Priscian wrote:Re: Reception of an etymological orthography
The reason why English has not collapsed into different languages (personal opinion) is that its users and speakers have adhered to an etymological orthography, which has brought about an unparalleled unity. If English speakers were to embark on localized spelling(s) there would be numerous languages, e.g. Hibernian-English and Southern American in their colloquial varieties.
The matter is just that English has simply not had the time to undergo sufficient dialect divergence to yet go the route that Latin, Middle Chinese, Arabic, Quechua, and Nahuatl, as some examples, have already gone. Orthography is not stopping the dialect divergence already taking place within English one bit, but rather is simply masking its presence at the literary level. It is quite conceivable that in the relative near future (a couple to few centuries) English will lose crossintelligibility across its whole even if literate English-speakers still use the same written language.
Priscian wrote:When users employ a phonetic spelling (influenced by a major language) the language in question breaks up into almost unintelligible forms, e.g. Rhaeto-Romansch, Low German, Provencal, etc.
When you mention Low German, you must remember that the split between the High German and Low German (in the proper sense, i.e. including Dutch and Afrikaans) dialects occurred prior to any widespread use of writing. Thus, one cannot say that such was due to the use of "phonetic writing" at all.
As for the breakup of Latin into separate languages, such as the aforementioned Rhaeto-Romansch and Occitan (often called Provençal), one must remember that this applied to the Vulgar Latin spoken by the general population, and really was not affected at all by the formal Classical Latin, despite its status as a single formal standard for literary Latin. Consequently, this is just one more example of why simply having a clear fixed standard would do much at all to prevent dialect divergence in the long run.
Priscian wrote:It is important to adopt orthographic conventions that show historical continuance to give legitimacy to the language. Jamtsk' would do well to initially steer towards Old Norse to create this legitimacy and shape a historical continuance, both which are needed for solid language development.
In the hypothetical case of English orthographic reform, it would be wise to follow similar principles, but such would be more a matter of trying to create a single unified orthography for a wide range of disparate dialects while simultaneously dodging many of the political issues that would be linked to such. In such a case, I myself would suggest reconstructing the pronunciation of the English dialects spoken at the latest point the large-scale phonological splits (e.g. rhotic versus non-rhotic) shown in English today are not present to any significant degree, and then from these reconstructed dialects creating a weighted average based on how significant their features are in English dialects today. From such a weighted average a new orthography would be created on phonemic principles. Such might not at all visually resemble any past English orthography, but it would be sound methodologically from a diachronic viewpoint.
has been changed to diachronic