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(Mental Floss)   12 letters that didn't mæke the alphabet   (mentalfloss.com) divider line 99
    More: Interesting, ETH-Zurich, Latin alphabet, Middle English  
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11823 clicks; posted to Geek » on 16 Dec 2012 at 9:26 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-12-16 04:08:28 PM

Gunter glieben glauchen globen: English is a clean-looking language without any diacritical marks, which is why I hate when Wikipedia articles use them, even in foreign names. Nevertheless, think of how much easier English would be if we made only one alphabetic change: adding schwa.

[twimg0-a.akamaihd.net image 200x200]


How do I write it in longhand script & what does the capital of schwa look like (insert some punctuation here that didn't make it)
 
2012-12-16 04:09:34 PM

flaminio: [www.ebook3000.com image 221x300]


Came here for this!

Also, for "www.website..." I say "wuh wuh wuh" takes care of the syllables and it's fairly clear although it makes people giggle.
 
2012-12-16 04:16:58 PM

flaminio: There are still too many letters. C, Q, and X are obvious candidates for elimination -- each of those can be replaced by other letters (k & s for c; kw for q, z and ks for x).


C is interesting. The alphabet came to us from the Greeks via the Etruscans and then the Romans (among others). The Greeks used the third letter for the g sound (gamma), which the Etruscans didn't have, so they used the letter for the k sound. When the Romans inherited it from them they did have a k sound and used the third letter for that.

Then they needed a letter for the g sound so they took the shape of the existing c and just added line facing back into the curve, which is why a capital G looks sort of like a capital C. There's more to it than that but that's the jist of it.

/the more I learn about the alphabet, the more interesting it gets.
//how would you spell "change" without a c?
 
2012-12-16 04:19:55 PM
Ȝȝȝm. What was that? That was your life, mate. That was fast, do I get another?
 
2012-12-16 04:27:54 PM
I have seen the ae letter when I was in Denmark. Like in aegs (eggs). The girl who I was engaged to at the time was Danish and when I asked her how her last name was pronounced she said "You miss pronounce it because there are letters in Danish that aren't in English, one of those is in my name." It was the AE letter.

Though, æ and å in Danish (and other Scandinavian languages) have English counterparts (æ is just ae and å is actually aa) there is no direct translation of the Danish ø, like in their word øl (beer). Makes me wonder about those who immigrated to the US. Did they drop the ø from their names and accept the mispronunciation or did they change the spelling of their name to get it to sound correctly?
 
2012-12-16 04:30:20 PM
I only respect languages which include bilabial fricatives and/or alveolar clicks.
 
2012-12-16 04:30:39 PM

Ostman: flaminio: There are still too many letters. C, Q, and X are obvious candidates for elimination -- each of those can be replaced by other letters (k & s for c; kw for q, z and ks for x).

C is interesting. The alphabet came to us from the Greeks via the Etruscans and then the Romans (among others). The Greeks used the third letter for the g sound (gamma), which the Etruscans didn't have, so they used the letter for the k sound. When the Romans inherited it from them they did have a k sound and used the third letter for that.

Then they needed a letter for the g sound so they took the shape of the existing c and just added line facing back into the curve, which is why a capital G looks sort of like a capital C. There's more to it than that but that's the jist of it.

/the more I learn about the alphabet, the more interesting it gets.
//how would you spell "change" without a c?


Obama?
 
2012-12-16 04:31:21 PM

LordOfThePings: Ȝȝȝm. What was that? That was your life, mate. That was fast, do I get another?


Dammit, looks like I fell into the Unicode 1.0 trap. "ʓʓʓm. "
 
2012-12-16 05:04:38 PM
List is incomplete without tvordi znak and myakhi znak
 
2012-12-16 05:45:55 PM
Old friends there from my college days and far from obscure and out of use. Anyone who's ever worked with the IPA, the development of English or even calligraphy knows them. Hell, I use most of them when writing notes; they're just that much easier. Writing out "-ng" instead of "-ŋ" just feels weird anymore.

Probably something more that will be forgotten in a generation by the 'tards too stupid or ignorant to learn anything not found printed on keyboard keys, like cursive.
 
2012-12-16 05:51:28 PM
i really enjoyed that subby
 
2012-12-16 06:04:43 PM
The article about how English words got to be spelled strangely is a lot more interesting than this one. Explains why learning to spell is harder than it should be.
 
2012-12-16 06:17:56 PM
I'm gonna fix a tunaghoti sammich now.

"gh" from "enough."

"o" from "women."

"ti" from "nation."
 
2012-12-16 06:20:24 PM

Tax Boy: oldcub: I don't love the letter "W". Every other letter in the alphabet is one syllable, but "W" has three. To top it off, we were genius enough to put the nasty thing three times at the beginning of most web addresses.

[www.pmpnetwork.com image 850x960]

wubba wubba wubba 

/just saved you 33%

//a coworker says TriDub but he's weird


Do not wubba me or I will wubba you.
 
2012-12-16 06:30:07 PM
Mark but this flea, and mark in this,
How little that which thou deniest me is;
It ſucked me first, and now ſucks thee,
And in this flea our two bloods mingled be; 
 

This is how John Donne intended his poem to have been printed.
 
2012-12-16 06:52:35 PM
What about Derf?
 
2012-12-16 07:06:13 PM
s3.amazonaws.com

Not impressed.
 
2012-12-16 07:25:52 PM
From the article:

"voiced dental fricative"

Sounds like someone cussing through their teeth.
 
2012-12-16 07:52:22 PM

pjbreeze: Well a few of those are still used in the IPA. A thing Americans seem to forget or not know about.


Having drank many IPAs in my life, I have no idea what you are talking about.
 
2012-12-16 07:57:18 PM
FTFA:
And yet the modern lowercase s (then referred to as the "short s") was still used according to a complicated set of rules (but most usually seen at the end of a word), which led to many words (especially plurals) using both. For example, ſuperſtitous is how the word superstitious would have been printed.

They would have dropped the final "i"? Wow, that is a complicated set of rules.
 
2012-12-16 07:58:41 PM
Underachievers all.
 
2012-12-16 08:15:06 PM

czetie: FTA: Yogh stood for a sort of throaty noise that was common in Middle English words that sounded like the "ch" in "Bach" or Scottish "loch."

French scholars weren't fans of our weird non-Latin letters and started replacing all instances of yogh with "gh" in their texts. When the throaty sound turned into "f" in Modern English, the "gh"s were left behind.

I'm guessing that "lough", pronounced like "loch", is a hangover from this that retained both the "gh" spelling and the throaty sound.


I've seen articles where the name Menzies originally had a yogh in place of the z. Can still be pronounced Mingis in Scotland.
 
2012-12-16 08:25:59 PM
I always thought that these would be good replacements for "th" and "ch"
img9.imageshack.us
 
2012-12-16 08:29:08 PM

Great Janitor: I have seen the ae letter when I was in Denmark. Like in aegs (eggs). The girl who I was engaged to at the time was Danish and when I asked her how her last name was pronounced she said "You miss pronounce it because there are letters in Danish that aren't in English, one of those is in my name." It was the AE letter.

Though, æ and å in Danish (and other Scandinavian languages) have English counterparts (æ is just ae and å is actually aa) there is no direct translation of the Danish ø, like in their word øl (beer). Makes me wonder about those who immigrated to the US. Did they drop the ø from their names and accept the mispronunciation or did they change the spelling of their name to get it to sound correctly?


Was she hot?
 
2012-12-16 09:08:14 PM

Diogenes Teufelsdrockh: like cursive


I learned cursive. I haven't used cursive since High School.

Bad_Seed: This is how John Donne intended his poem to have been printed.


I love that poem.
 
2012-12-16 09:17:31 PM

czetie: FTA: the Old English runic alphabet, Futhark.

It died out because you had to pay 5 groats a month to use the total alphabet.


Came here for this, leaving satisfied.
 
2012-12-16 10:04:47 PM
As a native spanish speaker I really would have loved you kept your runic alphabet that latin chopped to the ground. That accent you hear from us? is all the fault of using an alphabet that simply does not have the sounds english has. I love spanish, but is an incredibly poor language regarding sounds, thats why we will always pronounce "Luke" and "look" the same.

If english was written with symbols that made those differences obvious, we would improve so much regarding accent, unfortunately you learn by reading most of the time, so we end up sounding the way we sound.
 
2012-12-16 10:47:36 PM

oldcub: Snarfangel: oldcub: I don't love the letter "W". Every other letter in the alphabet is one syllable, but "W" has three.

What about the five syllables in elemenope?

I've not heard of the "p" being part of that letter before.

4 letters, not 1


Got a book for you . . .

Ella Minnow Pea
 
2012-12-16 11:51:26 PM
& is still said in the alphabet... between Y and Z
 
2012-12-16 11:53:37 PM

eltejon: & is still said in the alphabet... between Y and Z


and it used to be a letter -- however your blanket assumption that everyone says "Y AND Z" is incorrect

/where is 'ellemeno,' we have 'doubleyoo' I want 'ellemeno' damnit!
 
2012-12-17 12:12:26 AM

mantidor: That accent you hear from us? is all the fault of using an alphabet that simply does not have the sounds english has. I love spanish, but is an incredibly poor language regarding sounds, thats why we will always pronounce "Luke" and "look" the same.


It also comes from not growing up making those sounds.

A word I like to use against non-native English speakers to test their skill is to have them pronounce "thistle". Having the 's' so closely follow the 'th' sound is really hard. It really should be spelled "ðisel".
 
2012-12-17 12:33:35 AM
Futhark. Futhark. Futhark. What everyone else says plus Futhark everyone.
 
2012-12-17 12:41:48 AM

oldcub: I don't love the letter "W". Every other letter in the alphabet is one syllable, but "W" has three. To top it off, we were genius enough to put the nasty thing three times at the beginning of most web addresses.


I never say "double you double you double you" when giving out a web address because 99% of the time the www. is the only place at that domain and people should know the damn internet works this way.

I also don't say the dots ever. And I pronounce .co.uk as "co uck" and .ac.de as "ack dee" and so on cos I come from an age when people knew how the internet worked.
 
2012-12-17 12:43:08 AM

ubermensch: casual disregard: oldcub: I don't love the letter "W". Every other letter in the alphabet is one syllable, but "W" has three. To top it off, we were genius enough to put the nasty thing three times at the beginning of most web addresses.

dub dub dub dot fark dot com

/solved

"World wide web dot fark dot com". 7 syllables. Can't get much shorter.


Fark com. In two.
 
2012-12-17 12:46:12 AM

mantidor: If english was written with symbols that made those differences obvious, we would improve so much regarding accent, unfortunately you learn by reading most of the time, so we end up sounding the way we sound.


Have you tried to learn the IPA for English dialects? It has something like 170 symbols. You also presume that an English word is pronounced the same everywhere. Words aren't even pronounced the same within one country, let alone internationally (easy examples: schedule, tomato, scone).

I can think of four legit ways to pronounce "schedule":

Shedyool
Shejyool
Skedyool
Skejyool

Whenever people (not you, other people) say we should spell everything phonetically they always seem to mean "spell phonetically how a newscaster in America would say it".
 
2012-12-17 12:46:50 AM

Hawnkee: I only respect languages which include bilabial fricatives and/or alveolar clicks.


My bunghole says thanks for your respect.
 
2012-12-17 12:48:41 AM

nekom: I want a glottal stop, dammit!


You mean this: ⟨ʔ⟩ ?
 
2012-12-17 12:50:17 AM

Suckmaster Burstingfoam: I come from an age when people knew how the internet worked.


Before all the cats?
 
2012-12-17 12:52:12 AM

LordOfThePings: Suckmaster Burstingfoam: I come from an age when people knew how the internet worked.

Before all the cats?


OK, some innovations were positive.

Back in my day porn jogs were
 
2012-12-17 12:52:48 AM

Suckmaster Burstingfoam: LordOfThePings: Suckmaster Burstingfoam: I come from an age when people knew how the internet worked.

Before all the cats?

OK, some innovations were positive.

Back in my day porn jogs were


...under 10 kB
 
2012-12-17 04:59:56 AM

FizixJunkee: nekom: I want a glottal stop, dammit!

You mean this: ⟨ʔ⟩ ?


I LIKE INTERROBANGS ‽

! * ' ' #
^ @ ` $ $ -
! * ' $ , _
% * #4
& ) . . /
| { ~ ~ System Halted

pronounced
Waka Waka bang splat tick tick hash
Caret at back-tick dollar dollar dash
Bang splat tick dollar comma under_score
Percent splat waka waka number four
Ampersand right-paren dot dot slash
Vertical-bar curly_bracket tilde tilde CRASH
 
2012-12-17 07:27:28 AM

teto85: I'm gonna fix a tunaghoti sammich now.

"gh" from "enough."

"o" from "women."

"ti" from "nation."


And "tuna" from "tuna", apparently.
 
2012-12-17 09:29:41 AM

croesius: Guuberre: I'm pumped about ethel.

Don't look!


It's too late.
 
2012-12-17 10:13:05 AM
www.mentalfloss.com

Full of Wynn.
 
2012-12-17 10:23:49 AM
www.totalprosports.com

And I said, "DON'T LOOK, ETHEL"...

images.mentalfloss.com

...too late. She looked.
 
2012-12-17 11:30:36 AM
So, in addition to killing his dad and farking his mom, Oedipus was guaranteed that people would never spell his name correctly?
 
2012-12-17 08:51:06 PM

oldcub: I don't love the letter "W". Every other letter in the alphabet is one syllable, but "W" has three. To top it off, we were genius enough to put the nasty thing three times at the beginning of most web addresses.


That's two syllables, not three.
 
2012-12-17 09:01:26 PM

Ostman: //how would you spell "change" without a c?


xange
 
2012-12-19 06:40:12 PM

turbocucumber: The further south you go in Germany, the throatier the sound gets, extremely so in certain Swiss German dialects. Speakers not used to it think that it must hurt in the throat, which it doesn't if done properly.

 
 
So, going south in Germany is much like going north in Britain. 
 
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