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a folk phonogramorama


learning to read so hard


when a child i found learning to read baffling beyond words.   only by the age of eight, after years of vexation and tears at every attempt, could i read with any ease and enjoyment.  writing took longer.  now that i read with some facility, i'm astonished i ever learned.  now i can spell, with the aid of dictionary and editor, i'm astonished anyone ever learns.  the english orthography monster has dogged my days till finally i present my peers a solution i wish had existed in my youth.


the phonogramarama defined


a phonogram, as you know, is a phon-, smallest unit of speech composing a word, from greek phone, ‘sound’, represented by a graphic symbol, and gram, from greek gramma, ‘something written’.  with the addition of the suffix -orama (from greek horama, ‘view’), one obtains the word phonogramorama meaning an overview of graphic symbols, or set of phonograms, representing all the individual speech sounds used in a language. 


the oxford english dictionary defines alphabet as:


the set of letters used in writing the greek language extended to those used by the romans and hence to any set of characters representing the simple sounds used in a language or in speech generally. 


and in the hope that this phonogramorama might come to be used by simple folk for everyday uses, such as recording unfamiliar names and suchlike,


writingsystems defined


even though a letter may defined as a written symbol representing a speech sound, a phonogram is not a letter.  one letter can  represent several speech-sounds, a phonogram only one.  the roman alphabet is composed of letters.  a phonogramorama, composed of phonograms, is therefore not an alphabet.  alphabet, as the name for any set of characters representing a language is misleading since it's simply the first two letters of the greek alphabet used for the whole.  many so-called “alphabets”, the sanskrit for example, begin with other characters.  therefore i shall use the word  “writingsystem”, instead of alphabet, as a generic name for the not-altogether-phonetic sets of letters used in writing different languages and

phonogramoramas” for phonetic writing systems.


the visual strangeness of phonogramoramas


having developed an interest in the value of phonogramoramas and phonogrammic transcription, naturally i tend to talk of the matter.  occasionally the response is outright contempt in which i flounder unable to justify my interest.  sometimes i gain the impression i'm making obvious assertions worth no more than an indifferent “uh-huh” or two, before the subject is dropped.  other times an impression of aloofness, accompanied perhaps, by a sideways glance from the eye, strikes me as embarrassment.  then i'm uncertain as to whether the respondent is embarrassed by herhis own ignorance, or by what is taken to be my craziness.  but from such remarks as “i'll try and learn your language one of these days,” or “what is that, welsh?” i conclude that though they appear to know what a phonetic “alphabet” is, very often people do not.  it isn't another language, of course.  phonetic transcriptions do look unfamiliar with the kind of unfamiliarity associated with other writingsystems such as the greek, russian, hebrew, sanskrit, arabic, armenian, etcetera.  does this account for the confusion?  but english could be written in any of these writingsystems given various orthographic ‘rules’ in each to deal with the sounds there are no letters for in english.


preservation of culture


speech, as a series of voiced sounds is thought conveyed via the medium of air and like the sound of music, ephemeral.  speech, as a series of written characters is thought conveyed via the medium of matter and related to preservation.  we cannot hear  the musical or literary thought of our ancestors, nor may our children's great grand-children “hear” ours, except the manner of recording it be stable.  resistance to change is related to preservation.  the horse could not be abandoned for the car till it was certain the car was more advantageous; nor the hearth-fire for the stove; nor the candle for electrically generated light.  this valuable and necessary conservatism is often provoked by fear, subliminal, it may be.  perhaps the resistance many people have to understanding the significance of phonograms and the value of using a phonogramorama, is caused by an intuitive fear that popular usage of one would lead to complete chaos—that inability to convey meaning by symbolization of speech would occur, perhaps even loss of ability to “read” the writingsystem in which so much of our culture is recorded and passed on from generation to generation.


will comprehension be lost?


the impression that the concern of linguists is to maintain difficulties in language use so it might remain esoteric and elitist, may simply be a more sophisticated expression of the fear that any interference with it's current state might have extremely destructive ramifications.  there are among them many conservationists who insist on the value of retaining written languages just as they are, writingsystems intact.  there's the matter of phonology, for instance.  the forms a concept can take, following automatically performed rules of the english tongue, cause our pronunciation (generally in the vowel phones, to vary as concept changes from noun to verb, or adjective to adverb.  in receiving speech, or reading speech phonographically represented, a certain effort of concentration is necessary for comprehension.  according to phonologists this effort becomes unnecessary when reading english works written with our traditional writingsystem since concepts are instantly visible.  our orthography, they say, makes apparent the etymological and semantic relationships among various words which phonography (that is, phonogrammic spelling) would conceal.

dictionaries will still preserve the history of words


i hardly think this makes a case against phonography, since in a phonogrammic dictionary all variations could be referred to one aspect of the concept where their relationships could be explained.  in researching a dictionary, when an international phonogramorama is the norm, people would be looking up an unfamiliar pronunciation, or studying the variety of pronunciations a certain concept can undergo without changing meaning, or contemplating the history and meanings of a particular concept.  they would no longer be researching a dictionary, as we so often have to, on how to spell, or hyphenate, or pronounce what they already know how to pronounce and therefore how to spell, and therefore how to hyphenate—where else but where one sy-lla-ble be-comes a-no-ther?  the formular: ‘hyphenation follows phonological rules" is particularly inapplicable when used in lyrics written below music since the word breaks are frequently not where they are sung.


phonogramoramas preserve the living language


when middle-english was spoken our own writingsystem was more phonetic.  a word “spelt” aloud was  its pronounciation.  with the introduction of the printing press into england some five-hundred years ago during the middle-english period, spelling still reflected pronunciation to a great extent.  disregarding this, the press initiated a standardization which tended to preserve middle english spelling.  once a body of type-set words existed they became the reference by which means spelling uncertainty could be over‑come.  the tendency to preserve the middle-english spelling was enhanced as dictionaries began to be compiled and more people learnt to read, while the pronunciation of words by living people went its own way.



this fact seems to have led over the centuries to the need for spelling reform, sometimes called urgent.  but spelling reform of english simply cannot occur without more characters.  the twenty‑six letters, twenty-three if you discount the redundant c, q, and x, of the western writingsystem are insufficient for the number of phones made by english speakers, let alone the addittional phones of other tongues.  the pronunciation of a word in all its dialectical variety is the meaning-conveyance, the living word itself, of which the current spelling is an inadequate symbolization.  the living word is ‘sound’ cognizable by the ear, and must be graphically symbolized in order to reach understanding through the eye.  the introduction of the printing press has led, not to the need for ‘spelling’ reform, but to the need to reform the identification of each simple verbal sound with a single consistent written character.  it has led, in other words, to the need for the general adoption of a phonogramorama, rendering spelling reform redundant.  there are several phonetic “al­phabets”, or phonogramoramas to be more exact, which necessarily have more characters, but they have never caught public attention as a solution to this problem.  why is that?  language teachers and opera singers may be among the few people (apart from linguists themselves) who make use of the i.p.a. (international phonetic alphabet).  but like all such alphabets (and there are many, most dictionaries introducing variations of their own on the several systems in existence), for lay use the i.p.a. has two fundamental deficiencies—it is exceedingly difficult to memorize and it is difficult to write by hand, too difficult.  many phonogramoramas are difficult to write because, like the i.p.a., they use miniscule, or lower-case style, grams which when written by a hurried, or awkward hand easily become confused with other similar but different phonograms.  additionally they are unaesthetic, more of a discouragement to use than is generally realized.  evidently they were not designed to be written by hand and used with pleasure, but to be typed on a specialized key-board in pursuit of other serious studies.


“the use of the familiar roman letters can only cause more confusion than it eases...”, is an objection raised to phonogramramas which the i.p.a. affirms, “...and if there's to be a phonetic system all the grams should be new characters...”   but when i consider the enormous bid from out-there for everyone's time and attention, i conclude expecting anyone to learn to recognize and be able to reproduce approximately forty—that's the minimum required for english—utterly new hand-drawn signs for sounds on the off-chance they might find them useful, is unrealistic and could never happen.  besides, the number of simple shapes it's possible to draw with a few hand movements, specially if they are to be easily distinguished from each other, is limited.  the so-called shaw alphabet uses entirely new signs.  likely a reason it’s fallen by the wayside.  but as bernard shaw himself pointed

out, the roman alphabet is commonly represented by more than one set of signs—and each of these in any one written work, is presented two different ways, by the upper-case capitals and lower-case miniscules.






a phonogramorama could always use upper-case letters after the style of roman capitals, with some seventeen additional grams designed to match, giving uniformity to the whole.  there need be no question as to what system was in use when reading or writing.  confining the traditional orthographic part of this essay to lower-case miniscules is not mere affectation. 


the i.t.a. (initial teaching alphabet), also called the single-sound alphabet, uses lower-case characters, but did not succeed in the purpose it was designed for.  it may have failed because it was so difficult, as all phonetic “alphabets” are, to memorize.  this difficulty arises because the new phonograms are arbitrarily scattered about within the existing alphabetic order, which is completely arbitrary to start with.  the excuse their progenitors might make for the position of these phonograms, in the case of those before the phone -B- for example, is that though they're all different sounds it's possible to find sample words in our orthography where they’re all spelt with the letter a.  thus the complete set may still be called an alphabet. 

western musical notation is now standardized world wide so the symbolic representation of the musical tone A:




always means, to whoever knowledgeably sees it, the pitch 440, no matter what instrument is in use or piece being played.  this standardization has emerged from usage.  a similar standardiza­tion ­­of phone notation, though difficult to achieve, is what we need.  having ­been achieved it would have the peculiarly pleasing consequence that knowledge of what phone each grammic symbol represents can only be conveyed from one person to another by live communication.  even a recording as adjunct to written material on the subject, though better than just written explana­tion, as this, would ­still be unideal since the record would be unable to verify attempted imitation.  no doubt a computer might   o it with a sound/visual
feed-back, a la the biological feedback  systems.  recent advances in identifying sound elements have obviously been made by the computer industry, so the whole subject of phonogramoramas may be redundant.  notation by human hand, though, i doubt that's been considered.


if the individual elements, the word bits, the phones, could be relatively specifically delimited by anyone, and relatively easily delineated by anyone, surely the use of a phonogramorama could encourage increased consciousness and comprehension.  the realization that meaning resides in the sound of words, rather than in their written symbolization, might cause more attentive listening, might bring about more careful articulation» might free language from its shackles.  how much simpler for the child first learning to read and write.  all these complaints about  functional illiteracy coupled with worried observations on the minisculity of john’n’joans vocabulary...if twere altogether easier to read and write in the first place wouldn't these “problems” diminish?

consider this sentence:


         off thou, oh ardent rag-dove thing air borne, aim high -- seizure shook, choose edge ploy

it was concocted by me to incorporate the forty phones commonly  used in american-english speech.  each phone is sounded once and
once only.  using the capital letters of the roman alphabet, but confining their value to one phone each so they become phonograms, assigning new value to the redundant /c/, (redundant /q/ and /x/ becoming foreign grams) introducing a mere ten new vowel grams and six new consonant grams for those sounds which cannot, in our orthography be represented by a single letter, the above sentence may be phonogramically notated as follows:

for the phone /o/ in /o/ff introducing the gram 
0  –an oddly drawn capital  O--

for the phone /ff/ in o/ff/ assigning   F as gram --the roman capital letter F—

for the phone /th/ in /th/ou assigning ë     --the capital middle english thorn letter Ð, alt+0208—

for the phone /ou/ in th/ou/ introducing the gram  ê   --an O like the face of an owl—

for the phone /oh/ in /oh/ assigning  O as gram   --the roman capital letter O--

for the phone /ar/ in /ar/dent introducing  * as gram  --typescript *, mnemonic star--

for the phone /den/ in ar/den/t introducing the  ^ as gram  --typescript ^  the swallowed sound incorporates /n/--

for the phone /t/ in arden/t/ assigning  T as gram  -- roman capital letter T--

for the phone /r/ in /r/ag assigning  R as gram  -- the roman capital letter R--

for the phone /a/ in r/a/g introducing an inverted  @ as gram  --typescript @ for the sound /a/t--

for the phone /g/ in ra/g/ assigning  G as gram  --the roman capital letter G--

for the phone /d/ in /d/ove, assigning  D as gram   --the roman capital letter D--

for the phone /o/ in d/o/ve introducing  1 as gram   -- an inverted U, typescript 1 for the second sound—

for the phone /ve/ in do/ve/ assigning  V as gram  --the roman capital letter V

for the phone /th/ in /th/ing introducing  3 as gram   --the arabic numeral 3

for the phone /i/ in th/i/ng assigning Y as gram  --roman capital letter Y 

for the phone /ng/ in thi/ng/ introducing   û   the gram   --reversed N with tail, much the same as the i.t.a. gram ŋ--

for the phone /air/ introducing   =   as gram   --redundant greek letter pi--

for the phone /b/ in /b/orne assigning   B  as gram   --the roman capital letter B--

for the phone /or/ in b/or/ne introducing   4   as gram   --arabic numeral 4 inverted & reversed

for the phone /ne/ in bor/ne/ assigning   N   as gram  --the roman capital letter N-- 

for the phone /ai/ in /ai/m assigning   A   as gram   --the roman capital letter

for the phone /m/ in ai/m/ assigning  M  as gram   -- the roman capital letter M--

for the phone /h/ in /h/igh assigning   H   as gram   --the roman capital letter H--

for the phone /igh/ in h/igh/ assigning   I   as gram   --the roman capital letter I—

for the phone /s/ in /s/eizure assigning   S   as gram   --the roman capital letter S—

for the phone /ei/ in s/ei/zure assigning   E   as gram   --the roman capital letter E—

for the phone /z/ in sei/z/ure introducing    ä  as gram   --redundant greek capital s, Σ--

for the phone /ure/ in seiz/ure/ introducing   6  as gram  --typescript 6, the i.p.a. schwa character

for the phone /sh/ in /sh/ook introducing   $   as gram  --typescript $, S on its side

for the phone /oo/ in sh/oo/k assigning   U  as gram  --the roman capital letter U in assuage, wage

for the phone /k/ in shoo/k/ assigning    K   as gram   --the roman capital letter K

for the phone /ch/ in /ch/oose assigning   C as gram  --a new sound value to the roman letter C

for the phone /oo/ in ch/oo/se assigning   W  as gram  -- the roman capital letter W, double U

for the phone /se/ in choo/se/ assigning   Z  as gram  --the roman capital letter Z

for the phone /e/ in /e/dge introducing   ]   as gram --reversed capital E

for the phone /dge/ in e/dge/ assigning   J   as gram  --roman capital letter J

for the phone /p/ in /p/loy assigning   P  as gram   --the roman capital letter P

for the phone /l/ in p/l/oi assigning   L as gram  --the roman capital letter L--

for the phone /oi/ in pl/oi/ introducing   %   as gram  --typescript  %, all i can say for this one is it's easy to draw.


if a semantic connection of some kind can be made between phone and gram, usage is facilitated.  the remarks in parenthesis are attempts to supply this connection.  though the gram choices might be improved, i've found it essential to settle on standardized characters to represent particular sounds
else confusion becomes rapidly rife. 

these forty phonograms comprise the american-english folk phonogramorama i'm offering.  the sentence they compose is both a mnemonic, and a potential order for the phonograms.  an order is necessary not only for initial memorization and use whereby they can be rapidly reviewed, but also for indexing a book written in this phonogramorama or even, and surely such a day will come, for the compilation of a phonogrammic dictionary.  the grams are designed with ease of writing by hand in mind assuming as most  
common tool the ball-point, or other un‑shaped pen.  their typescript form is dictated by the hand-writ‑ten form.  the ‘off-thou’ sentence in three forms the hand-written phonograms, their type­script counter‑parts
[i.e. what i have available on my equipment],  and their orthographic rendering are shown below:



                           0-F  ë- -ê ,
                                                      o-ff      th-ou,



               O  *-D-^-T  R-@-G   D-1-V  3-Y-û

                              oh     ar-den-t        r-a-g         d-o-ve      th-i-ng



                          =  B-4-N,

                                                   air     b-or-ne,



                           A-M  H-I

                                                       ai-m      h-igh




                      S--E--g--6  $--U--K,

                                                  s--ei--z--ure     sh-oo-k,



                     C--W--Z  ]---J  P-L-%-.

                                         ch--oo---se     e-dge    p-l-oy.



even though semantically weird sense can be drawn from this sentence and i suggest, wrong, i insist, the arrangement i've made of the forty phones is easier to memorise than the following  twenty-eight syllables:

ai-be-se-de, ee-ef-je-aitch, ei-jai-kai-el, em-en-oh-pe, kyu-

are-es-te, you-ve-doubleyou, eks-why-ze.


even if you were one of those fortunate children who have no trouble, perhaps enjoy, learning nonsense, yet you may have forgotten how hard they were to learn at first.


the sound for sign, phone for gram, equality and identity must be grasped.  this, the very kernel of the idea, is what is  so exceedingly difficult to convey using the traditional writingsystem.  you might even say it's ridiculous to try and make sound comparisons of words notated in letters, with other words notated in the same ambiguous system.  (see note).  many may  pronounce parts of the “off-thou” sentence differently from the way i do, british born to a lower-upper-middle-class family (when i left such complicated class distinctions were still affecting speech patterns) from the south of england.  if you’re american you probably throw in a few more /r¯ phones here and there. 

[note from authrix to editor i shall make a tape of this essay available to anyone interested, accompanied by a phonogrammic transcript.  the mnemonic will be sung for further illustration]. 


for additional clarification and aid in accurately matching phone with gram, the sentence can become an acrostic for a series of monosyllabic words, these words becoming the phonogram names’  should names prove needed:


hand drawn         type-script      alphabetic         hand drawn      

Type-script    alphabetic  phonograms  













orthography        phonograms      

phonograms       orthography










ÍAK       make                   



ë# £L                                                             


HID      hide

Alt 0163



ID        eyed





SEST      ceased





EST       east





{EG       gigue




2RG       erg 




$YN       shin




UYN     win




K9        cow




C9        chow




WZ        ooze




ZWM       zoom


3Yû K    


 ]ND       end

Alt 02519



  J%NT      joint




P%NT      point




L]ND      lend



































¥L        oil


  4D       awed


   NE       knee




 i consulted the american heritage dictionary's pronunciation when in doubt as to how americans would pronounce these words,  but the swallowed /den/ sound in gar/den/, and ar/den/t, is not found notated there.  as no words in english begin with this swallowed phone, or with the /ng/ phone, the inital gar’ of garden and  the /i/ of ink are there to give each of these phone a recognizable   ord form and name.  /

     as an english speaker and long-time user of the anglo-roman writingsystem, as i anticipate most readers will be, it makes sense to me, to use the english letter names of four of the seven vowels to stand for those phones as the easiest and quickest way of recalling their gram forms:


A as is bate,  E as in beat,  I as in heist,  O as in host,


but then


U as in soot, and W (double U), as in as suit, with Y as in sit. 


it would’ be confusing to us english speakers to write the gram E for the phone "A", the gram Á for the phone "*", the gram É for the phone "E", the gram Ê for the phone "Y", or the gram Ö for the phone "U¢ as other european language speakers might assign grams if they were developing a phonetic system.  but if an english developed phonogramorama became common coin, europeans learning english should at least find it easier than our complex orthography.  there are many indications that english will become the international language.


by analogy with the alphabet, reference to this phonetic writingsystem could be made by calling it the ‘offthou’ after the mnemonic sentence, or the ‘offfox’ after the acrostic.  but since several mnemonics can probably be made from the forty phonograms, such a name might cause confusion.  if it has merit it'll acquire it's own name.  for this essay i've dubbed it a folk phonogram­orama.  i like the alliteration and assonance of  the initial syllables, ‘fopho’, in brief.  this name has the advantage of  emphasizing that though phonetically based fopho is simpler than a phoneticians phonogramorama, designed as it is for lay use and convenience.  it doesn't claim to be definitive as to sounds made being in no way exhaustive of vowel phones.  by infinitesimal movements of the tongue”, as bernard shaw observes “countless different vowels can be produced all of them in use among speak­ers of english”.  perhaps there are more english vowels to be identified and assigned gram forms.  perhaps it's not possible to identify every gradation between one sound and another, though identification of sounds is also a matter of tuning the ear.  it may not even be necessary to identify every gradation.  many more grams would be needed.

on the whole though, i think a gram should exist for every phone identified.  for example, as it stands fopho doesn't include the sound i make for the word /our/, or the sound i make or the vowel part of the word l/ure/.  Neither, as far as i can tell bear an equivalent in any american pronunciation guide i've come across. 
yet i'm not content to “make do” with the vowels available in the american-english fopho, at least, not when writing phonographically in your own idiolect.  i term these two phones “foreign”, foreign to the american-english dialect.  they properly belong in an international phonogramorama where they
have a place and a gram, along with the few other foreign phones i've managed to identify and assign grams to.  the british-english dialect you see, needs another mnemonic which includes phones missing in the american. 


i foresee more people gradually recognising the value of  phonogramoramas, but dissatisfied with this or that aspect of those in existence, composing more satisfactory ones for themselves.  by combining successful parts of one with another a consensus of usefulness might emerge which would eventually sta­bilize.  perhaps a plethora is already a-sprout, like early music notation systems, or the first cars, or electrical sockets.  if  so fopho may already be one of a class of folk phonogramora­ ­ as, just as there are many scholastic phonetic “alpha‑bets”.


supprisingly, bernard shaw, who heartily endorsed and promoted the concept of a phonetic “alphabet”, thought phonography of published material should be standardized.  for the publication of his “androcles and the lion” printed in the “shaw alpha­bet” with a parallel text in the anglo-roman writingsystem, his   directions were: “pronunciation to resemble that recorded of  his majesty our late king george V.”  in so-doing he seems to be depending on the concept of monarchy as the cultural ideal to which all britishers aspire, or as least to which they turn for knowledge of the ideal.  every britain, it implies, can under­stand their monarch though they may have difficulty understanding each other.   perhaps shaw thought to forestall carelessness in  transliteration from thought to written expression» perhaps he hoped it would lessen the effort of comprehension.  whatever his reasoning, a similar approach is maintained by american dic­tionary compilers who take, as the standard for the phonetic rendering of words, the pronunciation of highly educated and wealthy americans, occasionally notating other pronunciations as examples of non-standard verbal behaviour.  but how appropriate is this in a democratic society?  by failing to reflect pronunci­ation diversity literary works appear be written in a single, normal dialect (which nobody actually speaks), only great word-wrights having the power to convey dialect and that with diffi­culty.


standardization of spelling also conceals general pronunciation shifts, as made clear by our spelling which reflected pronounciation before standardization got underway.  it inhibits learning and stultifies langauge, thwarting and hampering its evolution.  perhaps groundlessly, i think, surmise, guess, imagine, yet intuitively i state: though standardization of phone for gram is imperative, standardization of phonogram arrangement in word notation would continue to deprive and falsify communication.  isn't it possible we are no better at reaching consensus, and in general no better at communicating without constant  irascibility in expression and, or, suppression of violent feel­ings induced by the frustrations of unreceived communication, because language has not been allowed to develope as it would without academic regulation?


to maintain consistency of usage the growth of quicker and more direct forms of communication has been pinched back, smothered, crushed.  yet if we can’t learn to communicate more effectively as a species we'll likely not be here much longer to try.  rules of spelling and pronunciation, like rules of grammar, more than ignore that “we are all born with a genetic endowment for recognizing and formulating language”, they appear not to know of it. 


it is in the living, in the spoken word that changes of pronunciation occur.  if phonograms are not used to

reflect this changing quality there's no value to a phonogramorama.  probably standardization of ponogrammic spelling would simply, perhaps quite rapidly, bring about the very situation we have now: a   phonography turned orthography--spelling which fails to match sounds and introduces all the rules with which i at least, became so painfully familiar long ago and am so utterly heart-sick of still having to remember whenever i write.     


english orthography, even before it crossed the atlantic,  as already a mish-mash of adoption from foreign languages.  many words came from tongues using the western writingsystem but  having different pronunciation rules.  some words arrived from languages with other writingsystems, each transliterated into the western writingsystem with different transliteration policies,  and even the transliteration policies changing over the years.  this process is excellently demonstrated by many people and place names in america, so cosmopolitan of origin, making impossible that most people know at a glance how to pronounce them.  is this difficulty necessary?  even if no other popular use were found for a folk phonogramorama, how convenient to be able to accurately transliterate peculiarly spelt names.  who but a
pole, would fhink of pronouncing the name of the mezzo-soprano, ewa podles,   AV1 P0DL]$, looks like ]U² P0DLÚ to me.


the pronunciation inconsistencies of the anglo-roman writingsystem are particularly evident when you try rendering some­ ­one's last name as phonetically as possible in our writingsytem  in order to address them accurately on next meeting.  as if  you'd written “ghoti” /gh/ as in cou/gh/ for the phonogram F, /o/ as in  
w/o/men, for the phonogram Y, and /ti/ as in promotion for the phono­gram (in fopho: FY$, see note), which made sense at the time since you were just leaving for a w/o/men's promo/ti/onal meeting on gou/gh/ street.  but on reading the word a week later, you find you can't remember the sound value you assigned the letters you chose and can only verbalise your rendition as G1C@ as in a/gh/ast, 1 as in m/o/ther, C  ri/t/ual and  as in mer/i/ngue because you had been watching a ghastly movie in which a m/o/ther ri/t/ually   murdered with poisoned mer/i/ngues.

note: “ghoti” is bernard shaw's brilliant spelling of  “fish”.



but besides avoiding this kind of problem, fopho allows writing in one's own idiolect, however it happens to be compounded.  that individuals should take responsibility for written attempts to convey meaning is not different from the fact we do so whenever we speak to another in anticipation of being under­stood.  in fopho writing, emphasis would be where it should be, not on “correct usage”, but on “communication”.  the criterion is comprehension, the touchstone, intelligibility.  a splendid value of a phonogramorama is that it can reflect the way a particular person pronounces their words in speech.  it is time to relegate the western world's beautiful but ambiguous roman writingsystem, and our english orthography, to the peacefilled studios of poets, philologists and other linguists.  it could happen if people took to using a phonogramorama whenever it might serve their writing needs better than the alphabet, for of course there's no reason why the alphabetic writingsystem and a folk phonogramorama shouldn't jog along together, hand in hand awhile. 


should you feel like experimenting with the fopho to write phonographically, some learning is involved but it's not extreme.   i suggest rereading the phonogrammic notation list above.  think of the characters as phonograms (signs for speech-sounds).  associate each gram with its phone, memorise the sentence the  
list is composed of.  you have provided yourself with a pho­ogramorama by means of which you will be able, well all of us should be able if we did, to do many things difficult, or impossi­ble with the a.b.c.  the value of the “off thou” sentence as a  mnemonic device will make itself apparent once you begin writing.
verbalising as you goes is recommeded else you tend to continue writing orthographically.  if a sound seems missing, i'd recom­mend inventing a gram for it (this is not easy), and giving your  gram as clear an orthographic example as possible.  if it seemed reasonable to throw your effort into an envelope addressed to noh quarter i should be glad to receive it, just to see if i  could understand it at all.  the system was devised for my own purposes.  i don't know how well, if at all, it will stand up to multi-person use.  but as well as writing with phonograms as you pronounce your words, it's also important to pronounce written phonograms according to their phone value.  they must not be translated back into your own dialect or their purpose would be defeated and the sacrifice of the alphabet, vain.

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