Friday, April 20, 2018

Consonants & Vowels: Taking Stock

I think it's time to take stock now. I've published quite a few articles on this topic over the last month or so, and it would probably be good to allow it all to ferment for a while. I'll mull over what I have and come back to it all afresh at some point in the future. Otherwise I'm going to end up getting a little lost :)

So I now have 12 consonants and 10 vowels. Not the 7 vowels that originally began this chain of thought in my original series a few years back.

These are the consonants I'm left with;

And these are the vowels;

Giving us an alphabet that looks somewhat like this;

The Vowel Sounds Compared

What follows are the seven sacred vowels (plus the two extra sounds we found in other variations of the seven), then the ten vowel sounds I'd identified. The bracketed numbers next to each show the correspondences between the two.

The Seven Sacred Vowels;

A - [a] as in father (1)
E - [e] as in pet (2)
H - [e/a] as in thread, day, say (3)
I - [i] as in meet, tree (4)
O - [o] as in got, cold, oh (7)
Y - [i] as in French une, you (8)
Ω - [o] as in law (6)
"my" "eye" sound (5)
"uh" "cup" sound (9)

My Ten Vowels;

[a] as in angle "a" (1)
[a] as in angel "ay" (3)
[e] as in egg "e" (2)
[ee] as in speed "ee" (4)
[i] as in igloo "i" (-)
[i] as in my "eye" (5)
[o] as in oxen "o" (6)
[o] as in go "oh" (7)
[oo] as in zoom "oo" (8)
[u] as in snug "u" (9)

The one sound without a correspondence is the [i] sound, as in igloo.

Much as I would like to reduce the number of vowels down to a core seven for aesthetic taste I still think it would be much better to keep the ten. Each one sounds quite distinct and the language would suffer for the loss of any.

Going forward the question now is what symbols I use to represent each sound. The Greek letters [H] and [Y] are already in use as consonants so they're off the table. I'm tempted to use the omega symbol [Ω] to represent the "aw" sound. I'm also tempted to keep the double O [oo] and double E [ee] usage just for the sheer practicality - though it would undermine the technical purity somewhat. If I used these symbols it would leave me with just two vowels without symbols.

[Ω] as in for "o" or law "aw" (6)
[oo] as in zoom "oo" (8)
[ee] as in speed "ee" (4)
[a] as in angle "a" (1)
[e] as in egg "e" (2)
[o] as in go "oh" (7)
[u] as in snug "u" (9)
[i] as in igloo "i" (-)

Leaving just;

[-] as in angel "ay" (3)
[-] as in my "eye" (5)

There's also the problem of choosing symbols that are available on a standard keyboard - which [Ω] isn't of course. There's also the problem that the lower case [Ω] symbol is just like the symbol for the letter [W]. I could borrow symbols from another language. Or perhaps use some type of diacritic - the little accents and symbols that appear above a letter to signify a different pronunciation - à, ë, etc.

It would perhaps be cool to use an eye symbol of some sort for the "eye"/"my" sound. Maybe the "ay" as in angel could be a little [a] with a halo :)

I've just had a look and a line that goes over the top of a letter is called a macron - an [a] with a macron looks like this; ā. There's also a little symbol called an overring that can appear above a letter, though it doesn't look as much like a halo as I'd hoped - å. I'll go with it for the time being though.

Come to think of it the [i] symbol has a little dot above it already in its lowercase form, so maybe I would be better off keeping that symbol for the "eye" sound and then using another variation for the igloo [i]. I think I'll go for an [i] with two little dots above it - ï. Perhaps not ideal, but at least it gives us a way to distinguish the two for the time being. I think I'll use an [o] with two dots above it to symbolise the "aw" sound too - ö - instead of the omega symbol [Ω].

Finally, having looked at the various other symbols and accents used in other languages I quite like the idea of using symbols that join two letters together for the double [E] and double [O] sounds. These are called ligatures, the most common example probably being the conjoining of the vowels [A] and [E] - Æ (æ in lowercase). I managed to find two [O] symbols conjoined [ꝏ] but not the [E] symbols.

So I now have;

(1) [a] as in angle "a"
(2) - [e] as in egg "e"
(3) - [å] as in angel "ay"
(4) - [ee] as in speed "ee"
(5) - [i] as in my "eye"
(6) - [ö] as in oxen "o" or law "aw"
(7) - [o] as in go "oh"
(8) - [ꝏ] as in zoom "oo"
(9) - [u] as in snug "u"
(10) - [ï] as in igloo "i"

Monday, April 9, 2018

The Seven Sacred Vowels Continued..

When we last left off we were trying to catalogue the various vowel sounds. After looking at different online interpretations of the "seven sacred vowels" I put together the following table;

My next move will be to try to see how these sounds correspond to the vowel sounds I myself identified when I was looking into the problem. At the time I noted ten distinctive vowel sounds commonly used in the English language;

Before I do that though I'm going to make note of something else I came across when looking into this. One variant of the seven sacred vowels I found online included the [M] and [S] sounds in their seven. Now both [M] and [S] are consonants of course. However, unlike all the other consonants they can be sustained. Much like vowel sounds can be. The [M] can be sustained by humming. Hence the famous sustained "Om" sound sometimes used in meditation. When we hum we close our mouth and breathe through our nose. In fact, if you hold your nose it's impossible to hum. The sustained [S] produces a hissing sound like a snake. The similarity of the letter [S] to a snake is one of the first things we notice about the written language as children - "It's pronounced "Ssss", like a snake". It just makes sense on some fundamental level. It's almost hardwired into nature.

The [M] sound holds a similar onomatic truth to it. Though slightly less obviously. It's the starting letter of the word mouth. We also have the word mum or mam - with the double [m] sound. Often the first word we learn for obvious reasons. From this we get the word mammary. It's also interesting that [M] is the onomatopoeic sound of eating - "Mmm" ...and, of course, our first nourishment comes via mammaries from our mothers. Oh, and I nearly forgot the word milk as well.

Perhaps this is why Freemasons are so found of the number "33" - which is in effect just two M's on their side.

Also, returning to the [S] sound we also have many words that seem to be associated in similar ways. For example, the word snake itself. Words like slither, slide, sneaky, silent. In fact, when we want to silence someone we give them the shush sound - "Shhh! Be quiet". This is a combination of the [S] and [H] sounds. [H] is a breathy sound so it makes sense that it would be used to intone silence. [S] is more sinister and threatening. A hiss. So again, it makes sense that a combination of a hiss and a hush would implore someone to silence.

Maybe there's some relation to both seven and sacred that I've yet to fathom. Either way it seems that many of the sounds we use are in some ways rooted in the mechanics of nature, and are not just randomly selected to connote the various meanings assigned to them. With all this in mind I wonder if it would perhaps be useful to put [M] and [S] in a slightly separate category from the other consonants.

Incidentally, the variant of the seven sacred vowels I came across online which included the [M] and [S] sounds gave the entire run down as this;

EE - written I, pronounced as in "tree"
EH - written E, pronounced as in "red"
O - written O, pronounced as in "so"
AH - written A, pronounced as in "fall"
U - written U, pronounced as in "you"
M - as a hum
S - as in a hiss

It's clear there's quite a broad array of opinions on this topic, I think I'll continue to focus on the normal vowel sounds though, and leave [M] and [S] just as consonants for the time being. It's still very curious though, and worth bearing in mind as we go forward.

Actually, it would probably make sense to finish this blog post here and start the actual comparison between my vowel sounds and the seven sacred vowel sounds in another post. It might be quite a painstaking task come to think of it. Hopefully there won't be too many difficulties though :)

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Earth Agnostic: Mappa Americani

I was recently made aware of this map, the topic of today's blog post. I came across it on a Russian language YouTube video in which a man was discussing conspiracy theories about North Korea, and also the possibility that there is some type of land bridge connecting the Asian and American continents. This is an idea I've taken an interest in previously on here, albeit in a more circumspect way.

(State of Nations at the Christian Era - A. Finley 1827)

The full title of the map is "State of Nations at the Christian aera From Pinkerton on the Goths" and it depicts the state of the world as it was said to be in ancient times, not as it was at the time of its publication (early 19th century). I've came across the antiquarian John Pinkerton before when I've been investigating other historical curiosities. He was possibly most famous for his theories about the Goths and the Celts. A particularly memorable quote from him is the following;

"What a lion is to an ass, such is a Goth to a Celt."

What's especially interesting about this map - and what the Russian in the video was alluding to - is that in the top right hand corner it has the label "Americani".

(State of Nations at the Christian Era - Detail)

Now I would imagine that this is simply an allusion to notions that the tribes that inhabited this region of Russia were also of the same stock as those which inhabited the north of the American continent. After all there are also maps published by Pinkerton himself which show us a more familiar rendering of the world, so it's unlikely that this labelling would be suggesting one continuous world landmass.

(1818 Pinkerton Map of the Northern Hemisphere)

Nevertheless the label of "Americani" is still quite interesting and worthy of note. In fact, I've mentioned on this blog before the ethnic and cultural similarities between people on both sides of this North Pacific divide. This label would suggest that earlier thinkers were also well aware of these similarities.

You may also have noticed that the "Americani" map is divided into two coloured sections. With Russia, Scandinavia and East Asia coloured pink in contrast to the wider map which is coloured yellow. The reason for this is that everything beyond this demarcation was thought to be ocean and not land in ancient times. With closer inspection we can read the following;

(State of Nations at the Christian Era - Demarcation Line)

"On the north of this Line the Ancients placed the Scythic Ocean : on the East, the Eoan."

The Scythic Ocean was an ocean said to lie beyond the tribes of Scythia. An ocean that perhaps could be equated with the Arctic Ocean. "Eoan" is a word that is now largely obsolete, but was used to refer to the East or the dawn - i.e. where the sun rises or was thought to originate. In fact, the word Orient has a similar meaning and could be seen to be cognate with words like aura, orb, - or, oro and aurum (the French, Spanish and Latin for gold) - even the word orange. All donating in a sense a sun-like sphere of light.

Returning to the map it's quite interesting that large parts of this region beyond the demarcation line remained largely unexplored even at the time of the maps publication. Even today much of this region in relatively underpopulated. It's also interesting to note that the ancient view that beyond this line lay simply ocean would effectively place China, Mongolia and the Himalayan mountains virtually on the edge of the Arctic Ocean. The similarity of the words Arctic and Tartar is worth pondering too. The Tartar kingdoms effectively disappeared off the face of the world map as we entered the modern age. Maybe mysteries still remain in this region.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Is the Censorship of Anti-Semitism Leading to the Rise in Anti-Semitism?

Consider this. I'm British. Britain and British people have an incredible amount of influence in the world. We used to have an empire, we still have a commonwealth (kind of). We have one of the richest economies in the world, meaning that even people who would be considered poor by British standards are comparably wealthy in relation to much of the world's population. The City of London is one of the world's most dominant banking and financial nodes. We have a decent sized military and an intelligence service that has been operating on the world stage since the days of Elizabeth I. In short we have influence, as individuals and when we act collectively.

Now sometimes this influence has been used to serve the interests of Britain or British people in ways that have been detrimental to others. Sometimes even in deeply amoral ways. Other times it's been used for great good. This rightness or wrongness is often a matter of opinion. Consequently there are many opinions about Britain, Britishness and British people in general. There are likewise opinions about individual events that have been the consequence of this British influence.

Some of these views may be quite negative, but they vary. Some people may dislike Britain as a country and its actions, but still have a great fondness for British people. Some may see Britishness and British culture in general as something that has a negative influence on the world, but still nevertheless have no negative feelings towards British people in any sort of racial or hateful sense. There may also be some people at the very extreme end of the spectrum that view all British people as somehow fundamentally bad or evil. Likewise there are people that may have conspiracy theories about Britain or British people, for example the idea that the British royal family secretly rule the world.

There's a world of difference between all these opinions, and it would be incredibly unfair and disingenuous to put someone who dislikes Britain's foreign policy, or aspects of British culture in the same category as someone who has actual racially-driven hatred towards British people. Personally I'm quite happy to hear all these different opinions, even the ones I strongly disagree with. However, imagine if these opinions about Britain and British people were censored or made illegal or taboo in some way.

Imagine, for example, that someone uploads a post to Facebook stating that Britain secretly controls the world, and that post then gets removed from Facebook. How much would that amplify that person's suspicions about Britain? How much would it lend weight to his argument in the eyes of other people? People who previously dismissed him, but now seeing such heavy censorship of his opinion have to reassess their own opinions.

Or imagine a politician talks about "British influence" and is then forced from their position. Or an author writes a negative book about British people which is then removed from Amazon. How would this change the views held by non-British people? I imagine it would have an incredibly negative effect. I certainly wouldn't be happy about people censoring such opinions on my behalf as a British person. Nor would I want to experience the suspicions of other people as a consequence of this.

This is the situation we now have with Jewishness. All human beings have some degree of influence on the world, and all human beings are capable of using that influence in ways that may be deemed good or bad. Jewish people, as individuals and as a group, are in general very successful. It should not be taboo to talk about the influence that they may have on the world. Someone can talk about this influence without having any malice whatsoever to Jewish people as a race. Just as someone can talk about British influence without it necessarily implying that that person has any racial hatred of British people.

It should not be deemed a crime to notice that there happens to be a lot of people from Jewish backgrounds in a certain profession or strata of society. In fact, it's the very censorship of such talk that leads to the conspiracy theories. For example, there is a preponderance of Oxbridge educated people in British politics, whether we believe this is right or wrong we all agree that this is just a natural consequence of our history and society. However, were it to become taboo to point this fact out then conspiracies would abound ..and there would inevitably be secret Facebook groups, etc discussing this topic and speaking in a detrimental way about all Oxbridge educated people. Maybe with added vitriol stemming from the frustration that they're not allowed to openly talk about it.

It's my opinion that anti-Semitism and the censor of anti-Semitism is a vicious cycle that's moving things in the wrong direction.

Censorship amplifies problems speech solves problems. It's time we all realised this.

The Seven Sacred Vowels Investigated

Having looked online to see what sounds are represented by the "seven sacred vowels" it appears there are various interpretations. For instance, the top two web pages that pop up when you do a Google search give the following slightly different results. gives us this;

(click to enlarge)

And gives us this;

(click to enlarge)

I then came across the following list during a Google Image search.

ee (me)
aa (say)
eye (my)
ah (saw)
oh (go)
oo (you)
uh (cup)

I also found the following very useful web page which explains the Modern and Classic Greek pronunciation of the letters. Which I'll list below. This web page also puts the individual letters in little square brackets to distinguish them from the rest of the text, which I like. So I think I'll borrow that idea from them too :)

A - [a] as in father.
E - [e] as in pet.
H - [i] as in meet - but in classic Greek - a long open mid-[e] as in thread, but long.
I - also [i] as in meet. However, in this case the classic Greek is also pronounced as in meet.
O - [o] as in got.
Y - again [i] like as in meet - but in this case the classic Greek is a rounded [i] as in French une.
Ω - again [o] like as in got - but in classic Greek [o] as in law.

Given that some of these vowels are duplicate sounds in the modern Greek it may be better to rewrite this list with just the classic Greek. After all, I guess the ancient sounds are what we're seeking anyway. So it would look more like this.

A - [a] as in father.
E - [e] as in pet.
H - a long open mid-[e] as in thread, but long.
I - also [i] as in meet.
O - [o] as in got.
Y - a rounded [i] as in French une.
Ω - [o] as in law.

Now we have all this it might be worth comparing these different variations. In fact, looking at the first two having learnt a bit more about the classic Greek it looks as though they're much more similar than I first realised. I think my main confusion stemmed from my assumption that the [i] in the first chart symbolised [i] as in igloo and not [i] as in meet. With this knowledge the tables are all sufficiently similar.

I'll create a chart compiling all this anyway though just to get a more comprehensive view of what we have before I move onto the next article.

(click to enlarge)

The above chart shows the four internet sources I've looked at. The first column showing the classic Greek pronunciations, the middle columns showing the web page charts, and the fourth column showing the seven sounds as they appeared on an image I came across. As you can see two sounds from the final column didn't seem to correlate to any of the seven in the other chart. The eye sound as in my, and the uh sound as in cup. There's also a little bit of confusion regarding the upsilon [Y] sound. In the second column it's a [u] whereas elsewhere it's more of an oo sound, as in you. The [u] maybe could have a possible overlap with the uh (cup) sound in column four.

I'll use this chart as the starting point for my next article, though I'm not quite sure where I'm going to go with it.

Friday, March 23, 2018

How Many Vowel Sounds Do We Actually Need To Represent?

In my last article I was having some trouble with the vowel sounds. So in this article I'm going to investigate the vowel sounds properly for the first time.

Now we have 5 vowels in the English alphabet (excluding Y which is sometimes used to represent a vowel sound);


However, these vowel symbols don't always represent the exact same sound. So, for example, if we take the letter A. It can be used to symbolise an "ay" sound, as in the world angel, but it can also be used to represent the "a" sound, as in the word apple.

So A can represent either an "a" sound or an "ay" sound. Without prior knowledge of how the words apple and angel actually sound we'd simply have to guess at how they were pronounced if we only had their letters to go by.

With E there's a similar problem only slightly different. E can be used to represent the "e" sound, as in the word egg. However, it can also be used to represent the "E" sound when two are used together. For example, the word speed. At least with these two sounds the difference is clearly illustrated in the written language. Still though, we have the problem that "ee" is a different sound to the sound you would get when two "e" sounds are placed next to each other; i.e. "ee" isn't simply an elongated or repeated "e".

With I we also have a similar problem. "I" can be used to represent the sound "eye" - as in the word life, or when we use a capital "I" to refer to ourselves. However, it is also used to represent the sound "i" as in igloo. Again, like with the vowel A we would not know how to pronounce words such as life or igloo were we just using the word as it's written with no prior knowledge of how the word is actually pronounced.

With O it's even further complicated, as not only do we have the "oo" sound - such as is found in the word zoom. We also have two different sounds represented by the single "o". We have "o" as in the word oxen, then also "oh" as in the word go.

Finally we have U, which thankfully seems to only represent one sound - the "u" sound, as in words like ugly, snug, etc.

I should also point out that this list of vowel sounds I've identified may not be exhaustive. This is just those which I identified when I was thinking about the problem last night. There may be more I've missed. In which case I'll have to add an addendum to this.

So at this point we have 5 individual letter symbols for the vowels - A, E, I, O and U - but we seem to have ten vowel sounds to represent. Or, if we're happy to count the double "o" and double "e" as separate symbols, then we could say we have seven vowel symbols; A, E, I, O, U, EE and OO. And that those seven need to represent the ten sounds. Which, as they stand, are; a, ay, e, ee, i, eye, o, oh, oo, and u respectively.

(The ten vowel sounds as they
stand at present)

It may also be worth noting at this point that there are many words in the English language where we seem to use the wrong vowels. For example, if we take the word news. We use the vowel E along with a W. However, phonetically it sounds much more like an "oo" sound, similar to how we pronounce the word you. If we spelt news phonetically it would perhaps look more like this; Nyoos. It looks silly spelt this way, but this is just a consequence of its unfamiliarity. This "ew" spelling is quite common in written English (shrew, yew, etc), so if we choose to lose it then our new phonetic alphabet will render the spoken word very differently.

It should also be mentioned that vowel sounds are often quite interchangeable depending on accent. For example, the word town is often pronounced to sound like toon by Geordies (people from Tyneside in the NE of England). When it comes to accent consonants tend to be quite fixed, whereas vowels are very fluid. In some older alphabets only consonants were represented, with the vowel sound simply notated by an undefined placeholder, or in some cases not even represented at all. This is something that we need to bear in mind as well as we go forward.

In my next article I think I'll look at the Seven Sacred Vowels themselves. I'll try to find out what sounds they actually represent, and see what relation they bear to the vowel sounds commonly used in the English language.

Up Next: The Seven Sacred Vowels Investigated