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Old 05-16-2009, 08:44 AM
 
Location: NY & Fl
10,964 posts, read 7,558,525 times
Reputation: 8942
I get that flush of red anger when my own kids (adults) act/sound stupid/irresponsible
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Old 05-16-2009, 01:07 PM
 
4,766 posts, read 4,162,737 times
Reputation: 3841
Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
"English isn't phonetic" is not a statement intended to be taken literally. It is a generalization, based on the fact that any language can be phonetic to a variable degree and English is one of the least phonetic languages in the world. If somebody says "Drunk drivers cause accidents", do you protest that not all drunk drivers cause accidents or that not all accidents are caused by drunk drivers, or can you accept it as a generalization that reflects enough reality that it is a useful statement? Chinese can be expressed in writing, but it is not phonetic. So your generalization is even less true than the one about English not being phonetic.

As for the 181 rules, it is easier to learn to spell the words, than to learn 181 rules and stop and apply the correct one before typing a word? That's why they don't teach them.

Here are some of the rules. "Fish" is spelled GHOTI except when it is spelled FISH. (GH as in "enough", O as in "women", and TI as in "nation".) COFFEE and KAUPHY do not have any "phonetic" letters in common. So, yes English is phonetic, but it doesn't matter which letters you use.

To top it all, there are some related families in Henrico County, Virginia, whose family name is spelled "Enroughty", and they pronounce it "Darby".
I have a degree in English from a good university, and your arguments are not impressing me.

1) "Phonetic" is not a word shaded with degrees of literalness, that you can choose to take metaphorically. It has a denotative meaning only, not a connotative one. A language is phonetic, meaning it has sounds corresponding to the letters in its alphabet, or it doesn't. Period. When people say English is not phonetic, they are using the wrong word entirely. The word they are groping for is "regular." They're saying that English spelling is irregular, which isn't very true at all. Someone who actually sat down and did the math disovered that English is 97.4% regular. It doesn't seem to be at first glance because so many of the words we use most -- "was" pronounced wuz, "one" pronounced wun -- have been beaten out of shape with heavy use and the distortion of regional accents. And it seems not to be phonetic because of the commonly-held belief that English has no spelling rules, as if "k" could sometimes be pronounced like "y" or "a" and nobody would know the difference, that it would still be understandable in English. It probably does look that way to someone who only knows the 12 spelling rules they were taught in the first grade. Or fewer. It probably looks like an impenetrable quagmire, in fact. Like any kid in kindergarten who feels overwhelmed by the task of reading sentences when they aren't clear on the letters yet.

Also: when someone says "English isn't phonetic," that statement IS meant to be taken literally. That's the reason they're giving for throwing their hands up and refusing to learn -- or teach -- spelling. Because they believe English isn't phonetic. Because they don't know what the word "phonetic" means.

2) Saying "drunk drivers cause accidents" is not at all the same as saying "all drunk drivers cause accidents" or that "drunk drivers cause all accidents." You can take the first statement to the bank. The second and third statements are wild overgeneralizations. This argument of yours makes me smile because I have seen you, over and over in these forums, fail to read "drunk drivers cause accidents" carefully and distort it into "all drunk drivers cause accidents" or "all drunk drivers are manatees" or some dang thing. Either that, or you deliberately distort the statements other people make in order to pick an argument. And what this has to do with whether English is phonetic is beyond me.

3) Once you've learned all 181 spelling rules in English, you don't have to stop and decide which one applies. If you know the rules, there is a lot less guesswork. If you don't know them, there is nothing but guesswork. For instance, anyone who knows English knows instantly when they read GHOTI -- because reading allows you to pick up on a lot of the spelling rules, even if you don't consciously know that there are rules -- everyone who reads that knows it isn't a word in English and certainly doesn't spell FISH. Everyone who knows the rules knows, for instance, that "gh" can only be pronounced like an F at the end of a word. Et cetera.

4) I stand corrected on the Chinese issue. But Chinese doesn't use an alphabet, it uses whole-word characters (if it's been explained to me correctly). If you know the concept expressed by the character and speak some sort of Chinese, you know what syllable to use to express that pictograph in sound. In another kind of Chinese, the same pictograph is likely to be expressed with a totally different spoken word. So, yes, Chinese can be expressed in writing but is not phonetic. But the English alphabet is a phonetic one, that has letters assigned to sounds, not whole-word concepts.

5) I'll agree with anyone that English spelling needs to be de-shamble-ized. The problem comes in, in part, because we steal words from every other language we encounter without imposing a simple, single set of rules on how it will be spelled in English. The various scholars pioneering the bridge-building between cultures each seem to have imposed a separate, made-up set of rules that all correspond to something in English, but NONE of them correspond to each other. This is why the spell the same set of sounds differently depending on whether the syllable came from a Russian or Arabic word. So many people have imposed so many different transliteration rules on Arabic alone, in fact, that there are 24 different ways of spelling the name "Khadaffy" in English. And of course there are sounds in other languages that don't occur in English, so at that point it really gets crazy.

6) I cannot speak to the personal preferences of some family I never heard of, but how they pronounce and spell their own names is up to them. That doesn't mean English isn't phonetic. It means they are illiterate.
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Old 05-16-2009, 01:29 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
38,744 posts, read 37,204,368 times
Reputation: 28716
I'm not sure, but I don't think there is a single language on earth that is phonetic by your "all or nothing" definition. Nearly every language fails the test in some way. That would make the word useless, because it would describe only something hypothetical. Every language possesses a number of phonemes that is different from the number of letters in the conventinal alphabet that they use, so there cannot be a perfect one-to-one match.

As you know, we have the word "hard" which would be useless if something had to be absolutely indestructible in order to meet the test of being "hard". So we have created a scale ranging from Talc to Diamond, to make the concept of "hardness" useful. We also have the word "phonetic" which is useful only as a metric, to state how closely a language corresponds to its orthography. Some languages are more phonetic than others. Bihasa Indonsia is more phonetic than Irish.

If English were phonetic, it would be impossible to have "the wind blows" and "wind the clock" and "wined and dined".. Which of the 181 spelling rules phonetically applies to that?

If you are laughing at this, you will understand that /gh/ does not, by rule #181, have to be at the end of a word to be pronounced like fish. Which just reminded me of another point. No language can ever remain phonetic, unless the formal correct spelling changes piecemeal as localities gradually shift pronunciations. Which is how we got "laugh", which was not originally pronounced the same as "laff", but English speakers lazily stopped differentiating the two phonemes and pronounced them both the same. The formally correct spelling would have had to change in each town as the speakers dropped the differentiation, first in the seaports, and later in the mountains. If a language were declared to be phonetic, it would begin being non-phonetic tomorow because phoneme shift never stops, but orthography is useful only if immutable ovr a long time.

Last edited by jtur88; 05-16-2009 at 01:48 PM..
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Old 05-16-2009, 01:34 PM
 
Location: Living near our Nation's Capitol since 2010
1,496 posts, read 1,509,949 times
Reputation: 2793
Some of these may seem minor..and they are!..but they irritate the living daylights out of me...

1) People who are in a fast food line for a long while and then, when they get to the counter to order, have to look over the entire menu before deciding...thus holding up all those of us who are behind them. People...make up your minds! Know what you are going to order before you get to the counter!!

2) People who, at the grocery or drug store check outs, are paying by check and they wait until their entire order is rung up before they dig out their checkbook to write the check. Often, these same people then have a hard time finding their ID too! grrrrr

3) People who are going thru security lines at the airport and have NO CLUE! they do not listen to the TSA who inform the line over and over again that they MUST remove their shoes (and YES, boots!), heavy jewelry, wallets, cell phones, etc B E F O R E they try to go thru the machines. Invariably, when I am trying to get thru the line quickly, I will be behind some bonehead who thinks its amusing to go thru, alarm, come back thru and remove their shoes, go thru, alarm again, come BACK thru and remove their cell phone, go back thru, alarm again, come back again and then remove the change in their pockets, ..well, you get the drift. These same folks usually think its hightly amusing and carry on as if they are the funniest and most original people ever to go thru. Double GRRRRR

4) People who board planes and then hold up the entire line of other boarding passengers while they take off and fold their jackets, arrange their luggage in the overheads, decide who is sitting at the window or asile, allow little Tristan or Bethany or whatever their kids names are to argue over which one gets which seat...all the while holding up maybe 50 others who are TRYING to board in a timely fashion. (word to the wise...please step into the seating area and OUT of the asile while doing the above chores..THANKS!) Those who hold up the line are often the same ones who ***** because the flight is delayed due to slow boarding.

Oh, those are only a few of my favorites. I could go on for weeks! LOL
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Old 05-16-2009, 05:08 PM
 
Location: Bradenton, Florida
27,238 posts, read 26,298,625 times
Reputation: 10565
Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
This happened once in ten years, and it's the worst thing that ever happened to you in that job? Is it OK if a customer asks you where a certain product can be found? Or do you just say "Look for it yourself---I'm here top help my boss take your money, not do your shopping for you."

Sixty years ago, there were no self-service stores at all. In the grocery store, you stand at the counter and tell the clerk you want a can of peas and he goes and gets one off the shelf and sets it on the counter. Some older people still think store employees are there to help the customers.
No, it was the most memorable. Because they expected me to get EVERY single thing on the list. I do not mind pointing out a few products, or discussing the features and advantages of each, but you can pick out your own pens and notebook paper...

This person wasn't in their 60s...or blind...or in a wheelchair. Some of those folks, I can understand giving a little more help. No, it was just someone who thought that their credit card bought a personal shopping experience.
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Old 05-16-2009, 05:43 PM
 
Location: Michigan
265 posts, read 502,744 times
Reputation: 191
People who use manipulation to get what they want. I hate that.

People who chew, as in tobacco. When a friend of mine decided to spit out her "chew" in my favorite coffee mug, I just about clobbered her!

People who say uh or a,a,a, a million times when trying to say something. If you don't know what your trying to say, keep your mouth shut until you figure it out!

Last edited by Southernkomfort27; 05-16-2009 at 05:44 PM.. Reason: spelling
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Old 05-16-2009, 07:56 PM
 
1,355 posts, read 1,222,535 times
Reputation: 22437
When I am in the gym, and on the treadmill jogging, I just hate it when someone gets on the machine beside me and then proceed to strike up a conversation. Why can't these people understand that everyone in the gym is not interested in talking to them? Why? Why?
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Old 05-17-2009, 10:45 AM
 
Location: Oxygen Ln. AZ
8,467 posts, read 10,553,422 times
Reputation: 4624
People who can't see the connection between continually raising taxes on everything and not being able to live in the state they raise the taxes in.

People who purchased homes here and clearly lived beyond their capacity to pay for them, then abandoned their beautiful and pregnant labs.

People who hurt children in the most horrific ways and think that the laws should be changed to allow such behavior.

People who have retired and believe since they are now retired can live the life by drinking themselves blue and then get behind the wheel of a car....daily.

Political leaders that steal and lie...both parties.

Last edited by MotleyCrew; 05-17-2009 at 10:54 AM..
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Old 05-17-2009, 12:31 PM
 
Location: NW Nevada
6,960 posts, read 4,962,053 times
Reputation: 4532
Pet peeve and major irritant. People who use college degrees as a license for a pompous attitude, people who call anyone who disagrees with them a "nutcase', folks who cannot own up to a mistake, and always blame someone else for said mistakes and last but hardly least, anyone who could purposely hurt a child , in any way shape or form.
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Old 05-17-2009, 12:46 PM
Status: "Are you a technophiliac zombie?" (set 17 days ago)
 
Location: 125 Years Too Late...
6,666 posts, read 5,370,902 times
Reputation: 6277
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cliffie View Post
I have a degree in English from a good university, and your arguments are not impressing me.

1) "Phonetic" is not a word shaded with degrees of literalness, that you can choose to take metaphorically. It has a denotative meaning only, not a connotative one. A language is phonetic, meaning it has sounds corresponding to the letters in its alphabet, or it doesn't. Period. When people say English is not phonetic, they are using the wrong word entirely. The word they are groping for is "regular." They're saying that English spelling is irregular, which isn't very true at all. Someone who actually sat down and did the math disovered that English is 97.4% regular. It doesn't seem to be at first glance because so many of the words we use most -- "was" pronounced wuz, "one" pronounced wun -- have been beaten out of shape with heavy use and the distortion of regional accents. And it seems not to be phonetic because of the commonly-held belief that English has no spelling rules, as if "k" could sometimes be pronounced like "y" or "a" and nobody would know the difference, that it would still be understandable in English. It probably does look that way to someone who only knows the 12 spelling rules they were taught in the first grade. Or fewer. It probably looks like an impenetrable quagmire, in fact. Like any kid in kindergarten who feels overwhelmed by the task of reading sentences when they aren't clear on the letters yet.

Also: when someone says "English isn't phonetic," that statement IS meant to be taken literally. That's the reason they're giving for throwing their hands up and refusing to learn -- or teach -- spelling. Because they believe English isn't phonetic. Because they don't know what the word "phonetic" means.

2) Saying "drunk drivers cause accidents" is not at all the same as saying "all drunk drivers cause accidents" or that "drunk drivers cause all accidents." You can take the first statement to the bank. The second and third statements are wild overgeneralizations. This argument of yours makes me smile because I have seen you, over and over in these forums, fail to read "drunk drivers cause accidents" carefully and distort it into "all drunk drivers cause accidents" or "all drunk drivers are manatees" or some dang thing. Either that, or you deliberately distort the statements other people make in order to pick an argument. And what this has to do with whether English is phonetic is beyond me.

3) Once you've learned all 181 spelling rules in English, you don't have to stop and decide which one applies. If you know the rules, there is a lot less guesswork. If you don't know them, there is nothing but guesswork. For instance, anyone who knows English knows instantly when they read GHOTI -- because reading allows you to pick up on a lot of the spelling rules, even if you don't consciously know that there are rules -- everyone who reads that knows it isn't a word in English and certainly doesn't spell FISH. Everyone who knows the rules knows, for instance, that "gh" can only be pronounced like an F at the end of a word. Et cetera.

4) I stand corrected on the Chinese issue. But Chinese doesn't use an alphabet, it uses whole-word characters (if it's been explained to me correctly). If you know the concept expressed by the character and speak some sort of Chinese, you know what syllable to use to express that pictograph in sound. In another kind of Chinese, the same pictograph is likely to be expressed with a totally different spoken word. So, yes, Chinese can be expressed in writing but is not phonetic. But the English alphabet is a phonetic one, that has letters assigned to sounds, not whole-word concepts.

5) I'll agree with anyone that English spelling needs to be de-shamble-ized. The problem comes in, in part, because we steal words from every other language we encounter without imposing a simple, single set of rules on how it will be spelled in English. The various scholars pioneering the bridge-building between cultures each seem to have imposed a separate, made-up set of rules that all correspond to something in English, but NONE of them correspond to each other. This is why the spell the same set of sounds differently depending on whether the syllable came from a Russian or Arabic word. So many people have imposed so many different transliteration rules on Arabic alone, in fact, that there are 24 different ways of spelling the name "Khadaffy" in English. And of course there are sounds in other languages that don't occur in English, so at that point it really gets crazy.

6) I cannot speak to the personal preferences of some family I never heard of, but how they pronounce and spell their own names is up to them. That doesn't mean English isn't phonetic. It means they are illiterate.
‘Non-phonetic language’ is used COMMONLY by language professionals and linguists to mean a language in which the spelling system does not closely conform to the spoken word (languages that are neither phonetic nor near-phonetic). English, French, and Danish are among the worst offenders in this regard. And English is THE worst of the three for asinine spelling.

There is no reason for our spelling system to be the way it is other than ‘tradition’ (something that most folks these days throw out the window on most every other issue). It doesn’t matter where the word came from--it can easily be regularized as can our spelling system. It has been done with many languages over the years with no ill effect. The reason we won’t is because we are lazy. So we continue doing things the hard way.

If you compare Danish to Norwegian, you will see almost no variation in spelling. They are nearly identical... yet Norwegian has very nearly phonetic spelling and Danish does not. Norwegians spell the way the words are spoken to a high degree. Danish, although spelled the same, sounds very different. So much for the typical argument that English cannot be spelled 'phonetically.' The Danish/Norwegian comparison shows this to be erroneous. We just have gone the way of the Danes with our spelling system rather than the way of the Norwegians.

It’s very easy to reform spelling. If we can put a man on the moon, you can't tell me that we can't spell a word more like it's spoken. All you need is a generation and plan. Turkey did this early last century. Now their language is a model for not only phonetic spelling, but grammatical regularity. Another good example, although not quite as phonetic, is Spanish. Folks can dis the Spanish language all they want, but if I see a Spanish word that I have never seen in my life, I can say it correctly the first time 99.9% of the time. The spelling rules are refreshingly simple. They can be taught in just a couple of pages. How many pages does it take to teach English spelling ‘rules’? (if you can call them rules at all)

In light of English becoming the ‘global lingua franca,’ we could make it so much better in that regard if we would just fix the spelling system. Barring the grammatical exceptions, English really does have one of the simplest structures of all languages. Unless you’ve learned or are familiar with at least a couple of other languages, you just don’t understand just how ridiculous our spelling menagerie really is. You only tolerate it because you grew up with it. It relies very little on logic and way too much on rote memorization. We may as well be using a pictograph for each word. It would make just as much sense. I once saw a cartoon about math where 2+2 became an entire chalkboard full of gibberish to get the answer 4. There was a child asking the teacher if there was an easier way. That is a great example of our spelling 'system.' And there IS an easier way.

So my pet peeve stands: English speling iz kumpleetlee mest up aand wuud täk veree litl efört tü regülarïz. Tther ar manee veree regülar altuurnativ sistems--lïk tthis model.

Here is another one of the hundreds of ideas:
Inglish

Disclaimer: I have no hatred of English. I have a degree in English. What I do have a hatred for is the fact that our forefathers have let our spelling system 'go to hell.' When will we step up to the plate and hand down a system to our children that we and they can be proud of?

Last edited by ChrisC; 05-17-2009 at 01:17 PM..
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