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Sokko
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icon Sihmpuhl Englihsh for Dummies (don't read this if you want to figure it out for yourself) (+4)  
I decided, since I was bored, that I'd make a post detailing everything we know about Sihmpuhl Englihsh to date. This information has mostly been scattered in places where you really have to dig it up, so I figure it's at least somewhat justified. This is mostly a place for those of us who have already mostly deciphered it to discuss the few things we still don't know, and also a place for people to come when they're just plain stumped. That said, there are major spoilers ahead. Refer to "The Wormspeaker" on the main DROD site and your certificate of beta-testing, if you have one, for examples of S.E. in action.


Firstly, upon looking at the language for the first time one notices a lot of capital letters. Sihmpuhl Englihsh consists entirely of capital letters with smaller, lowercase "sub-letters" attached to them. When a letter has a sub-letter, they combine to form a sound equivalent to that which would be spoken if they were side-by-side in normal English. Often, sub-letters are not fully represented; only a few lines out of the whole letter will be shown (as is common in the "Ld" compound; the vertical line of the "d" is simply not there), or the sub-letter will use, as a part of itself, a line or two of the main letter. This is most commonly seen in the "Th" compound, where the sub-letter "h" consists of only a curved line coming out of the "T"; the vertical line of the "h" is also used as the vertical line of the "T". Look carefully, for often a single small line may make the difference between two sounds! Also, beware that the letter "L" does not follow the lowercase sub-letter rule, and is often represented in the capital; if you see a horizontal line coming off the bottom of a main letter, that's an L! Of note is the strange "Kh" compound, which, since there is no "C", stands in for the "ch" found at the end of such words as "such". You will also see TWO sub-letters attached to the main letter, as seen in the "Ndr" compound, part of the word "Hundred" on your beta-testing certificate, or in the "Ldr" compound, part of the word "Hallholder" in the same place. In this case, simply put the sub-letters in order from left to right. If they're on top of each other, use your best judgement.

A kind of trailing lowercase "n" with no main letter attached is used to represent the "ing" ending; it can be seen in The Wormspeaker. A trailing lowercase "s" can be either the "'s" used to indicate ownership, or just a regular "s" that didn't fit anywhere else in the letter. A trailing "d" with no vertical (only the backwards curve) represents the "-ed" ending that occurs in many verbs. It is possible for a main letter to have both a sub-lettered S and a trailing S; in this case, they are pronounced as though they had a vowel in between, as in the end of the word "alliances".

Usually a vowel's sub-letter is "h", and when this occurs, the vowel is made short. When the "h" part is not present, the vowel is long. Usually only the curved part of the "h" is shown, with the vertical being part of the vowel even when it doesn't quite fit.

Short:
A in Apple
E in Let
I in Signal
O - (special case, described below)
U in Upon

Long:
A in Bravely
E in Be
I in Glide
O in So
U in Blue

Since there is no short form of O that fits with the rest of the short vowels, the "Oh" compound is used to represent the slightly different E sound that is only found when followed by an R, as in the end of "Smitemaster". Note that most of the examples given above can be found on your certificate.

There are also a few compounds where the main letter is a vowel but the sub-letter is not "h". These include "Au", which makes the "Ow" sound that occurs in words like "found", or in a less-pronounced form such as that found in "scout", and "Aw", which makes the sound found in the word "pawn", "awning", or "upon". Most of these you should be able to figure out on your own.

Sometimes, horizontal lines are seen underneath a single letter or compound. These indicate stress on a particular syllable, and seem to serve no purpose to us other than to aid in deciphering a word.

Punctuation can mostly be derived from The Wormspeaker. A period is still a dot, but is found in the center of the line rather than at the bottom. A comma is three periods in a row. It doesn't really seem to be a comma - in some cases the pause seems to be longer than that - but it's the closest thing in normal English. An exclamation mark is a small, hollow diamond shape, again in the center of the line. A question mark is shaped much like ours, but has the dot in the middle of the curved part rather than at the end of the line. Quotes are accomplished using <angle brackets>.

And now for translations. Crack your knuckles and try to translate the three existing pieces of Sihmpuhl Englihsh that we possess: The Wormspeaker, the text on the chalkboard from Beethro's Story, Chapter 1, and your beta-testing certificate if you have it. The solutions are below in secret text.


The Wormspeaker:
Click here to view the secret text



The Chalkboard:
Click here to view the secret text



Certificate of Beta-Testing:
Click here to view the secret text



Feel free to post your comments and corrections!

[Edited by Sokko on 11-30-2003 at 12:41 PM GMT: Agaricus pointed out several corrections, and I also had some of my own.]

[Edited by Sokko on 12-01-2003 at 09:30 PM GMT: Added YMMV note to beta-testing certificate.]

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11-30-2003 at 01:44 AM
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agaricus5
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icon Re: Sihmpuhl Englihsh for Dummies (don't read this if you want to figure it out for yourself) (0)  
Sokko wrote:
I decided, since I was bored, that I'd make a post detailing everything we know about Sihmpuhl Englihsh to date. This information has mostly been scattered in places where you really have to dig it up, so I figure it's at least somewhat justified. This is mostly a place for those of us who have already mostly deciphered it to discuss the few things we still don't know, and also a place for people to come when they're just plain stumped. That said, there are major spoilers ahead. Refer to "The Wormspeaker" on the main DROD site and your certificate of beta-testing, if you have one, for examples of S.E. in action.
That's extremely cool!

Firstly, upon looking at the language for the first time one notices a lot of capital letters. Sihmpuhl Englihsh consists entirely of capital letters with smaller, lowercase "sub-letters" attached to them. When a letter has a sub-letter, they combine to form a sound equivalent to that which would be spoken if they were side-by-side in normal English. Often, sub-letters are not fully represented; only a few lines out of the whole letter will be shown (as is common in the "Ld" compound; the vertical line of the "d" is simply not there), or the sub-letter will use, as a part of itself, a line or two of the main letter. This is most commonly seen in the "Th" compound, where the sub-letter "h" consists of only a curved line coming out of the "T"; the vertical line of the "h" is also used as the vertical line of the "T". Look carefully, for often a single small, thin line may make the difference between two sounds! Of note is the strange "Kh" compound, which, since there is no "C", stands in for the "ch" found at the end of such words as "such".
I agree with the rules here

Very rarely you will see TWO sub-letters attached to the main letter, as seen in the "Ndr" compound, part of the word "Hundred" on your beta-testing certificate, or in the "Ldr" compound, part of the word "Hallholder" in the same place.
Actually, it's more common than you think. Look at words like:
E+h, K+s+p, E+h, K+t, A, S+i, U+h, N+s, on line 3 of the chalkboard, and:
E=h, K+s+t, O+h, R+m, I+h, N, A, T, O+h, R, on line 9 of the chalkboard.

Basically, the subletters themselves follow a logical order. If two or more are attached to a capital, you take the capital letter, then read the subletters from left to right (Look closely: Erik often writes them slightly apart on different parts of the capital letter). If they are on top of each other, then use common sense to figure out their order.

Also, a kind of trailing lowercase "n" with no main letter attached is used to represent the "ing" ending; it can be seen in The Wormspeaker. It is possible for a main letter to have both a sub-lettered S and a trailing S; in this case, they are pronounced as though they had a vowel in between, as in the end of the word "alliances". Sometimes a trailing S can also be found on its own; it seems to sometimes represent the "'s" ending indicating ownership, and sometimes just a normal S. Not too sure on this one.
It's both. The trailing "s" on the end of a capital indicates an "s" at the end of a word for plurality or for indicating ownership. Sometimes it trails and sometimes not because it depends if it can be drawn to touch the letter it is part of. If it can be directly attached, such as on a letter N, there is no trail, but for a letter like D, where the letter's bottom curls back inwards, there needs to be a small trail to attach the "s" to the bottom of the letter. There is also a sort of trailing "d" that looks like an upside-down question mark that stands for the "ed" at the end of a past participle ending in -ed.

Usually a vowel's sub-letter is "h", and when this occurs, the vowel is made short. When the "h" part is not present, the vowel is long. Usually only the curved part of the "h" is shown, and not the vertical.
It's probably because the vertical is placed on a line on the main letter.

Short:
A in Apple
E in Let
I in Signal
O - (special case, described below)
U in Upon

Long:
A in Bravely
E in Be
I in Glide
O in So
U in Blue

Since there is no short form of O that fits with the rest of the short vowels, the "Oh" compound is used to represent the slightly different E sound that is only found when followed by an R, as in the end of "Smitemaster". Note that most of the examples given above can be found on your certificate.

There are also a few compounds where the main letter is a vowel but the sub-letter is not "h". These include "Au", which makes the "Ow" sound that you'll be familiar with if you've ever had a painful injury, and "Aw", which makes that "Awwwww" sound that people feel prompted to make in the presence of a cute animal, or the "ou" in "found". Most of them you should be able to figure out on your own.

Sometimes, horizontal lines are seen underneath a single letter or compound. These indicate stress on a particular syllable, and seem to serve no purpose to us other than to aid in deciphering a word.
I agree here as well.

Punctuation can mostly be derived from The Wormspeaker. A period is still a dot, but is found in the center of the line rather than at the bottom. A comma is three periods in a row. It doesn't really seem to be a comma - in some cases the pause seems to be longer than that - but it's the closest thing in normal English. An exclamation mark is a small, hollow diamond shape, again in the center of the line. A question mark is shaped much like ours, but has the dot in the middle of the curved part rather than at the end of the line. Quotes are accomplished using <angle brackets>.
I agree as well.

Remember, S.E. tends to bend the rules a lot; there is no really solid set of regulations that it follows, but you should be able to figure most of it out when you come across some non-standard construction.
Actually, I find the amount of that is low. The only problem I have noticed is the American pronounciation problem, but you often can derive the British one from context.

And now for translations. Crack your knuckles and try to translate the three existing pieces of Sihmpuhl Englihsh that we possess: The Wormspeaker, the text on the chalkboard from Beethro's Story, Chapter 1, and your beta-testing certificate if you have it. The solutions are below in secret text.


The Wormspeaker:
Click here to view the secret text
Yup. My translation comes to that as well.


The Chalkboard:
Click here to view the secret text
One minor mistake.

Click here to view the secret text


Should be:

Click here to view the secret text


There is a trailing "d" on the end of the T

Certificate of Beta-Testing:
Click here to view the secret text

Click here to view the secret text
?

Erik.....

Did you make a spelling mistake?

Shouldn't it be
Click here to view the secret text


See this: http://www.drod.net/forum/viewtopic.php?TopicID=368

Feel free to post your comments and corrections!
Phew!

Very well done, Sokko! :thumbsup

You did what I wanted to do, but I just had not the time.

Now, since it's for "Dummies", I think a condensation into a list of letters' and subletters' pronounciation would also be nice for quick reference. I'll do it later if you don't have the time.

[Edited by agaricus5 on 11-30-2003 at 12:33 PM GMT]

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11-30-2003 at 11:22 AM
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icon Re: Sihmpuhl Englihsh for Dummies (don't read this if you want to figure it out for yourself) (0)  
Thanks for the fixes. I didn't know exactly how to spell Benedat; on the certificate, it is indeed spelled with a short U, and you could put either a U or an E there and it would sound the same in regular English so long as you're pronouncing it the right way. But if someone else previously spelled it with an E, I guess I'm obliged to do the same. Post edited.

[Edited by Sokko on 11-30-2003 at 12:42 PM GMT]

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11-30-2003 at 12:27 PM
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icon Re: Sihmpuhl Englihsh for Dummies (don't read this if you want to figure it out for yourself) (0)  
Are you sure there are many people willing to read that?

Anyways, it's obvious you spent quite a bit of time on this. Well done! :D

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11-30-2003 at 03:14 PM
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icon Re: Sihmpuhl Englihsh for Dummies (don't read this if you want to figure it out for yourself) (0)  
Sihmpuhl Englihsh kinda reminds me of something I read a while ago. G. B. Shaw left a directive for the custodian of his will (or whatever you call it) to search for a new "more efficient" alphabet for writing the English language. It ended up with a lot more letters, but the voice and unvoiced sounds have a similar representation, so it should be easier to read. It looks pretty strange, but it is supposedly easier to write. Anyone who is interested can look here for a good overview or here for some links or do a search on "Shavian". I found it kinda neat, but then again, I tried to use the Devanagari alphabet for coded writing when I was a kid, so there you go.

leroy

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12-01-2003 at 12:59 PM
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Cool - but it would be hell to write with my disgraphia, all the letters just look too similar to each other - there's no way I could consistently write them. I have a hard enough time with the Latin alphabet to distinguish lower case m's fron n's.

Also, it's based on 1950s style phonemics which forces them to make some weird choices that make less sense than standard English spelling - having NG and H be related, for instance, is a result that phonemic forces on you. It's also somewhat hegemonic in the sense that not all English dialects pronounce the letters this way (for instance, there are dialects which pronounce the G at the end of SING, but still have the velar N sound instead of the alveolar one; that makes it clear that the N in SING is related to the N in SIN, not to H, at least in those dialects). The vowels, of course, are far worse - they can vary a lot between English dialects, and many of the distinctions made by Shavian are pointless, say, for Texan English, while others are not represented properly.

Still, an interesting effort, and nicely done.

[Edited by eytanz on 12-01-2003 at 01:59 PM GMT]

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12-01-2003 at 01:55 PM
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Sokko wrote:
I decided, since I was bored, that I'd make a post detailing everything we know about Sihmpuhl Englihsh to date.
Sokko, this blows me away! It's like a page out of a textbook--I hardly feel like I deserve such a well-thought-out description. In keeping with my policy, I don't plan to help you out here, but I must say I'm impressed. Maybe Matt can find a place for your guide on the site after you're happy with it.

-Erik


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12-01-2003 at 08:17 PM
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icon Re: Sihmpuhl Englihsh for Dummies (don't read this if you want to figure it out for yourself) (0)  
agaricus5 wrote:
Erik.....

Did you make a spelling mistake?
Ehhh... Yeah, I admit that is a little inconsistent, but I think it isn't too unexpected to pronounce an "e" in regular English like "uh", i.e. "Legend". I'm reluctant to change the English spelling because I think it looks better than spelling with an "a" or "u" (I couldn't explain why). I'm reluctant to change the Sihmpuhl Englihsh spelling because that's how it sounds in my head.

-Erik

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12-01-2003 at 08:29 PM
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icon Re: Sihmpuhl Englihsh for Dummies (don't read this if you want to figure it out for yourself) (0)  
would silver be "s ih lv(little r)" or "s ih l v(little r)" ?


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silver wrote:
would silver be "s ih lv(little r)" or "s ih l v(little r)" ?
My guess would be the former. I don't recall ever seeing consecutive consonants as independent large letters, regardless of the syllable divisions.
06-01-2005 at 02:53 AM
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icon Re: Sihmpuhl Englihsh for Dummies (don't read this if you want to figure it out for yourself) (0)  
Hey, guys! I was traveling around in a Mellenfral library when I found this interesting text on SE. It's not done, and I plan on working on it. It sort of takes a different take: rather than translating written English to SE, it translates spoken English to SE. I don't need too much comment, but I'll be working on it.

SE is a purely phonetic representation of language in writing; that is to say, grammatical forms and rules are linked to the written language solely via the spoken language. Every word in SE, if read correctly, can only have one pronunciation. The converse (i.e., each word can only be written one way) also holds true. The converse, of course, is the inverse of the contrapositive, which would in turn be the contrapositive of the inverse. QED.

When one talks about a written language, what is implied but a collection of symbols that are understood to have ideological or phonetic significance? So we must then ask ourselves, what do our letters represent? The best method of understanding is often comparison. For comparison, we only have one thing distinctly parallel, or at least at a pi/360 radian angle to, our superior SE. We have extremely small samples of this language known as “English.” One extremely important sample was left behind by a man, or woman, named Wesley Chua that indicated seemed to be a piece of notepaper. Chua and his group apparently visited a suburb of Dugandy, and from his sample of English we can conclude that English uses the same letter set as SE (but with a C, an X, and a Q, which we may never know about).

Every letter represents either a vowel (either pure or diphthong) or a single consonant. In “string,” S and T and R would be separated. In SE, however, we eliminate all doubt by combining S and T and R into one single letter. S is the main capital letter, and lower case “t” and “r” are creatively superimposed on top of the S as “subletters.” N would have a subletter “g” in our example.

[Last edited by Swivel at 02-09-2006 05:17 PM : Degrees vs. Radians]
02-08-2006 at 05:32 PM
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