User:Readable Spelling/Rules/Decisions

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Dhese are the results of the decisions we had to make.

We must have a simple way of spelling shwa[edit]

One solúetion wuud be to have a shwa letter, eether ə or an egzísting vowel. A very guud aultérnativ was invénted by orthógrapher Christopher Upward in his work Cut Speling and it is the l-m-n-r rule wich says that /əl, əm, ən, ər/ can be written without a vowel, as in norml, rythm, lessn or doctr. We discárded this aulternativ in the first three stages becáuze too meny wurds wuud becúm diffrent, and our goal in stage 1 is to keep the wurds as similar as possible. Howéver, we are uesing a stress mark, wich helps to detérmin many shwa sounds.

For compatibílity betwéen British and Amérrican spelling we spell "centr", "meetr", etc.

Compáiring shwa and stress marks[edit]

Adding a shwa symbol modifies too meny wurds. Adding a stress mark makes it possible to gess the shwas.

Queschon for shwa: Can the stress be gessed if we oenly mark the shwas?

Queschon for stress marks: Can the shwas be gessed if we oenly mark the stress?

Shwa Stress mark
about əbout abóut
alternative aulternətiv aultérnativ
bureaucracy buerocrəcy buerócracy
catastrophe cətastrəphy catástrophy
certificate sərtificət certíficate
commotion cəmmoetiən commóetion
hoetel hoetel hoetél
laboratory (UK) ləborətry labóratry
laboratory (US) labrətory lábratory ½ We must gess “o” is /ɔ/
other uthər uther
opportunity oppərtuenəty opportúenity ½ It's not obvious if “i” is /ɪ/ or /ə/
people peeple peeple
pediatrics peediatrics peediátrics
secretary (UK) secrətary secretary ½ The “a” is sielent, not /ə/
secretary (US) ½ The “a” is /e/, not /ə/
  • ✓ no doubt
  • ✗ wrong gess
/ə/: we allways gess the first non shwa sound, or the “V” in “Vtion words
Stress mark: we gess that all uther singgle vowels are shwas

Stress mark[edit]

For a spelling to be readable, we must be aeble to tell the stressed syllable. Since we don't have a special symbol for shwa, this becúms verry impórtant. We mark the stressed syllable with an acúte accent, as in "becáuze" or "abóut". We don't uze a stress mark if the stress is in the first syllable.

The FORCE vowel[edit]

Currently the words "north" and "force" have the same vowel in moest (but not all) diealects. Similarly, "horse" and "hoarse" can be minimal pairs instéd of homophónes. We cuud spell "north", "foerce", "horse" and "hoarse", but we decided to drop the diffrence. In the case of the animal and the adjectiv meaning ruf, boeth wurds are spelled "horse" (they are new homonyms).

Three pre-rhotic phoenémes[edit]

The main problem[edit]

Vowel letters need at least three values for the seequence VrV, where V is any vowel sound, or the sielent "e" in the paost tense.

  • Long monophthong as /ɑː/ in sari, starry, starred, starring
  • Rhotic diphthong as /eə/ in scary, repaired, repairing
  • The shaired sound, which is present befóre any consonant, as /æ/ in trap, carry, arid.

In traditional spelling dhere are three spelling patterns for the three sounds, howéver, oenly the pattern VVrV is unambígueous (here V is any vowel letter). For this reason it is a chalenje to have a spelling that is readable.

"VrV" "VrrV" VVrV
/ær/ arid carry N/A
/ɑːr/ sari starry N/A
/eər/ scary N/A pairing

Diegraphs for rhotic diphthongs[edit]

To make the diffrence of scary vs. arid or period vs. cherish we ues two vowels. We spell scairy and peeriod. The taeble for "a" is as follows.

"VrV" "VrrV" VVrV
/ær/ arid carry N/A
/ɑːr/ sari starry N/A
/eər/ N/A N/A scairy, pairing

In the fuull taeble beló oenly the pre-rhotic diphthong is in Readable Spelling. We don't always sho the diffrence betwéen /aɪə/ and /aɪ/: admiirer and viirus. Howéver in some cases we can sho /aɪə/ as in higher.

Vowel Pre-rhotic diphthong Shaired sound Pre-rhotic long monophthong Extra sound
a /eə/ squaire, scairy /æ/ arid, carry /ɑː/ start, star, starry, sari
e /ɪə/ near, peeriod /e/ cherish, ferry /ɜː/ prefer, preferring
i /aɪə/ fiir, admiirer /ɪ/ spirit, mirror /ɜː/ stir, stirring /aɪ/ viirus
o /ɒ,BrE ɔːAmE/ forest, torrid /ɔː/ north, abhor, abhorring
/ɔː/ force, glory, scoring
BrE, ɑːAmE/ sorry
u /jʊə, ʊə/ cuere, cuerious /ʌ,BrE ɜːAmE/ hurry, nourish /ɜː/ nurse, fur, furry
y /aɪə/ lyre /ɪ/ lyric /ɜː/ myrrh /aɪ/ byroad

Arid, carry, starry[edit]

The foloeing taeble has oenly the sounds that aren't readable yet (in traditional spelling, except for "nurish").

Vowel Shaired sound Pre-rhotic long monophthong Extra sound
a /æ/ arid, carry /ɑː/ starry, sari
e /e/ cherish, ferry /ɜː/ preferring
i /ɪ/ spirit, mirror /ɜː/ stirring
o /ɒ,BrE ɔːAmE/ forest, torrid /ɔː/ abhorring
/ɔː/ glory, scoring
BrE, ɑːAmE/ sorry
u /ʌ,BrE ɜːAmE/ nurish, hurry /ɜː/ furry
y /ɪ/ lyric, Pyrrho /ɜː/ myrrhic

Alternativ 1: "VrV" is the long monophtong, "VrrV" is shaired sound

  • arrid, carry, stary, stáred, stáring, sari

Alternativ 2: "VrV" is the shaired sound, "VrrV" is the long monophthong

  • arid, cary, starry, starred, starring, sarri.

Note that in allternativ 1 the past tense of "star" must be "stáred" (or even "stard", but we discárded it) becáus "stared" is the old spelling of "staired". Similarly for "stáring" and the old spelling of stairing.

Belo we show the relativ freequencis of wurds (actually, invented values), and calcuelate scores.

Allternativ 1 = 145
"Vr" Freequency Score "Vrr" Freequency Score
/ær/ Vrr arid-->arrid 100 100 carry 200 0
/ɑːr/ Vr sari 0.00001 0 starry-->stary 20 1×20=20
starred-->stáred 10 1×10=10

starring-->stáring
5 1×5=5

We giv the score 1 for the stress marks in "stáred" and "stáring".

Allternativ 2 = 200
"Vr" Freequency Score "Vrr" Freequency Score
/ær/ Vr arid 100 0 carry-->cary 200 1×200=200
/ɑːr/ Vrr sari-->sarri 0.00001 1×0.00001≅0 starry, starred, starring 20 0

We must select allternative 1, even it has the drawbacks of "stáred" and "stáring".

Fienal taeble, except for O[edit]

The preevious section produeces this taeble.

Vowel Pre-rhotic diphthong Shaired sound Pre-rhotic long monophthong Extra sound
a /eə/ squair, scairy /æ/ arrid, carry /ɑː/ start, star, stáred, stáring, stary, sari
e /ɪə/ near, peeriod /e/ cherrish, ferry /ɜː/ prefér, preférd, preféring,
i /aɪə/ fiir, admiirer /ɪ/ spirrit, mirror /ɜː/ stir, stírd, stiring /aɪ/ viirus
o /ɒ,BrE ɔːAmE/ forest, torid /ɔː/ north, abhor, abhorring
/ɔː/ force, glory, scoring
BrE, ɑːAmE/ sorry
u /jʊə, ʊə/ cuer, cuerius /ʌ,BrE ɜːAmE/ hurry, nurrish /ɜː/ nurse, fur, fúry
y /aɪə/ lyre /ɪ/ lyrric /ɜː/ myr /aɪ/ byroad

The way to represent the sounds for O requires additional decisions. Since we alredy gave up to represent the FORCE vowel, we won’t consider north vs. foerce.

Glory, torrid, sorry[edit]

Here we need to define the spelling patterns for the following combinations

  • /ɔː/: north, force, glory, abhor, abhorring, score, scoring, roar, roaring
  • /ɒ,BrE ɔːAmE/: forest, torrid
  • /ɒ,BrE ɑːAmE/: sorry

"North" forces us to use "Vr". This implies "forrest" and "torrid". For "sorry" we must select a vowel digraph. "Oa" and "ao" could work: "soarry" or "saorry". We'll keep "soarry".

"O" is the only vowel that can have majic e: squaire, meer, fiir, score/abhor/roar, cuer.

Final table[edit]

Vowel Pre-rhotic diphthong Shaired sound Pre-rhotic long monophthong Extra sound
a /eə/ squair, scairy, stairing /æ/ arrid, carry /ɑː/ start, star, stáred, stáring, stary, sari
e /ɪə/ near, peeriod /e/ cherrish, ferry /ɜː/ prefér, preférd, preféring,
i /aɪə/ fiir, admiirer /ɪ/ spirrit, mirror /ɜː/ stir, stírd, stiring /aɪ/ viirus
o /ɒ,BrE ɔːAmE/ forrest, torrid /ɔː/ north, abhor, abhoring
/ɔː/ force, glory, score, scoring
BrE, ɑːAmE/ soarry
u /jʊə, ʊə/ cuer, cuerius, fuery /ʌ,BrE ɜːAmE/ hurry, nurrish /ɜː/ nurse, fur, fúry
y /aɪə/ lyre /ɪ/ lyrric /ɜː/ myr /aɪ/ byroad

"I" and "y"[edit]

Currently we have this taeble, that must be disambigueáeted.

Letter /ɪ/ /ɪs/ /ɪ, iː/ /ɪz, iːz/ /aɪ/
i kit thesis taxi taxis mind, alibi, alibis
ie N/A N/A movie studies applies
y myth abyss study henrys cycle, apply

One solúetion is to uze "i" as /ɪ/ and "y" as /aɪ/.

  • i: kit, taxi, taxis, mith, studi, studis, henri, henris, thesiss
  • y: cycle, apply, applies (or applys), mynd, aliby, alibies (or alibys)

The letter "y" is often used (in newspáepers and Weekeepéedia) to represent the /aɪ/ sound. However, more words have /ɪ/. Belóe we see the words that have "y" as a vowel in mid-position in the 2800 moest common Inglish wurds.

  • /ɪ/: system, analysis, physical, typical, symptom, analyst, symbol
Not counted: anything, everything, everyone, anyone, anywhere, everywhere, anymore
  • /aɪ/: myself, cycle, hypothesis, psychological

In addítion, it's probably not a guud iedeea to have "y" boeth as a consonant and as a vowel.

We can invént a new diegraph, which tentativly would repláce "i" as /aɪ/, but it allso cuud repláce "y". The American Literacy Council selected "ie", although probably "ii" is a better choice.

Pattern Staeje 1 Stage 4
/ɪ/ /aɪ/ /ɪ/ /aɪ/
i kit, taxi, taxis, studis N/A kit, taxi, taxiz, mith, studi, studiz N/A
ie N/A miend, alibie, alibies N/A miend, alibie, alibies, siekl, aplíe, aplíez
y myth, study N/A N/A N/A
pending N/A cycle, apply, applies N/A N/A

"Y" as /aɪ/[edit]

In this section our aim is to have as little chaenjes as possible to tradítional spelling.

Final "y" as /aɪ/[edit]

A word with stressed "y" like apply cuud be spelled applý or applíe.

Final unstressed "y" is the happY vowel. Wurds such as modify cuud be spelled "modifii" (standard) or "modifye" (one letter of diffrence with current spelling).

Score: chaenje one letter: 1 (we don't consíder stress marks as chaenjes); insért one letter: 1; stressed and unstressed are diffrent: -1.

Alltérnativ Examples Score
1st wurd 2nd wurd Diffrent Total
ý, ie applý, modifie 0 2 1 3
ý, ye applý, modifye 0 1 1 2
íe, ie applíe, modifie 2 2 0 4
íe, ye applíe, modifye 2 1 1 4

We select applý and modifye.

Non-final "y" as /aɪ/[edit]

In this case "y" is not available (it's uzed in myth) and "ye" is not a guud choice. "Cyecle" not oenly sugésts /saɪkəl/, but also /sjekəl/. We can uze "iy" (score 2, one insertion and new pattern).

  • miyssélf, ciycle, hiypóthessis, psiycolójical.

Allternativ: "ie" (score 2, one replaesment and one insértion).

We select "ie", or else we will have too meny patterns.

  • miessélf, ciecle, hiepóthessis, psiecológical.

Fienal table for "i" and "y"[edit]

Pattern Non-final Stressed fienal Stressed fienal plural or third person Unstressed final Unstressed final plural or third person
"i" /ɪ/ kit N/A N/A /ɪ, iː/ taxi /ɪz, iːz/ taxis
"ie" /aɪ/ miend, ciecle /aɪ/ hie, phie /aɪz/ phies /aɪ/ alibie /aɪz/ alibies
"y" /ɪ/ myth /aɪ/ try, applý "ies" /aɪz/ tries, applíes /ɪ, iː/ study "is" /ɪz, iːz/ studis
"ye" N/A guudbýe guudbíes /aɪ/ modifye "ies" /aɪz/ modifies

The same taeble can be arraenjed in this way:

Pattern Non-final Stressed fienal Unstressed final
"i" /ɪ/ kit N/A /ɪ, iː/ taxi
"ie" /aɪ/ miend, ciecle /aɪ/ hie /aɪ/ alibie
"y" /ɪ/ myth /aɪ/ try, applý /ɪ, iː/ study
"ye" N/A N/A /aɪ/ modifye
Final "is" N/A N/A /ɪz, iːz/ taxis, studis
Final "ies" N/A /aɪz/ phies, tries, applíes /aɪz/ modifies, alibies

"Vthe#"[edit]

We cuud invent a rule that "the" at the end of the word and precéeded by a vowel sounds /ð/. This wuud wurk for many words such as baethe, breathe, cloethe, soothe and teethe, with no exceptions. However this rule wuud force us to have anudher rule that sed that the -ing form of "breathe" is "breadhing". In staeje 1 we have the complicáeted rule, and in staeje 2, instead of having wurds chaenjing their stems, we decíeded to use "dh", as in baedhe, breadhe, cloedhe.

/g/[edit]

Most wurds spelled with "ge", "gi" and "gy" are pronounced with /dʒ/. This means that the least chaenjes wuud be done if we invent a new spelling for /g/+"e", /g/+"i", and /g/+"y", for example, "gh" as in the traditional spelling of "ghetto" and "ghost". In all cases we can have "gg" as in "mugger" or "foggy". We allso need to differéntiate between "anger", "danger" and "hanger". For example "angger", "daenjer" and "hanger".

1a: /ge/ = "ghe" 1b: /ge/ = "ghe, gge" 1c: /ge/ = "gge" 2a: /ge/ = "ge" 2b: get, jeneral
/g/+"a", "o", "u" ga game, gard, goat, ghoest, gun
/g/+"e", "i", "y" (allways) ghe, ghi, ghy ghet, ghest, toghedher, anggher ghetto, ghiv, ghiede, beghín, narghily gge, ggi, ggy gget, ggest, mugger, toggedher, angger, ggiv, ggiede, foggier, drugging, beggín, narggily, foggy ge, gi, gy get, togedher, gest, angger, giv, begín, gide, nargily
/g/+"e", "i", "y" (beginning) ghe, ghi, ghy ghet, ghest, ghiv, ghiede ge, gi, gy get, gest, giv, gide
/g/+"e", "i", "y" (middle) gge, ggi, ggy mugger, foggier, drugging, foggy gge, ggi, ggy mugger, toggedher, angger, foggier, drugging, beggín, foggy gge, ggi, ggy mugger, foggier, drugging, foggy gge, ggi, ggy mugger, toggedher, angger, foggier, drugging, beggín, narggily, foggy
/g/+"e", "i" (exceptional) gh ghetto, narghily gh ghetto gh ghetto gh ghetto
/ŋ/ ng hanger ng hanger ng hanger ng hanger ng hanger
/gh/ g-h dog-house, long-horn g-h dog-house, long-horn gh doghouse, longhorn gh doghouse, longhorn gh doghouse, longhorn
/dʒ/+"a", "o", "u" ja jacket, marjaréene, marjarin, job, just
/dʒ/+"e", "i", "y" (allways) je/ge, ji/gi, jy/gy jet, general, exagerate, daenjer, jigsaw, gieant, gym, energy je, ji, jy jet, jeneral, exajerate, daenjer, jigsaw, jieant, jym, enerjy, bridje, caeje, garbij
/dʒ/+"e", "i", "y" (initial) je, ji, jy jet, jeneral, jigsaw, jieant, jym
/dʒ/+"e", "i", "y" (middle) ge, gi, gy exagerate, daenjer, energy
/dʒ/ (at the end) ge, dge bridge, cage, garbage ge, dge bridge, cage, garbage
Rules for readers
  • 1: "j" = /dʒ/; "gg" = /g/; "ga", "go", "gu" = /g/; "ge", "gi", "gy" = /dʒ/
  • 1a, 1b: "ghe", "ghi", "ghy" = /g/
  • 2: "j" = /dʒ/; "g", "gg" = /g/
Rules for spellers
  • 1: /dʒ/ = "ja", "ge", "gi", "jo", "ju", "jy" (exceptionally "je", "ji"); /g/ = "ga", "go", "gu", "gga", "ggo", "ggu"
  • 1a: /g/ "ghe", "ghi", "ghy" (exceptionally "gge", "ggi", "ggy")
  • 1b: /g/ "gh" at the beginning of the word, "gg" in the middle of the word
  • 1c: /g/ "gge", "ggi", "ggy"
  • 2: /dʒ/ is "j"; /g/ is "g" or "gg"

Rules for alltérnativ 1 are very complicáted, eeven if they jenerate fewer chaenjes. We chose alltérnativ 2 for its simplícity, and becáus "ghet", "gget" and "hang-er" are more straenje than "jeneral".

With rule 2b consísts in uzing "ge", "gi", "gy" as /g/ oenly at the beginning of the wurd. The rules get very complicated, but dhere wuud be very few modified wurds, and "gget" or "ghet" are not uzed.

Rules for readers
  • "j" = /dʒ/; "gg" = /g/; "ga", "go", "gu" = /g/; "ge", "gi", "gy" = /g/ at the beginning of the wurd and /dʒ/ elswhere
Rules for spellers
  • Pending

In this case we wuud have allternating consonants, such as jenerate-degénerate.

Fienal rule[edit]

In stage 1 we select 2b; In stage 2 we seléct 2a.

Curent spelling Stage 1: 2b get, jeneral Stage 2: 2a /ge/ = "ge"
ga, go, gu game, gard, goat, gun game, gard, goat, goest, gun, getoe, dinggy
gh ghetto, dinghy, narghily, ghoest N/A
/g/+"e", /g/+"i" get, toggedher, gest, angger, giv, beggín, gide, nargily get, togedher, gest, angger, giv, begín, gide, nargily
gge, ggi, ggy mugger, foggier, drugging, foggy mugger, foggier, drugging, foggy
ng=/ŋ/ hanger hanger
/gh/ doghouse, longhorn doghouse, longhorn
ja, jo, ju jacket, marjaréene, marjarin, job, just jacket, marjaréene, marjarin, job, just
je, ge jet, general, exagerate, daenjer, engáge jet, jeneral, exajerate, daenjer, engáej
age manage manij
ji, gi jigsaw, jieant jigsaw, jieant
jy, gy jym, enerjy jym, enerjy
ge#, dge# bridge, cage brij, caej

Lightgreen indicates a flipflop wurd, a wurd that revérts to its original spelling.

The "age" rule applies also to suffixes.

Spelling IPA Egzáomple Spelling IPA Egzáomple Spelling IPA Egzáomple
age /ɪdʒ/ manage aje /eɪdʒ/ engáje, staje azh /ɑːʒ/ espionazh
ages /ɪdʒɪz/ manages ajes /eɪdʒɪz/ engájes, stajes agis /əgɪz/
aged /ɪdʒd/ managed ajed /eɪdʒd/ engájed, stajed agged /əgd, ægd/ zigzagged
aging /ɪdʒɪŋ/ managing ajing /eɪdʒɪŋ/ engájing, stajing agging /əgɪŋ, ægɪŋ/ zigzagging
ager /ɪdʒər/ manager ajer /eɪdʒər/ teenajer agger /əgər, ægər/ zigzagger
agest /ɪdʒɪst/ savagest ajest /eɪdʒɪst/ sajest aggest /əgɪst/