RE: [OT] Re: the Ethnologue

From: Elliotte Rusty Harold (
Date: Thu Nov 30 2000 - 08:58:28 EST

At 7:18 AM -0800 11/23/00, Christopher John Fynn wrote:

>Spoken language XXXX is not necessarily at all the same
>thing as written language XXXX.
>There are e.g. plenty of mutually incomprehensible
>forms of spoken English which might each deserve a
>code in a standard for spoken languages but probably
>far fewer mutually incomprehensible varieties of written

I find myself compelled to indulge to some off-topic curiosity here.
As a native speaker of American English (suburban New Orleans
dialect, sometimes known as "Yat") I've yet to encounter a spoken
version of English that I couldn't understand, after at most a couple
of minutes of accustoming myself to the accent. I've heard some
pretty thickly accented Englishes (from my perspective) ranging from
the Cajun bayous of Lousiana to the South Bronx to Yorkshire to New
Zealand. So far, they were all obviously English, and at least
intelligible to me. The only times I've had real problems were with
non-native speakers who had a very limited command of English, and
even then I was always eventually able to make myself understood and
vice versa. Could you give some examples that you would consider to
be "mutually incomprehensible forms of spoken English"?


+-----------------------+------------------------+-------------------+ | Elliotte Rusty Harold | | Writer/Programmer | +-----------------------+------------------------+-------------------+ | The XML Bible (IDG Books, 1999) | | | | | +----------------------------------+---------------------------------+ | Read Cafe au Lait for Java news: | | Read Cafe con Leche for XML news: | +----------------------------------+---------------------------------+

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Tue Jul 10 2001 - 17:21:15 EDT