[Python-Dev] Why is soundex marked obsolete?

Eric S. Raymond esr@thyrsus.com
Sun, 14 Jan 2001 15:17:53 -0500

Tim Peters <tim.one@home.com>:
> If that were true, the English-speaking researchers would have declared
> victory 120 years ago <wink>.  But English pronunciation is *notoriously*
> difficult to predict from spelling, partly because English is the Perl of
> human languages.

Actually, according to the Oxford Encyclopedia of Linguistics, this is
an urban myth.  The orthography of English is, in fact, quite
consistent; it looks much more wacked out than it is because the
maddening irregularities are concentrated in the 400 most commonly
used words.

The situation is much like that with French verb forms -- most French
verbs have a very regular inflection pattern, but the twenty or so
exceptions are the most commonly used ones.  In fact it's a general
rule in language evolution that irregularities are preserved in common
forms and not rare ones -- in the rare ones they get forgotten.

American personal names are are problem precisely because they sometimes
do *not* have English orthography.
		<a href="http://www.tuxedo.org/~esr/">Eric S. Raymond</a>

  "...quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit, occidentis telum est."
[...a sword never kills anybody; it's a tool in the killer's hand.]
        -- (Lucius Annaeus) Seneca "the Younger" (ca. 4 BC-65 AD),