[Spellyans] <y Y> + diacritical

Owen Cook owen.e.cook at gmail.com
Wed Jun 25 19:12:29 BST 2008

2008/6/25 nicholas williams <njawilliams at gmail.com> rug scrifa:
> The bys/bes words are very many indeed and absolutely central to the
> lexicon of the language.
> Think of dres 'over' but dres/drys 'brought', res 'necessity' but res/
> rys 'given'.
> Nicholas

By the same token, it's an awful lot of words to be using a diacritic
with. Now, I firmly believe diacritics should be used when they're
really necessary, for example to mark length anomalies or distinguish
certain key homographs, for example a 'of' and â 'goes'.

But are they really necessary here? Michael agrees that an umbrella
graph would be better. An umbrella graph, be it <ei> as in KS16, or
<ea> as somebody suggested (was it Andrew?), or <ee>, would save us
from having to use diacritics across the board in this very large set
of words. Why play into the hands of the diacriticophobes if we don't
have to?

If an umbrella graph were out of the question, then a diacritic will
probably become necessary on the <y> to distinguish length. (Probably
because vocalic <y> is equivalent to <ì> for now, but we haven't
really decided how we're going to deal with <y> and <i>.) Michael
argues that the same diacritic must be used on the <e> to aid
recognition. If we accept this idea, then really we ought to be using
the right diacritic. Nicholas says that to him, an acute indicates
either stress or length. Good! The vowel in both dédh and prés is both
stressed and long. To me, a diaeresis indicates a hiatus or umlaut or
centralization. The vowels in these words are none of those.

To argue that y-acute is out of the question because the minority of
Mac users who are technologically inept will find it awkward, seems
rather a bizarre constraint. Like Dan, I'd prefer not to work with our
hands tied like this. In the end, of course, we want a finished
product that will be useable by the greatest number of people in the
greatest number of media. But plenty of languages use a y-acute and
they've figured out how to work around this difficulty. Heck, Turkmen
in its recent Romanization specifically avoided special characters
that aren't widely supported, like s-cedilla or dotless i. And yes,
they use y-acute. In preference to y-diaeresis.

I also don't see why Michael wants to nix Andrew's suggestion of <é>
and <í> from the start, when we know that sorting out <y> and <i> is a
big part of what we want to decide here and we haven't yet begun to
decide how to do it. It may be that <í> in these words ends up being a
relatively painless solution.

Oll an gwelha,

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