Update the English written language!


Mar 5, 2003
Due to unfortunate historical circumstances, the English language has become the international language that all educated people on this planet are supposed to know. The problem is that English is not suitable for that purpose. Like Chinese, English uses symbols instead of a phonetic alphabet. Then people have to learn each English word twice - how it is pronounced and how it is written. English do use the Latin alphabet to draw their symbols, but that doesn't help much since there is no correlation between how a word is spelled and how it is pronounced. This has to be changed soon if English shall have a chance to maintain its position as the most important international language much longer. The severe threat from the increasing popularity of Esperanto must not be underestimated!:rolleyes:

So now I ask all the British and American people out there to tell their governments to initiate a modernization of the English written language. If UK and US takes the initiative, I am sure the rest of the world will follow the good example. Thank you for your cooperation!:)
So in essence, you're advocating some kind of streamlining of the English written format based on their phonetic components?

But what then to do with the different pronounciations in different parts of the English-speaking world? As in localizations and nativized patois. Which 'English' to advocate as 'proper' English?
English language IS phoenetic- how you gotthe assumption it is not one is beyond me.

I also dont see your point on how one has to learn owrds "twice"- perhaps english is not your first language, or perhaps you just dont grasp it fully, but there is a perfect correlation between each "symbol" and the associated sound- there is trouble with "silent letters" but they are hardley a case to hing reforming the most used language in the world.

as for english not maintaning its dominace- hardley, if anything its influence is growing
we should get rid of the letters c and x as they aren't every necesarry--even if they are cool.
Originally posted by Hygro
we should get rid of the letters c and x as they aren't every necesarry--even if they are cool.
Why do you say that?
because K, S, and Z cover those letters. I'm just thinking of how to streamline the language. I dont actually want to drop them.
We'd probably end up talking and writing like this:
The European Union commissioners have announced that agreement has been reached to adopt English as the preferred language for European communications, rather than German, which was the other possibility.
As part of the negotiations, Her Majesty's Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a five-year phased plan for what will be known as Euro-English (Euro for short). In the first year, 's' will be used instead of the soft 'c'. Sertainly, sivil servants will resieve this news with joy. Also, the hard 'c' will be replaced with 'k.' Not only will this klear up konfusion, but typewriters kan have one less letter.

There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year, when the troublesome 'ph' will be replaced by 'f'. This will make words like 'fotograf' 20 per sent shorter.

In the third year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible. Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters, which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horible mes of silent 'e's in the languag is disgrasful, and they would go.

By the fourth year, peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing 'th' by 'z' and 'W' by 'V'. During ze fifz year, ze unesesary 'o' kan be dropd from vords kontaining 'ou', and similar changes vud of kors; be aplid to ozer kombinations of leters.

After zis fifz yer, ve vil hav a reli sensibl riten styl. Zer vil b no mor trubls or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech ozer. Ze drem vil finali kum tru.
Originally posted by Xen
I also dont see your point on how one has to learn owrds "twice"- perhaps english is not your first language, or perhaps you just dont grasp it fully, but there is a perfect correlation between each "symbol" and the associated sound-
Let's compare a few random English words:

The "o" in woman is pronounced "o", the "o" in women is pronounced "i".
The "i" in child is pronounced "ai", the "i" in children is pronounced "i".
The "u" in pupil is pronounced "ju", the "u in puppet is pronounced "ø".
The "e" in decimal is pronounced "e", the "e" in decent is pronounced "i".

How you see this as a perfect correlation between each letter and associated sound is beyond me:confused:.

I would like if written English started to develop the way Turner described. I see only one problem with that: the English "th" is not pronounced like "z". "d" or "t" would be a better replacement:D.
The problem is twofold. First is English's habit of mugging other languages for vocabulary. Even though they use the same alphabet, French and German have enormously different spellings, yet their old forms are the root languages of modern English. When you start to get out of the IndoEuropean tre of languages, spellings wander all over. yet to some extent the spellings are carried in.

The other big problem is the rapidity of language change. I am told that Don Quixote is intelligible to modern Spanish primary students. Cantebury Tales, from the same period, is difficult for secondary students, even with a glossary. Which brings us to another problem with spelling. Even if spellings of imported words are phonetic, they pronouniations change, but the spellings dont. There was a time when every letter of "knight" was pronounced. Now we onlt pronounce three: n i t

That's exactly the problem: English has undergone massive sound change and the writing system has not been updated.

I don't see the harm in spelling reform.
Words are not understood phonetically. The relationship between sounds and letter combinations is an aide to help us understand how to say new words, but words we are already familiar with are processed holistically, not phoneme-by-phoneme or ortheme-by-ortheme.
but the language iself is phonetic language.

@Pikachu- I can see your point to some extent- and the only answer, that other letters have an effect on how an entire word is pronounced
I support the idea of English spelling reform, too bad that I'm not English/American :) .
The most urgent thing to correct is the writing/spelling of the vowels. In the word "eleven", three different vowel are written with exactly the same letter.

The above text after the Caranamrta Written English Reform:

Ay saport ðö áydi of ingli¶ speling reform, tú bad det ay'm not ingli¶/emeriken :) .
Ðö mast örjent ¹ing tu karekt iz ðö ráyting/speling of ðö vóvölz. In ðö vörd "ilevön", ¹rí difern't vóvöl ár vrit'n vit egzektli ðe sém letör.

Reforming the written language would disguise the historical root for many of the words and would thus water down the richness of language as a historical record. Linguists (like J.R.R. Tolkien to name a popular one at the moment) would cringe at this idea. Leave it alone and we can all learn from it.

I must admit, though, that when learning Italian it was a great relief that every letter was pronounced. I wouldn't want to learn English as a second language. However, something just doesn't sit right with censoring language for the sake of convenience. (and by "censoring" I simply mean the selective deleting of certain elements and not others)
The English language is changing naturally, at its own pace, to suit our needs as those needs change. Any attempt to reinvent the English wheel would be a dismal failure and would just be ignored. Esperanto is catching on? Says who?
Keep with the Queen's English, by George.
The problem English has is that it is inconsistent. However, all languages are inconsistent, some more so than others. I can understand the difficulty a foreigner might have learning English as a second language, and the example of "eleven" is a very good one. However, as a student of literature I would be greatly opposed to changing the written language. If anything needs to be altered, it is the spoken language (pronunciation), not the written language, which is hereditary and etymologically linked to many different root languages. Surely the problem with "eleven" is the way it is pronounced, not written, especially as it is pronounced differently according to region and accent. As an example, in Yorkshire, where I live, the common pronunciation would be


as (1st) letters are often not pronounced here, or elided into the second. This in turn would be very different to how the word is pronounced elsewhere.
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