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

Eddie Climo eddie_climo at yahoo.co.uk
Fri Jul 25 09:57:24 IST 2008

On 25 Jul 2008, at 00:38, Michael Everson wrote:

> . . .
> The people who don't like diacritics aren't going
> to like ANY of them. You can't trade ì/ë for ÿ/ë
> and think that this will make them happy with
> diacritics. The net "reduction" in diacritics
> posited by this proposal is very likely
> negligible too.

Moreover, the people who don't like diacritics probably aren't going  
to use them at all. Let's say we advocate <bÿs>~<bës> with diaeresis.  
The 'diacritophobes' will write <bys> ~ <bes>, which is hardly more  
difficult to read than, say, E. <gaol> ~ <jail>. We might not favour  
it, but it's not a repellent choice (unlike some that we've seen!)

And in informal contexts like email and texting (as I've said  
before), those who cannot key diacritics, for technical reasons or  
from lack of knowledge, will write something like <by:s> ~ <be:s>.  
This would not, of course, be acceptable in published material, but  
it's perfectly OK in its place.

I think our KS specification document should explicitly comment on  
each of these 3 choices, rather than just ignoring the issue. It  
might be worded something like this:

> KS recommends the minimal use of diacritical marks in the following  
> contexts . . .
> . . .
> The fundamental reason for choosing this contentious option is to  
> resolve some ambiguities of vowel quality or length, while still  
> retaining a traditional look to the words concerned.
> As regards usage of diacrits, KS makes the following observations  
> and recommendations:
> (1) Didactic and elementary material.
> Diacrits should always be used in dictionaries, grammars and texts  
> for learners. It is crucial that these resources should have as  
> little ambiguity as possible, so as to help the learner. Indeed,  
> this is the existing practice in UC and UCR material, with the use  
> of both diaeresis or macron, as well as other marks such as raised  
> point and hyphen.
> (2) Printed material for more advanced users.
> KS recommends the use of all diacrits in this material, but accepts  
> that some individual writers or published may prefer not to use  
> them. While this is deprecated, KS takes a relaxed, pragmatic  
> approach to the issue, and declines to adopt the proscriptive  
> approach we have seen too often elsewhere in the Revival. While the  
> omission of these marks will add some ambiguity to a text, this  
> will not in practice create a problem for more fluent readers.
> (3) Informal material: texting, IRC, personal emails and letters.
> KS recommends the use of all diacrits in this material, but accepts  
> that individual writers will do as they choose in this area.
> For those who cannot key the combining diacritical marks, KS  
> recommends the traditional practice in informal material:
>> diaeresis --		<letter + colon> -- 			a:
>> circumflex --		<letter + non-combining circumflex> -- a^
> . . . and for other Celtic and European languages:
>> macron --		<letter + underscore> -- 	a_
>> acute --			<letter + forward slash> -- 	a/
>> grave --			<letter + backward slash> -- a\

Eddie Foirbeis Climo
- -- - -- - -- - -- - -- - -- - -- - -- - -- - -- - -- - -- -
Dres ethom akennow byner re bons lyeshes
Accenti non multiplicanda praeter necessitatem

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