Chinglish and childishness

Herb Stahlke hfwstahlke at GMAIL.COM
Sat Aug 30 00:08:12 UTC 2008


Spiteful remarks aside, Tom's problem with the alphabetic principle is
not that it doesn't exist but that he doesn't understand its
application.  The alphabetic principle, the principle that each symbol
represent a single sound and each sound be represented by a single
symbol, may guide the design of an orthography for a language that
doesn't have one.  People involved in developing first-language
literacy programs for speakers of languages that have not previously
had a writing system will use the alphabetic principle as far as it is
useful.  We've all seen cases, from Sapir's Southern Paiute work to
the consistently ill-fated attempts at English spelling reform, where
the attempts at strictly alphabetic systems founder on the complex
morphophonemics of the language.  But Tom's trying to apply the
principle in reverse, to a modern orthography with its own cultural
history going back over a thousand years.  His ignorance of the
phonology and morphophonemics of modern dialects of English leads him
to a simplistic system for English based on faulty assumptions that
many of us have pointed out to him, in vain.

Herb

On Fri, Aug 29, 2008 at 4:13 PM, Tom Zurinskas <truespel at hotmail.com> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Tom Zurinskas <truespel at HOTMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: Chinglish and childishness
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> Another moron.  He says.
>
> There IS NO such "alphabetical principle" that any competent linguist or> phoneticial would subscribe to. What this really means is that YOU believe= that,>in writing English, letters SHOULD stand for sounds in some kind of 1:1> relationship as determined largely by your ear and prejudices.
>
> He says there is "no such thing as the alphabetical principal" - insane.
> He says anyone who says they hear things a certain way is instituting a prejudice - So don't say how you hear things because you are introducing a prejudice. - insane
>
> From Noah Webster on the Alphabetical Principle (that letters stand for sounds)
> 'Now is the time [for spelling reform] and this is the country'
> Letters, the most useful invention that ever blessed mankind,
> lose a part of their value by no longer being representatives
> of the sounds originally annexed to them."
> The effect is, "to destroy the benefits of the alphabet."
> http://foolswisdom.com/users/sbett/Webster-Franklikn-Bernard.html
>
> Tom Zurinskas, USA - CT20, TN3, NJ33, FL5+
> See truespel.com - and the 4 truespel books plus "Occasional Poems" at authorhouse.com.
>
>
>
>
>> Date: Fri, 29 Aug 2008 15:25:19 -0400
>> From: RonButters at AOL.COM
>> Subject: Chinglish and childishness
>> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
>>
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
>> Sender: American Dialect Society
>> Poster: RonButters at AOL.COM
>> Subject: Chinglish and childishness
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>
>> I used caps to emphasize THREE words. E-mail does not allow for italics or=20
>> boldface, so upper-casing them is an acceptable method of highlighting them.=
>> =20
>> Only someone who was bent on misinterpreting the intent of the writer would=20=
>> have=20
>> characterized that usage as "screaming." Could we please keep the level of=20
>> discourse here to that of adults? Ditto for the puerile comment about the=20
>> imagined sex lives of list-serv participants.
>>
>> As for the description of "the alphabetic principle" as discussed on=20
>> wikipedia [!], this is a common-sense description that bears little resembla=
>> nce to the=20
>> use of "the alphabetic principle" as enunciated by the truespel guy. In=20
>> particular, the wiki article writes, "All alphabetic writing systems are=20
>> imperfectly phonological and diverge from that ideal to a greater or lesser=20=
>> extent." The=20
>> truespel guy's "alphabetic principle" more or less requires everyone to make=
>> =20
>> the same 1:1 correspondence between spelling and pronunciation. Think, for=20
>> example, of his ridiculous position on the merger of "ah" and "aw".
>>
>> Oh, and how can someone living in China really believe that it is=20
>> "impossible" for younmg people to memorize huge numbers of nonalphabetic sym=
>> bols in order=20
>> to make use of a writing system.
>>
>>> From: LanDi Liu
>>>=20
>>> Date:=A0 =A0 =A0 =A0=A0 Sat, 30 Aug 2008 00:35:34
>>> To:
>>> Subject:=A0 =A0 =A0 Re: [ADS-L] Chinglish
>>>=20
>>>=20
>>> What the hell?
>>>=20
>>> Ron, before you put words in other people's mouths and start screaming
>>> in all caps, maybe you should read this:
>>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alphabetic_principle
>>>=20
>>> Most writing systems that I'm familiar with use the alphabetic
>>> principle, including English.=A0 In modern English the letter
>>> combination "igh" normally represents [ai].=A0 It's not a 1:1
>>> relationship, and even in Tom's truespel, there is not a 1:1
>>> relationship for every letter/sound combination.=A0 Only IPA boasts
>>> that, and that gets broken here and there by the best of them.
>>>=20
>>> "Alphabetical writing systems APPROXIMATE pronunciations."=A0 Yeah,
>>> that's kinda the whole point of the alphabetic principle.
>>>=20
>>> The alphabetic principle is important especially to kids learning how
>>> to read.=A0 If there was no such principle in English then kids would
>>> have to memorize the spellings of tens of thousands of words
>>> independently of each other.=A0 To beginning readers, especially kids,
>>> that would be basically impossible.
>>>=20
>>> I think a lot of people on this list need to get laid more often.
>>>=20
>>> Randy
>>>=20
>>> On Sat, Aug 30, 2008 at 12:09 AM,=A0  wrote:
>>>> In a message dated 8/29/08 11:58:21 AM, truespel at HOTMAIL.COM writes:
>>>>> The alphabetical principle is that letters stand for sounds.
>>>>>
>>>> There IS NO such "alphabetical principle" that any competent linguist or
>>>> phoneticial would subscribe to. What this really means is that YOU belie=
>> ve=20
>>> that,
>>>> in writing English, letters SHOULD stand for sounds in some kind of 1:1
>>>> relationship as determined largely by your ear and prejudices. The fact=20=
>> is=20
>>> that in
>>>> the history of alphabetical writing systems--and certainly for a languag=
>> e=20
>>> as
>>>> complicated socially and geographically as English--this has NEVER been=20
>>> the case.
>>>> Alphabetical writing systems APPROXIMATE pronunciations. When I write=20
>>> "high,"
>>>> do you see a word that ends in an aspirated [g] sound? When i write=20
>>> "high,"
>>>> do you hear a vowel that ends in an offglide or is simply a lengthened=20
>>> [a]? Or
>>>> is it the stressed vowel of "machine"? Enough!
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> **************
>>>> It's only a deal
>>>> if it's where you want to go. Find your travel deal here.
>>>>
>>>> (http://information.travel.aol.com/deals?ncid=3Daoltrv00050000000047)
>>>>
>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>>>>
>>>=20
>>>=20
>>>=20
>>> --
>>> Randy Alexander
>>> Jilin City, China
>>> My Manchu studies blog:
>>> http://www.bjshengr.com/manchu
>>>=20
>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>>>=20
>>>=20
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> **************
>> It's only a deal if it's where you want to go. Find your travel=20
>> deal here.
>> =20
>> (http://information.travel.aol.com/deals?ncid=3Daoltrv00050000000047)
>>
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>
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