[Spellyans] bys/bes words

Daniel Prohaska daniel at ryan-prohaska.com
Wed Jul 16 12:04:15 IST 2008

A possible solution would be to allow the diacritics in a dictionary
publication but not oblige writers, teachers and learners to use them.
This would be, I believe, quite in accordance with the SWF agreement,
wouldn’t it?

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Everson
Sent: Thursday, July 10, 2008 5:09 PM
“At 12:30 +0000 2008-07-10, Tom Trethewey wrote:
>So when the word for 'finger' is spelled both <bis> and <bes> in Old
>it means that the vowel was between [i:] and [E:].

You sound very sure.

>The same observation may be made for the
>spelling of many words in Middle Cornish, such
>as <dyth~deyth~deth> 'day'.

Well, the fact is that Revived Middle Cornish speakers say [bi:z] (almost
all of them even if a "tiny minority" of them manage [bI:z] and Revived
Late Cornish speakers say [be:z] (and the same for <dÿdh>~<dëdh>). And
everybody says [re:z] which never goes *[ri:z] or *[rI:z].
There is a class of words which has this alternation in Revived Cornish,
and that's not up for negotiation. The SWF too recognizes this
distinction, and allows people to write <bys> or <bes>. The problem is
that there are words like <bys> [bIz] 'but' and <res> [re:z] 'necessary
which are not part of that class.
We have a solution to this problem of the SWF. It is to mark members of
this class with the diaeresis. There aren't any other solutions that will
work without completely changing the wordforms themselves, which would be
a revision so great that I don't believe we can get away with it.
Tom, if you're a UC or KK speaker, you'll probably be writing <bys> in
your KK or UC
anyway. So <bÿs> is the form you will be most comfortable with if you want
to write KS. If you don't want to write KS, you can write SWF or KK or UC.
It's entirely your choice.”

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