Thursday, 22 March 2012

...People Tried To Make English Easier.

What I mean is that there was a movement to try and make reading and writing the english language easier. I've often heard that english is the hardest language to learn. Can't find anything that says this is true or not, but I bet it's up there. Most of us have taken french and I took a few years of spanish, and one thing I can tell you that makes them easier to learn is the set rules it has. In spanish a letter is pronounced the same no matter what. The letter 'c' is always said like "coo", always. Where in english it could be "coo" or "caa", paired with an 'h' its "kri" (christ) or "chur" (church).

Good one! LOL
As far back as 1768, Benjamin Franklin went to work on making it easier. He wrote a phonetic Alfabet where he took out the c, j, q, w, x and added 6 new consonants. The new letters were to replace consonant combinations, like the 'ch' listed above. Melville Dewey (of decimal system fame) also tried it along with Mark Twain. George Bernard Shaw left money in his will as a prize for whoever could make it work. His famous example is the word 'ghoti'. With our current understanding its pronounced 'fish', can you figure it out? The 'gh' as in 'rough', 'o' as in 'women', and 'ti' as in mention'. Although I think that is stretching it a bit too phar.

Stick to electricity Ben.
These attempts did make some progress. It's why the Americans no longer put the 'u' in 'colour' or 'odour', 'ph' has been changed to 'f' (sulfur, not sulphur), and a 'z' instead of an 's' (realize not realise). We Canadians of course are caught in the middle, going back and forth between the two. The reforms, if implemented, would help and make sense but we've been used to the way things are for too long now. Like the QWERTY keyboard. It's actually terribly inefficient. Originally it was layout different, it worked so well that typists kept jamming up the typebars. The layout was rearranged to slow it down, but at this point we are so used to it that changing it would suck.

Y'all betta read dis here book.
Bonus Fact: The rule 'i before e, except after c' isn't taught anymore. There are more instances where the rule doesn't apply as opposed to where it does.

And that is what I learned today.

-19th century uses for vinegar
-When you think a show is going to be boring, sometimes it isn't. 

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