MCM (Mixed Case Minglish) is a phonemic writing system for
American English. There are two forms, strict MCM and loose MCM,
differing in how they handle schwa-liquid sequences. This
document describes version 1.03 of MCM, current as of 11/29/2003.
(I consider it likely that there will be no need to further improve the
notation or its description. Of course, that's what I said last
MCM uses the following symbols. Each lower case letter represents a sound which is extremely common in traditional English spelling for that letter. The remaining symbols were chosen to be mnemonic.
The following letter combinations are interpreted as follows:
In vowel-liquid or liquid-liquid combinations, if a schwa is normally pronounced within the combination, a 3 is always shown, explicitly or by using upper-case for the liquid. Examples: fYR, fIL, stEL, pyUR, pWR, bQL, skw&L. Note that in many cases, the 3 is not reflected in the traditional English spelling.
The 3 is to be preferred over i for any indistinct vowel whose rendition might be in doubt, except that a vowel which is pronounced as I when ununusally stressed should be represented as i rather than 3, as in bihEv (not b3hEv).
MCM can be optionally augmented to show stress. The apostrophe (') is used to show primary stress, and the grave accent (`) is used to show secondary stress. These accents are placed following the vowel of a stressed syllable. Examples: ima`j3nE'XN, p&'k3lE`tR.
Although MCM is intended primarily as a mechanism for indicating the pronunciation of individual words (a so-called pronunciation-guide spelling), it could be used to transcribe real texts. When using it for this purpose, the following additional rules are needed:
MCM was devised for American English. It is probably
unsuitable for use with British English, and any attempt to use it in
that way voids the warranty. If you do wish to use it to represent
British English, the symbol 6 should be used for the British short "o"
sound, e.g., b6ks instead of
the American bAks, and the &
symbol should be understood to represent a non-rhotic vowel. Note
some of the examples in the tables are pronounced differently in
British English. For speakers of British English, the SAMPA
equivalents should be used as the definition of the sounds.
I do not distinguish the words "marry" and "merry" in my own speech, nor "where" and "wear". But those who do should feel free to use the sequence ar for the vowel of "marry" (mary), and hw for the initial sounds of "where" (hwer).
A few English words use sounds from French and German. The symbols H and K are used to represent a soft and a hard German ch, respectively. A tilde, either as a diacritic or following a vowel, is used to indicate nasalization, as in kAntr3tA~ (traditional spelling "contretemps"). Similarly, an umlaut or a following double quote can be used for the non-English vowels of French and German, as in .göt3 ("Goethe") and .kler d3 .lÜn ("Clair de Lune").
If you find MCM to be of interest, you may want to look at FLOSS, which is a more complex system of the same kind, ultimately derived from MCM.
Here are two samples of MCM, the first the traditional
first paragraph of H.G. Wells' "The Star" (see here),
and the second a transcription of a pop song by Dire Straits.
(Truth to tell, song lyrics are my usual transcription material.)
Both transcriptions are loose in their handling of syllabic liquids,
and neither one marks stress.
An D3 f&st dE uv D3 nU yir Dat D3 3nWnsmNt wuz mEd, Olmost
sYmLtEnI3slI frum TrI 3bz&v3tOrIz, Dat D3 moXN uv D3 plan3t
.neptUn, D3 WtRmost uv Ol D3 plan3ts Dat wIL 3rWnd D3 sun, had bikum
verI iratik. .3 ritArdEXN in its vLAsitI had bin s3spekt3d in
.disembR. .Den 3 fEnt, rimot spek uv lYt wuz diskuvRd in D3 rIjN
uv D3 pRt&bd plan3t. .at f&st Dis did nAt kOz enI verI
iksYtmNt. sYNtifik pIpL, hWevR, fWnd D3 intel3jNs rimArk3bL inuf,
IvN bifOr it bikEm non Dat D3 nU bAdI wuz rapidlI groiG lArjR and
brYtR, and Dat its moXN wuz kwYt difRNt frum D3 OrdRlI prAgr3s uv D3
Because this example is a pop song, I've omitted capitalization marks at the start of lines and also, in the style of rock lyrics everywhere, left out most of the punctuation. I have however indicated capitalization for proper names.
wOrniG lYts Ar flaXiG dWn at .kwAl3tI .kNtrol
sumbAdI TrU 3 spanR and DE TrU him in D3 hol
Derz rUmRz in D3 lodiG bE and aGgR in D3 tWn
sumbAdI blU 3 wisL and D3 wOlz kEm dWn
Derz 3 mItiG in D3 bOrdrUm, Der trYiG tU trEs D3 smel
Derz lIkiG in D3 wAXrUm, Derz 3 snIk in .p&sNel
Sumwer in D3 kor3dR, sumwun wuz h&d tU snIz
"gVdn3s mI, kVd Dis bI industrIL dizIz?"
D3 kertEkR wuz krUs3fYd fOr slIpiG at hiz post
rifyUziG tU bI pas3fYd, its him DE blEm D3 most
D3 wACdOg gAt rEbIz, D3 fOrmNz gAt D3 flIz
evrIwunz kNs&nd 3bWt industrIL dizIz
Derz panik An D3 swiCbOrd, tuGz Ar tYd in nAts
sum kum Wt in simp3TI, sum kum Wt in spAts
sum blEm D3 manijmNt, sum D3 implQIz
and evrIbAdI noz its D3 industrIL dizIz
D3 w&k fOrs iz disgust3d, dWnz tULz, wOks
in3sNs iz injRd, ikspirINs just tOks
evrIwun sIks damij3z, evrIwun 3grIz
"DIz Ar klasik simptMz uv 3 mAn3terI skwIz"
An :ITV and :BBC DE tOk 3bWt D3 k&s
fLAs3fI iz yUsl3s, TIAl3jI iz w&s
histRI bQLz ovR, Derz N ekNAmiks frIz
sosIAl3j3sts invent w&dz Dat mIn industrIL dizIz
.dAktR .pArkNsN diklerd "Ym nAt sRprYzd tU sI yU hir
yUv gAt smokRz kOf frum smokiG, brURz drUp frum driGkiG bir
Y dont no hW yU kEm tU get D3 .betI .dEv3s nIz
but w&st uv Ol yuG man, yUv gAt industrIL dizIz"
hI rot mI 3 pr3skripXN, hI sed "yU Ar diprest
Ym glad yU kEm tU sI mI tU get Dis Of y& Cest
kum bak and sI mI lEtR, nekst pEXNt plIz
send in 3nuDR viktM uv industrIL dizIz"
Y go dWn tU .spIkRz .kOrnR, Ym TundRstruk
DE gAt frI spIC, tVrists, pLIs in truks
tU men sE Der .jIz3s, wun uv Dem must bI rOG
DE gAt 3 protest siGR, hIz siGiG 3 protest sOG
hI sez "DE wAnt tU hav 3 wOr so DE kan kIp us An Wr nIz
DE wAnt tU hav 3 wOr so DE kan kIp Der faktRIz
DE wAnt tU hav 3 wOr tU stAp us bYiG .japNIz
DE wAnt tU hav 3 wOr tU stAp industrIL dizIz
Der pQntiG Wt D3 enMI tU kIp us def and blYnd
DE wAnt tU sap y& enRjI, inkArsREt y& mYnd
giv yU rUL .britany3, gasI bir, pEj TrI
tU wIks in .EspAny3 and .SundE strip tIz"
mInwYL, D3 f&st .jIz3s sez, "YL kyVr it sUn
3bAliX .mundE mOrniG and .frYdE aftRnUn"
D3 uDR wunz Wt An huGgR strYk, hIz dYiG bY digrIz
hW kum .jIz3s gets industrIL dizIz?
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