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NORN KJOKL • View topic - Nynorn Alphabet: Runic, Latin, or Other?

NORN KJOKL

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 8:44 pm 
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As an author, I spend a lot of time thinking about the forms and functions of the English language. I don't think there is anyone who would argue that English has problems, but we're here to talk about Nynorn, not English. However, English is an excellent example of a script gone wrong. If one does a serious study into the forms of the English language, they will find that it is rife with a ridiculous quantity of mind bending conjuctions. Let me give you a few: sh, ph, th, ch, -sion, -tion, dj, ng, etc...

Now these may not seem strange at first, until one realizes that the only reason we have these conjuctions is because the Latin alphabet is severely lacking when it comes to phonetic sounds. Russia conquered this problem nearly a thousand years ago when St. Cyril and St. Methodius, missionaries to the Slavs, wanted to translate the New Testament in the Slavic language. Since the Slavs had no written language of their own, the two saints tried to adapt the Greek alphabet to their purpose. However, the Slavic languages where far richer in phonetic sounds than was Greek, so rather than create Mephistic conjunctions, they instead used Greek as a base, and invented a handful of new letters to fill in the gaps. To this day Russian is one of the simplest languages to learn to read due to the fact that every word is spelled absolutely phonetically, whereas written English is one of the hardest to learn. I am not suggesting that we start trying to change English now--it's far to late for that. However, in that we are endeavoring to resurrect a dead language, we have an oportunity to create a script to fit it.

Arguments to the con would say that the Latin alphabet is the alphabet of the world and we need to stick to it for the sake of simplicity.
Arguments to the pro would say that creating a script especially suited to the language would make it easier to learn, and would add a solidity to pronounciation that English is sorely lacking. Latin would be a poor choice in that Nynorn is richer in sounds that Latin, but so also would be the younger or elder Futhark runes.

We have a choice to make. We could:

1) stay with Latin letters and be forced to use a mountain of irritating and alien conjunctions.
2) alter Latin like the Russians and add new letters.
3) alter Futhark and add the appropriate runes.
4) create an entirely new script that is specially suited to the language.
5) find another option.

Which of these five would you choose? I am willing to help devise whatever system the Nynorn community chooses. HOWEVER: I must and will insist that you make your choice based on what you think will make the language most easily learned and utilized by the common man. DO NOT base your choice merely on what you think would be cool or fun. Resurrecting a language is a serious (albeit fun) business, and we need to treat it as such.
Please cast your vote!


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 9:14 pm 
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I don't think we need to create an entirely new alphabet. There is a created for North America Indian and Eskimo languages, noone else can read it, and there's alternative orthographic systems for those languages in Latin as well (in fact, that syllabic system was not created from scratch as it was largely inspired by Devanagari). Bearing in mind that our project exists almost entirely in WWW, that would pose really big problems concerning computer fonts. Same is true about Runes, not many browsers can handle them correctly without installing additional fonts. As for any home-made alphabet, it wouldn't be a part of Unicode, so it would be practically impossible to use it on the web.

Having said that, I like idea of runic Nynorn very much, and we've already discussed it a little bit in the past, look and . But runic Nynorn can IMHO exist only as a supplement to its Latin-based version.

In fact, no alphabet suits a language 100% correctly except the one it was created primarily for. Even Russian and other Slavic languages have issues with unstressed vowels and palatalised consonants that aren't handled unambiguously. Nynorn has a phonetic-based orthography, no rudiments like f/ph, qu/c/k etc., but still there are sounds that have no letters for them (or they do only in dialectal notation, like æ for palatal a: all vs. ællj/adl, see http://nornlanguage.x10.mx/index.php?nynorn_dial).

We've only got 2 letters (å, ð) that could be avoided (å=o,ð=zero) and have only etymological value. But in a number of cases they are really useful, as they help us to distinguish between homonymous words having different meaning and different origin. To sum up, I don't see any reasons to change this policy, the current orthography looks very Scandinavian like a mixture of Faroese and Norwegian, it can't be better than that, can it?


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 2:58 pm 
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Location: Vid Penns


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 4:12 pm 
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Forgive my tardiness of reply. I agree very much with both of you. However, I could not resist playing devils advocate and 'cracking the hornets nest' as it were, in order to gain a better understanding of where others stand on these topics.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:47 pm 
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:08 pm 
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Hi Vanya-Yngvigut, no problem, you're always welcome, looking forward to your contributions!

Lundtrollinn - yes, you're quite right, the same goes for "y".


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