[Python-Dev] Why is soundex marked obsolete?
Eric S. Raymond
Sun, 14 Jan 2001 15:17:53 -0500
Tim Peters <firstname.lastname@example.org>:
> 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
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),