[Spellyans] Normalization of words in -ak and -ek

Michael Everson everson at evertype.com
Mon May 25 00:08:05 BST 2009


On 24 May 2009, at 23:06, Eddie Climo wrote:

> On 23 Me 2009, at 20:41, nicholas williams wrote:
>> perhennek is attested, perhenogyon isn't. I should prefer  
>> perhednek, perhenegyon.
>
>
> This statement is incorrect. 'Per(g)henogyon' is given in Nance's  
> 1938 dictionary, and has therefore been attested in the Revived  
> Cornish corpus for at least the last 81 years.

The exercise here is to attempt to rationalize the use of -ek and -ak,  
both of which have the same pronunciation [ək].

We have seen that there is a pattern where there are are many words in  
-ek which retain -eg- when a suffix is added.
We have seen that there is a pattern where there are are many words in  
-ak which change to -og- when a suffix is added.

We have see a number of words (in UC and in KK, and not necessarily  
the same ones) which have -ek/-og- or -ak/-eg-

Since -eg- and -og- are stressed, the vowels in those syllables are  
important. The are clearly [ɛ] or [ɔ]. In terms of spelling, we  
should ensure that the appropriate vowel is used there.

Since -ek and -ak are unstressed, the vowels in those syllables are  
less important. The are [ə]. In terms of spelling, we should ensure  
that the appropriate vowel is used, however, with respect to -eg- and - 
og-, because this makes things easier for learners. There's no  
advantage to having a few words go -ek/-og- or -ak/-eg- since the  
schwa is schwa.

For many of these words there's no issue. It's only for those in -ek/- 
og- or -ak/-eg- that we want to look, to see if there is a reason to  
normalize one way or t'other. Remember, Nance did a normalization,  
which is why we ended up with what we did in UC. But Nance did not ask  
the same questions we are asking. He was doing pioneer normalization..  
not trying to optimize for ease and consistency.

> The credo of 'Tota Cornicitas' has to embrace the Revived corpus; it  
> cannot simply ignore the ways in which the language has changed and  
> developed over the last few generations, at least not in the hands  
> of skilled linguists like Mordon, Talek, Caradar and the like.

You may not like to hear it, but in my opinion Jenner, Talek, and  
Caradar were better linguists than Mordon was. Mordon did great work,  
but it was more as a philologist than as a linguist. There's nothing  
wrong with that. Philologists are important. As are linguists.

Eddie, you know PERFECTLY WELL that we do not "ignore" Unified  
Cornish. But even UCR fixed things which were wrong or which were  
infelicitous in UC. UC has only /y/, but UCR (and SWF and KS and KK)  
has /ø/ and /y/.

Soooooo.... To get back to The Words In Question:

>> perhennek is attested, perhenogyon isn't. I should prefer  
>> perhednek, perhenegyon.

This responded to my suggestion that since we had perhennek/ 
perhenogyon, the normalization should go in favour of -ak/-og-, that  
is, we should have perhennak/perhenogyon. What Nicholas said is that  
in this case, no plural is attested, only the singular, and since that  
has -ek, the derived plural should be perhenegyon.

Personally I do not care either way. Perhennak/perhenogyon or  
perhennek/perhenegyon. Unfortunately we have no evidence in the corpus  
for the plural which has the stressed vowel, and the stressed vowel is  
the important one.

So, given this discussion, what do you prefer, Eddie?

> The aberrations of KK must, of course, be treated differently.

Errors in KK can be rejected. But KK, like UCR, distinguish /ø/ and / 
y/. Not *everything* in KK is wrong.

Michael Everson * http://www.evertype.com/





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