New English - Nuu English
An attempt at a reformed English.
Starting with spelling to match pronunciation
Submitted by Robin L Randall
Note: the project has now moved well beyond this page.
English, most people will agree, has problems when it comes to spelling,
phonetics, and all the rules you must learn to use it proficiently. Even
when you have a spell checker, it is possible to have words misspelled or
What if words were spelled just as they were pronounced and there was little
need to learn phrases such as "I before E, except after C or as sounded like
A in neighbor or weigh." This is all about Phonology." I believe we can
come up with a standard that uses only ASCII characters (so that input on a
PC or mobile phone would not be a chore) and would use only letters and no
punctuation or strange characters to express all the IPA phonemes. Also
upper and lowercase characters could be used as they are today.
To start us off I thought we should have five short vowels (a, e. i, o, u)
and five long vowels (aa, ee, ii, oo, uu). I know "oo" is a problem pair,
but "oa" could always be used as a replacement. Obviously we could come up
with consonants to match all the other sounds with little or no ambiguity
(use of "k" for the hard "c" sound, use of "s" for the soft "c" sound and
only use "c" for the "ch" sound).
To make a long story short attached are some files to demonstrate my point.
I have translated all the Ogden beginner words to a system of pronunciation
that makes it easy to determine and easy to spell. In most cases the words
are similar to the English equivalent but slightly shorter. I'm not saying
the same concept will work with all international words, but at least "New
English" as I call it, will be solid. Basic English with the new vocabulary
should be considered a completely separate language which could easily be
learned and used. It could even be the Esperanto that never was, with a few
more grammar changes. It has a history and a culture that Esperanto never
|A - short a
|AA - long a|| (EH, ,AI, AY)
|E - short e||
|EE - long e|| (EA, AE, EY, IE)
|I - short i
|II - long i|| (IA, EI)
|O - short o
|OO - long o|| (OA, OH)
|U - short u
|UU - long u|| (UA, UI, UH). Old=(OO)
|AW -|| (AH, AU)
|EW -|| (EU)
|OW -|| (OU)
|OI -|| (OY)
|OE -|| (?)
|UE -|| (UW)
kum get giv goo keep let maak put seem taak bee do hav saa see send may wil
abowt akros aftur agenst amung at beefor between bii down frum in of on oovur thruu tuu undur up with
as for ov til than
a thu awl enee evuree litul much noo othur sum such that this Ii hee yuu whuu
and becaus but oor if thoo whiil how when wher whii
again evur far forwurd heer neer now owt stil then ther togethur wel
almost enuf eeven not oonlee kwiit soo varee tomarow yesturdaa
north sowth eest west pleese yes
400 General words
acownt act adishun adjustment advurtiizment agreement air amownt amuuzment animal ansur apuratus apruuvul arguument art atak atempt atenshun atrakshun authoritee
bak balans baas beehaavior beleef burth bit biit blud blow bodee bras bred breth bruther bilding burn burst bisnes butur
kanvas kaar kaus chauk chanc chaanj kloth koal kolur kumfurt komitee kompanee kompaarison komputishun kondishun konekshun kontrool kouk kopur kopee kork kotun kof kuntree kovur krack kredit kriim crush krii kurent kurv
damuj daanjur dautur daa deth det deesisyun degree deesiin deesiire destrukshun deetaal development diijeschun direkshun diskovury diskushun disees disgust distans distribushun divisyun dowt drink driving dust urth
edj edukashun efekt end erur event exampul exchaanj existens expanshun expeeriens expurt
fakt fal familee fawthur feer feeling fikshun feeld fiit fiir flaam fliit flowur foold fuud fors foorm frend frunt fruit
glas goold govurnment graan gras grip gruup grooth guiid
harbur harmunee haat heering heet help histury hool hoop hour humur
iis ideea impuls inkrees industree ink insekt instrument inshurans inturest invenchun iurn
jelee join jurnee juj jump
kik kis nowlej
land languij laf law led lurning lethur letur levul lift liit limit linun likwid list luuk los luv
masheen man manajur mark market mas meel measyur meet meeting memury metul midul milk miind miin minut mist munee munth moorning mothur mooshun mowntun muuv muusik
naam naashun need news niit nois noot numbur
obsurvashun ofur oil opuraashun opinion ordur orgunizaashun ornament ownur
paaj paan paant paapur part paast paament pees pursun plaas plant plaa plesyur point poisun polish portur posishun powdur powur priis print proses produus profit propurtee pros protest pul punishment purpus push
raan raanj rate raa reakshun reeding reeson record reegret relaashun relijun repreesentativ reekwest reespekt rest reeward rithm riis rivur rood rool ruum rub ruul run
salt sand skaal siens see seat sekretaaree selekshun self sens servunt sex shaad shaak shaam shok siid siin silk silvur sistur siiz skii sleep slip sloop smash smel smiil smook sneez snoo soop sosiietee son song sort sownd suup spaas staaj start staatment steem steel step stitch stoon stop storee stretch struchur substuns sugur sugjestyun sumur suport supriis swim sistum
talk taast tax teeching tendensee test theeree thing thawt thundur tiim tin top tuch traad transport trick trubul turn twist
valuu vurs vesul view vois
walk war waush waast wautur waav wax waa wethur week waat wind wiin winter wumun wuud wuul word work wuund wriiting
200 Picturable words
See also Wikipedia:Basic English picture wordlist.
angul ant apul arch arm armee
baabee bag baul band baasin basket bath bed bee bel baree bird blaad board boat boon buuk buut botul box boy braan braak branch brick brij brush bucket bulb butun
caak camura card cart carij cat chaan chees chest chin church circul clock clowd coat colur coomb coord cow cup curtun cuushun
dog door draan drawr dress drop
eer eg enjin ii
faas farm fethur fingur fish flag floor flii fuut fork fowl fraam
gardun gurl gluv goat gun
haar hamer hand hat hed hart huuk horn hoors hospitul hows
jewul ketul kee nee niif not
leef leg liibraaree liin lip lok
map match munkey muun mowth musul
naal nek needul nurv net noos nut
ofis ooranj uvun
parsul pen pensul pikchur pig pin piip plaan plaat plow poket pot putaatoo prisun pump
raal rat reseet ring rod ruuf ruut
saal skuul sisurs skrew seed sheep shelf ship shirt shuu skin skirt snaak sok spaad spunj spuun spring skwaar stamp star staashun stem stick stoking stumik store street sun
taabul taal thred throot thumb tiket too tung tuuth town traan traa tree trowsurs
wal watch wheel whip whisul windoo wing wiir worm
abul asid angree autoomatic
buutiful blak boiling briit brookun brown
cheep kemicul cheef kleen kleer komun komplex konshus kut
deep dependent urlee eelastik eelectrik ekwal
fat fertul first fixed flat free freekwent ful
jenural guud graat gray/graa
hanging hapee hard helthee hii howloo
important kiind liik living long
maal maareed mateereul medikul militaree
natchurul nesesaree new normal
paaralel past fisikul pooliticul poor posibul present priivut probabul
redee red reguulur responsibul riit rownd
saam secund separut serious sharp smuuth stikee stif straat strong sudun sweet
tal thik tiit tiird truu
waating warm wet wiid wiiz
bad bent bitur blue
sertun cold compleet kruel
dark ded deer delicut diferent dirtee drii
fals feebul femaal fuulish fuuchur
last laat left luuse lowd loo
sad saaf seecret short shut simpul slow smal soft solid speshul stranj
© Robin L Randall, September 25, 2011
Anyone addressing English is well aware (if not appalled) by the disconnect between English spelling and pronunciation.
Of course regional, national, generational dialects further complicate that issue. Ogden did not want Basic English to appear "different" and even illiterate to those who had been laboriously schooled in the idiosyncrasies and norms of "good" English. Class and educational levels are indicated by how well one had mastered those complications.
Grammar is another interesting subject and mastering inflection (gender, mood, number, person, tense) is complex and almost silly. M-WorldEnglish e-newsletter recently spent almost two weeks on the spelling of "canceled" -- to spell with or without doubled L has supporters with history and facts on their side and each looks down upon the proponents
of the alternative. (Conclusion, the rules of English say to double, but "cancel" is a noted exception. Dictionaries cop-out by saying either is acceptable.)
Your technique of addressing vowels is clear and it works for pronunciation.
Let me play devils advocate -- the only way to test the merits of any good idea. And I suspect you want to consider all aspects and start on framing your logic for various possible resistances or expansions.
New English has ten vowels and 6 or so diphthongs. There are more sounds than that, about twenty in Standard English.
This is of little concern for Basic English, which is a brief language that is fraught with local accents anyway, where getting close is good enough.
New English will also be of aid with "big words" that are new to the common vocabulary of native speakers.
New English permanently changes the spelling of much of Standard English for the benefit of the learner. Native speakers have
learned the eye-to-tongue pronunciation as youths. Serious non-native learners polish their pronunciation as they continue
with their learning of English. The greater the change in spelling, the greater the resistance and chance of getting it adopted.
There are thousands (tens of thousands) of instances where the same sound in English has different spellings in different words.
Most of these will have to be changed to rationalize English. To introduce a new conventions (double letters for long vowels) will further
complicate the change by introducing different spelling. As different from adopting the "most logical" of the existing alternatives as a
new standard -- which would minimize the change.
Ogden wanted no part of controversy in getting Basic English accepted.
However, he and we adopt simplifications introduced over time -- plow for plough, shop for shoppe, and we accept both thru and through.
More from Robin and the spark for New English
Most words need to be re-spelled if there is ever to be a
"phonetic" English. I've struggled with how to introduce such new rules.
The alternate approach might work. For example "through" can also be spelled
"thru" (or "thruu" from my approach). About 50% of the time I spell it the
short way now. Another approach would be a "shorthand" alternative for
note-taking. It would have to take off on mobile phones to succeed. Lastly,
be bold and declare it as another language akin to English. Sort of like a
Perl to Java or C. The best part about a new language is that rules could
change for the better and no one could say "You are ruining English!"
Standardization of multi-spelled sounds is a universal goal that will get sympothy of
the public and scholars both. It seems as straightforward comparison of several dictionaries phonetic usage, adopt where common,
referee the differences. Massive amount of work. Thousands of hours were spent on the English to Basic thesauris which
did not require stopping to resolve ambiguities. Ground rules will be developed -- number of words with each spelling, weighting
by frequency of usage, international interests, and so on. However, by starting with only Basic English words is a valid test case
of manageable proportions.
How much of this is reinventing the wheel that someone else has proposed. There are several rationalized spelling societies, some identified on this website.
References : [tuu duu]
Back to : Basic English Institute.
About this Page : NewEnglish.html - Phonetic spelling rationalization of Basic Words for
possible expansion to a New English.
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Initial : September 24, 2011.