Welsh is not as distant as Basque, Maltese, or Apache

Kate spanbocks at VERIZON.NET
Tue Mar 20 06:35:06 UTC 2012

What is the difference between orthography and spelling? I thought they were the same thing.

Kate Svoboda-Spanbock
(sent from my iPhone; please excuse typos)

On Mar 19, 2012, at 11:11 PM, W Brewer <brewerwa at GMAIL.COM> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       W Brewer <brewerwa at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: Welsh is not as distant as Basque, Maltese, or Apache
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> RE: Interlingual distance.  Eric Nielsen wrote:  <<<How does one measures
> how distant one language is from another?>>>
> WB:  For us amateurs, a handy scale might be that of CV James, shown in a
> box in Crystal?s Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language, p.371 in the first
> 1987 edition (yeah, all my stuff is old). Basically, James has 5 criteria
> for an informal estimate of the structural distance between E=English and
> five European languages (F=French, G=German, I=Italian, R=Russian,
> S=Spanish).  The diagram is like a five-pointed star, each arm segmented
> from 1 (least distance from English) to 5 (greatest distance). The arms are
> labeled Pronunciation, Grammar, Vocabulary, Orthography, and Spelling.
> According to this scheme, Italian comes closest to English (of the five
> Indo-European languages), with a score of 6: Pron=1 (easiest to pronounce)
> + Gram=2(French, Spanish, Italian grammar would be about equally familiar
> to Anglophones) + Vocab=1(same score as French & Spanish) + Orthog=1(same
> as Fr, Sp, German) + Spel=1(same as Spanish). The other languages score for
> interlingual distance as follows:  Spanish 7 (2+2+1+1+1), German 10
> (2+3+2+1+2), French 12 (4+1+1+1+4+), Russian 15 (3+3+4+4+2). So, how would
> I evaluate Welsh, based upon my one quarter of Medieval Welsh? Pron=1,
> Gram=15, Vocab=14, Orthog=1, Spel=1; for a score of 32. I guess we have to
> adjust the values upwards for less familiar languages; familiar to EGO in
> the middle of the star, who happens to be ME.  Chinese (Mandarin): Pron=5
> (1/segments, 10/tones) + Gram=50 + Vocab=100 + Orthog=1,000 + Spel=1,500 =
> 2,651.
> Keep in mind these are subjective, egocentric evaluations. If we had a
> larger-scale survey, it might mean something. Plus the more language
> criteria considered, the more meaningful (whatever that means).
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