A Writing Experiment and Some World Building Thoughts

In the long list of writing prompts I've saved or created for myself is using the pronunciation guide to words as an alternate version of written English. Initially I thought about writing something and then translating it into the pronunciation version. But then I realized I don't have a particular setup I think would benefit from this translation. So there's no reason I can't take something I've already written, translate, and see if anything interesting comes out.

Three short sentences I wrote at the end of a post from the very, very early days of this blog on the left, pronunciation version on the right. I'm using Merriam-Webster for the pronunciation guide here.

(')ō 'wel. 'fərst 'dräft 'är 'shit af-tər 'ȯl. 'tīm 'tü 'get 'bak 'tü -'rī-tiŋ.

Oh well. First drafts are shit after all. Time to get back to rewriting.

First thing I noticed — boy is it a pain looking up pronunciations word-by-word. Glad I decided to go with some short sentences. Second things is that this system feels, to my Western, English-speaking, non-linguist butt, like a pictogram system for sounds. One image (the letter and any diacritical marks) means one and only one sound. In contrast to English letters where the pronunciation changes based on surrounding letters. I mean, the second version is going to be more flexible and we'll get more words out of fewer symbols. But imagine if various languages actually used the same alphabet/pictogram system based on pronunciation of the sounds. You wouldn't have to learn how to pronounce a new word. You would learn how to speak a language as fast as you learned vocabulary and grammar.

Seems like it'd be a good idea for a lingua franca or trade language.