelling is: "Why is this an issue at all in our society?"

Until I began studying the history of English, I didn't realise that
up to about 200 years ago, there was no standard spelling for
English. Although there were plenty of readers and writers, everyone
spelled as the spirit moved them, sometimes differently on the same
page. This seems to have caused no problems. So the question is:
"What has happened to our society that such uniformity is now required
where it was not important before?" Are the issues involved
linguistic, or more social-psycho- logical, or political, or what?

- -Jakob Dempsey
 Yuan-ze University
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Message 3: Re: 9.1520, Disc: German Spelling Reform

Date: Sat, 31 Oct 1998 16:11:15 -0700 (MST)
From: Keith Johnson <kejU.Arizona.EDU>
Subject: Re: 9.1520, Disc: German Spelling Reform

I just thought I'd put in my two cents (and only two!). With respect to
those who believe that spelling reform constitutes the democratization of
language, I can't help but see that attitude as extremely condescending
toward the very people who would ostensibly benefit from such change. To
claim that poor people can't learn to spell in German or English just
doesn't make sense. If the greater goal is to put education and the power
to effect change in society via solid skills in formal/public writing
(among other educational goals, like enhanced employment opportunity)
within the reach of all in society, why then make a claim that is
tantamount to saying that these people can't really benefit from our
efforts to educate them? Poor and rich alike can learn to spell "might,"
"mite," "cough," "dough," etc., if they are taught to do so and they
actually pay attention. The real issue is putting quality education
within everyone's reach, and not changing things like spelling just
because some people don't master them. 
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Message 4: Re: 9.1520, Disc: German Spelling Reform

Date: Sun, 1 Nov 1998 15:51:43 -0500
From: carla <clisdnet.co.za>
Subject: Re: 9.1520, Disc: German Spelling Reform

>> and there is no discussion of the (ridiculous)
>> RULE itself, namely to write nouns with a capital letter at the
>> beginning (the argument for "better readability" being a claim, not a
>> fact): "Der Hund spielt mit dem Ball." -- This rule is a major


...would it be funny to note that the latest version of Wordperfect editing
software (Corel, WP 8.1 for windows) reinstalled the convention in its
'Speller/ Thesaurus' function? (Try: 'surface' (V), it renders a.o.:
appear, emerge, arise, Crust, Deck, Floor, Facet....)
- -
About legislation (/culture?) as far as L2-users of English are concerned,
why do L2-users of English have to be confronted by differences in spelling
between an/the "English" spelling and the/an "American" one? Is it English
or American stubborness (/identity?) to keep it different?
It implies the two nations are still, independently trying to conquer the
world somehow.
- -
About what the ''timing'' is good for:
> Certainly, I would not follow "right-wing argumentations" for keeping
>> the German orthography as it was (since 1901).

Dutch has changed its spelling-rules and -regulations a few times since that
date. As a result you can often tell someone's age from their writings!

Carla Luijks

UCT
Dept. Afrikaans & Nederlands
South Africa
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