Non-English Orthography Reform

A forum for discussing linguistics or just languages in general.
MoonRightRomantic
cuneiform
cuneiform
Posts: 142
Joined: Thu 11 Feb 2016, 23:22

Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by MoonRightRomantic » Wed 14 Sep 2016, 16:06

I can see the benefits of recreating the hanzi inventory from scratch based on how modern Mandarin is spoken. However, I am against a composition model and favor writing the semanto-phonetic components independently. The advantage of this is that it would be much easier to create new morphemes if you can write the semanto-phonetic components next to each other linearly rather than combine them into a separate grapheme. This is the reason why Cuneiform and Hieroglyphics rarely exceeded an inventory of one thousand graphemes whereas modern Hanzi includes tens of thousands.
clawgrip
MVP
MVP
Posts: 2395
Joined: Sun 24 Jun 2012, 06:33
Location: Tokyo

Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by clawgrip » Wed 14 Sep 2016, 16:34

I think it's sort of a matter of perspective. For example, Korean has only 50 or so signs, but they can be arranged into over 10,000 unique syllable blocks. This new form of Hanzi I am creating for some reason is similar, though more complex: it employs 413 phonetic complements (I think that's the total number of possible syllables in Mandarin, excluding tones) and probably a bit over 100 semantic radicals (so let's say 130 as an estimate), for a total of 543 signs, lower than Egyptian or Cuneiform. The way they fit together is entirely predictable, since each radical will have a single set location at which it must appear within a character. Theoretically, this would result in a total of 53,690 possible characters, except that the majority of radicals will only use a few phonetic complements. As an example, let's look at the phonetic complement 皆, mentioned above. Since there are approximately 130 radicals, the 皆 should theoretically appear in 130 characters, but in actuality it would only be used for 15 characters (奒, 揩, 鐦, 開, 凱, 塏, 愷, 慨, 暟, 楷, 蒈, 豂, 鍇 or 鎧, 闓, 颽), because there are not 130 morphemes in Mandarin pronounced "kai".

There is very little difference between 門开 and 開 or between 伴 and 人半. Naturally, the only added difficulty is in learning the positions of the radicals (門 is a kamae surrounding radical, while 人 is a hen left-side radical, forgive me for using Japanese terminology) and the differing appearance between some independent characters and their associated radicals, e.g. that 人 as a radical is 亻. This is relatively easily learned, though, I think.
MoonRightRomantic
cuneiform
cuneiform
Posts: 142
Joined: Thu 11 Feb 2016, 23:22

Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by MoonRightRomantic » Wed 14 Sep 2016, 17:02

So creating new hanzi by combining two existing hanzi is not permitted? Any new hanzi must be coined using that limited set of semanto-phonetic components? That seems reasonable and it should be easy to implement such a composition model for computer fonts. Great idea!
User avatar
GrandPiano
runic
runic
Posts: 2455
Joined: Sun 11 Jan 2015, 23:22
Location: Ohio, USA

Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by GrandPiano » Wed 14 Sep 2016, 23:41

clawgrip wrote:开 = jian
Why? 开 (the simplified equivalent of 開) is pronounced kāi in Mandarin.
:eng: - Native
:chn: - B2
:esp: - A2
:jpn: - A2
clawgrip
MVP
MVP
Posts: 2395
Joined: Sun 24 Jun 2012, 06:33
Location: Tokyo

Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by clawgrip » Wed 14 Sep 2016, 23:53

I'm only working with traditional characters here. 开 is a simplification of 幵 jiān. Cf. 研 yán (*ŋɡeːn), 形 xíng (*ŋɡeːn), 刑 xíng (*ɡeːŋ) 邢 xíng (*ɡeːŋ), 鳽 yán, jiān. This complement may in fact be better as xing than jian. People more knowledgeable than I am can suggest the best complements.
MoonRightRomantic wrote:So creating new hanzi by combining two existing hanzi is not permitted? Any new hanzi must be coined using that limited set of semanto-phonetic components? That seems reasonable and it should be easy to implement such a composition model for computer fonts. Great idea!
That's the idea. Whether or not it would actually work remains to be seen.
User avatar
GrandPiano
runic
runic
Posts: 2455
Joined: Sun 11 Jan 2015, 23:22
Location: Ohio, USA

Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by GrandPiano » Thu 15 Sep 2016, 03:51

clawgrip wrote:I'm only working with traditional characters here. 开 is a simplification of 幵 jiān. Cf. 研 yán (*ŋɡeːn), 形 xíng (*ŋɡeːn), 刑 xíng (*ɡeːŋ) 邢 xíng (*ɡeːŋ), 鳽 yán, jiān. This complement may in fact be better as xing than jian. People more knowledgeable than I am can suggest the best complements.
Oh, I see. Never realized that before.
:eng: - Native
:chn: - B2
:esp: - A2
:jpn: - A2
MoonRightRomantic
cuneiform
cuneiform
Posts: 142
Joined: Thu 11 Feb 2016, 23:22

Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by MoonRightRomantic » Fri 14 Oct 2016, 14:06

clawgrip wrote:I'm only working with traditional characters here. 开 is a simplification of 幵 jiān. Cf. 研 yán (*ŋɡeːn), 形 xíng (*ŋɡeːn), 刑 xíng (*ɡeːŋ) 邢 xíng (*ɡeːŋ), 鳽 yán, jiān. This complement may in fact be better as xing than jian. People more knowledgeable than I am can suggest the best complements.
MoonRightRomantic wrote:So creating new hanzi by combining two existing hanzi is not permitted? Any new hanzi must be coined using that limited set of semanto-phonetic components? That seems reasonable and it should be easy to implement such a composition model for computer fonts. Great idea!
That's the idea. Whether or not it would actually work remains to be seen.
Now that I think about it... having ~400 distinct syllabograms, before adding radicals, might be a bit much. Perhaps these could be build up from bopomofo or similar phonograms a la Hangul? The shídīng wénzì and Xiě Yùn conscripts use a similar scheme.

Under this scheme each block would consist of, maximally, radical+C+G+V+X+T. The phonology would be Mandarin, so when adopted wholesale to represent other languages these would become heterograms (same semantic value, different phonetic value). Since a composition model is used it would be easy to build new words and to add new phonograms for other Sino-Tibetan languages.
User avatar
GamerGeek
greek
greek
Posts: 853
Joined: Wed 17 May 2017, 17:10
Location: The Universe
Contact:

Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by GamerGeek » Wed 24 May 2017, 19:18

Maybe I should have searched before making this...
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=6135
Playing the biggest game of Chinese telephone is fun.
MoonRightRomantic
cuneiform
cuneiform
Posts: 142
Joined: Thu 11 Feb 2016, 23:22

Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by MoonRightRomantic » Fri 27 Oct 2017, 21:12

It's been a while since this topic was revisited, but I found a conscript called Hanyinwen that uses a similar scheme to the proposed Chinese spelling reform a couple posts above. Hanyinwen is written phonemically in syllable blocks similar to Hangul (like several of the neighboring Chinese conscripts), but a few logographs are used to distinguish homophones when unclear in context. It still does not fill the niche of a ~400 syllabogram system, so I still look forward to seeing that someday.

On another note, I noticed that Pahawh Hmong has a series of diacritics which are used inconsistently. Wikipedia and Omniglot are completely inaccurate and don't explain the three spelling reforms it underwent, but the unicode proposal explains the rime system. While the rime system became entirely regular, the onset system still suffers from completely inconsistent diacritics. The final reform might have fixed that but I cannot find any information about it on the internet.
User avatar
Fluffy8x
cuneiform
cuneiform
Posts: 88
Joined: Mon 28 Apr 2014, 05:38
Contact:

Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by Fluffy8x » Sat 28 Oct 2017, 01:29

Unpopular answer, but reintroduce hanja to Korean orthography.
an siina levian t'isorakateez
Porphyrogenitos
cuneiform
cuneiform
Posts: 191
Joined: Sat 21 Jul 2012, 07:01
Location: Buffalo, NY

Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by Porphyrogenitos » Sun 29 Oct 2017, 00:01

I don't know if this has been shared here before, but back in the 1800s there was a phonetic script created by Protestant missionaries in China for Shanghainese, which was later expanded to accommodate Mandarin and other dialects. Here are a few images:

Image

Image

Image

More images and information can be found at this blog post.
User avatar
Omzinesý
mayan
mayan
Posts: 2382
Joined: Fri 27 Aug 2010, 07:17
Location: nowhere [naʊhɪɚ]

Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by Omzinesý » Mon 16 Apr 2018, 13:51

I find the distinction between <ш> and <щ> quite redundant in Russian and minor languages based on its orthography. The distinction could be just marked in the vowel like that of all other consonants. Word-final <щ> could just be <шь>.

Velar, palatal
ша, шя
шэ, ше
шы, ши
шу, шю
шо, шё
User avatar
Vlürch
sinic
sinic
Posts: 215
Joined: Wed 09 Mar 2016, 21:19
Location: Finland
Contact:

Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by Vlürch » Tue 17 Apr 2018, 22:16

Finnish in Cyrillic, which only has a one-letter difference from an orthography that I'm definitely not the first to have come up with (using <ҥ> instead of <ң> or <нг>), with also a very minor phonological reform:

/m n ŋ/ <м н ҥ>
/p (b) t d k (g)/ <п б т д к г>
/t͡s (t͡ʃ) (d͡ʒ)/ <ц ч дж>
/s ((z)) (ʃ) ((ʒ))/ <с з ш ж>
/(f) ʋ j h/ <ф в й х>
/r/ <р>
/l/ <л>

/ɑ æ e i o ø u y/ <а ә э~е и о ө у ү>
/ɑː æː eː iː oː øː uː yː/ <аа әә ээ ий оо өө уў үү>
/jɑ jæ je jo jø ju jy/ <я я е ё ё ю ю>, with long vowels being written eg. <яа яә юў юү>
Diphthongs ending in /i u/ are written with <й ў> respectively.

Sounds in parentheses are obviously ones only in loanwords, and double parentheses are sounds that are extremely rare even in loanwords. Basically nothing changes there, but this tiny change that you may have already noticed due to it not being in parentheses: /ts/ -> /t͡s/, because why not?

Something random that's supposed to be somewhat funny, simply to demonstrate how it would look:

Кеҥәт яласса вой олла вайкеа уйда, муттей паляйн ялойн юоксукаан ихан хелппоа оле. Сикси онкин тәркеәә муйстаа эттә палясялкайнен куўлайнен (эли куўсса сүнтүнүт я касванут ихминен) сааттаа войттаа маалайсен (эли маасса сүнтүнээн я касванээн ихмисен) куўси-нолла куўлапүссүйлүссә.

Translation: It may be hard to swim with shoes on, but it's not that easy to run with bare feet either. That's why it's important to remember that a barefoot Mooner (a person born and raised on the Moon) may beat a barefoot Earther (a person born and raised on the Earth) six-zero in airsoft.

The funny thing is that the logical English translation of "kuulainen" is "mooner", which has an entirely different meaning but still works as a punny reference to someone from the Moon; in Finnish "kuulainen" also means something with marbles or by extension bullets (since that's a secondary meaning of "kuula", and especially works as a pun on airsoft guns because they're called "kuulapyssy").

And yeah, I thought of that Moon stuff because I saw the posts by MoonRightRomantic previously in this thread and that username struck me as really aesthetic (no, not in the vaporwave sense... I think?)
User avatar
Omzinesý
mayan
mayan
Posts: 2382
Joined: Fri 27 Aug 2010, 07:17
Location: nowhere [naʊhɪɚ]

Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by Omzinesý » Thu 19 Apr 2018, 13:32

Where is Finnish written with Cyrillic? I've never seen such. Even Karelian is written which Romance.
User avatar
Vlürch
sinic
sinic
Posts: 215
Joined: Wed 09 Mar 2016, 21:19
Location: Finland
Contact:

Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by Vlürch » Fri 20 Apr 2018, 17:36

Omzinesý wrote:
Thu 19 Apr 2018, 13:32
Where is Finnish written with Cyrillic? I've never seen such. Even Karelian is written which Romance.
It's not, but you can find stuff online. Usually it's in contexts where Russians are learning Finnish, in which case an absolutely awful orthography is used, including <я ё ю> for <ä ö y>, and problems with <sh> pop up, often incorrectly transliterated as <ш> over the assumption that that's the sound it represents (since it does represent that too now... ugh, that's one of the reasons I'm strongly opposed to getting rid of <š>), but there are also Finns using a variety of Cyrillic orthographies occasionally for whatever purpose (I've posted a few supposedly funny Cyrillic Finnish ramblings on VK myself, just for fun lol; I've used the exact orthography above except, again, with <ң> even though <ҥ> is cooler (and actually <э> in all cases, <е> only for <je>) because I remember seeing that exact orthography used by someone else somewhere; I think it was some blog, but I don't remember and don't know how to go about finding it again).

Personally, I'd support a standardised Cyrillic Finnish orthography; not on street signs or anything like that, and definitely not for political purposes, but it would be better to have a Cyrillic orthography as an alternative since it would make it easier for Russian immigrants to learn Finnish... which, okay, I guess may be a political purpose, but well. The most important thing would be that it'd look cool and just for educational purposes, since practically all Finns I know (I obviously don't know all Finns, and not all are like this, but... most) who have ever had any interest in learning Russian have said that the hardest part about it is the alphabet... when it's literally like 90% identical to the Latin alphabet. They literally never got past the "alien alphabet" and gave up. I learned to read Cyrillic in a month or so at most, albeit more through Kazakh than Russian so it could be that it was easier since the wide phonemic correspondences are closer (eg. having /æ/, /ø/ and /y/ or at least sounds corresponding to them nicely)... but whatever, the point is that most Finns can't read Cyrillic and I think that's pretty sad.

Weird Latin:

/m n (ŋ)/ <m n ñ>
/p b t d k g/ <p b t d k ȷ>
/kʷ gʷ/ <kƿ ȷƿ>
/s z/ <s z>
/f j w h/ <ⱷ y ƿ h>
/r/ <r>
/l/ <l>

/a ɛ ɪ ɔ ʊ/ <a e i o u>
/aː eː iː oː uː/ <ą ę į ǫ ų>

lingua latīna -> liñȷƿa latįna
User avatar
elemtilas
runic
runic
Posts: 3122
Joined: Sat 22 Nov 2014, 04:48

Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by elemtilas » Sun 22 Apr 2018, 02:53

Omzinesý wrote:
Thu 19 Apr 2018, 13:32
Where is Finnish written with Cyrillic? I've never seen such. Even Karelian is written which Romance.
The Font of All Knowledge says this is a Karelian text from the 1820s:

Image
Image

If we stuff the whole chicken back into the egg, will all our problems go away? --- Wandalf of Angera
User avatar
Xonen
moderator
moderator
Posts: 1454
Joined: Sat 15 May 2010, 23:25

Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by Xonen » Sun 22 Apr 2018, 12:27

Vlürch wrote:
Fri 20 Apr 2018, 17:36
The most important thing would be that it'd look cool and just for educational purposes, since practically all Finns I know (I obviously don't know all Finns, and not all are like this, but... most) who have ever had any interest in learning Russian have said that the hardest part about it is the alphabet... when it's literally like 90% identical to the Latin alphabet.
Um, I'm not a mathematician, but... The only letters in the Russian alphabet that are literally identical (or at least close enough to be fairly unambiguous for someone with no previous knowledge) in form and completely intuitive in function are, AFAICT, <а б е к м о т>. So that's seven letters out of a total of 33 in the alphabet, which yields a percentage of 7 / 33 * 100 % ≈ 21.21 %.

Being generous, we could throw in <д з э>, which are sort of recognizable at least once you know what they correspond to, plus the letters with more or less identical-looking Latin counterparts but somewhat unintuitive values: <с х>, and maybe <в>, although most people probably find it just confusing that there are multiple letters that look like <b> (especially if you throw <ъ ь> into the mix). <у> is kind of borderline, while <н р>, while looking like Latin letters, are so completely unintuitive in pronunciation that they probably cause more problems than they solve. Counting <в д з с у х э>, we could double the total number of familiar letters to 14, which brings our percentage up to... ca. 42 %. And while that's fine for one's Life, the Universe and Everything purposes, it's still somewhat short of being literally 90 %.

Now granted, I haven't done any frequency analysis, so maybe these 14 letters make up 90 % of actual text in Russian, but somehow I doubt that. The alphabet was the hardest thing for me to learn about Russian, and I'm a linguistically oriented person. Based on the numerous courses of eastern European languages I've attended (ones written in the Latin alphabet), quite a lot of people struggle with concept of not pronouncing <c> as /k/ or <z> as /ts/ - even though neither of those letters is even used in Finnish orthography. I don't know why, but there are probably some rather complicated neurolinguistic issues at play here. In any case, expecting normal people to find learning a whole new alphabet easy is a bit unreasonable, IMO.

elemtilas wrote:
Sun 22 Apr 2018, 02:53
Spoiler:
Omzinesý wrote:
Thu 19 Apr 2018, 13:32
Where is Finnish written with Cyrillic? I've never seen such. Even Karelian is written which Romance.
The Font of All Knowledge says this is a Karelian text from the 1820s:

Image
Yes, Karelian has been written in Cyrillic on several occasions in the past, and personally, I actually think it works quite well. As an added bonus, that might actually shut up the people who claim Karelians are just a Finnish dialect group demanding special treatment... But apparently quite a lot of Karelians are themselves opposed to the idea of using Cyrillic; of course, for Finland's Karelians, that would involve all the trouble of learning a new alphabet, while the ones in Russia might prefer to learn the Latin alphabet because they also want to learn Finnish. And Cyrillic might have some unfortunate connotations of Russification. Again, politics. [:S]
User avatar
Vlürch
sinic
sinic
Posts: 215
Joined: Wed 09 Mar 2016, 21:19
Location: Finland
Contact:

Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by Vlürch » Sun 22 Apr 2018, 18:21

Xonen wrote:
Sun 22 Apr 2018, 12:27
...
Okay, those are all good points. I guess I've lost sight of how different it is, haha.
Xonen wrote:
Sun 22 Apr 2018, 12:27
In any case, expecting normal people to find learning a whole new alphabet easy is a bit unreasonable, IMO.
I guess that's also true, and it could be that I'm just naturally good at learning writing systems; actually, that could possibly at least in part explain why I suck so much at memorising vocabulary... [:P]
Xonen wrote:
Sun 22 Apr 2018, 12:27
And Cyrillic might have some unfortunate connotations of Russification. Again, politics. [:S]
This. Russians don't own the Cyrillic alphabet and people assuming it has a supposed inherent connection to Russian has always confused me. Like, yeah, in many cases it's used because of Russification in the Soviet Union and was introduced along with Russian loanwords for new technical concepts and whatnot, but that doesn't mean it couldn't be used even with an anti-Russian sentiment if one really wanted to try. Personally, even though I don't exactly like Russia because of its politics and apparent widespread racism and recently legalised violence against women and children and whatnot, or how it has historically oppressed countless peoples throughout Eurasia (including Finns (but also gave us our independence, so we do kinda owe them... even if their plan was probably not for us to become truly independent... and it could be argued that we never really did, but I don't want to step into that minefield)), it's an influential country that the world would feel weird without, etc. and it's not like it's all bad like a lot of people seem to think.

Anyway, I agree that Karelian in Cyrillic looks nice, even with that kind of weird orthography; I don't understand a single word of it (except that "кирья" is probably "book", since in Finnish it's "kirja"), though.
User avatar
Omzinesý
mayan
mayan
Posts: 2382
Joined: Fri 27 Aug 2010, 07:17
Location: nowhere [naʊhɪɚ]

Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by Omzinesý » Tue 24 Apr 2018, 12:09

Vlürch wrote:
Sun 22 Apr 2018, 18:21

Anyway, I agree that Karelian in Cyrillic looks nice, even with that kind of weird orthography; I don't understand a single word of it (except that "кирья" is probably "book", since in Finnish it's "kirja"), though.
That seems to be family lineages from Bible, so most words aren't even Karelian. But the text is well readable through Finnish.

Kirja Šyndyruohtinan rodukundua,
Davidan pojan, Avruaman poijan.
Avruama šai Isaakan, Isaakka šai Juako-
van: Juakova šai Judan, i hänen vel-
jet. [etc.]

More Finnish:
Kirja Syntyruhtinaan rotukuntaa,
Davidan pojan Avraaman pojan.
Avraama sai Isaakan, Isaakka sai Jaako-
van, Jaakova sai Judan ja hänen vel-
jet.

Finnish:
Kirja perintöruhtinas Davidin, Abramin pojan sukukunnasta. Abram sai Iisakin, Iisak sai Jaakobin: Jaakob sai Juudan ja hänen veljensä.

Interestingly the text seems to use <я, ю> to represent /æ, y/.
User avatar
Vlürch
sinic
sinic
Posts: 215
Joined: Wed 09 Mar 2016, 21:19
Location: Finland
Contact:

Re: Non-English Orthography Reform

Post by Vlürch » Tue 24 Apr 2018, 13:41

Omzinesý wrote:
Tue 24 Apr 2018, 12:09
Šyndyruohtinan
Huh, so the <т> is kind of in its cursive form while the other letters aren't? Weird.
Post Reply