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

Michael Everson everson at evertype.com
Thu Jul 10 22:18:48 IST 2008

At 16:32 +0000 2008-07-10, Mary Williams wrote:
>If you think that there are only two sounds, "i" and "e" then why 
>not write "y" for all your dotted things and "i" for i and un-dotted 

Because <y> is not an acceptable umbrella graph for words pronounced 
[e:]. The SWF recognizes this by permitting <y>~<e> in this class of 

>Isn't that a common sense solution. I really can't see you selling 
>all these accents that nobody knows how to type.

What do you do when you want to learn French? German? Irish? Welsh? 
Spanish? Portuguese? Czech? Dutch? Danish? Swedish? Portuguese? 
Norwegian? Scottish Gaelic? Icelandic?

You learn how to type.

>Why are you all so keen on making things complicated? I'm sorry to 
>say it, but the expression "too clever by half" does often come to 

The language is complicated. It has a class of words which are always 
[i:], a class which are always [e:], and a class which is either [i:] 
or [e:]. We could write these as <i>, <e>, and <ei>, but <ei> was 
rejected by the KK users and so it is not part of the SWF. What we 
are left with is word-forms that are ambiguous, since they use either 
<y> or <e> and cannot be distinguished from words which only use <y> 
and words which only use <e>. Using the dots on these solves this 
problem neatly.

>How many of you have been to a normal Cornish class here in 
>Cornwall? Have any of you ever taught Cornish to 'ordinary people', 
>not university students etc?

"Ordinary people" in Ireland can learn to use diacritics. I don't 
believe that "ordinary people" in Cornwall are any less clever.

>Sorry, not trying to be rude, but you do all seem to be going around 
>in circles.

Actually this particular problem has been solved, as far as I can 
see. No other solution has its merits. I agree that there isn't much 
point in discussing this point further.
Michael Everson * http://www.evertype.com

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