[Spellyans] reDistribution of <i> and <y>
everson at evertype.com
Fri Jul 25 10:40:38 IST 2008
At 10:00 +0100 2008-07-25, Owen Cook wrote:
> > He said: "But where it's short, I would like
>to write <i> where RLC also has
> > /i/ rather than /e/ and only spell them <y> where RMC has /i/ and RLC has
> > /e/."
> > I read that as using an umbrella graph for short RLC /e/. I opposed <y> as
>> an umbrella graph for long [e:] and I also do
>>for short [E] or the allograph
>Right, so why does he then go on to talk about writing kegyn and
>kegen, and why then did you say you didn't like the idea of having to
>use kegÿn and kegën?
You know, Owen, I can't even follow the exegesis of this discussion any more.
> >> How many words have anomalous short /I/ that remains stable in Late
>>> Cornish? Maybe half a dozen, tops.
>> That's saying a lot. But I don't see where your statement leads.
>It's saying this would cut down the number of diacritics, and remove
>any need for having diacritics on <y> at all.
I don't believe that it is good orthography
design to mark only one of a pair of alternating
graphs. And I don't think the difference in
number of diacritics is going to be significant.
>Dan's original idea was to consider this in
>connection with not having any diacritics on <e>
>either, and I really don't think that would be
>too horrible -- it's not a bigger problem than
>the s/j alternation, certainly. There are
><s>'s that don't become <j> and <j>'s that didn't used to be <s>, but
>neither is marked specially and we're all prepared to just live with
You're welcome to use the SWF if you wish.
PEOPLE. THERE IS NO PERFECT OR TOTALLY OPTIMIZED
SOLUTION THAT WILL SOLVE ALL OF THE PROBLEMS WE
FACE. I am going back to first principles: Tread
lightly on the SWF. One way of doing that is
changing as few word-shapes as possible. Adding a
diacritic onto a word doesn't change its
word-shape. The only solution for the problem in
monosyllables that is to me credible is to mark
the <bÿs>~<bës> alternation and I'm sorry but
there is only one diacritic guaranteed not to
cause technical problems for users and their
We have other choices to make regarding
unstressed syllables. Dan's suggestion that we
make distinctions like
of which could, in theory, appear in the
traditional corpus) causes a proliferation of
"eye-spellings" that doesn't add value to the
orthograpy or reduce its complexity.
>Andrew mentions that we could now use <é> here
>-- for now I'll be neutral on that idea. As we
>all know, of course, I prefer it aesthetically,
>but the original concept was to cut diacritics
>for these alternating words altogether.
Only way to accomplish this (removing diacritics
from the <bÿs>~<bës>-class would be to change the
word-shapes of the <kyst>-class words and the
<res>-class words, and no solution has been
> > Maybe, but NOT the orthography. Those are
>morphological questions. If we end
>> up (because of research, not just reconstruction) really having a regular
>> declension class that has <taves>/<tavosow> as one of its members, on solid
>> linguistic grounds, that is one thing. That's not the same thing as whether
>> 'white' is spelt <gwynn> or <gwinn>.
>I think this really wouldn't require that big a change. How many words
>like kegin and bryntin does the SWF have? A lot more, I'd wager, and
>we're quite prepared to differ from the SWF on them.
Changing wordshapes in monosyllables is a bigger
change than changing them in the unstressed
syllables of polysyllables.
>Having <y> always short and <i> always long in stressed ultimae was
>hardly, in my opinion, 'the heart' of the SWF. From what I understood,
>it was a feature tacked on a bit at the last minute.
No, it is principled and systematic. It happens
to correspond to the KK theory of /i/ vs /I/. We
cannot change that distribution and expect any KK
users to feel comfortable about it. We can add
diacritics to the <bÿs>~<bës> words and expect
them to get used to us because it's not a big
change to what they are used to seeing.
>The heart of the SWF was the horse trade of
>vocalic alternation (including <oo> ~ <o>) for
>inauthentic main forms.
That is **not** a structural element of the SWF.
I am right about the distribution of <i> and <y>
in stressed monosyllables being a core feature of
Michael Everson * http://www.evertype.com
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