I’m currently exploring the Major System and I’m a bit confused. What I’m struggling with is how to treat semivowels – h, w, and j. Normally they are simply ignored. However, I fail to see how this would be better than including them in some cases if the system is to be used strictly phonetically.
I’ll give some examples. These are wrong according to the guidelines, but feel more correct to me:
Haruki, Hannibal, hell, hat – include h. Thai, honest, phone, sheep – ignore h. (These are somewhat bad examples though. I failed to think of an instance when I would keep the h while it was is in the middle of a word in English (but several in Swedish)).
Washing, awaiting – include w. (I would also include w when pronounced hard as a v). Awesome – ignore w.
J is then harder. If it’s pronounced as a soft g (dʒ) it’s no problem (as in jump, journal). However, I would phonetically spell rain, naked, new and use as:
rejn, nejkhed, njou and jous. This might be due to a difference in languages? The j in these examples is closer to the y in you, or the j in Hallelujah. The correct symbol would be j or ʝ̞ (voiced palatal approximant) I think. I don’t know how to tackle j really.
It would be very strange for me to ignore the j completely in Swedish. And likewise, if ignored in English only, that would create som confusion as well I imagine? If included in all cases though, the confusion would be to differentiate j from the vocal sounds ei and ai. (These are not really used in Swedish, instead they are most commonly created with the letter j).
If anyone has chosen to include semivowels and have a system for it, or could better explain why it would be a bad idea to do so, I’d love to hear it.