[Spellyans] <kk> and <ck>

Michael Everson everson at evertype.com
Thu Dec 18 11:10:02 GMT 2008

Hi Dan,

On 17 Dec 2008, at 15:41, Daniel Prohaska wrote:

> Apart from our continued work on KS, I would like to propose that we  
> put together a list of issues that need to be discussed until and  
> when the SWF undergoes further tweaks in 2013. The Partnership has  
> stated that no more changes are to be recognised until then.

Of course the delta from SWF to KS will cover most of this.

> The issue I would like to bring up here is the matter of when to  
> write <ck> and <kk> in the SWF. We have Paul Hodge to “thank” for  
> the current SWF-solution of spelling <ck> in loanwords and <kk> in  
> native Cornish words.

It's even ickier than that. In the discussions, -kk- had first been  
agreed to be used in superlatives and subjunctives, and indeed, that  
was not a bad idea. It gave the Kebmynites some kk's which were  
actually motivated, and indeed related to some of the other things  
like tth (analogue to lh and nh). Linguistically motivated, -kk- could  
be useful in a certain class of words.

Single final -k was then to be used (slightly redundantly) after long  
vowels (we write <clôk> for consistency with the other voiceless  
stops, but I guess the SWF writes <clok>, and then -ck was to be used  
after short vowels, as in <clock>.

How "native" and "borrowed" got into it I've no idea, as of course I  
wasn't invited to address the AHG at Ms Jenkins' insistence. It is a  
very foolish idea. What schoolchildren know anything about borrowed  
vocabulary in Cornish? Do they know which elements are Germanic and  
which Romance in English, their native tongue?

Looking only for words ending in -cka in Nicholas' UCR English-Cornish  
Dictionary, I find:

backa, bucka, docka, drocka, Hecka, lacka, Mecka, re venycka, tecka

Which of these are native and which borrowings? A few might merit -kk-  
if that graph were restricted to subjunctives and superlatives:  
<dokka> 'he would carry' for instance; compare the conditional <deksa>  
(the root is deg-. I think on balance that <dokka> is even a bit more  
helpful than <docka> here, in a marginal way.

> I don’t find this particularly helpful for either users of  
> traditional graphs (SWF/T) or for users of the main form (SWF/M). I  
> should rather propose that the SWF/M should write <kk> and SWF/T  
> <ck>. I would like to hear opinions on this.

This I would *oppose*. It will without doubt yield <klokk>~<clock>  
where now the SWF at least gives <klock>~<clock>. I don't think that  
ck/kk should be a simple alternate. I do think there is some merit in  
using -kk- in restricted settings as described above.

Michael Everson * http://www.evertype.com

More information about the Spellyans mailing list