The English alphabet can hardly be called an alphabet, since letters of an alphabet should ideally represent each and all of the sounds of a language. English has about 40 sounds, but uses more than 180 spellings to represent those sounds. As well, the keyboard is unscientific: I think the main reason the keys are/were placed where they are/were is so that the flip-up letter keys of a typewriter would not be jamming. In other words, highly frequent letters are intermixed and space-filled by less frequent letters. In modern keyboards and smartphone that have electro-sensitive or warmth-sensitive sort of conductance/transmission, there is no problem or possibility of jamming. Frequent consonants could be assigned to the first and second fingers on one hand, and likewise frequent vowels could be assigned to the first and second fingers of the other hand.
All things are possible regarding 1-sound, 1-symbol character placement on a new keyboard. The article on the Dvorak keyboard should be studied. Frequency analysis of the internal component parts of English words would indicate which keys should be in primary positions on the keyboard.
Now, not because I live here, but because of its proven effectiveness in achieving a compact and highly efficient system for representing its sounds do I refer to the Korean alphabet.
With its consonants on the left side, vowels on the right, and no capitals at all. I would credit Korea's high literacy rate and amazing march through industrialization to high-tech wizardry with the simplicity of its alphabet.
It was not just happenstance, but was the result of a scholarly commission set up by King Sejong in the 1400s to design an alphabet for Korean.
The young generation with their smartphones can often be seen thumb typing zipping left right, back again, double that one at incredible speed.
They have even evolved smaller keypad for that purpose. Check out Suzy Chang's blog entry on texting in Korean.
Anyway, with English academies around the world intent on maintaining the static quo and the steep, long learning curve for English, and with the lack of consensus of academics (saving a few), it is highly unlikely that any modification will be forthcoming.
But yU aR frE tU yUz Tis sistim az yU LIk.
EzE kE eqgLix - introduction by Steve Watson
Added Notes 2014.01.10
The -ed problem
Drop the final e when the -ed sound is voiced (as in played) or voiceless (as in booked).
For the schwa -ed sound after -t or -d (as in wanted) we use _ for the vowel sound.
This symbol is close in sound, but not tensed as much, as the same symbol used in Korean.
A few examples will help (read in rows):
voiced final conso. played pLAd stayed stAd moved mUvd saved sAvd
voiceless final con. passed past missed mist looked l_kt dressed drest
after -t, -d final con. worded w3rd_d wanted want_d invited invIt_d evaded EvAd_d
The -er problem
English puts -e- or -o- or -u- before the final -r to give the ur sound.
Let's just drop the vowel altogether, or else use the 3 which looks like a reverse E.
operator could be written as op3rAt3r or op3rAtr
waiter wAt3r or wAtr
sailor sAl3r or sAlr
player pLA3r or pLAr
miner mIn3r or mInr
father faT3r or faTr
mother muT3r or muTr
A problem exists if there is no consonant before the ur sound, as in
player pLA3r or pLAr
A dot could be used before the r to indicate the ur sound, giving
player pLA3r or pLA.r
prayer pre3r ot pre.r
I have revised and simplified this nova spelling system for English, and you can view the 2 new alternative spelling methods in the flipbook below.