"easy to learn" spelling

Dennis Preston preston at MSU.EDU
Sun Apr 13 18:07:56 UTC 2008


Since the tuespell guy's only familiarity with "yahoo" was with the
exclamatory use, perhaps he is one of Swift's originals.


>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Poster:       RonButters at AOL.COM
>Subject:      "easy to learn" spelling
>Of course it is not ALWAYS "a bad thing to point out to people that they are=
>mispronouncing things." (In most cases, however, it would be very rude to=20
>"correct" someone's pronunciation of 'Dawn Hawkins' with respect to /a/-/o/=20
>merger, since one's use of the merged vowel is an unconscious dialect varian=
>t and=20
>not a "mispronunciation" at all.)=20
>Of course, the "truespel" guy is not suggesting merely that one might want t=
>correct someone else's pronunciation of a proper noun. The "truespel" guy=20
>wants to somehow change the evolving phonological systems of vast numbers of=
>people (as if the educational system does not have enough to do already with=
>setting out on such a quixotic venture). Again, the only practical
>way that=20=
>could be accomplished would be to kill (or perhaps just cut out the tongues=20
>of) all those who do not have the same pronunciation as the
>"truespel" guy.=20=
>even this would not work, because the language continues to change and in a=20
>decade or so, variation would emerge once again.
>Maybe the "truespel" guy should think about forbidding speech entirely.=20
>Didn't Gulliver meet some philosophers who just held up rocks instead of say=
>And of course it can be a good thing to change one's mind because of someone=
>else's opinion, assuming that that someone else has some good arguments. But=
>again, "changing one's opinion" and changing one's phonological system are n=
>at all the same thing.
>I know that it is a quixotic venture even to respond to this guy, and I=20
>wonder how many times I have sworn not to do so. If being a little crazy ent=
>doing the same thing over and over again and each time expecting different=20
>results, then I obviously am a little crazy.
>In a message dated 4/12/08 10:16:21 PM, truespel at HOTMAIL.COM writes:
>>  Granted our own voicings of phonemes can change without us knowing
>>  is it a bad thing to point out to people that they are mispronouncing=20
>>  things?=A0 For instance saying "My name's not Don Hockins it's Dawn Hawkin=
>s."=A0 And if=20
>>  changing one's mind because of someone else's opinion is a bad thing, why=20
>>  should anyone listen to your opinion or anyone else's?
>It's Tax Time! Get tips, forms and advice on AOL Money &=20
>       (http://money.aol.com/tax?NCID=3Daolcmp00300000002850)
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

Dennis R. Preston
University Distinguished Professor
Department of English
Morrill Hall 15-C
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48864 USA

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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