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

Michael Everson everson at evertype.com
Fri Jul 25 16:48:29 IST 2008

At 15:30 +0100 2008-07-25, Eddie Climo wrote:

>>Nicholas has told me that the lack of distinction in spelling in
>>Irish between "ag" and "aig" causes constant error among students.
>Yet, the revised orthography in Scots Gaelic has 
>gone is just that direction, by:
>(1) eliminating the actute accent, and leaving 
>only the grave. Some pairs were previously only 
>distinguished in writing by each having a 
>different accent to the other. Now, they're 
>written identically.

Bad idea.

>(2) eliminating some of the apostrophes. For example, the previous pair
>gun = without
>gu'n = to the
>are now both written <gun>.

Bad idea.

When a useful distinction can be made, it ought to be made.

>To be consistent, if we were to distinguish 
>between <*in> and <yn 5> on the basis of 
>function, then logically we should do the same 
>with the other high-frequency function words I 

That doesn't follow. It might be nice to make 
such distinctions (were it convenient), but it 
does not follow that one must.

>We *cannot* do it with the other words, 
>therefore we should not do it with <*in/yn>.

I don't agree with your conclusion.

>Such arbitrary inconsistency would confuse 
>learners, it would attract criticism from more 
>advanced users, and it's not necessary.

I think it would help learners to distinguish 
<in> and <yn>. It removes one piece of ambiguity 
from the system. There may be other bits of 
ambiguity to learn, but the is one less. And 
advanced users will certainly see the distinction 
between "in gwir" and "yn whir".

>No, Micheal, the burden of proof is on you,

It's hard to see how "proof" applies.

>[...] in proposing a new distinction not seen 
>(afaik) anywhere in either historical or revived 

The distinction is of the *same* kind as that we 
have between <i> and <y> (our <ÿ>) in 
monosyllables. That is also a distinction not 
found in traditional Cornish, but it is useful.

>If you want to change the status quo (for this 
>one word only), you must prove why this one 
>should change, while all the others I cited 
>should stay unchanged.

We have recommended using <i> cosmetically in 
initial position for all words but a set of 
function words -- so for the preposition "in" 
which does not mutate this is already a change to 
the status quo for you. The set of function words 
is mostly not used in RLC anyway, so we judged 
that by retaining <y-> for these we would be 
retaining familiar forms for RMC users.
Michael Everson * http://www.evertype.com

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