Talk:Unifon

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The John Malone referenced by John Malone is a different John Malone than the creator of Unifon. How is that solved? --Pmg 18:39, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

Here's what one does: the John C. Malone at John Malone is much more important than the Unifon John Malone. So we leave John C. Malone where he is, and make a new article at John Malone (unifon). The Uninfon article can link to John Malone (unifon). Then we add a note to the top of the John C. Malone article that says "'John Malone' redirects here. For the inventor of Uninfon, see John Malone (unifon)".
That way, most people (who are looking for John C. Malone) get what they want on the first try. But people who want the Unifon Malone can still find him; they type in "John Malone" and get a page with a message at the top directing them to the right page.
I did all this; check out the Unifon and John Malone articles to see the details. -- Dominus 18:56, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

John C. vs. John R.[edit]

On September 25, 2007 when I updated the Unifon article, Dr. Malone had already informed me that he wished to be distinguished from other John Malones by adding his middle initial. There are now separate correct entries for John R. Malone, inventor of Unifon, and John C. Malone, a "much more important" person. Keninyork 18:58, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

Perhaps then we should move the John Malone (Unifon creator) article to John R. Malone, and leave behind John Malone (Unifon creator) as a redirect to John R. Malone. -- Dominus 19:32, 26 September 2007 (UTC)
I did this. -- Dominus 19:45, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

Unifon uncited references[edit]

Much of my initial information has come from Dr. Malone, now age 93 (in 2007), whose memory is uncannily accurate.

1. Dr. Malone told me the name of the young man who appeared on the Today Show. I located him via the Internet. He recalls the experience. I cannot locate kinescope of the program. The man did not give me permission to use his name. How do I handle this citation?

2. Dr. Malone has told me names of the contributing foundations. Western Publishing published the Margaret Ratz book "Unifon: A Disign for Teaching Reading," in 1966. A student of Unifon has supplied me with samples from her "little red books" from Western Publishing. Others were named in the CSM article about Hammond. That article also mentions other projects. A newspaper article from Oakland, CA archives mentions the unifon class. How do I cite all these without being boring?

3. One who participated in the Charles Kuralt segment has contacted us--again, no permission to use his name. No extant film copies available at CBS, but the facts regarding the program have been confirmed by two or more people, Dr. Malone being one of them. Culkin learned about Unifon from that program.

4. The second article in Science Digest (1982) admits the editors were not prepared for the "overwhelming" response they received from the first article a year earlier. When John Culkin answered my correspondence in 1982, he claimed the second article also garnered similar response. Science Digest archives are available through local libraries to verify this information--but how do I cite that?

5. An editor's sidebar from an article in the Chicago Sun Times, May 29, 1060, corroborates Dr. Malone's memory that Unifon was among the 10 finalists in the Shaw competition.

Several of these articles, with their citations, appear on the official unifon web site for anyone to verify--www.unifon.org. They have not been given because our purpose was not to market a web site, but to provide information. How do I cite references that have been posted on a web site without seeming to promote that web site? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Keninyork (talkcontribs) 19:57, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

You do it by citing reliable, third-party sources. Furthermore, if what you seem to be implying is correct -- that you are making these edits at his behest -- then conflicts of interest still apply. It's arguably even original research. Xihr 22:54, 26 September 2007 (UTC)
Got the message. Nothing is being done at Malone's "behest"--I don't think he's aware that I'm writing this article. But I will remove anything I cannot corroborate and see where that leaves the article. When corroboration is possible later, I'll re-insert the deleted passages. How's that?
That sounds fine. Xihr 06:09, 27 September 2007 (UTC)

Can I offer an outside link to a source that only appears on the unifon web site? For instance, the reference that Unifon was in the top 10 finalists of the Shaw competition. The cover from the newspaper is posted there and can be enlarged to read the editor's sidebar. I have sent them the best copy I received from Malone. Malone told me, that's a primary source. The newspaper article corroborates it; that's secondary. The web site citation is a graphic of the original newspaper article; that's teitiary. My article cite represents a fourth level. But there are only two real sources, Malone's word and the editor's sidebar. Any other reference at the web site or elsewhere probably relies on one or both of these sources. I fail to see how a third or fourth level source can be considered more reliable, although I can see your point about my personal involvement getting in the way of reliability without such citations.

Check the John M. Culkin bio, too, for undocumented sources. Can I send you a copy of his obituary from The New York Times? That and an article of a conversation with John Culkin form the basis for information and corroboration in the bio. Oh, yes, I also talked with Frank Maguire, his partner at Hearth Communications. But that qualifies as primary source, doesn't it? Keninyork 00:25, 27 September 2007 (UTC)

For your first quesiton, I think the proper course would be to cite the article itself. There's nothing in Wikipedia that requires Web-only references, after all (in fact, some, including myself, would argue that sometimes we rely too heavily on them); it's just that they're often the easiest to come by. It doesn't sound like referencing the unifon.org site to back up claims would be satisfactory, since it's obviously not a third-party source. So just reference the newspaper and date that the article was published. It isn't required that you link to Web sites, only that you give a full reference for the claims.
And yes, talking to primary sources and then reporting what they say qualifies as original resources, and isn't suitable for inclusion in Wikipedia.
As for the other article, I'll take a look at it. Xihr 06:09, 27 September 2007 (UTC)

Phonetic vs Phonemic[edit]

Unifon is a phonemic transcription system, not a phonetic transcription system. Perusal of the lead section of the phoneme article should make this clear. The International Phonetic Alphabet, in contrast, is a phonetic transcription system, as its name implies.

The fact that Wikipedia has no article on "phonemic alphabet" is irrelevant here. "Phonemic" is an adjective and can be applied to an alphabet. Wikipedia has no article on "purple carrot" either; nevertheless the locution is sensible, and there are in fact purple carrots.

-- Dominus 21:01, 30 September 2007 (UTC)

I disagree about whether that lead section under phoneme "makes it clear." In fact, I not only find the distinction unclear, but I suspect that the opening sentence, "In human language, a phoneme is the smallest structural unit that distinguishes meaning," is wrong! According to the dictionary (Random House Unabridged -- details upon request ;-), phonemes are "units of sounds," a crucial point which that sentence, which appears to be an attempt to define "phoneme," omits.
I have an abstruse book, beyond my ken, on structural linguistics here somewhere ("Structural Linguistics" is actually its title, IIRC), which discusses structures in great detail. There is a word for the smallest unit of semantic structure, which I forget now, but "phoneme" is meaningless apart from sound. (My point being that that opening sentence, by introducing "meaning" in connection with "structural unit" seems to stray from the essence of phonetics, as distinct from semantics: phonemes distinguish "cape" from "cake," but don't convey meaning.)
This dictionary says (s.v. phonetic), "In English, certain phonological features, as length and aspiration, are phonetic, but not phonemic," which tells me that there are qualities of the sounds of English speech unrelated to the phonemes, which (s.v. phoneme) it calls "any of a small set of units, usually about 20 to 60 in number, and different for each language, often considered to be the basic units of sound by which morphemes, words, and sentences are represented" tells me phonemes have nothing to do with the structural units of meaning (semantics). I don't mean to imply that that's what you're saying, only that the lead section in the phoneme article isn't clear.
Can you point out more precisely where the Phoneme article clarifies the point that disqualifies Unifon as a phonetic alphabet? I suspect that "phonetic alphabet" may be an appropriate term, even if Unifon doesn't represent anything more than phonemes. Unfree (talk) 12:48, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
I don't know if I can point out anything in the Phoneme article that says what you want, and I don't think there's any point in arguing about that. The real issue is what is actually correct.
Linguists distinguish phones, which are distinguishable sounds, from phonemes, which are the sounds that actually are distinguished in a particular language.
Here is an example. Korean has three sounds, all of which are approximated by the English /p/ sound, which are written in Korean as ᄇ, ᄈ, and ᄑ, respectively. The sounds of these letters are three different phones. Two of phones are used in English: ᄇ is the sound of the letter 'p' as it is pronounced in the word "spill", and ᄑ is the sound of the letter 'p' as it is pronounced in the word "pill".
It is unquestionable that these are two different sounds. But English does not distinguish them; if you use the wrong /p/ in English, hardly anyone will notice. In Korean, the situation is very different: if you mispronounce "바" as "빠" or as "파", you are saying a different word, and the hearer will have to figure out what you meant from the context.
Although English speakers can learn to hear the difference, naive English speakers hear them as the same "sound", /p/, represented by the letter 'p'. The /p/ here is a phoneme, but in English there are two different phones that correspond to this single phoneme.
A phonetic alphabet, like IPA, contains symbols that represent phones. For example, IPA has a symbol for the sound of ᄇ, which is [p], and a separate symbol for the sound of ᄑ, which is [pʰ], and a third symbol for the sound of ᄈ, which is [pĦ].
The same Unifon symbol is used to write the 'p' in "pill" and in "spill", even though these are pronounced as different phones and can be distinguished by Koreans. That is very practical, because the two sounds are interchangeable in English, and if you mix up which is which, hardly anyone will notice. Unifon is designed to represent English, so it is only proper that it should ignore these distinctions, distinctions which are not made by English speakers. The Unifon symbols represent phonemes of English, not phones, which is why it is a phonemic alphabet, not a phonetic alphabet.
--Dominus (talk) 16:05, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
Well, I just now saw that Wikipedia has a very nice article on phonemic orthography, which explains exactly what I said above. I changed the "phonemic alphabet" link in the article to point to phonemic orthography. I hope this clears up some of the ongoing confusion about this point. -- Dominus (talk) 16:11, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

Why Esperanto?[edit]

The reason for "See also Esperanto" and what to look for ought to be given.Unfree (talk) 09:35, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

  • I don't know. Perhaps because it is written phonemicaly? Tohuvabohuo (talk) 19:54, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

Teaching aid[edit]

"It was developed as a teaching aid..." is ambiguous. It could mean that Unifon was created for the purpose of education, or that after its invention, the creation of a teaching aid based on it contributed to its further development. In other words, was the teaching aid Unifon itself? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Unfree (talkcontribs) 10:29, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

Answering the question myself, I've changed "as" to "into." The article doesn't explain what the original Bendix project was, but it's evident that the "teaching aid" is indeed Unifon itself.Unfree (talk) 11:43, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

"Phonemic Alphabet"[edit]

This term contains a link to a page which doesn't explain it. Moreover, it appears directly under a boilerplate line containing a link to "phonetic alphabets," where Unifon is included in that category. Is the distinction important? Should "phonemic alphabet" be changed to "phonetic alphabet"? If not, doesn't it deserve explanation? Unfree (talk) 11:24, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

At the time I made the link, there was no page for phonemic alphabet, and I did not know about the phonemic orthography article, so I did the best I could. I have changed the link. -- Dominus (talk) 16:13, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

Unifon vs. Old Unifon[edit]

I see no reasonable reason why Unifon and Old Unifon should be in separate articles, given the obscurity of the subject, as well as the amount of overlap in the two articles. What do you guys think? Xihr (talk) 22:56, 18 May 2008 (UTC)

Did we have the same idea independently at the same time?
Clearly, I agree. -- Dominus (talk) 14:35, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
I actually only noticed the Old Unifon article existed as you were adding the merge templates -- which is arguably an awfully good reason why the articles should be merged. I think I made that comment as you were still putting the templates on each of the relevant pages. Xihr (talk) 22:42, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

I have merged the non-overlapping content from Old Unifon, however the material is not referenced. -- Whpq (talk) 14:30, 16 November 2008 (UTC)

Hi -- having spent a few hours cleaning up and otherwise improving this article (on a topic I really don't even care about), I'm a little unhappy to see this mass of unsourced material flung into it. What's more, I don't even have a good guess as to what the source would be. Regards, looie496 (talk) 17:35, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
I agree, the total lack of citations in that block is rather troubling. Some of it sounds borderline original research.  Xihr  23:21, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
I placed the material here as part of merge of clearly related articles. I'm not familiar with the subject matter, and wasn't comfortable with the lack of sourcing which is why I tagged the section. If it is original research, or otherwise unverifiable, please remove it. As somebody not familiar with the subject matter, I didn't want to just remove the material. Regards. -- Whpq (talk) 23:55, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
I would suggest it be removed. It looks problematic at best and, as User:Looie496 points out, looks like it would be hard to find sources for even if it were all down the line.  Xihr  00:34, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

Would Unifon help dyslexics?[edit]

Has there been any research on this?

Should the Wiki Unifon entry be mentioned in the Dyslexia entry or that of linked entries (e.g., Phonemic orthography)? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Phantom in ca (talkcontribs) 06:19, 11 September 2011 (UTC)

Before mentioning Unifon in the Dyslexia entry, there should be some serious, published evidence that using Unifon makes a difference for dyslexics, either positive or negative. If there is, then cite it.Pete unseth (talk) 12:24, 4 May 2012 (UTC)