Italian as a "Pure" Language

X99Lynx at X99Lynx at
Thu Mar 22 08:54:56 UTC 2001

In a message dated 3/21/2001 9:37:51 PM, dlwhite at writes:
<<Heavens to Betsy,... most of the difficulties in English spellings come
from things like "through", "enough", "do", "bead" vs. "head", and "now" vs.
"mow", which are quite native.... Things like "pizza" or even "frail" have
very little to do with it. >>

I wonder how many very young Americans recognize the written word "pizza"
before they ever encounter good confusing native words like psychology,
Philly, piqued, posh, pneumonia or pterodactyl (although pterodactyls are hot
these days.)  But, pizza would end up being confusing enough, if you started
there early.  In their later confusion, they might wonder why "pizza" was not
spelled "pete/sa," ("pete-" as in from the Aramaic "Peter") which it so often
sounds like these days.

Or, for that matter, why not "peet/za" (as in "tee-pee" or "creed", not as in
"beers" or "peers"; "-z- as in "Zorro" or "Men 'n Boyz")
or "peat/sa" (as in "treaty" and "please", not as in "treasure" or "clear")
or "piet/xa" ("pie-" as in "piedmont", not "piety" or "pierced ears"; "x-" as
in "Xanadu - the fragrance" or "Xerox", not "maximum" or "Exx/on.")
or even "peace/a" (as in "cease", not as in "fealty" or "feast")

I don't think it's quite that clear that the spelling difficulties in English
are mostly from "native" words. I suspect it would be very difficult to prove
that.  There are an awful lot of non-native words in English that can offer
many spelling variations.  And there are a lot more non-native than native
words in English.

And by the way, don't you mean "phrale" as in "ale" or "pale"?

<<The main advantage Italian has, to simplify a bit, is that it did not go
through the Great Vowel Shift.>>

That and pizza.  Reminds me of an old Monte Python routine: "the name is
spelled Wharburtondyswyddthrushwarbler, but it's pronounced Romney-Smythe."
That Vowel Shift sure wreaked (or reeked) havoc with some words.  Especially
caused angst I understand at Caembrige.

S. Longe

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