asher63 (asher63) wrote,

ANGLO Is Basically Finished

I started working on Anglo [ ] - a Hebrew-based alternate orthography for English - about a year ago, and at this point I think I can call it done. Except for a few minor loose ends, I've got it pretty much the way I want it, and I'm happy with it.

I started working on Anglo because I was intrigued by the problem of writing English words with Hebrew letters. Normally it is done on an ad-hoc basis, with (I think) less-than-satisfactory results. As I started working out my system, I became interested in all the ways spoken English conveys meaning, that aren't captured by our writing system. So creating Anglo was, in a sense, a process of re-discovering English.

The biggest thing I had to tackle at the beginning was the problem of how to represent vowels. English has LOTS AND LOTS OF VOWELS (around 12 to 15, depending on how you count 'em) and Modern Hebrew has only 5, which are written with just three letters - and often not at all. I decided to follow the Yiddish model, in which every vowel sound is represented by (at least) one letter of the alphabet, and 'Ayin (a consonant in Hebrew) is conscripted to the ranks of the vowels.

The whole thing was hard work but lots of fun - like solving a puzzle. In the process of revising and fine-tuning the system, I found myself noticing a lot of things about English that I hadn't noticed before, and that part was fun too.

I created Anglo to solve a practical problem - how to consistently write the sounds of English with Hebrew letters. It could, in theory, find real-world uses in transliterating English words and names for business correspondence, or as an aid for teaching English to native Israeli students.

Nobody is going to write a book in Anglo, but I couldn't resist taking the project to its logical conclusion and seeing how it would work if whole passages of English were written using the system. And I'm glad I did, because it helped me understand English better.
Tags: anglo

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