The great thing about Greek is that word stress is always marked. Russians should introduce that, too.Greek is phonetic enough, particularly if we compare it to other languages such as English, French, Russian
If you mean Gaelic (Irish and Scottish), yes, it can give you headaches (e.g. Scottish Gaelic "leabhraichean" = books).let alone Celtic languages
Fortunately, in Russian textbooks for foreign students the word stress is almost always marked. Apart from that, I still think Russian is not that phonetic, particularly compared to other Slavic languages such as Serbo-Croatian, for instance. Tones could be an exception here.Russians should introduce that, too.
There's also a practical issue. If we decided now in 2021 to adopt a phonemic spelling we would have to learn two systems instead of one: the "old" one to process all texts written until 2021 plus the new one. If a change had been made 150/200 years ago things would have been easier because we would not have the incredible amount of information that we have now.
Fortunately, in Russian textbooks for foreign students the word stress is almost always marked. Apart from that, I still think Russian is not that phonetic.
Yes, that would work, one shouldn't be forced to endure the solecisms of Gkekas for Γκέκας or Antetokounmpo for ΑντετοκούνμποAnother possibility for Modern Greek would be to leave current spelling unaltered but introduce an official Romanization (phonetic) scheme, i.e. ISO 843:1997 Type 2. A bit like pīnyīn for Chinese.
It's very unlikely to see well educated people who can't spell, at least in their own native language.
Definitely.Well-educated people will have read and written more than the less well educated and therefore have more of a chance of getting things right.
you can't give one answer to the question, it depends very much on the language. A lot of languages are spelled phonetically or almost so. Then spelling is easy and it even if it is considered important, it is treated differently. Phonetical spelling: Spanish, German, Dutch, Italian, Malay/Indonesian . . . I don't mean that there is a one-to-one correspondence between pronunciation and writing, but there are rules that solve 90% or more.
It is often said that French spelling, with all its subtle complications, was aimed to promote social segregation between an elite and the lower classes. It was another obstacle to social promotion. Obviously, the French revolution did not change that. The bourgeoisie replaced the aristocracy as a dominant class, but did nothing to make spelling more accessible. All major reform projects failed.
I am aware that written English and spoken English are different. One linguist suggests that they are distinct languages (though closely connected), and that "chatspeak" (the language of real-time text messages) is a new language mixing them.When they grow up most of them do not appreciate that speech and writing, though connected, are two distinct things.
German spelling is not 100% phonetic, but much more so than English. When you see a written word in German, you know exactly how to pronounce it. It's not like that the other way round, I mean, from hearing to spelling, butI cannot comment on Dutch, but I would not include German with Spanish, Italian and Malay/Indonesian. It has considerably more polyvalence, though by no means as much as French. Like French, it is not a system where rules can easily be set out, but once you get into it you find that pronunciation from spelling is more predictable that spelling from pronunciation. German has evolved so that two tendencies have helped to prevent it from being more phonemic. One is that the spelling of morphemes is kept constant despite changes in pronunciation. The other is ensuring that homonyms are distinguished. Whether those are aspects which spelling should take account of is a matter of opinion
When you see a written word in German, you know exactly how to pronounce
In theory, English is spelled phonetically based on "the way it was spoken centuries ago", back when it was only spoken in England. But even that claim is not accurate. For a long time phonetic spelling was acceptable, even ordinary in English, but the spelling of words varied widely in different places and from different people. People didn't even agree on what letters to use (English used to have more than 26).
The complications of French spelling:I have a bit of a problem characterising the complications of French spelling as "subtle".
Completely deductible is a bit exagerated. For example, the digraph <en> reprensents / ɛ̃ / in examen, but / ɑ̃ / in gens while in agenda it may be prononced both ways. At the end of word, the digraph <ai> represents / ɛ / in vrai bue / e / in quai (though the distinction tends to diseppear in many regions).French is even easier in this regard: the pronunciation of every vowel letter and every digraph is completely deductible. You will never wonder: "How do I pronounce this vowel?" like you do in English. Unless maybe in some loanwords?
These are examples of grammatical spelling. I agree that they are generally coherent.The complications of French spelling:
-You have to add silent s for plurals, but it follows the same rules as silent e which is often pronounced, so it is not really an extra problem for learners
-Verb endings: the tu conjugation always gets an extra s and the ils/elles conjugations always get an extra nt. The je conjugation always gets an extra s except for -er verbs. The endings -er, -ez and -ai all sound like é.
These are examples of basic spelling. The "subtlety" of it that it it based on a mix of phonetics, etymology, history and analogy. Nothing easy ! Sometimes, it seems totally arbitrary :-Many double consonants are useless
-C/Ç or S/SS? G or J? English has the same complications.
-tion or -ssion? English has the same complications.
-An or en? English has the same madness (part 1, part 2)
-In or ein or ain?
-È or ai or e? Ê or aî?
-Ô or (e)au?
-Eu or œu?
-Liaison: -t or -d? -s, -z or -x?
This is very true. I still remember how bad I was at reading French as a child. But we never learned the spelling rules, we were supposed to figure it out on our own. I would have preferred to have had some basic guidelines... After a year I still struggled with le/les and de/des until my teacher disappointed told me the difference in pronunciation after a bad reading test.The pronunciation of French cannot be taught in one lesson. The rules have to be absorbed gradually.
Sources like that take into account the liaison letters. So they count aud, aut, aux etc. as separate ways to write /o/, even though the final consonant marks something else, it has nothing to do with the vowel. It is dishonest to say there are 50 ways to write these vowels.According to one source there are more 50 ways to write each of the vowels /o/, /ɛ/ and /ɛ̃/. That is an embarras de richesse if ever there was one.
Your right. At school, we learned there were 4 ways to write the sond /o/ : o, ô, au, eau. It gets easier when you become aware of "word families": chaud / chaleur ; beau / belle ; hôte / hospice. (French u often comes from old diphtongs that come from velarized l ; the circunflex accent generally indicates an old letter now mute.)Sources like that take into account the liaison letters. So they count aud, aut, aux etc. as separate ways to write /o/, even though the final consonant marks something else, it has nothing to do with the vowel. It is dishonest to say there are 50 ways to write these vowels.
Yes. I personally think of the E in beau as silent. It's as if final au needs a silent letter: if not a liaison letter, then give it a silent E!Your right. At school, we learned there were 4 ways to write the sond /o/ : o, ô, au, eau. It gets easier when you become aware of "word families": chaud / chaleur ; beau / belle ; hôte / hospice. (French u often comes from old diphtongs that come from velarized l ; the circunflex accent generally indicates an old letter now mute.)