everson at evertype.com
Tue Jul 1 08:16:03 IST 2008
At 01:19 +0100 2008-07-01, A. J. Trim wrote:
>>(1) Initially <i> is [I]; initial [i:] would be
>>written <î> (modulo <ÿs/ës>). This rule
>>increases the visibility of the letter <i>
>>considerably -- a concern many RLC users have
>>expressed to us.
>Rule (1) is crazy for Middle Cornish folk.
I beg to differ. Initial <i> is common in the
texts. So is initial <y>. You may have a
preference for <y> in general if you learnt
Unified Cornish, because Nance didn't use <i> at
>Best to use <y-> for initial [I] and <i-> for initial [i:].
In the first place there aren't all that many
words with either, though some of them are fairly
>RLC folk could use <i> instead of <y>, throughout the system, if they want to.
Do you suggest that all of these words could have
two different spellings? There's no advantage to
>They would then need to mark long <i> with a diacritical mark, perhaps a
>circumflex, thus <î>.
Frankly the RLC folk have a lot to adjust to in
the SWF and one of the reasons has to do with the
distribution of <i> and <y>. For whatever reason,
a number of them feel that "y is medieval" and "i
is modern". That's not a very sophisticated view
(and neither is your view that "initial i is
crazy for Middle Cornish folk) but it *is*
something we can address, and something we
Initial [i:} is not common at all, so it would be
marked <î> if it occurs. Initial [I] is rather
common, so initial <i> wouldn't be ambiguous. And
some of the function words which use what we
propose to keep initial <y> for have [@] rather
than [I]. Moreover, distinguishing the
preposition <in> which does not mutate the
following word from the particle <yn> which does
mutate the following word makes the orthography
much more user-friendly for learners and teachers
>>(2) In monosyllables and their derivatives <i>
>>is [i:] and <y> is [I] (modulo <bÿs>/<bës>.
>>When unstressed, these <i> letters are
>>shortened to [I].
>Rule (2) is OK (but see (3) below.) Not sure
>about bÿs/bës yet. See Note below.
<bÿs>/<bës> solves a fundamental problem that is
otherwise insoluble given the option <bys>/<bes>
in the SWF.
>>(3) In polysyllables not derived from
>>monosyllables, the sound is almost invariably
>>[I]. In final unstressed position, <y> will be
>>[I]~[@] and <i> will indiate that the vowel is
>>[i:] and that the syllable is stressed
>>(crodo'dil, pl. croco'dilys; con'strin, ppl
>>con'strinys). Elsewhere in medial position <y>
>>will be used since the vowel is almost always
>>[I]; in those rarer instances where the vowel
>>is [i:], it can be marked with the circumflex
>><î> (bîbel (if not beybel) sîra, personal
>Rule (3) is OK for Middle Cornish folk.
>However, it would not be necessary to mark the <i> in words like Bibel and
>sira, as the <i> is already regularly long [i:].
Yes, it would, I think, because <i> is not
regularly long [i:] in polysyllables because of
>Marking is only thought to be necessary because
>you want to say that the <i> in words like
>tiryow (from tir) and gwiryoneth (from gwir) are
>I would rather write these tyryow and gwyryoneth but, either way, I believe
>that any confusion would be minimal.
If you learned UC or UCR, you're already writing
<tyr> and <tyryow> and you've learnt to pronounce
one long and one short. So changing this to <tir>
and <tiryow> doesn't affect that: the rule,
"shorten [i:] to [I] in polysyllables" holds
>RLC folk would need to mark these, e.g. Bîbel and sîra if they were using
><i> in place of <y> [I].
Well, we're not going to make <i> and <y>
orthographic options in initial or medial
position. That would solve nothing.
>Note: Many people have problems, or mental blocks/bloody-mindedness, with
Too bad. That's just plain too bad.
The phonology of Revived Cornish (with its two
dialects complicating things) simply can't be
represented in a coherent yet authentic
orthography that doesn't use diacritical marks.
If people don't want to write a mature and robust
orthography, they can write UC, or UCR, or RLC,
or SWF. (I can't bring myself to recommend KK.)
The Irish, Welsh, Scottish Gaels, and Bretons all
manage with diacritical marks (though the Welsh
are disadvantaged by character set issues). Never
mind the French, the Germans, the Danes, the
Estonians, the Luxemburgers and the Maltese.
People are smart, and children will never have
problems with KS's few diacritics.
>Words like bÿs/bës would inevitably be written
>bys/bes much of the time (as they are in the
Would they? I'm going to publish books using
them. I expect some of these might be popular.
We're going to use them in our teaching grammars,
and we will teach that the marks are important and
>However, the <y> is long so they should be
>bïs/bës. That way, when the mark is left off we
>get bis/bes which is better.
No, it isn't. It just shifts ambiguity from the
<res>-'necessary'-words to the
>For RLC folk, bis would be a definite error as
>for them the <i> would be short (assuming rule
>(1) above.) I don't know but I would expect RLC
>folk to use only the <ë> form.
In KS, in monosyllables, <i> is [i:], <y> is [I],
<ÿ> is [i:] or [e:], and <ë> is [i:] or [e:]. We
grasped this nettle: <ÿ> is a different letter
from <y>. The diacritic can't be "left off" if
the orthography is to be coherent.
Sorry if I seem impatient. I don't mean to.
Michael Everson * http://www.evertype.com
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