DETAILED COMPARISON OF GLOSSIC AND ROMIC.
The elementary vowel symbols of Glossic are contained in the following
gnat, baa, bait, caul.
net, beet, height, feud.
not, cool, coal, foil, foul.
nut, fuot (for foot).
The only consonants that require notice (reserving r for the
thin, dhen (for then); rush, rouzhe (for rouge).
Glossic is an attempt to form a phonetic system of writing based on the present values of the letters. It is, therefore, necessarily a compromise. As Mr. Ellis himself remarks, "Combinations rather than separate letters have definite sounds. Thus u in nut has one sound, but the combinations uo, ou, eu, have no trace of this sound." Of course, when the learner has once acquired these combinations he is taught to apply them consistently. In fact Glossic depends mainly on the phonetic use of a limited number of unphonetic combinations (that is, combinations whose pronunciation does not depend on that of their elements). In Romic, on the other hand, the combinations (diphthongs, &c.) are as phonetic as the actual words themselves, so that the learner of Romic only has to learn the values of six simple vowel-symbols, whereas the learner of Glossic has to master more than twenty, which are not only totally disconnected and arbitrary, but also suggest all kinds of puzzling cross-associations. Of course, even this is an enormous improvement on Nomic, in which there are more than two hundred combinations, many of which are employed almost at random.
The weakest part of Glossic is its treatment of r. r in Glossic is used both for the consonant and for the vocalised r (= ), as in peer (pii), and hence must be doubled in peerring (= piiriq), the first r indicating the , the second true r. in "err," "burn," &c. is written er: er = "err", bern = "burn." Hence deterring = Romic dit·oeriq, on the analogy of peerring. But er before a vowel has the totally distinct value of Romic er, as in the word ering = "erring" (eriq).
Again, the conventional ar and or are retained to represent the same sounds as aa and au, faadher and fardher, for instance, being kept distinct, although their pronunciation is identical.
Here the phonetic character of Glossic entirely breaks down, for such distinctions as those last mentioned can only be taught by spelling lessons. This is equally the case with such spellings as those of the final vowels in faadher and soafa ("sofa"), where the same sound is represented in two distinct ways. Before the learner can decide whether to write soafa or soafer, he must stop and consider whether a following vowel would bring out the r or not.
These considerations show clearly at what a sacrifice of the most essential principles of phonetic writing Glossic retains its similarity to the existing spelling. Any attempt to make the writing of r phonetic could only produce such spellings as these, which would quite defeat the aims of the system:- peeu (= peer), peeuring (peering), sauu (soar), faadha, faadhu (farther), soafer (sofa), ergenst, ugenst (against), &c.
In short, Glossic cannot be regarded as a consistently phonetic system even on its own principle of taking the values of combinations for granted.
The following tables have been prepared with a view to enable the reader to judge for himself on the relations of Glossic and Romic to one another and to Nomic. They consist of typical words chosen impartially to represent most of the more important values of the different Nomic letters and combinations, together with the Glossic and Romic spellings.
B. DROPPED CONSONANTS.
C. VARYING CONSONANTS.
The results of a detailed study of this table may be conveniently, though somewhat roughly, summed up in the following lists, in which, however, only the commonest groups are given, each represented by its typical word:-
Unchanged in both.
Changed in both.
Unchanged in Glossic.
Unchanged in Romic.
We see that out of a total of thirty-three typical words more than a half either remain unchanged or else undergo equally violent changes under any possible scheme of reform. Also that only a third of the whole thirty-three remain unchanged in Glossic, from which the two in parentheses ought, strictly speaking, to be excluded, as their agreement with Nomic is obtained at a great sacrifice of phonetic consistency.
The results are, of course, rough. Mathematical accuracy would require that the number of words belonging to each group should be counted, and the relative importance and frequency of each word ascertained, all of which would be a very laborious work.
It is, however, clear that the ease with which the Glossic is read by those familiar with Nomic is not inconsistent with considerable divergences between the two. It is, therefore, an important question to consider what would be the effect of the greater divergence between Nomic and Romic on the first attempts of a Nomic reader to understand Romic. If the difference between Glossic and Romic in ease of acquirement by a Nomic reader amount, as it is possible it may, only to half-an-hour's preliminary study of the elementary symbols of the latter, and the principles of their combination, then it is a serious question whether it is worth while sacrificing the interests of future generations of learners to the half-hours of the comparatively few who have to make the transition from Nomic to Romic.
ª May be considered as practically unchanged.
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James Chandler 1998.