International Pronunciation Differences

As an international language, English is currently written and spoken somewhat differently in various parts of the world.

On the one hand, by using a phonetic spelling, Lytspel eliminates most differences that traditionally exist between written British (BE) and American English (AE), e.g. «culer, senter, orgenys, ánelys, lycenss, catalog, aijing, program, chek, gray» ‹colour/color, centre/center, organise/organize, analyse/analyze, licence/license, catalogue/catalog, ageing/aging, programme/program, cheque/check, grey/gray›.

On the other hand, tailoring Lytspel to faithfully represent just one regional variety would cause many deviations from the alphabetic principle for everyone else. And creating different variants of Lytspel each fitting just one regional variety would introduce even larger differences between different regional varieties of written English than traditionally exist between BE and AE.

Instead of going down either of theses routes, Lytspel had been designed as some kind of “global compromise.” It aims to keep the phonetic principle reasonably intact for all varieties of spoken English, and particularly for RP (since the English language originates in England) and GA (since the United States are the country with the highest number of native English speakers).

Several details of the Lytspel spellings have already been motivated as representing sound distinctions that exist either in RP or in GA. But such compromises are not almost possible without making the written language extremely complex and unwieldy. In other cases, Lytspel therefore resolves differences between RP and GA by choosing one spelling – often the one that keeps the written language more similar to tradspell or else the shorter one:

If a letter is commonly either spoken or silent, Lytspel tends to preserve it, e.g. «platinum, trait» (not “platnum, tray”).

If speakers in different regions tend to stress different syllables, Lytspel usually places the stress early rather than late, e.g. «an ádress, décaid, truncait» ‹an address, decade, truncate›. But in the case of originally foreign words where a late stress placement corresponds to the pronunciation in the original language, it is often preserved, e.g. «cafeen, expoasáy» ‹caffeine, exposé›.

Other differences are usually unique to just one or very few words. In such cases, Lytspel generally prefers the pronunciation that is more similar to the traditional written form, e.g. «cordial, figer, shéduel» ‹…figure, schedule› (rather than “corjel, figyer, skejuul”).

In a few cases, one pronunciation is preferred because it is more similar to that of a closely related word, e.g. «pryveci» ‹privacy› from «pryvet» ‹private› (rather than “priveci”).