[Spellyans] More on bys/bes words and diacritical marks

A. J. Trim ajtrim at msn.com
Thu Jul 10 11:10:47 IST 2008


Yes, beys is OK by me, and it looks more Cornish.


Regards,

Andrew J. Trim



--------------------------------------------------
From: "Craig Weatherhill" <weatherhill at freenet.co.uk>
Sent: Thursday, July 10, 2008 11:03 AM
To: "Standard Cornish discussion list" <spellyans at kernowek.net>
Subject: Re: [Spellyans] More on bys/bes words and diacritical marks

> I quite like Jon's suggestion of <beys>, "world".  <ei> might have been
> rejected by the AHG but (and correct me if I'm wrong), I don't think
> they even considered <ey> in this context and, therefore, we would not
> be going against their wishes.  Would we? 8-)
>
> Craig
>
>
>
> nicholas williams wrote:
>> But in the Bodewryd glossary we find the following:
>>
>> beez — finger
>> beez meas — thumbe
>> beez beean — litell finger
>> beez creese — middle finger
>> beez nessa beean — next to littel.
>>
>> I am not as sure as Jon that <bis> in the OCV is indeed Welsh. We find
>> in the OCV bis truit 'toe' [Allax]. Truit is definitely
>> Cornish not Welsh; cf. truit 'foot' [Pes] and godentruit 'sole of
>> foot' [Planta] in the same text.
>>
>> Can we be completely sure that a pronunciation [bi:z] did not occur in
>> Cornish?
>>
>> Nicholas
>>
>>
>> On 10 Jul 2008, at 09:31, Jon Mills wrote:
>>
>>> Vocabularium Cornicum (76) gives "bis" glossing 'digitus'; this is
>>> Welsh not Cornish. The Cornish word for finger is found at VC78:
>>> "bess" glossing 'digitum'. In Beunans Meriasek this word is written
>>> "besse". Lhuyd (AB18c) notes that several Welsh words containing <y>
>>> have an <e> in Cornish and notes "W. Bŷs, A Finger or Toe; Corn.
>>> Bêz." The Cornish word for finger should be written 'bes'.
>>> Jon
>>>
>>>     ----- Original Message -----
>>>     From: "Jon Mills"
>>>     To: "Standard Cornish discussion list"
>>>     Subject: Re: [Spellyans] More on bys/bes words and diacritical marks
>>>     Date: Thu, 10 Jul 2008 08:08:47 +0000
>>>
>>>     I agree that we do not need diacritics to disambiguate homonyms.
>>>     The meaning of bys/bes words is normally deduced from the
>>>     context. Words have no meaning until they are used in a context.
>>>     Consider the English word 'ring'. On its own it has no meaning,
>>>     but place it in context: 'I heard the phone ring', 'wedding ring'
>>>     'drugs ring', 'boxing ring', etc. I would prefer to see 'beys'
>>>     (world) which is attestested (Ordinalia, Beunans Meriasek, Jordan).
>>>     Jon
>>>
>>>         ----- Original Message -----
>>>         From: "A. J. Trim"
>>>         To: "Standard Cornish discussion list"
>>>         Subject: [Spellyans] More on bys/bes words and diacritical marks
>>>         Date: Wed, 9 Jul 2008 21:49:33 +0100
>>>
>>>         I know that we have covered this topic previously but some
>>>         further discussion is required.
>>>
>>>         I assume that we want to write *bÿs*/*bës* & *bys* in KS
>>>         because the SWF has *bys*/*bes* & *bys*, and we consider that
>>>         to be “broken”, i.e. a poor feature of the SWF.
>>>
>>>         Firstly, this is because *bys* [bi:z]~[be:z] “world” or
>>>         “finger” could also mean [biz] “until”, so we should like to
>>>         spell them differently from each other.
>>>
>>>         However, Mary said, “I don't think I've ever muddled up these
>>>         words, I don't know the clever way to say it, but they're
>>>         just not words you confuse, they don't come in the same
>>>         places if you follow me.”
>>>
>>>         I think that Mary is correct. It’s “world” and “finger” that
>>>         is the more likely pair of meanings to get confused. We have
>>>         many words in English that could be confused but somehow
>>>         people don’t confuse them very often. For example, “dear” can
>>>         mean _cherished_ or it can mean _expensive_. Then we have
>>>         “deer” which means _kind of beast, often with antlers_. I do
>>>         not believe that the stated reason holds. How many other
>>>         *bÿs*/*bës* type words have another meaning with a different
>>>         pronunciation?
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>         Secondly, if you were to use ether one of these two spellings
>>>         (i.e. *bys* or *bes*), you couldn’t see that the alternative
>>>         form also exists, whereas if the choice is *bÿs* or *bës*,
>>>         you can.
>>>
>>>         The graphs <*ÿ*> & <*ë*> help the reader to understand and to
>>>         pronounce text that has been written in the alternative dialect.
>>>
>>>         Unfortunately, this benefit is at the expense of making
>>>         Cornish of either dialect (Middle or Late) more difficult to
>>>         spell correctly, and more difficult to type.
>>>
>>>         The measure of a good “spell-as-you-say-it” orthography is
>>>         that you don’t need the dictionary to spell words that you
>>>         know how to say.
>>>
>>>         In this case, however, some of the expected <*i*> become
>>>         <*ÿ*>, and some of the expected <*e*> become <*ë*>. We shall
>>>         all be left to wonder which do, and which don’t.
>>>
>>>         The forms *bïs*/*bës *&* bys* would be more logical as <*ï*>
>>>         is long but the problem of knowing which <*i*> or <*e*> have
>>>         diereses and which don’t would be the same.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>         I’m not saying that diacritical marks should not be used in
>>>         Cornish, only that their use should be minimised. The
>>>         dieresis, as proposed for *bÿs*/*bës* words, could be avoided
>>>         through the use of <*ei*>. This would give us the choice
>>>         *beis* & *bys*. That would be simpler but the spelling
>>>         problem would remain.
>>>
>>>         The SWF designers objected to diacritical marks of any kind,
>>>         and they rejected *beis* but they failed to give good reasons.
>>>
>>>         In view of this, perhaps it would be best for KS to adopt
>>>         *beis*, regardless of the current SWF.
>>>
>>>         The spelling <*ei*> should become more acceptable within the
>>>         next five years because, by then, the reason for its
>>>         rejection will have faded, and it would already be in use, at
>>>         least to some extent.
>>>
>>>         Opposition to diacritical marks could increase within the
>>>         next five years. This is because (hopefully) more people will
>>>         be using Cornish, and they will have got used to writing
>>>         Cornish without writing any diacritical marks. This is
>>>         because they will be using the current SWF or continuing to
>>>         use KK, UC or UCR, none of which uses diacritical marks.
>>>         (Perhaps some people will be using KS & LRC too but they
>>>         would be a small proportion only.)
>>>
>>>         Also, the use of electronic mobile devices as an important
>>>         means of communication is likely to increase over the next
>>>         five years. These devices tend to cater poorly for accented
>>>         characters. Perhaps this is because you type with one finger
>>>         or a stylus. Perhaps the producers assume a USA market (where
>>>         diacritical marks aren’t used much.)  Either way, those who
>>>         might otherwise write diacritical marks will tend to leave
>>>         them off when using these devices. I believe that those
>>>         habits will soon invade the language as a whole.
>>>
>>>         We already see a parallel effect with text messaging
>>>         abbreviations being used in company e-mails. A full keyboard
>>>         is available for the e-mails, so it is a habit that has
>>>         migrated from the mobile phone.
>>>
>>>         I think that we shall see this effect with the partial loss
>>>         of diacritical marks.
>>>
>>>         By the way, and I don't know whether this is related but I
>>>         heard that France has considered reducing use of the
>>>         circumflex, Germany is losing its double-s <*ss*> (*ß*), and
>>>         Scottish Gaelic appears to be losing its acute accents.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>         Regards,
>>>
>>>         Andrew J. Trim
>>>
>>>
>>>         _______________________________________________
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>>>
>>>
>>>     _____________________________________
>>>     Dr. Jon Mills,
>>>     School of European Culture and Languages,
>>>     University of Kent
>>>
>>>
>>>
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>>>
>>>
>>> _____________________________________
>>> Dr. Jon Mills,
>>> School of European Culture and Languages,
>>> University of Kent
>>>
>>>
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