Date: Mon, 22 Nov 1999 12:13:37 +0000
From: Jeremy Dunn <>
Subject: Spelling System
Dear Ben,
In spirit I like your spelling idea but it needs a little more work. A
good start would be to check out the IPA alphabet and start with a
complete phonemic set and then decide what compromises are best. You are
missing some sounds, where is the "oi" in "boil", where is the guttural
"ch" as in the word "loch"? English has over 40 sounds, to be truly
phonetic we need to use lower and upper case letters as different sounds
so that we have a large enough character set. On your page you say that
"th" and "ch" stand for unique sounds - they do not! Examples:
For consonants I suggest the following assignments:
k - [C]at
c - [CH]ip
C - german ni[CH]
x - lo[CH] (guttural Scottish)
S - [SH]ip
w - [W]et
W - [WH]istle (not the same as w)
G - ri[NG]
N - o[NI]on
R - spanish-r
l - [L]amp
L - mi[LLI]on
z - [Z]ipper
Z - plea[S]ure
t - [T]ip
T - [TH]is
th - [TH]istle note: an underlined t could stand for this also
Vowels are a little trickier, at the moment I only have a suggestion for
10 vowels. Lower case letter vowels are pronounced as we pronounce them
when we name them and the capital letter versions are the short version
of the vowel:
a - s[A]y	A - s[A]t
e - s[EE]n	E - s[E]t
i - [I]dle	I - [I]mp
o - [O]pen	O - b[OO]k
u - fl[U]te	U - [U]p
This doesn't take care of all the vowels but puts a little better order
to some of them.
I disagree with Tim Poston's remarks about different dialects being
unreadable. This is like arguing that a Jazz musician would be incapable
of reading classical music because the notes happen to be in different
patterns than he is normally used to. Once people adapt to more
consistently phonetic spelling they will have no more difficulty reading
British English than they would have listening to them speak.
Hope you find some of this useful.
-Jeremy Dunn