Tweaking the alphabet

June 5, 2023

I watched a RobWords video today about reinventing the English alphabet. Now, we all know nothing like that will ever happen but let's play along.

His first change is to bring back Thorn (Þ, þ) to replace the "th" digraph. He mentioned its close cousin Eth (Ð, ð) which is the sound in this as opposed to þ being the sound in thorn, but decided against it because Ð looks too much like a letter in another language. Well too bad, I say. The Icelandic manage just fine, we can too. Be ðe change you want to see.

Next up he recommends the Turkish letter Sheh (Ş, ş) to replace "sh". But later on he uses the Czech letter Zhet (Ž, ž) for the /zh/ sound, and if we're going to use Slavic letters I think consistency would be better. I think we should use the Esh (Š, š) instead. A perfectly reasonable off-the-šelf replacement.

After that comes the Cyrillic letter Che (Ч, ч) for /ch/ but like above, I like the Czech Che (Č, č) better. And besides, the Cyrillic letter looks like a number 4. Č-č-čanges...

Rob proposes getting rid of Q entirely, since it only appears alongside U except in specific instances. He then replaces "qu" with a new, made-up letter to make the /kw/ sound, which I'm too lazy to redraw. I agree with some folks in the comments, just use Q by itself to represent /kw/, and in the rare case it stands alone, replace it with K. Qit using extra letters, even if it means Irak has to change how it spells its name.

The next update is adding in the German Esszet (ẞ, ß) to replace "ss". Part of me thinks it's unnecessary, but we've already replaced a bunch of other digraphs so let's get this one too. Just don't be an aß and write a Beta in its place.

Another change is importing Enyay (Ñ, ñ) to replace the /ny/ sound. It makes a good compañon to the others, even if it might look like faux-Spanish at first.

For the schwa (neutral vowel) sound, Rob recommends the IPA symbol (ə) but I don't like that because it doesn't have a capital form. Romanian to the rescue, they have A-brev (Ă, ă) that works just fine. Ăbout time we got ă letter for our most-used sound.

Similar to Enyay, he wants to bring in Eng (Ŋ, ŋ) to replace "ng". I have no problem with that, and would like it to become a thiŋ.

Like I said, năn ăf ðese are goiŋ to happen. And everyþiŋ here completely ignores ðe ăðer spelling oddities like "cough" beiŋ pronounced "kof". Băt as ă þought experiment it's kind ăf fun.

May 15, 2023July 24, 2023