Latin versus english pronounciation

Rodger Whitlock
Wed, 13 Jul 2005 22:35:48 PDT
On 13 Jul 05 at 8:33, Jim McKenney wrote:

> Since the bolding did not come through in my previous post, I
> want to be sure everyone understands what was bolded.
> I bolded Ben's phrase " that has 
> forgotten to  adapt the written words to the spoken words."
> That is the crux of the whole matter as far as I'm concerned.
> Ben got it exactly right.

The matter is rather more complex. It's that English underwent 
a sea change in its pronunciation *after* the advent of 
printing had resulted in the stabilization of spellings.

Thought, though, night, tough: those gh's all reflect that 
these words were once pronounced more or less as spelled, 
something like "ugh" with various other letters fore and aft.

Some may say "well why don't we adjust the spelling to match 
the pronunciation now?" Two big reasons: first, it would render 
older literature much more difficult to read; and second, 
*which* of many English pronunciations would be selected? The 
rather effete, fluting tones of a British twit? The broad 
musical tones of an American black? The nasality of Rochester, 
New York? The r-less Noo Yawk accent? Or is that Nyew Yawk?

Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Maritime Zone 8, a cool Mediterranean climate

on beautiful Vancouver Island

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