[Spellyans] chi v chy

Michael Everson everson at evertype.com
Wed May 5 18:56:19 BST 2010


On 5 May 2010, at 16:56, Daniel Prohaska wrote:

> You said: “There is no justification for preferring them.” Neither Craig, nor Andrew, nor I said that we preferred them. In fact said the exact opposite, that we preferred <chy, ky, why> etc.

In general you are a great apologist for the flaws in the SWF, and it seems to me that you work hard to justify things which are not really justifiable. 

> What Craig rather brought up though, was, that since <chi> and <ki> do occur traditionally, albeit much less frequently, they are to be considered traditional and correct.

I don't buy it, Dan. This is a naïve view of orthographic systems. There are *MANY* forms found here or there in the texts which we reject as unsuitable for a useful system. We reject the use of "u" for /v/. We reject the use of "th" for /ð/. We traditionalists have long rejected the ad-hoc graphs used by Ken George, for instance. We were given a side form -y (against the Main Form -i), but forbidden this in monosyllables. That's simply not an acceptable provision in the SWF.

The spelling of place-names is **NOT** considered to be a part of the scribal tradition per se, and has never informed the orthographic choices we have made. The spelling of place-names is very important for interpreting the language -- but place-name forms do not count (and have never counted) as candidate forms for a standard orthography. And this is not a tradition we began: Jenner and Nance likewise used the scribal tradition, not the forms of the (often anglicized) orthography of place-names.

(Craig, it's really important that you take this distinction on board, in my opinion.)

> So, while preferring <chy, ky> there aren’t apparently grounds for rejecting <chi, ki> if this is the majority decision for the SWF.  

Again, Dan, I don't accept your argument. Nicholas has shown us there are NO exampes of "ki" in the texts, though there are 18 examples of "ky"; there is 1 example of "chi" against who knows how many examples of "chy"; there are two examples of "whi" and 380 examples of "why". 

This is not "good" evidence; it is *poor* evidence. This does not lead one to say "oh, hey, -i is perfectly traditional and should be considered suitable". This is a flaw in the SWF/T. The SWF/T was given to us to allow us to write according to our preferences -- but forces us to use non-Traditional forms. I am sure it was designed by our cynical KK colleagues precisely to keep us from using it. This feature of the SWF/T is not acceptable to us. 

(This is nothing new.)

The *rationale*, the *reason* we have a -i/-ei vs -y split amongst monosyllables in the SWF is because Trond thought that it would be handier for automatic conversion between SWF/TL and SWF/RMC. There are two things wrong with this. First, we traditionalists don't value such a automatic operations over Traditional orthographic forms (and we weren't asked about it either). Second, there are (as I pointed out) there are three classes, not two, of words in final /i/, so the exercise is simply incomplete. 

At the end of the day, the number of monosyllables in final /i/ is not very great, and the correct pronunciation of them is not difficult to learn -- certainly not in terms of high-frequency words like pronouns.

Moreover, the distribution of "i" and "y" in the SWF is not well specified anyway. The whole thing needs to be revisited. Only UdnFormScrefys and Spellyans have ever tried to deal with the problem -- and the solution we have in KS is simple, predictable, and easy to learn.

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

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