Tom Zurinskas truespel at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Apr 2 16:06:04 UTC 2009

If "stan" is to be pronounced with the "ah" vowel, then why is it spelled "stan".  This brings us to the best way to spell the "ah" sound in an English based best phonetic way.

There is a real word equivalent,"ah," for that sound, which is usually used in NO-name-spell (the name I've given to the most popular phonetic transcription in English that has no name), e.g., AHK-toe-ber for October.  For spelling the "ah" sound, truespel book 4 finds that the letter "o" is used almost twice as often in running text than the letter "a" for that sound.  The letter "o" is also used most often for spelling the "uh" sound, as well (as in "of,other").  The letter "o" is confusing because it's used for so many sounds (go, to, for, on, off, pilot, word).

So why not use "ah"?  Using letter string "ah" to spell the sound "ah" is not optimal because it mixes vowels and consonants to spell a vowel sound.  So the best choice, and the one truespel uses, is "aa", which is consistent in other languages as well.

Note:  Using the letter "a" for "ah" is a bad choice.  In English it must be used to consistently represent the "short a" sound as in "man" (e.g., Stan the Man, Musial).  This letter-sound relationship is over 99%, the most consistent for any vowel sound spelling.  (truespel book 4).

Tom Zurinskas, USA - CT20, TN3, NJ33, FL5+
see truespel.com

> Date: Thu, 2 Apr 2009 09:03:47 -0400
> From: cdoyle at UGA.EDU
> Subject: -stans
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender: American Dialect Society
> Poster: Charles Doyle
> Subject: -stans
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> In his testimony yesterday General Petraeus followed his commander-in-chief in the paired pronunciations [aefgaen at staen]/[pakistan]. Admiral Olson tried, but the best he could do was [pak at staen]. Last night on MSNBC, in his interview with Rachel Maddow, Colin Powell consistently said [paek at staen] but [paek at stanI]. (I'm using "ae" to signify the vowell /ae/).
> --Charlie
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