Army tells gay translators: don't tell, or don't translate

Mark A. Mandel mamandel at LDC.UPENN.EDU
Tue May 29 15:44:43 UTC 2007

*** Any ADSL subscriber who doesn't want to bother with this should feel
very free to skip this, my last post concerning Tom Zurinskas. ***

Oh, bloody hell, another half-hour wasted with Tom Zurinskas.
He bitches:

Mandel strikes another low blow on the list.  If one is to critique what
another says, one should at least keep the others comments attached so the
reader knows what is being critiqued; especially when making derogatory
comments about a person such as Mandel makes.

I did not comment on gays at all.  My comment was about how truespel would
be a superior phonetic writing system for English native soldiers to use
because it's English friendly as well as keyboard friendly.  Having
rewritten English in truespel, I'm not so ignorant on that.

To put it in a military way, truespel will kick the ass of any other
phonetic system in terms being user friendly for USA military.  And that's a


Of course he did not comment on gays at all. That was the title of the
thread. In self defense I will here repeat all of his idiocies on this
thread, including Wilson's entire reply that he was replying to.


Date:         Fri, 25 May 2007 21:42:49 +0000

The army should be using truespel phonetic spelling for training troops for
reading other languages, perhaps from a phrase book for quick application in
the field.

Truespel is English friendly and can be learned by English literates in 15
minutes, with an hour practice for basic proficiency. The free truespel
converter can always be used to show English conversion for practice. The
entire web can be converted using the URL converter at and used
for practice and teaching. Truespel book one showed that for 13 languages
other than English, 95% of the phonemes for 60 popular phrases/words were
the same as for English, but the phoneme set need be extended from 40 to 50
phonemes. Swahili had the least different phoeneme set, French the most.
Soldiers may not be able to read other languages, but it's simple for them
to read them phonetically using an English friendly phonetic spelling like

I'd be happy to work on this with the military. There is no other English
friendly pronunciation guide spelling than truespel, which is now mature for
USA English.


Then Wilson replied:

Date:         Fri, 25 May 2007 21:42:39 -0400

That would be a god idea, Tom, except that, in the military, interpretation
and translation are an essential part of the espionage apparatus. That's the
real reason that booting out "linguists," as we styled ourselves in the old
U.S. Army Security Agency, borders on insanity. In my day, if you didn't
qualify for the highest level of security clearance, called
"top-secret/crypto" at that time, you couldn't gain admission into the U.S.
Army Language School. And you had to be an ALS grad, even if your job was
merely to listen to police calls and jot them down. Besides, of what use
would a person be in Iraq, if he couldn't also read and write Arabic?


And Tom, oblivious to the differences between ordering a cup of coffee and
actually using a language, replied:

Date:         Sat, 26 May 2007 03:19:43 +0000

>Besides, of what use would a person be in Iraq, if he couldn't also read
>and write Arabic?

Soldiers could use truespel phonetics in a communications cheat sheet. Give
them a small book with words or phrases first in English tradspel, under
that Arabic tradspel, then the truespel phonetics under that. The soldiers
will be able to speak it using the truespel. They could practice Arabic.

I'm thinking truespel would be good for training varioius languages. It need
be developed to spell other sounds. This would be much more user friendly to
learn for English native speakers. There's a lot of work here.

Truespel is mature and very user friendly for Englsih speaking kids. The
teaching of reading is changing for kids. This fall, England is going to
"synthetic phonics" first and fast for kids before actual reading training.
This could and should be instead phonetics with truespel rather than
phonics. Then truespel continues as their dictionary key (It already exists
for the VOA simplified English in truespel book 3 and a larger dictionary in
book 2), then for translation guides. This is a first time integration that
can't be done with academic phonetics. Note that "synthetic phonics" lets
boys catch up to girls in reading - an unexpected result found in testing
k-1 kids.

I'd be glad to work with the military on this and work with anyone on
expanding the truespel phoneme set for other languages.


m a m

The American Dialect Society -

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