The Corpus

These are all the books I’ve transcribed into the social spelling system. After a while reading it, I find it strangely likable despite its various alien features.

Here are 2 more, for salutary purposes. This is what happens if you abandon the principal that the new spelling must be guided by the old. The result is no longer stable against rhotic/non-rhotic accents or the various merges discussed above. There are a lot of schwa characters, which don’t occur in the social spelling.

The first uses the British English pronunciation of English (RP), so is non-rhotic. This must be pretty strange to anyone with a rhotic accent.

The second uses the Carnegie-Mellon pronouncing dictionary. This uses ʌ where RP uses ə (as well as where RP uses ʌ), so it also looks very odd when rendered into the social orthography. It also uses ɚ for a rhotacised schwa, which I render as ər, but no other rhotacised vowels. Despite being a schwa, this can be the stressed syllable in a word. This dictionary also can end a word with a short vowel (usually ʌ or ɪ), so we need to introduce “magic h,” which is silent after a final vowel, but shortens it.

The diphthongs, as we know, are /eɪ/ as in face, /æɪ/ as in price, /ʌʊ/ as in goat, /ɪʊ/ as in cute, /ɒɪ/ as in choice and /æʊ/ as in mouth. If we pretend that the /ɪ/ is really a semivowel /j/ and the /ʊ/ a /w/, and then also pretend that the long vowels /ɑː/ /ɛː/ /iː/ /ɔː/ /ɜː/ /uː/ are just the short vowels /æ/ /e/ /ɪ/ /ɒ/ /ʌ/ /ʊ/ extended by a semivowel /h/, we get an orthography that obeys all the rules we’ve described, but doesn’t look anything like the usual way of spelling English. Here’s a sample.

Finally, perfect spelling! Exactly 1 symbol for each sound, no funny extra rules. The consonants are b c tʃ d ð f g h dʒ k l m n ŋ p r s ʃ t þ v w ƕ y z ʒ, the vowels are ă ā ȃ, ĕ ē ȇ, ĭ ī, ŏ ō ȏ, ŭ ū ȗ, ʊ ꝏ, ƣ, ȣ, œ and diacritical marks are omitted in accordance with convention.

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