More Holiday Gifts for More Holiday Linguists—The SpecGram Gift Elves™ SpecGram Vol CLXVI, No 1 Contents

Christmas Carol Orthography Puzzle

by Mary Pearce

I have just finished heading up an orthography course, so orthography is on my mind. Now I need help with the testing of a new orthography proposal for English. All you need to do is read the proposal and then read the titles of the Christmas carols below.

Proposal
  1. The orthography is produced from the phonetics of the text spoken by a Brit. So that means fewer ‘r’s than you may be used to. (Sorry, no intrusive ‘r’s in these data.)

  2. Only letters in the English alphabet are allowed so that means some digraphs and a bit of creativity that I won’t bore you with. (That should cover any typos.)

  3. Vowels and glottal stops are too complicated so they are left out. And word breaks use up too much space, so they are left out, too.

  4. Tone is marked at the end of the phrase with numbers for relative pitch changes (1 is low), based on the British (Southern English) dialect. Tone levels are reset for each phrase, and so are not necessarily the same.

  5. For the analytical among you, you may notice that the British and US tonal melodies, where they differ, are almost the inverse of each other. This may be an argument for polar tones.

OrthographyTonesNotes
a.wkmljfthfl221231
b.hkthhrldndzlzsng13323554
c.wjnmndz1223422US dialect: 443221
d.wnsnryldvdzst1233323443
e.wlshpdzwtshdthflksbjnt   13321443
f.wltltnvbthlhm1222343456   US dialect: 33323541
g.dzytthwld4321
h.slntnthlnt23212321

If you think you’ve figured out more than a few of these carols, send your solutions to the editors of SpecGram by December 15th, 2012 and you could win a SpecGram magnet of your choice. The correct solution and winners, if any, will be announced in the upcoming January issue.


Now for the solution to last month’s puzzle, “IPAlindromes IIIWhat Should We Do With/To Noam?”. Our winners, who will each receive a SpecGram magnet, are:

Emily DavisCole Perry

A sample of possible answers are provided below:

Moan, “Ace, say Noam.”
Moan, “Art, tar Noam.”
Moan, “Beau, robe Noam.”
Moan, “Cara, rack Noam.”
Moan, “Chan, snatch Noam.”
Moan, “Chance, snatch Noam.”
Moan, “Chip, pitch Noam.”
Moan, “Dale laid/slayed Noam.”
Moan, “Dan, add Noam.”
Moan, “Dane, aid Noam.”
Moan, “Dave, aid Noam.”
Moan, “Dave(y), evade Noam.”
Moan, “Dawn gnawed Noam.”
Moan, “Dean kneed Noam.”
Moan, “Dean, need Noam.”
Moan, “Del led Noam.”
Moan, “Di, ride/tied Noam.”
Moan, “Dick, kid Noam.”
Moan, “Drake, aired Noam.”
Moan, “Fay, chafe Noam.”
Moan, “Gabby, bag Noam.”
Moan, “Gary, rag Noam.”
Moan, “Jade, age Noam.”
Moan, “Jay, page/cage Noam.”
Moan, “Jayce, age Noam.”
Moan, “Jeff, edge Noam.”
Moan, “Jen, edge Noam.”
Moan, “Jess, edge Noam.”
Moan, “Kate, take Noam.”
Moan, “Katie, take/retake Noam.”
Moan, “Kerry, wreck Noam.”
Moan, “Kip, pick Noam.”
Moan, “Kye, like Noam.”
Moan, “Kyl(i)e, like Noam.”
Moan, “Lacey, sail Noam.”
Moan, “Lainey, nail Noam.”
Moan, “Lane, nail Noam.”
Moan, “Leif, feel Noam.”
Moan, “Les, sell Noam.”
Moan, “Libby, bill Noam.”
Moan, “Luke, cool Noam.”
Moan, “Maddie, damn Noam.”
Moan, “Madge, jam Noam.”
Moan, “Max, scam Noam.”
Moan, “Mira, ream Noam.”
Moan, “Moe, comb Noam.”
Moan, “Nat, tan Noam.”
Moan, “Neil, lean Noam.”
Moan, “Pal, slap Noam.”
Moan, “Pam, map Noam.”
Moan, “Pat(ty), tap Noam.”
Moan, “Poppy, pop Noam.”
Moan, “Rhys/Reese, sear Noam.”
Moan, “Rob(bie), bar Noam.”
Moan, “Rory, roar Noam.”
Moan, “Sam, amass Noam.”
Moan, “Shad, dash Noam.”
Moan, “Sid, diss Noam.”
Moan, “Skip picks Noam.”
Moan, “Stella, lets Noam.”
Moan, “Sue, goose Noam.”
Moan, “Sy, ice Noam.”
Moan, “Tate ate Noam.”
Moan, “Tony, note Noam.”
Moan, “Zada, daze Noam.”
Moan, “Zeke keys Noam.”
Moan, “Dee, lead/feed/read/need/heed Noam.”
Moan, “Kay, take/wake/shake Noam.”
Moan, “Lee, feel/heal/peel/seal Noam.”
Moan, “Lou, fool/cool/rule/duel Noam.”
Moan, “Mae/May, tame/game/name/shame/aim Noam.”
Moan, “Rae/Ray, air/bare/tear/dare/share Noam.”
Moan, “Stu boots/loots/shoots Noam.”
Moan, “Ty, fight/bite/write/right Noam.”

More Holiday Gifts for More Holiday LinguistsThe SpecGram Gift Elves™
SpecGram Vol CLXVI, No 1 Contents