[Spellyans] Late Cornish adaptations

Michael Everson everson at evertype.com
Thu Jul 31 21:36:49 IST 2008

On 31 Jul 2008, at 13:46, Owen Cook wrote:

> I'm curious to hear what list members think of the following
> adaptations of the SWF for Late Cornish.
> * <ei> in words like hei, crei, chei has, if I remember rightly, been
> accepted on this list as being within the bounds of authentic
> traditional usage. Will KS recommend it, alongside <y>? And for whom
> (i.e. only RLC users)?

Because it is in the SWF, I think it would be bad to "ban" it in KS.  
However, I will say this: making this distinction for the few stressed  
monosyllables is unnecessary. Neil Kennedy said to me about this the  
other day that it is just exactly the sort of thing which Ken George  
wanted: it is one of the thing that really splits the Single form into  
a Multiple form. I believe (and it is only my opinion) that George  
wanted to encourage -ei because it lets him ignore Late Cornish, since  
he really only cares about his particular early Middle Cornish  

As far as I can tell he ignores the fact that there is no feature of  
Late Cornish that is not also present in earlier periods simply  
because he doesn't want to acknowledge it.

I would recommend that KS acknowledge -ei as an option, but not  
recommend it as it is, really, unnecessary. But I am interested to  
hear what Mina and Gus (and others) have to say about this.

> * <oa> in words like broas, gwloan, cloav. I don't think I have heard
> any discussion on this list about these items at all. One incarnation
> of KS marked such words (for both RLC and RMC users) as brâs, gwlân,
> clâv. (Perhaps <å> might be useful so that there can be no confusion
> with <â> to indicate irregular length...?) The spelling 'broas' is
> authentic, I think (alongside 'braus' and 'braos' and various other
> permutations) but 'cloav' etc look strange to me.

In my opinion <oa> or <ao> was really badly conceived, and hastily  
thrown in. The biggest problem is that it is not systematic. RMC  
<bras> means both 'large' and 'treachery'. RLC distinguishes the two  
words in pronunciation. The KS approach writes <brâs>|<bras>; any RMC  
speaker can pronounce the two alike and any RLC speaker will know  
which is which.

The SWF splits the two communities. RMC speakers will write <bras>| 
<bras> and RLC <broas>|<bras>. THIS IS BAD ORTHOGRAPHY DESIGN.

KS will probably remark that <oa> is permitted in the SWF for these  
words, but recommend against the use of <oa> since it is not useful.

> * <ow> in words like own 'correct'. I have never cared much for
> showing the <ew~ow> alternation explicitly in writing, because (1) it
> seems redundant: as far as I know, our <ew> words always become /ow/
> in LC, and (2) it clashes with <ow> = /u:/ in words like Jowan,
> Kernowek, lowarth. For example, clowes does not have /u:/, but /ow/.

Well, I don't see us getting very far trying to use diacritics here.  
<Jëwan>? <Jöwan>? At the same time I don't want to write <Kernewek>  
though I know that many do. I do not think, however that all <ew>  
words become <ow> in RLC.

> In all of these cases, it appears to me that the SWF has chosen to
> ignore the opportunity to devise umbrella graphs, leaving us with a
> rather clumsier system than we might have had otherwise. Any opinions?

I don't see an umbrella graph being acceptable for  
<bewnans>~<bownans>. At least we are free of *<bywnans>.

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