And you thought switching to the metric system was hard…

An alphabet of forty-one letters would be an improvement over our present one of twenty-six, according to a Portland, Ore., educator. In the English language the letter “a” alone is pronounced eight different ways. He would add a new letter for each sound. With such an alphabet, he declares, a person unacquainted with the language would require only two weeks’ time to learn it.

  1. Tim G. says: July 6, 200710:15 am

    Brings back the nostalgia of the NBA in an odd way.
    “Just speak into the mic lil missy!”

  2. jayessell says: July 6, 200712:06 pm

    Charlie, why is that woman being Radium scanned?

    Is she one of those watch dial painters?
    (A dozen or so women were poisoned in the 1910s or 1920s by Radium ingestion.)

    Was there a screwball comedy about that?
    (You wouldn’t think that would be a subject for a comedy.)

  3. Charlie says: July 6, 20071:08 pm

    Ha, I never read the caption, and apparently Jinx didn’t either when she scanned that. I’m guessing the alphabet article didn’t have a picture and she thought the same thing I did, that he was holding a microphone.

    Good catch!

    I don’t know what the actual radium article was, I’d have to find the magazine.

  4. Stannous says: July 6, 20078:00 pm

    The 5th language I studied was, with just 20 letters and no gender, definitely the easiest: Tagalog

    There are at least 125 easily differentiated tones though they can be combined, as in Mandarin and Vietnamese, into many, many more:

  5. Blurgle says: July 6, 200711:24 pm

    jayessell, it was much more than a dozen. The best-known long-term followup of radium workers involved 1,346 workers. 40 died and upwards of 200 had some kind of long-term disability directly related to the radium. The “dozen or so” only refers to those who died specifically of osteogenic sarcoma in the jaw, not those who died of sarcoma elsewhere, and it doesn’t include those who were disfigured by radium poisoning.

  6. Rick Auricchio says: July 7, 20072:42 pm

    Now that you mention the workers’ jaws, I vaguely remember reading that they would lick the brushes while painting.

  7. jayessell says: July 7, 20076:14 pm

    3rd attempted post:


    I thought it was an industrial accident, not gross criminal negligence! (Plus coverup!)

    80 years later we would wonder how the people who thought Radium “deadliest stuff imaginable” and the people who thought it “harmless glowey stuff” never spoke with each other.
    I imagined different buildings as the only logical explaination,
    but what I read implies they knew and believed they could get away with it.

  8. jayessell says: July 7, 20076:55 pm

    Re #3:
    “Nothing Sacred” 1937 Carol Lombard / Frederick March

    To redeem himself after a hoax, reporter Wallace Cook proposes a series of stories on doomed Hazel Flagg. Hazel discovers she really doesn’t have radium poisoning, but still accepts the big fling in New York that Cook offers her. At first, she has a great time, but complications arise when she and Wally fall in love, and an Austrian specialist discovers that Hazel is faking.

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