The Problems

The problems with the English language are many. Why do we have silent letters? Why are read and read, and lead and lead spelled exactly the same way but pronounced differently. Why do to, two, and too sound exactly the same even though they are spelled differently? Why does the letter A have so many different pronuncations? Why does the letter X exist? Why do we sometimes use “ph” instead of the letter F? Why does the letter G sometimes sound like the letter J?

I could go on, but this 102 year old man does a better job than I could at illustrating why English (particularly the way we spell it) is ridiculous. And I mean that in the extremely literal sense of the word– it is worthy of being ridiculed.

In short, the answer to all the questions above is that English is a macabre, hodge-podge combination of several other languages constructed and contorted by not-very-forward-thinking common folk.

And now I endeavor to answer a very dangerous and interesting question… what if we could change it?

Iidee-u: Saam Leturs, Difurent Speleeng

Ii noo wut yoer theenkeeng– riiteeng English this waa just lueks stuupid. Purhaps beekuz it bairs reesemblens tuu thu ignurent koments erekted bii thoos menee peepl on thu inturwebs huu upairentlee doon’t noo hou tuu spel (e.g., YouTube komenturs). Oer maabee it lueks liik u tekneek that miit bee yuuzd bii u klevur authur tuu konvey u thik, karikuchurd aksent. Ii kuntend, houwevur, that yuuzing this soert uf speling is moer konsistent and moer intuu-itiv. And if yuu’v maad it this faur, it is obvee-uslee sumwut reedubul.

Thu Filosufee:

  1. Thair is eksaktlee wun waa tuu spel u wurd, and given thu ruuls, it is obvee-us.
  2. Thair aur noo eksepshens tuu thu ruuls.
  3. Thair aur noo siilent leturs.
  4. Thu oonlee leturs aur thoos wich aur absooluutlee nesesairee.
  5. Thu oonlee multii-letur silubuls aur thoos wich aur absooluutlee nesesairee.
  6. Speleeng bees shal bee ubolishd.

Thu Vouwul Sounds:

  1. A seengul vouwul is aulwaas shoert.
  2. A reepeeted vouwul is aulwaas long.
  3. Tuu difurent vouwuls kan bee kumbiind tuu maak nuu, yuuneek sounds.
  4. thu sound of vouwuls kan not bee chaanjd bii suroundeeng leturs.
  5. Wen tuu vouwul sounds aur ujaasent, u dash simbul (-) is yuuzd tuu sepuraat them. This helps preevent konfyuuzhen ubout wair wun sound stops and thu next wun beegins.
Seengul Vouwuls
Letur Simbolik Sound Oold Eksampul Nuu Eksampul
A a ran ran
E e hen hen
I i mit mit
O o pot pot
U u run run

Wel luek at that! Aul thoos eksampuls aur speld eksaktlee thu saam waa as thaa wur beefoer.

Reepeeted vouwuls kan bee a litul difurent, but thaa’r not tuu hard tuu undurstand. Reepeeted vouwuls aur alwaas long, wich meens thaa sound like thu letur itself. Thu oonlee sliit eksepshen is “uu,” wich is proonounsd moer liik thu oold “oo.” Tuu akshuualee spel out thu letur U (oer udres u sekund pursun), just ad u Y in frunt: “yuu.”

Reepeeted Vouwuls
Leturs Simbolik Sound Oold Eksampul Nuu Eksampul
aa ā take taak
bait baat
ee ē keen keen
mean meen
ii ī shine shiin
type tiip
oo ō poke pook
uu o͞o true truu
loose luus

Vouwul kombinaashens (sometimes kalled “diphthongs”) aur probablee thu moost konfuuzeeng part uf this waa uf speleeng. Ii triid mii best to represent evree vouwul sound, without bee-eeng redundant, and wiil maantaaneeng sum intuu-itivness.

Vouwul Kombinaashens
Leturs Simbolik Sound Oold Eksampul Nuu Eksampul
ai â air air
carry kairee
there thair
au ä haul haul
are aur
all aul
oe ô ore oer
four foer
poor poer
oi oi oer ȯi foil foil
toy toi
ou au̇ oer ou sour sour
power pour
ue o͝o look luek

Taaken aeltuugethur, this reesults in 16 disteenkt vouwul sounds, wich is konsistent with most estimets uf thu numbur of yuuneek vouwul sounds in American English (soers). Thu eksakt numbur uf vouwul sounds is debaatubul, espeshulee beekuz proonunsee-aashen kan vairee bii reejen.

Thu Konsoonent Sounds:

Heer, Ii yuuz thu turm “konsoonent” tuu reefur tuu eneetheeng wich is not u vouwul. In truuth, sum uf thu silubuls beeloo miit bee kunsidurd semiivouwuls.

Seengul Konsoonents
Letur Simbolik Sound Oold Eksampul Nuu Eksampul
B b bet bet
D d dot dot
F f fan fan
G g get get
H h hat hat
J j oer ʤ jet jet
K k kit kit
L l lap lap
M m met met
N n not not
P p pet pet
R r rat rat
S s sun sun
T t tan tan
V v vet vet
W w wet wet
Y y yak yak
Z z zen zen

Sum nootabul chaanjes frum ubuv:

  1. C, Q, and X hav ben reemuuvd (but C is stil yuuzd in thu diigraf “ch”).
  2. G aulwaas maaks thu “haurd G sound” as in “got.”
  3. J aulwaas maaks thu “soft G sound” as in “jet.”

U lot uf kumbiind konsoonents hav ben reemuuvd as wel, but moost uf thu reemaaneeng wuns aur unchaanjd. Heer thaa aur:

Konsoonent Kombinaashens
Leturs Simbolic Sound Oold Eksampul Nuu Eksampul
th th this this
zh zh oer ʒ usual yuuzhuu-ul
garage gurauzh
sh sh she shee
ch ch oer ʧ cheese cheez

It’s aktuu-ulee pritee similur tuu thu oold konsoonent kombinaashens, thu oonlee novultee bee-eeng thu diigraf “zh.”

This sums up tuu u tootul uf 22 konsoonent sounds, wich is in thu raanj uf wut moost skolurs wued kum up with. (this soers, foer eksampul, kounts 24.) The diferens is that (a) Ii didn’t disteengwish beetween voisd oer unvoisd “th” and (b) Ii didn’t kunsidur “ŋ” tuu bee u yuuneek konsoonent.

Advantijes

  1. It is konsistent.

    Thair aur noo surpriises. Thair aur noo eksepshens. Thu ruuls, thoo posiblee u litul hard tuu pik up at furst, aur straatfoerwurd and unchaanjeeng.

  2. It yuuses thu saam alfubet evree English speeker is aelredee fumilee-ur with.

    This aulsoo meens that yuu doon’t hav tuu lurn hou tuu riit enee nuu leturs and yuu kan yuuz u reguulur keeboerd tuu tiip.

  3. It is similur tuu our kurent waa uf speleeng.

    Moost peepul wued not hav tuu much difikultee lurneeng it. But moer impoertentlee, yuu aur probublee abul to reed and undurstand it riit nou, without enee prii-ur traaneeng. At thu vairee leest, yuu kan get thu jist uf wut this post sez.

  4. Noo moer heturoonims!

    Heturoonims (a.k.a. heteronyms) aur wurds wich aur speld thu saam waa but hav diferent proonunsee-aashens and diferent meeneengs. Sins evreetheeng is speld foonetiklee, thaa doon’t eksist! It is obvee-us if Ii meen “leed” as in “Ii wil leed yuu tuu viktoeree” or “led” as in “led undurwair is kwiit hevee, Ii wued imajen.”

Disadvantijes

  1. Heteroografs beekum wurs!

    Heteroografs (a.k.a. heterographs) aur wurds wich sound thu saam but aur speld diferentlee and hav diferent meeneengs. Houwever, with this waa uf speleeng, if tuu wurds sound the saam, thaa aur speld thu saam. That meens thair is noo waa tuu diferentee-aat beetween thu number tuu, thu prepoosishen tuu, oer thu inkluusiv advurb tuu.

  2. It lueks dum.

    This wun Ii alredee menshend, but it is reelee difikult tuu maantaan gued retoer wiil, frum an outsiid purspektiv, yuer speling lueks groos.

  3. It rekwiirs sliitlee moer leters on averej.

    Sum wurds (e.g., “bubul”) aur shoerter, sum wurds (e.g., “album”) aer thu saam laanth, but moost aur unoi-eenglee u litul longur. Thu wurd “proonunsee-aashen” is paertikyuu-ulee long-ish, as is thu wurd “paertikyuu-ulee.”

  4. Eech sound duz not koerespond tuu eksaktlee wun leter.

    As indikaated in the taabuls ubuv, sum sounds kan oonlee bee represented with tuu leters. In an iideel woerld, thair wued bee u purfekt wun-tuu-wun koerelaashen beetween leters and sounds.

  5. Noowun wil evur udopt this tiip uf speleeng bekuz thu problems with English, noo matur hou inaan, doon’t reelee bothur moost peepul. Wee’r kumfoertubul with thu waa theengs aur. Aulsoo #2.


And that’s wii this blog poost wuz moostlee foer fun. Paurt 2 wil eksploer sum uthur iidee-us, inkluudeeng waas tuu fiks sum uf thu problems ubuv!

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