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coffeesp00ns  ·  459 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Hubski, I have a language question

the question your comment brings up to me is how many dead ends (that stick around, of course, who knows what has staying power?) does it take for written language and spoken language to diverge, and what do you do when that happens? This is something English has had a continual problem with for a LOT of reasons, and for a very, very long time. Indeed, it goes back to a point where English is definably "English", and not "that weird Old High German/Cornish hybrid the locals use."

See, English was not a "written" language, per se, for a long time. Like, it had an alphabet, and you could use it to write English words, but all the people who spoke english on the daily were either illiterate, or wrote in Latin or French (the two court languages, because England had french kings). What little that is written down in english is mostly transcripts. As a result, our written language and our spoken language were very close (and words were often spelled how they sounded).

but as we wrote in english more often, and people like Mulcaster and Cawdrey are starting to write "dictionaries" that are setting spellings more in stone, written language starts to seize up, while spoken language remains fluid. Our two ways of communicating start to diverge. Eventually, they can potentially separate. We know this, because it's already happened in Japanese and Chinese, and we also know it's started to happen in English because of how you basically have to "learn a new language" to write an essay. It's because in some ways you are, and it's not just all down to the academic/casual split.

Look at what you do so often on here - how many comments of several thousand words have you written here that are not just well written, but also cited? How about over the course of your history on the internet? But none of these is an "essay". I'd argue the only real reason why is that you're writing more like how you speak, and less like how you're "supposed" to write. That differentiation shows the seams between out written language and our spoken one.


Yooj's real problem is, as has been linked elsewhere in the thread, is that it uses a phoneme that english doesn't have a letter combination to describe. There's a phonetic symbol, "ʒ" that you can use, but then you have to find whatever unicode number that symbol is, memorize it, and type it in.

At the end of the day, my question is, though the lens of "Usʒ", how do we use what letters we have to write down this phoneme? English is as stripped back as germanic languages get. We have no accents, we have no real genders, we have almost as few letters in our alphabet as we can get away with (we could probably lose C if you wanted to fight about it). It's incredibly unlikely that we'll add a special symbol just for a phoneme - So with that in mind, how do we deal with "ʒ"?

That's what I'm trying to get into, i guess.