Andrey (azangru) wrote,

Dan McIntyre's History of English reproduces a fragment from Owen Price’s English Orthography, and, as an activity, suggests discussing what’s wrong with it:

A good reminder of how immature the metalanguage for treating the language was in those days. The word letter, which is a graphic representation of a sound (well, of a phoneme, but never mind) is used in both senses, leading to the characterization of long vowels (in meet or meat; unless they were pronounced differently in the 17th-century English) as diphthongs.

Meletius Smotritsky does the same in his Slavonic Grammar. Lomonosov is already more nuanced (although he too, following the tradition, talks of diphthongs and triphthongs).

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