Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Nasal "Back of the Mouth" N Sound

A quick update on the cataloguing of the consonants. I was recently thinking about the ing sound as in Eng-land. Perhaps quite fitting given that the World Cup is just a few weeks away.

When I listed the consonants last time and described how each sound was made in the mouth I mentioned that the [n] sound is made by pressing the tongue to the roof of the mouth, beneath the nose. However, when mouthing out the ing sound it occurred to me that with this particular sound the [n] isn't produced in this way. It also sounds a little different too.

When we pronounce words like England we tend to short cut the normal way of producing the [n] sound and make it with the tongue at the back of the mouth instead.

So, to break it up a little; if we take the word ink. Normally an [n] sound would be produced by pressing the end of the tongue to the roof of the mouth, as in the word in. Likewise a [k] sound is made by putting the tongue to the roof of the back of the mouth. However, often when we pronounce words like ink, we seem to squeeze the [n] and the [k] together so we only have to push the tongue to the roof of the mouth once. Just the back. Not the front, then the back.

When we make this back of the mouth [n] sound on its own it sounds very nasal. Almost like a nasal grunt. Fittingly we have the word oink. We also have phrases like bunged up. This nasal [n] seems to always be made in combination with the [g/k] sound. Though I'll be on the look out for any exceptions to this.

I'm not sure this different [n] necessitates a separate consonant symbol, but I think it might be worth making note of in the future when I list the various consonant sounds again.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

The Ten Vowel Sounds in the English Alphabet: Update

This is just a quick post hopefully. In the last few days I've noticed something that I'm surprised I didn't notice earlier. When I tried to map all the different vowel sounds in the English language I counted ten distinct ones. This gave me a problem as it meant I had ten sounds to represent, but only five vowel symbols in the English language to use. The vowel sounds I identified were the following;

I then added three new symbols (keeping the double [ee] and [oo] for simplicity), which gave me the following list of vowel symbols, corresponding to the ten sounds above;

Interestingly, what hadn't occurred to me was the difference in the sound of the five standard English vowels depending on whether we pronounce them as a capital or a lower case letter.

  • [a] is pronounced [a] as in angle, but [A] is pronounced [a] as in angel.
  • [e] is pronounced [e] as in egg, but [E] is pronounced [ee] as in speed.
  • [i] is pronounced [i] as in igloo, but [I] is pronounced [i] as in eye.
  • [o] is pronounced [o] as in for, but [O] is pronounced [o] as in go.
  • [u] is pronounced [u] as in snug, but [U] is pronounced [y-ou] as in zoom.
So if you combine both the capital and lower case pronunciations the five vowels seem to embody all ten vowel sounds. The only one that is a little iffy is the capital [U] which is pronounced with an added [Y]. Of course, you can't use capital letters willy-nilly, only in certain places. So you would still have the problem of knowing whether the middle [a] in the word parade was pronounced as an "a" or an "ay" if you weren't already familiar with how the word sounded, and had just seen it written down on paper. It couldn't be written down as parAde for example.

It's very curious though, unless there's some obvious reason explaining it that evades me at present. It adds a certain neatness to the five vowels that wasn't previously there too. The way we use vowels in English has always seemed incredibly higgledy-piggledy to me (I'm using some quite fluffy language today xD). For example, taking the [oo] or [U] sound we have; zoo, you, new, blue, lieu, etc - all using different vowel symbols, but essentially conveying the same sound.

(The list rejigged to include the capitals.)

Friday, May 4, 2018

Cataloguing the Mechanics of the Consonants

Recent conversations with people on this topic have accelerated my thoughts a little. So I've decided to write an article cataloguing the consonants not just by their sound, but also by the mechanics of how we make them with our mouth. I think this may be a more practical approach.

In my last post on the topic I was left with 12 consonants - or 16 including the "push" consonants. Since then I've came to the conclusion that the th sound - as in words such as the, this, these, etc - is a unique consonant sound, which can't be made by any combination of the other basic consonant sounds I've listed. I think I'll bring back the thorn symbol to represent that particular sound - though annoyingly the word thorn would be spelt forn in my stripped back alphabet.

 - - The thorn symbol in its upper and lower case forms; Þ, þ

[For some interesting thinking and theorising regarding the history of the letter thorn, and regarding language in general see the following; > Linguistics > Alphabet Soup ]

The addition of thorn now gives me the following collection of consonants;

1. M

I talked about the letter [M] a few posts back. It's the sound made by simply closing and opening the mouth. I also mentioned the many words containing [M] that seem to relate to this simple action. Particularly with relation to eating. We have onomatopoeic terms like Mmm and nom. We also have words like mouth, mother, mam, mammary and milk. Possibly suggesting this association is hardwired deep in our very nature.

Interestingly, the iconic mother figure in western Christian culture is also known by names beginning with M - the Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene, Madonna. You also have Martha of Bethany in the New Testament, another female witness to the resurrection of Jesus. The similarity of the words mother and martha is also worth noting.

Muhammad is another name with the recurring M sound. Perhaps the popularity of the name has something to do with its structure. Maybe there is something aurally pleasing about this [M] sound, rooted in our nature. We also have Maid Marian, Marilyn Monroe, Mickey Mouse, etc in popular culture.

(Oh, and I forgot to mention the word meme.)

2. N

The [N] sound is made by pushing the tongue against the roof of the mouth beneath the nose. This may be why we have words like nose and nasal beginning with the [N] sound? We also have words like nudge, knead, nestle, etc that may link to this action of pushing or pressing.

3. Y

The [Y] sound seems to be made by pushing the sides of the tongue against the inside of the top row of teeth.

4. R

The [R] sound is made by curling the tongue backwards. Again, it's interesting that we have words such as roll and curl containing this [R] sound.

5. S

The [S] sound is made by closing the teeth together, but keeping the mouth open. When I was looking at [M] a few posts back I also looked at [S]. With [S] what is obvious is the hissing snake association, giving us words like sly, slither, slink, slide, snide. Again, this seems to be deep rooted in nature.

6. L

The [L] sound is made by moving the tongue up and down. Interestingly, many of the words we have for lifting things up or down begin with L - lift, lay, loll, lull, lie, lever, lower.

7. Þ (th)

When we make the th sound we seem to sandwich the tongue between the top and bottom rows of teeth.

8. H

I consider [H] to be a bit of a special case. It seems to be the natural sound of someone breathing in or out. Basically a breath or pant.

9. W

I also consider [W] to be something of a special case too. It seems to be the fast transition between two vowel sounds.

For example, if you're singing an "aaaah" vowel with a wide open mouth, then you quickly transition into an "ooooh" vowel with a small rounded mouth, then the [W] is just the bit in the middle. And the same vice versa.

I find both the [W] and the [H] sounds quite fascinating. They seem to express something very organic. For example, when someone opens their mouth in shock we have the expression "wow". When someone does this there's a gasp of air. If this gasp is accompanied by a vocalised burst of sound we get the [W] sound as the mouth quickly widens.

We also have words like whoa which convey a similar sentiment. In the case of whoa we also have the [H] sound as well. Again, representing perhaps the burst of breath that accompanies the shock which inspired it. This may help explain the difference between where and were too. For many people these two words often get confused as most of us simply ignore the [H] when we speak or read the word "where". However, when we use the word "where" we're generally using it to ask a question, whereas the word "were" is generally used to talk about the past.

When we're asking a question we're usually much more animated than when we're discussing the past, and when we get a shock or bad news the first response is usually a stream of questions - whoa! what happened? when? where? why? how? So the added [H] in where, and in other similar words, probably reflects this burst of breath that accompanies the question.

The difference between whoa and woe is perhaps a similar example. We usually feel "woe" or pity when we're thinking about bad things that have happened in the past, whereas "whoa" is the response we have to something we're instantly experiencing.

10. B (and P)

The [B/P] sound is made by pushing the lips together, then "popping" them apart again.

11. V (and F)

The [V/F] sound is made by biting the bottom lip.

12. G (and K)

The [G/K] sound is made by pressing your tongue to the back of your mouth. Interestingly we have words associated with retching (sorry!) that contain this G/K sound - gag, sick, cough.

13. D (and T)

The [D/T] consonant is made by pressing the tongue behind the front teeth. Interestingly, the words we have for describing the teeth are teeth, with a T, and dentures with a D.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Earth Agnostic: Russian YouTubers Question The World Map

A few weeks ago I wrote an article about an old map that appeared to show America joined to the Asian continent. I came across that map on a Russian language YouTube video. Since then I've been looking further into the Russian YouTube scene and have found more interesting material. What I'm going to share in this article comes from the following YouTube channel. Some of it is quite bizarre O_o

The overall view put forth on the channel, from what I've gathered with the help of Google Translate, goes something along the lines of this;

 - Some continents, including North America, are fake. However, there are other continents, that do exist, that have been hidden from us.

One map shown in many of the videos is this one;

(click to enlarge)

It appears to show North America fused with Asia, and South America wrapped around so it points towards the North Pole instead of the South. This is all surrounded by a ring - which includes Australia! The centre shows the classic quartet of islands separated by four rivers, famous from many of the older semi-apocryphal world maps. The top half then includes two brand new, hidden continents. These are lifted straight from a document that purports to show hidden lands discovered by Nazi Germany. Quite an imaginative, if bizarre amalgamation of ideas.

I'm not sure how the Russian labels on the hidden continents translate into English, however they're labelled Asgard and Liberia on the original Third Reich map, so I'm guessing it's similar on this map. I vaguely remember these "Nazi" maps from online discussions about Hollow Earth some time back. I've got a few articles open at the moment which I intend to read after I've finished writing this article to refresh my memory. I would imagine that the Nazi document is possibly some kind of fake or hoax, but it's worth having a re-look. Maybe it might surprise me.

Of course, it's possible that this very YouTube channel I'm looking into could be some kind of ruse or Russian language psyop. Though from what I can tell the guy seems perfectly sincere. Mind you he also shows the following map, which is perhaps even more extreme than the one shown above. Again though, a lot gets lost in translation, so maybe this map is more to illustrate a concept than to show the actual lay of the land as he sees it. Either way his videos are certainly entertaining.

The above maps aside the videos also share some quite interesting information. One thing I found quite curious was the following assertion.

In this above meme it states; "California and Vladivostok share one shore". It points out that both places have glass pebble beaches, and that this is evidence that they are part of the same coastline.

(A still from one of the videos showing the
shore of California on the left and the shore
of Vladivostok on right)

I had a quick search online and it turns out there are other places where this type of beach is common.

So the argument isn't quite as appealing as it first seems. However, it's still quite an interesting claim, and something I wasn't aware of. Another interesting claim made concerns pollution, with one video stating that pollution from factories in Norilsk, Russia was poisoning parts of Canada. So much so that fines were imposed upon the Russian factories. This is said to be proof that Canada is in fact much closer to Russia than the world map otherwise shows.

(A still from the video)

(A YouTube comment repeating the claim)

(A translation of the comment)

Finally, one more thing I found interesting was the way this YouTuber reinterprets old maps. He does this thing were he takes the world map - with the American continent on the left and the Eurasian continent on the right. Then he cuts the map in half and moves the left hand side over to the right, showing that they often fit quite perfectly. I'll show a few examples below.

(An original map - apologies for
the poor resolution)

(The same map with its left half moved to the right)

(Another, quite strange map)

(The same map with its left hand side moved
across to the right)

In the bottom example even the angel's wings match up. Quite fascinating. He does this with quite a few different maps to varying effect. Sadly it's difficult to completely follow the claims he seems to be making due to the language barrier. The gist seems to be that this "splitting" of the landmass was a deliberate ploy of some sort.

I'll definitely have to keep an eye on this persons work. Hopefully I'll find more YouTubers discussing such topics. He often mentions the work of bloggers in his videos too (if I'm following the translations properly). So it would be interesting if I could discover those too. Maybe they might be a little easier to translate. Either way it seems we now have Russians questioning the world map in Russian language videos and blogs, and South Koreans questioning the history of such maps in Korean language blogs and videos. Highly interesting :)

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;

However, if we ignore the removal of the "push" consonants - which would perhaps be more sensible at this point - then we would get this alphabet, with 16 consonants and 10 vowels. Back to a full 26 :)

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 is 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

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Twelve Sacred Consonants; Part 3 - The "Push" Consonant Trial

So this is where we are as things stand with the new reduced alphabet.

In this post I'm going to trial this new alphabet. I've got the feeling it's going to be fun.

Before that though I should firstly mention the letter Y and the way it's sometimes used as a vowel as well as a consonant. As in words such as very or every, etc. In fact, I will do a post looking at vowels at some point to see if some changes can be made there as well. As for Y I've decided that from now on I'll be using it exclusively as a consonant. So words like very will be rendered with actual vowels in place of the Y. Veree or Verie being possible replacements for example.

To trial the new alphabet I'll render a few famous verses in it. I'll start with a verse of the song Imagine by John Lennon.

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us, only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will be as one

This would now be rendered as;

Imagine dhhere's no heaven
Idh's easie ivh you dhrie
No hell below us
Above us, onlie sghi
Imagine all dhhe bheobhle living vhor dhodaa

You may say I'm a dreamer
Budh I'm nodh dhhe onlee one
I hobhe some daa you'll dyoin us
And dhhe world will be as one

Quite crazy, and a few obvious problems immediately spring up. That's before we even get to the "push" consonant sounds. Firstly, in the very first line we now have a double H with the word dhhere (there). It looks a little bizarre, but I suppose for the time being I can't see any obvious reason why such a repetition can't be allowed. So I'll come back to this later. Sounds like Th and Ch (we had problems with the word much in the first blog series) were always going to be problematic, and it might be worth considering them separately.

Another problem which sprung up concerned the replacement of the letter Y when it's used as a vowel sound. I hadn't thought about words such as sky and today. The "y" in sky sounds like the word eye, and an obvious replacement doesn't spring to mind. Of course "eye" sounds like how we pronounce a capitalised "i" ( I ) - however, we generally don't use it to represent this sound in the English language (except with words like iPad or iPhone, or when we use "I" to refer to ourselves).

[I was being a little dumb here. We do use "i" for the "eye" sound. For example; life, rind, etc. ]

As for the "y" sound in the word today, that, in combination with its accompanying "a", sounds like a capitalised A. However, again we generally don't use an "a" to represent this sound in writing. So adequate solutions are needed. Hopefully I'll address these in my post about vowels.

[Likewise I was being a little dumb here too. Words like angel for example use an "a" for the "ay" sound.  Highlighting again how little thought I've put into the vowel aspect of all this and why I need to do some posts addressing the topic :)  ]

For the time being though I think I'll use "i" to signify the sound "eye", and a double "a" (aa) to signify the "A" sound. Not ideal, but it'll do for now. In fact, I'll think it may be wise to interject now and do the article about the vowel sounds before we proceed any further with the consonants.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

The Twelve Sacred Consonants; Part 2 - The "Push" Problem Solved

Now I'm saying "solved", however, that may be a little optimistic. Improved would possibly be a better description. Or attempted even.

So, in my last post I mentioned the similarities and subtle differences between the following consonants;

B and P
V and F
D and T
G and K

If you mouth the letters "p" and "b" you'll noticed they sound very similar, and are made by the mouth in a very similar way. This is likewise the case for "v and p", "d and t" and "g and k".

If you mouth out the letters "p" and "b" you will notice that the sound "p" sounds like a "b" - only with a "push" of air coming out of the mouth. In fact, if you hold the palm of your hand an inch or so away from your mouth you'll feel this push of air on the palm of your hand. As you mouth the "b" sound there'll be a slight push of air on your hand, but then when you mouth the "p" sound you'll feel a much noticeably larger push.

Therefore I surmise that the "p" consonant is simply a "b" with a push of air from the mouth.

I also mentioned in my last post the consonant H, and how this unique consonant is simply a breath of air. Again if you sound out the "h" sound you will notice this. It's essentially a breathing or panting sound.

So with this knowledge it may be reasonable to represent the consonant P by the combination of a B and a H. A "B" with a push of air. Now as I've mentioned in previous posts this isn't necessarily going to be a perfect substitution. However, my hope is that it'll be a close enough approximation to do the job.

I would also suggest the same for the other three word pairings.


"f" is a "v" with a push of air.

"t" is a "d" with a push of air.

"k" is a "g" with a push of air.

Again sounding these letters out in the mouth may help.

So, in my new reduced alphabet, the consonant F can now be represented by a V with a H (Vh). The consonant T can be represented by a D with a H (Dh). And the consonant K can be represented by a G with a H (Gh).

Now these new substitutions will no doubt play havoc with the English language. Especially visually. It will look very unlike normal English. Even more so than was the case at the end of my last series (see here; Konstellation Konsonants: Part 9 ).

In my next post I'll trial these new substitutions to see how well (or unwell) they work. I'm guessing there'll be plenty of problems that arise. Particularly with the disappearance of the letter K which was already acting as a substitute for the letters C, X (with the "ks" sound) and Q (with the "kw" sound).

The "Push" Consonants;

..and a very confused reduced alphabet XD ;

Saturday, March 10, 2018

The Twelve Sacred Consonants - Part 1

This follows on from a series of posts I wrote back in 2014 titled Constellation Consonants.

In that series I attempted to strip down the English alphabet from 21 consonants to 12. In part inspired by the notion that there were said to be seven sacred vowels in ancient Greek thought. (The correspondence between 12 and 7 being quite noticeable - for instance, 12 notes in the chromatic music scale, 7 in a key, 12 constellations in the night sky, 7 wandering stars).

The exercise was quite interesting, and in some ways was quite successful. However, there were some sounds that were difficult to represent in such a stripped down language. In this series I'm going to try to address some of these issues.

I'll start by quickly recounting where I left off.

(My reduced alphabet as it stood
at the end of my previous blog series)

This was how things stood at the end of my final post in that series. 12 consonants remaining, with 9 removed. However, there were several that didn't quite work. Some of which I'll deal with below.

With the contentious ones removed the list would look like this.

(My reduced alphabet minus the
contentious substitutions)

Firstly, I'll explain the existing substitutions for anyone new to this topic. I removed "C" with the aim of substituting it for either a "K" or an "S". A K in the case of a hard C and an S in the case of a soft C. So, for example;

The word Cat would now be rendered Kat.

And the word Cease would be rendered Sease.

The "J" I replaced with either a "Y" or a "Dy" sound. "Y" in the case of words such as Johann (pronounced "Yo-hann"), and "Dy" for the "J" sound in words like John (it may help if you mouth these sounds out yourself as you read this).

The "Q" sound I replaced with "Kw" - so the word queen would be rendered kween.

"X" can be adequately represented with the letters "Ks". Exactly would become Eksactly. Extra would become Ekstra. The "X" in the word Xylophone can likewise be represented with an "S" - Sylophone. You're probably starting to see how this works by now :)

Finally, "Z" can be removed and also replaced with an S - the word Zebra therefore becomes Sebra, etc.

Again, these aren't necessarily perfect substitutions, however they do seem perfectly adequate, and are reasonably easy to use.

Now the "Push" problem

Now we come to the problematic letter substitutions which I attempted in my first blog series, but which failed to represent the sounds of the English language sufficiently for a seamless transition. These sounds can be grouped into four pairs;

B and P

V and F
D and T
G and K

Now if you mouth out each of these letters you'll noticed they're very similar. For instance, if we take "F" and "V" we can see they often overlap. Such as in the case of "leaf" and "leaves". We could easily substitute the "V" in leaves for an "F" and the word would remain almost identical when vocalised. The other three pairs are not quite as similar and interchangeable as "F" and "V", however they are sufficiently similar that they often get misheard or misrepresented.

For example, with "D" and "T" we can see in slang talk how a phrase such as "in the house" can become "in da house". Again if we mouth these letters out we can see how they are sounded in a similar way, using similar parts of the mouth. Try mouthing the letters "t" and "d" ...or "b" and "p". The differences are there, but they are quite subtle.

Now in my previous series I attempted to simply substitute one of these letters for the other. For example; I removed "V" and used "F" in all cases where an "f" sound appeared. So silver became silfer. This substitution seemed reasonable and didn't cause too many problems. However, the other substitutions were much more clumsy and awkward. For example, if we simply substitute "B" for "P" the word bike becomes pike - which of course is quite ridiculous and unworkable.

So, in my previous attempts to strip the consonants down to a core twelve I conceded defeat at this point. Now I'm coming back to the problem to have another go :)

I have a feeling my solution may lie in the consonant "H" - which is a "breathy" sound. Quite a unique consonant in many ways. One which I overlooked in my previous work. I'll attempt to utilise this unique letter in my next post.