Steve Bett wrote:

> > What Swadesh, Pike, Laubach, and others are saying is that code
> > literacy can be achieved in 3 months or less.

> PD: Morris Swadesh and Kenneth Pike?
Where did they pronounce on this topic?

SB: A reference is provided below.

> PD: Pike's concern was to "reduce" unwritten languages to writing,
> and, having grown up a good American Descriptivist, he reflexively
> assumed that a surface-phonemic (in those days, simply "phonemic")
> orthography was optimal.

SB: Where is the evidence that he was wrong? If the writing system
he helped invent could be learned by native speakers in 2 months,
that seems to me to be to be fairly optimal.

It seems that Kamal Ataturk's insistance on a phonemic orthography
for Turkish indicates that he didn't think that the Arabic writing
system was at all optimal.

SB: Charles F. Hocket said that people would rather change their
religion than change their orthography so there is something to be
said for making the best of what you have. However, to claim that
morpho-phonemic English spelling conventions are optimal for those
learning to read and write seems to be going a bit too far.

SB: I have nothing against orthographies that are boderline
logographies except for the fact that they are notoriously difficult
to master.

>(PD) A quick glance at English or Arabic shows that that's not
necessarily the case: what would a little later be called the
_morpho_phonemic level seems to be the most useful place to base the

PD: Whether that orthography is alphabetic, abjadic, syllabic,
abugidic, or some variety of logographic depends on the nature of
the language and its phonotactics.

SB: Can we call you a phonotactic determinist?

SB: From Kalmer's book: This system was complicated by the fact
that the workers were bilingual in Spanish and Tarascan. Kalmar says
that a hybrid Tarascan /tə'raas kən / alphabet had been devised in
1939 by Swadesh, Lathrop, and Pike, as part of the Tarascan Project.
(p.108) "The Tarascan Project became the showpiece of adult
biliteracy campaigns ... elevated [by UNESCO, 1948] to paradigmatic
status as a model for how to conduct adult biliteracy campaigns in
third world countries .... The Tarascan Project established once and
for all that indios - illiterate indigenous monolingual adults -
could learn to read and write both their own language and the
metropolitan language in less than a month or two - provided both
languages were systematically coded in a single alphabet
deliberately designed to be as hybrid as possible, on the principle
of one letter, one hybrid phoneme."

Kalmer, Thomás Mario. [2001] Lawrence Edbaum Assoc., N.J.