Phonetic vowel sounds – the programmers way

Most languages are poorly designed.

English is one of the worst. No logical person, starting from a blank slate would design a language like English the way English is constructed.

Here’s a straightforward mechanism for simplifying the spelling of words focusing on vowel sounds:

Long vowel sounds are singular letters. Short vowel sounds are double letters, or triple letters, or if necessary, quadrupled.

The long “a” sound as in hay or May should be the singular “a”.
The short “a” sound as in hat, bat, or splat, should be two a’s, “aa”.
The throat “a” sound as in park, or car, should be three a’s, “aaa”.

The long “e” sound as in pee, or flee, should be should be the singular “e”.
The short “e” sound as in fed, or dread, should be the double e, “ee”.
The throat “e” sound as in burn, or tern, should be the triple e, “eee”.

The long “i” sound as in high, or pie, should be the singular “i”.
The short “i” as in drizel or lizard should be double i’s, “ii”.
The pinched short “i” as in ring or drink should be triple i’s, “iii”.

Long “o” as in mope, or dough is “o”.
Short “o” as osprey or problem is “oo”.

Long “u” as in blue, or crew is “u”.
Short “u” as in judge or brother is “uu”.

And that’s it.

If there are other vowel sounds that need to be represented then they can be quadruple a’s or triple u’s, etc.

That is how the language should start out. That is how to design an intelligent, textually represented language.

And for the consonants? We can probably whittle them down to about 18.
B, D, F, G, H, J, K, L, M, N, P, R, S, T, V, W, Y, Z (missing are C, Q, X)
Any sounds that are more complicated than those should be combinations. “Th” can still be th. Ph? Gone. Gh, like at the end of some words, through, bough, I’m not sure what to do with those, but they don’t seem necessary.

It might be that we could allow silent consonant combinations at the end of words to allow for homonym differentiation. We should discuss that. There might be some simple rules we could apply that would enhance the language rather than complicate it.

We must recall that text, like that you’re reading now, is merely a means to translated audible sounds to paper. Languages are spoken first, written second. Whatever makes the speaking easier, the transformation from paper to pronunciation, that should be the primary directive of a written codex.

10 thoughts on “Phonetic vowel sounds – the programmers way

  1. Made me remember an encounter I had one time while in between tasks as a phone Co. repair technician. I was in a coffee shop talking with the usual gang of idiots (said fondly) where the conversations normally swung between arguments over the viscosity and efficacy of various motor oils, and the btu rating for firewood of various tree species. Unless they were talking about football, or hunting and, especially in the case of the latter, their bird dogs.
    That morning, Doug, a retired assembly line worker at Ford Motor Co., said to all of us that he couldn’t understand why English spelling was so messed up. He said he thought all words should be spelled exactly as they were pronounced. “Like Wednesday,” he said. He turned to me. “I bet you can’t spell Wednesday.”
    I spelled it.
    “Huh,” he said. “Most people can’t spell it.” (I am not making this up.)
    I explained that in the same way other days were named after Norse gods, Wednesday was named after the god Oden, which was at one time spelled W-E-D-N. So, hump day is Wedn’s Day, or Wednesday.
    “How did you ever know that?”
    I said, “Like you, I wondered about the spelling and looked into it and that’s what I learned.” Then I added, somewhat maliciously, “If it had been spelled Winsday, I might have never learned that.”
    Doug was actually an intellectually curious guy, and to his credit he agreed with me after I explained what I did, and dropped that theme. The conversation returned to firewood, I think, and Doug or somebody pulled an old newspaper clipping from their wallet and read aloud the list of firewood in order of btu rating. Hedge trees, which are super hard, were at the top of the list.


  2. We could always make a new language from the ground up. With a slightly more modern take, we could make it easy and entirely logical. We could call it something like Esperanto…

    Oh… Wait…

    Yeah, English language is a hybrid mix of everyone that’s visited our sceptred isles. Then pulled around the world and shaped into something else, haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d like to explain why, laughs aside, I have no personal interest in the nonetheless worthy endeavour

      English works perfectly for me in the only function language can have, communication of ideas ( also the only one I have any proficiency in, or currently care to have )

      you must be aware of the extra mental effort unavoidable in a new language, the same as switching keyboards or driving on the other side of the road

      I strongly recommend that you at least skim over Tom Wolfe’s ” The Kingdom of Speech ” before sinking more effort

      other than that, have at it!, I say

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, thanks for your input Gene. You must surmise that all this is but pointless pontification. Fun to theorize but foolish to enjoin. Perhaps in 1000 years, some new society will get fed up with the lunacy that is English and establish a new colonial language — on the moon.


          1. Oh, I didn’t assume you were dismissing the idea out of hat, only that it was never an honest endeavor in the first place. I dream such things up from time to time and never think them serious. Were I a god and could remake society, well then, I might try and enact such constructs. Alas, I’m just a dog (but a nice one).


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