More fun with alphabets can be found by recognizing that English spelling is quite messed up. Even going back before there even was English, people have been trying to come up with more logical approaches to written orthography. Last year, I talked about the Roman Emperor Claudius and his suggestions for some new letters. Those letters didn't survive much past the end of his reign, but the impulse to muck with the status quo has never died out.
Pretty much since the dawn of modern English in the 1500s, there's been a steady stream of advocacy for English spelling reform, some of which was successful (it is a sinne to ghossip), some of which wasn't (I hav to gard the iland). But for every dozen or so spelling reformers, there were one or two oddballs who suggested that the real solution is to change the alphabet. Ben Franklin was a proud member of this cabal, too. I think his suggested letters and ligatures are particularly pretty...
George Bernard Shaw had his own phonetic script, too. In My Fair Lady, Henry Higgins uses it when trying to make sense of Eliza Doolittle's speech. There were some other fascinating phonetic alphabets proposed in the 1700s and 1800s, but I'll save those for future posts.
Fast forward to this past century, and we see a few more phonics reforms in schools that had their own alphabets.
This always struck me as a bit weird, since the goal is to have students eventually unlearn those alphabets and replace them with regular English.
Starting in the 1950s, there was one last attempt to get everyone to switch to something more logical and modern than those hoary old Roman letters. UNIFON may have gotten its start in the post-war Jetsons era, but it didn't really get much publicity until the dawn of the personal computer age in the 1980s. It does have a very Apple ][, Bits and Bytes kind of feel to it, don't you think...?
I'd be delinquent if I didn't also mention the International Phonetic Alphabet, which was designed by linguists to be able to accurately record the exact sounds made by a person saying something in just about any language. With 107 official phonemic symbols plus hundreds of other variants, diacritic marks, and so on, you can distinguish clearly between the accents of Jersey City and Staten Island...
...which, in some situations, might just save your hide! :-)