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188. SPECIMEN OF PHONETIC PRINTING,
"Wi kanot tel az yet whot!“ We cannot tell as yet what laŋgwej iz. It me bi a pro language is. It may be a prodokfon ov netur, a work ov duction of nature, a work of human art, or a Divin gift. human art, or a Divine gift. Bst tu whotever sfir it beloņz, But to whatever sphere it belongs, it wud sim tu stand gnsgr- it would seem to stand unsur. past-ne snikwald in it-bį passed-nay unequalled in it-by enitiŋ els.
anything else. “de sįens ov laŋgwej iz a “ The science of language is a sjens ov veri modern det. Wil science of very modern date. We kanot tres its liniej mog be- cannot trace its lineage much beyond te beginiŋ ov our sen. yond the beginning of our centyri, and it iz skersli res.ivd az tury, and it is scarcely received as yet on a futiŋ ov ikwoliti bị yet on a footing of equality by de elder brangez ov lerniŋ. the elder branches of learning. Its veri nem iz stil onseteld, Its very name is still unsettled, and de verirs tịtelz dat hav and the various titles that have bin given tu it in Ingland, been given to it in England, Frans, and Jermani, ar so France, and Germany, are so veg and veriiŋ dat de hav vague and varying that they have led tu de most konfyzd įdiaz led to the most confused ideas amxŋ de poblik at larj az tu among the public at large as to de rial objekts ov dis nų sį- the real objects of this new sciens. Wi hir it spoken ov az ence. We hear it spoken of as Komparativ Filoloji, Sjentifik Comparative Philology, Scientific Etimoloji, Fonoloji, and Glos- Etymology, Phonology, and Glosoloji. In Frans it haz resivd sology. In France it has received de konvinient, båt somwhot the convenient, but somewhat barbarys nem v Lengistik. barbarous name of Linguistique. I miself prefer de simpel desig- I myself prefer the simple designeson ov de Sįens ov Laŋgwej, nation of the Science of Language, dos in diz dez OV hj- though in these days of high-soundiŋ tịtelz, dis plen nem-sounding titles, this plain name wil hardli mit wid jeneral will hardly meet with general akseptans.” – Maks Muler'z acceptance.” — Max Müller's Lekturz on de Siens ov Lay- Lectures on the Science of Lan. gwej, (Ferst Siriz,) 1861. guage, (First Series,) 1861.
" F fil konvinst ov de trot “I feel convinced of the truth and rizonabelnes ov de prin- and reasonableness of the prinsipelz on whig de Fonetik ciples on which the Phonetic Reform rests, . . . . and Reform rests, . . . and do Mr Pitman me not liv though Mr Pitman may not live tu si de rezolts ov hiz perse-I to see the results of his perse. viriŋ and disinterested ekzer-vering and disinterested exerSonz, it rekwįrz no profetik |tions, it requires no prophetic pouer to persiv dat whot at power to perceive that what at prezent iz pu-pud bį de present is pooh-poohed by the meni, wil mek its we in de many, will make its' way in the end, xnles met bį, arguments end, unless met by arguments stroņger dan doz hidertu lev- stronger than those hitherto lev. eld at de Fonetik Nuz. Wrn elled at the Fonetic Nuz. One argument whig mịt bi 88p-argument which might be supozd tu we wid de student ov posed to weigh with the student of langwej, nemli, de obskureson language, namely, the obscuration ov de etimolojikal stroktur or of the etymological structure of wordz, i kanot konsider veri words, I cannot consider very formidabel. de prononsieson formidable. The pronunciation ov laŋgwejez cenjez akordiŋ of languages changes according tu fikst loz, de speliŋ iz to fixed laws, the spelling is cenjd in de most arbitrari changed in the most arbitrary maner, so dat if our spelih manner, so that if our spelling folod de prononsieson or followed the pronunciation of wordz, it wud in rialiti bi a words, it would in reality be a greter help tu de kritikal stų- greater help to the critical stu. dent ov langwej dan de prezent dent of language than the present xnserten and ansjentifik mod uncertain and unscientific mode ov ritiŋ."-Maks Muler'z Lek- of writing.”-Max Müller's Lecturz on de Siens ov Laygwej, tures on the Science of Language, (Sekond Siriz,) 1863. '(Second Series,) 1863.
To offer an estimate of the merits of this phonetic alphabet would be out of place here. It puts forward a claim to supersede that now in use by right of superior and universal fitness. This claim seems likely to be tested by a variety of practical experiments ; for example, it has been used for printing three of the Gospels, Genesis, the Psalms, and the Acts in the Mikmak language, that of the natives of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, under the direction of the Bible Society. The friends and promoters of this alphabet say that it is soon caught by savages abroad and by children at home; and that for the education of our own people it provides the quickest and best means of learning to read the ordinary print. All this will have to be established by a slow probation; and the supporters of the system seem resolved to sustain the trial. Meanwhile, I will point out an
advantage which this phonetic alphabet offers to the young philologer. He would find it a profitable exercise to master this alphabet and transliterate passages of English into it. The gain would be that he would thereby acquire consciousness of the elementary sounds which go to make up English words. If the want of this acquirement is not much felt by English philologers, it is because they are unaware how great a defect it is and how seriously it impedes their researches.
189. But there are schemes before the public which aim at a less radical change, and advocate only a certain measure of reform. They do not aspire to absolute phonetic perfection, and yet they have a standard of their own, which may be described as Consistent spelling. The distinction in itself is just, and it may be exemplified in the French language. Of the three languages we may say that the German is (comparatively speaking) phonetic, and the French consistent; while the English is neither the one nor the other.
The reformers of whom we are about to speak content themselves with the endeavour to bring English spelling nearer to a state of consistency with itself. Such is the purpose of the system projected by Mr. Edward Jones, of Liverpool. He would correct our orthography by using the present letters of the alphabet more consistently, without adding new characters; and by reverting, in certain cases, to the simpler spelling of standard old authors. This proposal is advocated on the ground of the small amount of change which it would necessitate.
190. The following are said to be all the words beginning with A that would have to be changed :aback
achieve acheev abbey abby
achromatic acromatic abeyance abayance acquiesce acquièss ablative ablativ acre
aker aboard abord active
activ above abuy adjourn
adjurn abroad abraud
admeasure admèsure absolve absolv
adolescent adolessent abstemious abstemius adventurous adventurus abusive abusiv ædile
arduous arduus ambitious ambitius
are amphibious amfibius
autograph autograf rism aforism
apeece Upon this system, which Mr. Jones calls the 'Analogic,' and which is particularly recommended for its educational usefulness, Mr. Ellis has cominented vigorously. He sees no gain or beauty in it, and he denies its consistency.
The memory is not relieved of its grievance, and the whole plan is aimless. In like terms he would speak of all attempts to alter our orthography partially. If a change is to be made at all, it must be by a restoration of the old phonetic principle which (he thinks) reigned paramount till it perished in the Wars of the Roses.
191. The third and last scheme to be mentioned is one that endeavours to conciliate opposite interests. Mr. Danby P. Fry has proposed a plan for the improvement of English orthography, which is to avoid all breach of continuity whether as regards the forms and powers of the characters, or as respects the etymology. The only case in which he confers a new power on a character, or modifies its form, is in the letter v. He would have a v vowel, to represent the vowel in full, bull, and to be distinguished by a slight peculiarity of form. With this addition the twenty-six simple letters would become twenty-seven. For the rest he proceeds on the principle of codifying the actual practice, and he would therefore recognise the consonantal digraphs ch, gh,
kh, ph, rh, sh, th, wh, ng, as alphabetic characters, adding to them dh and zh. He would write the and that as 'dhe' and “dhat': and azure he would write azhure. After the same manner the vocalic digraphs ee, ai, aa, au, oa, 00, oi, ou, would be counted as primary letters, and thus complete an alphabet of forty-six characters. The e final would be discarded in all instances in which it is really idle, having no effect on the preceding vowel; and freez, gauz, would take the place of freeze, gauze (158). In this scheme the idea seems to be that an orthography-reasonably phonetic and consistent-ought to be discovered without the sacrifice of tradition and historical association. It would be—not uniform spelling, but consistent spelling; so dhat dhat half ov dhe language which iz spelt etymologically may be spelt consistently on dhe etymological principle, while dhe odher half ov dhe language which iz spelt phonetically may be spelt consistently on dhe phonetic principle.'
The phonetic principle is to be admitted when it does not conflict with the etymological. For instance, the s would be rejected from island (properly iland), but retained in isle, to which it rightly belongs. For Mr. Fry proposes, as a means of reconciling tradition with current pronunciation, that silent letters should be preserved whenever required by etymology, but otherwise omitted.
192. More plans are proposed than we have enumerated or have space to enumerate. It is plain where so many schemes are broached that the need of some change is very widely felt, but there seems to be little agreement as to the direction reform should take.
If however a distinct path is chosen, it will at once lay open to our view a new and as yet unnoticed difficulty. When we enter on the path of spelling-reform, we pass from that on which we are tolerably agreed, namely conventional orthography, to raise a new structure on a foundation of unascertained stability. The moment you resolve to spell the sound, you bring into the foreground what before lay almost unobserved—the great diversity of opinion which exists as to the correct sound of many words.