Tom Zurinskas truespel at HOTMAIL.COM
Fri Mar 27 03:21:11 UTC 2009

Strangely there are no good points mentioned about the results of the large analysis done in truespel book 1.  Basically the book is pretty boring, filled with data tables counting the way the 40 phonemes of English are spelled.  But it does give real answers for those that want to know.  And it does have the comparison of the phonemes for 60 words/phrases in 13 popular languages compared to USA English.

Also there is a criticism that "if truespel is to be useful" there should be a comparison to IPA.  But there is a comparison to SAMPA (page 87).  One would think that would suffice because SAMPA is supposed to be a computer friendly version of the IPA.  Granted this is within the USA English phoneme set.  But the key is that English is the lingua franca of the world.  The point is that it need be the basis of a new phonology.

I agree that "usefulness" is the key.  But is IPA all that useful?  Not in USA. Not for k-3 reading teachers, not for newspapers, not for government or military, not for the VOA, not for computers, not even for English dictonaries.  Meanwhile, truespel can be used for all these applications. (Books 2 and 3 are dictionaries).  Plus, it's emai, filename, spreadsheet, capitalization, and punctuation friendly.  Truespel can for the first time integrate reading instruction, dictionary keys, accent remediation, translation guides, and analysis tools together.

I'd say truespel has the possibility of being the next killer ap in education.  We now know that "phonemic awareness is key to reading, and reading is key to just about everything else in education.

It seems this book critique is one of style, not content.  In fact Mr. Watson critiques the references and says because they lack "rigour" the book is not useful.  No mention of content.  Very very strange.  You gotta wear the right clothes if you're gonna be asked to dance at the ball.

Tom Zurinskas, USA - CT20, TN3, NJ33, FL5+

> Date: Thu, 26 Mar 2009 10:51:38 -0400
> From: bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
> Subject: Re: OMG/sigh
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender: American Dialect Society
> Poster: Benjamin Zimmer
> Subject: Re: OMG/sigh
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 10:27 AM, Mark Mandel wrote:
>> (
>> Reviewed in Journal of the International Phonetic Association 39:1
>> Thomas E. Zurinskas, Analysis of the sounds (phonemes) of USA English (Truespel
>> Book 1). Bloomington, IN: Authorhouse, 2004. Pp. x + 135. ISBN
>> 1-4107-6629-2 (pbk)
>> Kevin Watson
>> <<<
> Excerpted without comment...
> "Although I agree with the sentiment of some of these points (my
> students, for example, would testify that the IPA is quite difficult
> to master), Truespel's rationale is weakened because the evidence used
> in support of the main arguments is misrepresented and the complexity
> of existing transcription systems is exaggerated. ... Overall, whilst
> the Truespel enterprise is an interesting exercise, it is not
> sophisticated enough to become the international medium for phonetic
> transcription, as Zurinskas hoped. It seems clear that although
> Truespel is based on a basically sound ‘ear for phonetics’, its lack
> of engagement with the disciplines of phonetics and phonology is a
> fundamental flaw. This point has not gone unnoticed in the phonetics
> and phonology community, with Truespel being discussed on a number of
> electronic mailing lists over the past few years. If phoneticians and
> phonologists are to be convinced that Truespel is useful, the book
> needed to provide a detailed, direct comparison between it and other
> transcription systems, but such comparison is lacking. Indeed, the IPA
> receives very little consideration at all. The book also needed to
> take greater care to be academically rigorous. Where references to
> external sources are provided, they are to websites rather than to
> academic work, and even then they are misrepresented. This lack of
> academic rigour means that the book is unlikely to be useful as a text
> in university phonetics and phonology courses."
> --Ben Zimmer
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -
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