[Spellyans] redistribution of <i> and <y>

Michael Everson everson at evertype.com
Wed Jul 23 22:12:06 IST 2008

At 22:37 +0200 2008-07-23, Daniel Prohaska wrote:

>Lhuyd has both <kegen> and <kegin>, N.Boson has 
><kegen, CW has <kegen> (2013); (radical form 
>shown here). Toponyms show <-gegon> according to 
>Gendall and Craig.

I think Nicholas has shown that there is no real 
way you can say that the vowel in unstressed 
syllables makes a genuine difference. Our 
orthography *needs* to mark a distinction between 
<bÿs> and <bës>; this is a regular and widespread 
distinction which is readily observed and highly 

I don't believe that Lhuyd's showing two forms 
shows anything like the same kind of distinction. 
We may (and we do) find it convenient to 
distinguish i-coloured schwa and neutral schwa 
and u-coloured schwa (using -ys regularly in 
participles for instance). But should individual 
words have more than one unstressed ending? I 
don't see the added value there.

Nicholas cited  Flehes  x 14, flehys x 42, and 
flehas x 11. We use the first of these in the 
plural because Nance did; and it's handy to use 
-es for the plural sometimes since -ys is so 
often participial. (I doubt that this has been 
consistently applied and I'm not really 
suggesting we do.)

The word for kitchen may be realized as ['kEg1n] 
or ['kEg at n] but I don't believe that the 
distinction is "important" to any speaker, and I 
don't believe that having multiple spellings for 
unstressed final syllables offers any advantage 
to any user. Therefore I prefer <kegyn> ['kEg1n] 
pl <kegynnow>~<kegydnow> [kE'gInoU]~[kE'gIdnoU]. 
And I don't think that <kegen>/<kegydnow> is 
going to add value or decrease confusion in the 
Michael Everson * http://www.evertype.com

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