[Spellyans] <y>, <i>, etc

Michael Everson everson at evertype.com
Fri Jul 25 14:25:26 IST 2008

At 12:53 +0100 2008-07-25, Jon Mills wrote:
>  >  At 09:01 +0000 2008-07-25, Jon Mills wrote:
>>   > The mutation is caused by its grammatical function.
>>   Then it has developed into a new lexeme regardless of its origin.
>>   This is a linguistic split.
>It is grammatical not lexical.

I disagree. It seems to me that the preposition which does not mutate 
has developed into an adverbial particle which mutates. Minimal pairs 
might not be easy to find, but "in gwydn" might be 'in white' ("she 
was dressed in white") and "yn whydn" might be 'whitely' -- not to 
use the "in gwir"/"yn whir" example, though distinguishing the two 
might help to stamp out the latter error, because in the phrase "in 
gwir" the first element is known to be the preposition which does not 
mutate, not the adverbial particle which does.

And I think distinguishing the two in an orthography is a useful aid 
to learners, regardless of whether the distinction was made in 
spelling the particle in traditional Cornish.

We have proposed that <i-> be used in general -- and specifically 
inclusive of the preposition "in" -- and that <y-> be used for a 
small range of other function words. Since "yn" functions as an 
adjectival particle and mutates, it is neatly classed with those 

Nicholas has told me that the lack of distinction in spelling in 
Irish between "ag" and "aig" causes constant error among students. To 
respond to Eddie here: this distinction *can* be easily made, and 
logically, and without causing any trouble to the system. It can only 
assist learners. I don't see anything "wrong" with this and don't see 
your examples (such as "ow") give cause enough to spell the adverbial 
particle <in> along with the preposition.
Michael Everson * http://www.evertype.com

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