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 towards 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.