HomeQ&AWhy not eliminate letters?

Why not eliminate letters?

2
votes

One of my favorite things about Spanish is how organized it is - vowels making one specific sound and things being pronounced exactly as they are seen. But I'm curious about something. If "V"and "B" make the same sound, why bother keeping the "V"? Ditto replacing the "C" with a "K" (or "Z" in front of I and E).

Seems to me like the V, H, and J could be eliminated from the alphabet entirely, and C and J could be reduced. Are there some words that would have their meanings changed if their spelling changed in such a way?

2148 views
updated JUN 11, 2010
posted by mikeburnfire

8 Answers

4
votes

Your question, at best, is hypothetical as far as Spanish is concerned. However, your idea exists in the Filipino language. We were under Spain for about 300 years so quite a number of our words are of Spanish origin. Our official alphabet does not have the letters C, F, J, LL, Ñ, Q, RR, V, X, and Z. So when we use Spanish words like "cama", "fresco", "jueves", "cuello", "baño", "queso", "carro", "vaca", "exacto", and "maiz", we say/write them as "kama", "presko", "hwebes", "kwelyo", "banyo", "keso", "karo", "baka", "eksakto", and "mais". At times when we have to write foreign words that do not have an equivalent in our language we use quotation marks, e.g., "freezer" or even just spell them as they are. So your idea can be applied, but you end up with the Filipino language, not Spanish.

updated JUN 10, 2010
posted by Rikko
Muy interesante, Rikko - Lrtward, JUN 10, 2010
Beautiful relation between 2 languages - Fidalgo, JUN 10, 2010
Ā”Genial! Thanks for explaining! - mikeburnfire, JUN 10, 2010
1
vote

Hace unos días vi un artículo semejante pero se trataba del inglés.

'Enuf is enuf': Protesters in bee suits outside Spelling Bee want to make English simpler

updated JUN 10, 2010
edited by 003487d6
posted by 003487d6
1
vote

and between a Bank and a Bench in Spanish?

Saco dinero del banco, y me siento en el banco a contarlo.

updated JUN 10, 2010
posted by manuvigo
1
vote

To eliminate letters is not a good idea. What can help us know the difference between "vaca" and "baca"? "V" and "B"

updated JUN 10, 2010
posted by Fidalgo
0
votes

V and B don't sound the same. H cannot be eliminated because you need it for words such as Che, chochos, ect. Also Z and C have a different sound.

updated JUN 11, 2010
posted by 00813f2a
Though they often don't in various regions, usually due to English influence, B and V are supposed to sound perfectly identical. - Goyo, JUN 10, 2010
Please provide references to 'regions' in which 'b' and 'v' do not sound the same. |Citations by recognized linguists would be especially welcome - samdie, JUN 11, 2010
0
votes

Lo mismo diría sobre eliminar la "u" que acompaña a "q" qu > q, pero sólo son sueños, eso no pasará y más vale que los que desean eliminar letras mejor estudien y aprendan el idioma español tal y como es. wink

updated JUN 11, 2010
posted by AntMexico
You still need the 'u' for 'usted'/'usual'/etc. net gain=0. - samdie, JUN 11, 2010
0
votes

Good points, mikeburnfire.

However, this would be similar to changing the standard QWERTY keyboard layout to a more seemingly efficient one such as the Dvorak Simplified layout, for example. In theory, people would be more efficient while typing. In practice, there would be a major learning curve for a lot of people who already use the QWERTY layout that may perpetuate for quite some time. Our current standard keyboard layout is still (and most likely continue to be for decades to come) the QWERTY layout.

The bottom line is the following: why bother changing a standard when it already works for everyone who uses it? Changes come out of necessity, not out of good ideas in paper only. This is true not only in a language evolution process, but in all aspects in life. Whenever someone tries to implement what may seem as a "good idea" on paper exclusively, disaster inevitably follows.

updated JUN 10, 2010
posted by tamalmalamarrado
0
votes

The usual goal of spelling reformers is to arrive at an entirely phonemic alphabet (one in which each sound is represented by a distinct symbol (glyph) and, conversely, each symbol represents a different sound. If that is what you are referring to (it's hard to tell because several of your examples are confused), then the result will be minimal. One can eliminate the (initial/intervocalic) "h" but one would need to add a new symbol to replace the "ch" (net change=zero). One could use "g" to represent the "hard 'g' sound (only) and 'j' for its traditional value in addition to the "soft 'g' sound) but one cannot simply eliminate the "j" (net change=zero). One could replace all uses of 'c' before 'e'/'i' by 'z' and all uses before 'a'/'o'/'u' by 'k' (net change=-1). One could replace all uses of "v" by "b". (net change=-2). Conversely, one could replace the 'b' by 'v' but this would have the unfortunate effect of encouraging English/French/Italian speakers in their abominable habit of pronouncing the sound as a voiced labio-dental. 'qu' can be replaced by either 'k' or 'cu' (depending on the context) (net change=-3)

Finally, one would need to add new letters for 'll' (in many but, by no means all, regions pronounced like 'y') (net change=-2) and for 'rr' (net change=-1). These last two, along with 'ch', are subject to debate. Traditionally they were considered as separate 'letters' (albeit, digraphs). The current tendency is to consider them as 'double/compound letters" (especially for sorting purposes) but, clearly, they do not represent a simple doubling/combination of the sounds that correspond to their individual components.

Are there some words that would have their meanings changed if their spelling changed in such a way?

This would not change the meanings of words but would result in words with different meanings (and different traditional spellings) being spelled the same (which is probably what you meant to say).

updated JUN 10, 2010
posted by samdie
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