English Accents Discussion

Solar Spell’s first foundational principle is to “spell only the sounds in the word”. This means Solar Spell has its foundation in the spoken word, and yet written words are not spoken words. Written words are composed of unfeeling symbols while spoken words are full of richness, texture, connotation, cadence and inflection. Spoken words can be whispered or shouted or purred or sung. The same word may be said harshly in one breath and lovingly in another. Spoken words are as different from written words as a movie is from a photograph.

Accents add a sort of musical texture to spoken language. Accents are beautiful and we are fortunate for the diversity of English accents heard throughout the world. To return to the movie analogy, accents are like a movie’s soundtrack. And just as it makes little sense to add a movie soundtrack to a photograph, it makes little sense to express accents with spelling.

But now we’ve reached an apparent conflict. On the one hand, accents have no business in the written word. And on the other, Solar Spell’s foundational principle to “spell the sounds” means accent can’t be separated from spelling.

We solve this by identifying an official source of pronunciation. Fortunately the skilled linguists behind English dictionaries have already done this work and provide a pronunciation key for each word. This will be the sound source of Solar Spell. In cases where multiple pronunciations are equally valid, one official pronunciation will be chosen, preferably the one believed to have the longest longevity.

The Solar Spell that appears on this site and in the novel Worlds Apart is based on the pronunciations found on dictionary.com.

While this means Solar Spell is generally derived from the General American accent, it does not impose that accent on anyone. If one’s native accent pronounces certain Rs softer or long-Is with a hint of /oy/, they are expected and encouraged to continue pronouncing those syllables as they always have. No accent is inherently more correct or proper than any other.

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