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

Owen Cook owen.e.cook at gmail.com
Thu Jul 24 21:48:54 IST 2008

2008/7/24 Michael Everson <everson at evertype.com> rug scrifa:
> Eh? Dan did not propose to change <tir> and
> <bÿs>~<bës> in stressed syllables. He proposed to
> extend the <bÿs>~<bës> analogy to unstressed
> vowels and I don't think that can be done without
> hugely multiplying the number of diaereses
> system-wide.

He proposed two things. I've already said I agree with you that his
proposal vis-à-vis unstressed syllables would not be workable or
desirable. But in stressed syllables, he proposes (if I understand him
right) to allow <i> to be either short or long. This means any <y> in
closed syllables will itself signal an alternation with RLC <e>. Hence
splitting by 50% the need and usefulness of the diaeresis.

> On top of that he wants to use <y> now as an
> umbrella graph for RMC /i/ and RLC /e/

Stop it, Michael. This is utter nonsense. Look at his email. There is
absolutely no proposal of getting rid of RLC <e>. His proposal is
exactly NOT to use <y> (long or short) as an umbrella graph, but to
use it in RMC only where RLC still has <e> (long or short). Repeat:
still has <e>.

> I really don't want to go back to the drawing
> board AGAIN to try to second-guess what might
> satisfy the KKers by trying over and over to make
> a system with the constraint "don't use
> diacritics". I think that's preposterous.

On this, we are in perfect accord.

> I'll say it again: we fought for and won the
> <bys>~<bes> distiction.

And I'll say it again: Dan's proposal does not touch the <bys>~<bes>
distinction. Indeed, it extends it to those words in which there is /I
~ E/ alternation (I've found about half a dozen).

> Right now we are chasing our tails and failing to
> come to consensus.

Look, we're not going to come to consensus if alternate proposals
aren't given an airing. Only after people have satisfied themselves
that the alternatives are unsatisfactory, can there be consensus. A
hasty dismissal, such as Dan perceived (rightly or wrongly) in your
response to his email, will only get people's backs up.

> Owen, we cannot throw out the
> whole thing and go to spell gwinn/gwidn when the
> SWF offers us gwynn/gwydn for this. This is a
> complete overturning of EVERYTHING. You're
> putting me back to Square One,

I really think you're overreacting. A complete overturning of
everything? Come on -- how often does MC /I/ remain /I/ in Late
Cornish? I can find about a dozen such monosyllabic words of Cornish
origin, and about an equal number of English borrowings normally spelt
with <i> anyway in modern English. Truth is, there just aren't that
many words like 'gwidn'.

> If I understand what Owen has
> written, he'll propose to change the first to
> <kìst>. That just shifts the "diacritic problem"
> to another place.

Certainly, but as you've admitted yourself, Michael, there are a lot
of words that have /e: ~ i:/ alternation (I count 19 items with <ei>
in the KS 16 document). If we follow your proposal, all of these words
need diaereses. How many words have anomalous short /I/ that remains
stable in Late Cornish? Maybe half a dozen, tops.

> The remaining deltas have to do with <i>
> and <y> in polysyllabic loanwords, and then with
> a certain number of other "etymological"
> spellings "inherited" from KK. These should be
> reviewed in a systematic fashion.

Yes, and I guarantee you, if we fix them in a systematic fashion,
these will affect a good deal more than my two-dozen words. Consider
it. This isn't a totally bad idea. (And it does serve one thing on
KS's to-do list -- mildly, and systematically, increasing the
occurrence of <i> with respect to <y> to satisfy RLC users' aesthetic

Agas gwas euvel,

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