Another 3 words on stress

We decided to make sure that the social spelling of a word, generally speaking, takes the lengths of the vowels from the lexical context of the English spelling. So in ‘horrid,’ the ‘o’ and ‘i’ are both lax. But we also decided to respell the word if its stressed vowel reaches the wrong conclusion. So we have ‘vollume’ and ‘goast’.

But these leaves us in an ugly situation, where the listener might not be able to tell the length of an unstressed syllable, and so might end up spelling the word incorrectly. For example, in ‘effect,’ the stressed vowel (the second ‘e’) is already lax, so spelling it as ‘effect’ seems to be good—but, as the first ‘e’ is unstressed, it’s hard to tell if it’s lax or tense, so maybe it should be spelled ‘efect’? Another example is ‘battalion,’ where the stressed vowel is pronounced lax, so should we spell it ‘battallion’? No—to make sure the first syllable is easy to spell from the pronounciation, we can always remove repeated letters in unstressed syllables, giving us ‘batallion.’ This rule (remove repeated letters in unstressed syllables), is called dedoubling.

It gives us spellings like ‘comunicative’, ‘apere,’ ‘anouns’ and many others. Dedoubling also applies to combinations that arise because of the transfigurative properties of ‘c’ and ‘g’: the following combinations can be double letters, and are also subject to dedoubling: ‘sc’ (before ‘e,’ ‘i,’ ‘y’), ‘ck,’ ‘dj,’ ‘dg’ (but not ‘dgh’). So ‘nacent,’ ‘finniky,’ ‘ajust,’ ‘agern.’

This is good, but it still leaves 1 more problem. In a word like ‘situation,’ the ‘i’ looks tense, which would lead us to spell it as ‘situwaishon,’ except that the first ‘t’ is pronounced ‘ch,’ also because of yod-coalescence, giving ‘saichoowaishon,’ when it should obviously actually be ‘sichoowaishon’ after all. This is a work in progress.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.