Dutton Speedwords: Pronunciation


There are five vowels - a, e, i, o, u - and two diphthongs - au, y (a) The five vowels Each of the vowels has a long and a short sound; Dutton gives the pronunciation as: Long: ah, eh, ee, oh, oo [as in 'moon'] Short: as in - at, get, it, odd, put. I assume the long sounds are meant to be pure sounds without the diphthongization found in Southern British and in American speech. The words illustrating the short sounds are to be understood in their (north?) British pronunciation, i.e. a is more like American o in got, and the short o is closer a "clipped" aw in law. When used alone or final in a root word, the vowel is long; when followed by consonant _in the same morpheme_ the vowel is short. (Rules for addition of affixes and for compound words are given below.) (b) The diphthongs au = ow in cow, how &c. y has _two_ pronunciations: - when used alone (= 'was') it is pronounced: yoh - elsewhere it is pronounced as igh in might. (Apart from au, when two vowels occur together _in the same morpheme_, they are sounded separately, presumably with no interruption such as a glottal plosive or Lojban's "'".)


Most have their standard English pronunciation, but: c = tch in match g is always hard as in get j = s in measure (French j) q = qu in quick (kw) r is always trilled as in Scots English (Italian r) s is always voiceless as in less Note: sh is a digraph pronounced exactly as in English; elsewhere h is always pronounced as an aspirate. Radicals spelt with a single consonant as generally pronounced as the consonant followed by a shwa, if the next word begins with a consonant or before a pause, or by "a very short ee" if the next word begins with a vowel. The following are exceptions: b (= but) is given by Dutton as English "but" - it is not clear whether the vowel is the southern British & American, i.e similar to a shwa, or northern English where it rhymes with put. f (= for) pronounced: froh h (= has/have) pronounced: hee m (= with) pronounced: mitt n (= not) pronounced nott (English short o) x (= if) pronounced: ex z (= as) pronounced: zoo


Generally on the first syllable of a word. Exceptions: (a) the suffix -o, _always_ takes the main stress. (b) the verbal prefixes u- and y- are never stressed.


The prefixes me-, my- and y- are normal, i.e. meh-, migh-, igh- The prefix u- is prounced oong- (short oo and ng as in young). (Note: "having" is hu, (not *uh) and is pronounced: hoong)


(a) single vowel These are pronounced long. If the are attatched to a preceeding vowel, then a yod (English consonantal 'y') is pronounced between the two vowels, e.g. dau (= allow, grant) is: dah-yoo (b) the suffixes -c and -n These are pronounced -choh and -(y)un (short-oon) and do not shorten a preceeding vowel; e.g. lec (= mail) is: lehchoh gan (= scarcely) is: gah-yun (c) the suffix -d - does not shorten a preceeding vowel; - is pronounced as -d after b,g,l,m,n,r and v; - is pronounced -edd after all other consonants. (d) the suffix -z - does not shorten a preceeding vowel; - is pronounced with an preceeding shwa after _all_ consonants. (e) the suffix -r generally follows the same rules as -z; however, if confusion might occur with another radical, the suffix must be written as -er and pronounced accordingly. Examples: far (= agent) is: fahr junr (= child) is: [Zun@r] but maer (= maker) is: mah-yerr. (ma = "to make" - mar = "marry, marriage") (f) the suffix -m - shortens a preceeding vowel; - is pronounced -omm after all consonants. (g) all other single letter suffixes - shorten a preceeding vowel; - after a consonant, the suffix is pronounced in its normal way "if it can be articulated without difficulty". Otherwise -t is pronounced -ett and a short -i- is pronounced before all the others. Final -s must also be pronounced -iss after -k- and -g- to avoid confusion with -x. (h) the two letter suffixes -st and -za -st is pronounced -ist and -za is pronounced -zah. They do not shorten preceeding vowels, e.g. rist (= clerk) is: ree-ist; sanst (=doctor) is: sannist perza (=dad,pop) is: perrzah


When two radicals form a compound the first has an -ng [N] sound added if it ends in a vowel, the vowel remaining long, and -ing [iN] added if it ends in a consonant. (Stress stays on first syllable). Examples: albe (= already) is: ALLing-beh (ALL rhymes with shall!) diel (=telephone) is: DEENG-ell rysan (=hospital) is: RIGHNG-san "On the rare occasions when a compound includes three radicals the syllable '-ish' is inserted between the second and third components. It is then unnecessary to sound '-ing' between the second and third components. When the first component ends in a vowel the sound '-sh' follows the vowel immediatedly without the interposition of the vowel -i- ." Examples: opmekav (=anti-aircraft) is 'OPP-ish-mek-avv' ryefki (=gymnasium) is: RIGHSH-eff-kee


& (= and) is like English `and' &e (= et cetera) is `ANdeh'
Sources: Dutton World Speedwords by Reginald J.G. Dutton published by Dutton Publications, London. 3rd edition - 1946 Dutton Double-Speed Words: Companion to Text-Book by Reginald J.G. Dutton published by Dutton Publications, London. 3rd edition - 1946 (The "Double-Speed Words" of the latter title are the same as "World Speedwords". Reginald Dutton had a tendency to vary the names both of his "World Brief-Script" (i.e. speedwords) and his shorthand (in the manner of Pitman and Gregg) in his various publications.

My thanks to Raymond Brown for compiling this information.

Richard Kennaway, jrk@cmp.uea.ac.uk