The English Alphabet Should be Re-Written
Debate Rounds (3)
-Letters, such as K, Q, and X, are completely unnecessary. All words in the English language could be written without them. All they do is make English more complicated.
-Letters make different sounds depending on their context. This itself is one of the most difficult aspects of learning English. All letters should be assigned one particular sound, and new characters should be created for common sound variations.
-Capitalized letters are unnecessary. Capitalization does not add any new information into a piece of writing, making it completely irrelevant.
Although the consonant sounds of the letters 'K', 'Q', and 'X' do have alternative letters that could reproduce the same sound, these letters are more efficient and straightforward in their direction of pronunciation. For example:
The word 'Kite' is pronounced with a hard 'C' sound. If we were to change it to the letter that makes the same sound ('C'), we would have 'Cite', which holds a different meaning. The 'K' sound is more direct in its pronunciation as the hard 'C'. As this is not the only example of an alternative letter creating a confusing homonym, I will conclude that the exchange of letters would be unnecessary and overwhelming.
This ties into Rebuttal 1. Since some letters do make different sounds, the 'extra' letters you mentioned earlier would need to be in place. You argue that we have extra letters that could easily be exchanged with a different letter, but now these different letters can only hold one pronunciation, effectively necessitating the 'extra' letters. These two arguments cannot be claimed in their current form.
Capitalization is necessary to retain conformity and ease of reading. The University of South Carolina says it best, "rules regarding the capitalization of certain words ... are driven by our desire to maintain readability, clarity, and consistency." Capitalized letters denote significance within the English language. They even help define titles. Take the following:
"I read before sleep."
Did you mean you read before you fell asleep, or did you read the book "Before Sleep"?[note 1] Italicizing or underlining may help in a certain situations, but you could be stressing the preposition. Capitalization is necessary.
As to adding characters, it is true that the more letters would be added to the alphabet. However, the fact that each character contains one and only one sound in every circumstance, I argue, would simplify English phonics more than added characters would complicate it. Keep in mind that the extra letters would only apply to vowels and several letter combinations such as 'ch', 'oo', 'sh', etc. Things like 'qu', 'wr', 'ei' and silent e's would be completely eliminated.
Also, having one sound per letter would NOT create heteronyms, like the 'cite' example, but would instead remove them entirely. In this system, 'C' would ONLY make the hard C-sound and the alternative, S-sound, would be made by the character 'S'. So the only way to read "cite" would be "kite" as it is pronounced now. This system would actually eliminate the hundreds of confusing and pointless heteronyms that already exist in the English language.
I'm glad that we can both agree that capitalization has significance. I do, however, believe that having separate capital characters for each letter increases readability and clarity. Capital letters with a different form (A&a, B&b, D&d) are easier to discern as capital letters than the ones that have a larger version of themselves. For instance, I would prefer E&e over ℮&e. As to your second proposal, writing a circumflex over capital letters, this already has many uses and would get extremely confusing to foreign languages. Whatever your remedy, it will not change the fact that a capital letter is easier to discern when it is different form rather than just increased in size (which could possibly be due to handwriting issues as well).
Let us first define homonym and heteronym.
Homonym: One of two or more words that have the same sound and often the same spelling but differ in meaning
Heteronym: One of two or more words that have identical spellings but different meanings and pronunciations
In my example, we dealt with two words, 'kite' and 'cite'. We both agree that 'kite' would become 'cite' in this new alphabet you have proposed. However, 'cite' would become 'site', and our word 'site' would become ... 'site'. As both 'cite' (in this new alphabet, 'site') and 'site' are pronounced the same, they would be homonyms. I stand by what I said earlier, this would be confusing.
As for "each character contains one and only one sound in every circumstance," this would mean more than double the characters just for our vowels. If this is not overwhelming and unnecessary, I do not know what is. And, of course, this goes for several of your ideas.
If it isn't broken, don't fix it.
awesomeperson forfeited this round.
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