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I could see using a "simplified spelling" for young children ... to read and seeing how quickly he's picking it up.

I think there's good reason to suspect that your son's linguistic abilities are above average.
Unlike the situation with non-native-speakers, the basic rule of "You ... daily. Simplifying the spelling would only be holding him back.

It's been tried, and it did. The "Initial Teaching Alphabet", was a kind of highly simplified IPA inflicted on British ... 1960s. Most of the material on the web is by enthusiasts still trying to promote it, but http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1523708.stm is interesting.

ITA was also inflicted on some Americans. It didn't do me any damage (and I seem to have learned it just because it was around). I know someone who has blamed her bad spelling on it, at least partially, but I suspect she was just not cut out to spell.

Jerry Friedman
Thus spake John Holmes: He's talking about Norwegian.

And German recently, to add some more peanuts. Dutch still is the only western language where spelling (and grammar!) reform has been an ongoing effort for over a hundred years,

I thought you meant Spanish, where spelling reform has been going on for over two hundred years. It has been largely successful, even though most of the same objections could be made that have been made to English spelling reform. One advantage is that Spanish has a smaller phoneme inventory than English.

Jerry Friedman
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
And how do you pronounce the "a" in "laf"?

I pronounce it the same as the "al" in "half". Don't you?

Hey, that's an interesting insight. Indeed, "laugh" and "half" rhyme in all dialects of English that I can think of. (1)

I hereby propose the spelling "al" for "the vowel that is pronounced (A) by some people and Emotion: dog by others". This allows us to keep "a" for "the vowel that is pronounced Emotion: dog by some people and (a) by others", i.e. the "cat" vowel.
This phonetic spelling could catch on. Finally it makes me lalf, or at least smoil.Actually, it takes me back to the time when my son spent a year in an Oakland school. The California school system had just introduced a system where children first learnt to read using a supposedly phonetic script, in the hope that they could later move on to conventional spelling. (An interesting conceit, given that most ten-year-olds are already used to the conventional spelling.) I well recall an evening of tearing my hair out over a homework exercise where a list of words had to be classified according to whether they used the "hot" vowel or the "coffee" vowel (2).

Since those two vowels are identical in Australian English, I couldn't help my son with that one. The neighbours couldn't help either, because they came from different states, and the answers depended on which state they came from. And, in the end, it turned out that most of the kids in my son's class made no distinction between the two, and those that did made it differently from the people who wrote the textbook.
Furthermore, it seems to me that there are differences in vowel sounds between northern Californian and southern Californian, so that a phonetic script devised in the south of the state didn't work for the north. To complicate matters, I was living in Berkeley, and nobody living in Berkeley was actually born in Berkeley.
(1) Yes, I know. I've just written the magic words that will cause someone to come up with an exception.
(2) Or some such pair. I'm talking about the A/O distinction that doesn't arise in Australian, because we use a third vowel in such words.

Peter Moylan (Email Removed) http://eepjm.newcastle.edu.au (OS/2 and eCS information and software)
Actually, it takes me back to the time when my son spent a year in an Oakland school. The California ... made no distinction between the two, and those that did made it differently from the people who wrote the textbook.

How interesting that a Californian school would officially recognize the cot/caught distinction. That's gotta mean something.
Actually, it takes me back to the time when my ... made it differently from the people who wrote the textbook.

How interesting that a Californian school would officially recognize the cot/caught distinction. That's gotta mean something.

And how interesting that we have now, after all these years of 'cot/caught' discussions, had revealed that (some?) Americans who make the distinction do it in a different way from non-Americans. (ie 'hot' and 'coffee' have the same vowel in BrE and most other non-Am. Englishes.)

Rob Bannister
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
<<(Rob Bannister) And yet, most spontaneous changes that have occurred recently in English are not seen as improvements and are ... telegraph spellings or telegram spellings? Assuming this, should it be: "The set of spellings used by texters is an example"?[/nq]
It was this kind of thought that led me into making the mistake - that and not proof reading.

Rob Bannister
Actually, it takes me back to the time when my ... made it differently from the people who wrote the textbook.

How interesting that a Californian school would officially recognize the cot/caught distinction. That's gotta mean something.

Really? I recognize it, and I went to school here. Of course, I'm different ...

Skitt (in Hayward, California)
www.geocities.com/opus731/
I pronounce it the same as the "al" in "half". Don't you?

Hey, that's an interesting insight. Indeed, "laugh" and "half" rhyme in all dialects of English that I can think of. (1)

(1) Yes, I know. I've just written the magic words that will cause someone to come up with an exception.

They don't rhyme for me: "laugh" has a short 'a' like "cat", while "half" has a longer one like "barf".
Fran
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
How interesting that a Californian school would officially recognize the cot/caught distinction. That's gotta mean something.

Really? I recognize it, and I went to school here. Of course, I'm different ...

Could it be that the distinction is recognized in Latvian? That would explain a lot.

Bob Lieblich
Thoroughly CINC
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