[Spellyans] mes, res, bys, bys/bes

A. J. Trim ajtrim at msn.com
Thu Jul 24 01:50:18 IST 2008

Michael Everson quoted and wrote:

"At 09:40 +0200 2008-07-23, Daniel Prohaska wrote:
>I would like to hear everyone's opinions on the 
>following idea for redistributing <y> and <i> in 
>the SWF. I would write <i> where bother Late and 
>Middle Cornish have /i/ and /i:/, and write <y> 
>~ <e> (in dictionaries <ÿ> ~ <ë>) where Middle 
>Cornish has /I/ and /I:/, but Late Cornish has 
>/e/ and /e:/.

I can't see how this would work. In the first 
place, in stressed syllables, we have [i:] words 
(like <mis> and we have [e:] words (like <res> 
and we have [I] words like <bys>. No problem 
here: we write <i> and <e> and <y> for these. We 
also have in stressed syllables words [i:] and 
[e:] alternate; no problem here: we write <ÿ> and 
<ë> regularly.


So Michael would write:

mis, res, bys, bÿs/bës.

The vowels are all differentiated but we need to use a diacritic that SWF folks apparently won't accept.

We need to ask them again, as we have identified this to be the best way to go.


Whereas the current SWF writes:

mis, res, bys, bys/bes.

Here there are no diacritics. However, <y> is short in bys whilst the <y> in bys/bes is long.


Whereas the SWF should logically write:

mis, res, bys, bis/bes.

This is because the <i> in bis is long and the rule is that <i> is regularly long. However, this was dismissed earlier on this forum as "too great a change" to the SWF, and you cannot then distinguish mis type words from bis/bes type words.


Whereas Dan would write:

mis, res, bis, bys/bes.

Here there are no diacritics (except in dictionaries). It would be easy to change all <y> to <e> if desired (but not visa versa). However the <i> in mis is long whilst the <i> in bis is short. We would therefore need to distinguish these in some other way.

We could, of course, mark the long vowel with a diacritical mark, e.g. mís & bis.

However, if <i> is to be regularly long before <s> then a second option would be better, i.e. mis & bìs. This gives my suggestion:

mis, res, bìs, bys/bes


Would the SWF folks accept <ì> or would this be seen as just the same thing as using <ÿ>/<ë> in the other type of words?

If no diacritics at all are allowed, we need to respell the short vowel or respell the following consonant. I cannot think of a suitable respelling for short <i> (other than <y>) so we need to respell the following consonant. We could write mis & biz, with the rule that <i> is short before <z>. This gives my second suggestion:

mis, res, biz, bys/bes.


Unfortunately, there would be rather a lot of short <i> to take care of in these sorts of ways. We might therefore be better off respelling the mis type words instead. Long <i> could be re-spelt <ij> for example, with the rule that <i> is short and <ij> is long. This gives my third suggestion:

mijs, res, bis, bys/bes.



Andrew J. Trim
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