Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Thalivish: spelling reform?

To be clear, Thalivish is not a tonal language. Its vocabulary however is derived from one(Thai is a tonal language). So many words--especially the ones with one syllable-- need something to indicate different tones to indicate different meanings. I don't want to use diacritics to differentiate words that have the same spelling because they can confuse readers, and they may also give the readers the wrong impression that Thalivish is tonal language. Ex: "na" could have several meanings: face, rice field, thick, or aunt. Though different diacritic marks could be used on top of the vowel -a in na to indicate those meanings, I instead am thinking of using silent letters from many English words such as gnome, exhibit, know, psalm etc. instead of using diacritic marks. Keep in mind that these tonal indicators are not needed all the time because not every Thai word with the same spelling has different tones. Perhaps na could be written like this: na(without tonal indicator), gna, hna, kna, and pna.
Other possibilities:

  1. fan(tooth), pfan(dream) ety. ฟัน, ฝัน
  2. nam(v. to lead, n. name), knam(water), pnam(thorn) ety. นำ/นาม, น้ำ, หนาม

Sadly, these tonal indicators will not differentiate words in a speech because speakers will not hear the difference. You probably want to make a distinction between tooth and dream. Perhaps we might need to do a reform in pronunciation. :/

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