[Spellyans] chi v chy

Craig Weatherhill craig at agantavas.org
Wed May 5 19:59:06 BST 2010

Surely the OCV is a text.  We can't go picking and choosing what is  
textual evidence and what is not.  You keep saying 'we', Michael, but  
Spellyans is 'we', and some of us have viewpoints which are not  
necessarily those of yourself or Nicholas.  We all have something to  
say and to give, and consensus is the name of the game.

You state that historical place-name evidence is "**NOT**" considered  
to be part of the scribal tradition etc.  Who says so?  And why?  I  
take entirely the opposite view here.  It **IS** valuable evidence  
that cannot be simply ignored because it doesn't fit into comfort  
zones.  If Jenner and Nance rejected that evidence, then that was poor  
judgement on their part.  Do we ignore it just because they did?   
Never forget that some place-name elements are words that don't appear  
in the available texts (as an example - yorghel (yorghell), diminutive  
of yorgh, 'roe-deer', appears nowhere except a single place-name).

Place-name elements have an advantage over the texts because they are  
available over a longer period of time.  They are also living evidence  
in that one can often see the development of those words over the  
passage of time.  They are there to be taken seriously, not rejected  
for no good reason.

I didn't spend over 25 years gathering all that historical information  
just to have it ignored.  I gathered it because it WAS being ignored.   
I am also perfectly capable of distinguishing which place-name forms  
have been Anglicised and which haven't.  Another by-product of half a  
lifetime of place-name research and I'd rather have my input  
considered than ignored, or rejected out of hand.  If place-name  
evidence is to be so easily discarded, then there'd be no point in my  
continuing on this list because, as my speciality, it's all the input  
I can realistically offer.

Can we please throttle back on some of the personal remarks.   
Spellyans was intended to avoid that.  Dan is not an 'apologist' -  
he's trying to make the best of a shoddy job (for which he is  
blameless), although I don't think that the SWF is quite as shoddy as  
it could have been.

I think we need to get real, too.  In 2013, the SWF is not going to be  
replaced by KS, but KS can do a great deal to inform its improvement.   
Are we really doing that right now?  Like everything else, we are not  
going to get everything we want.  Other people are also involved,  
people with very different opinions, and we need to remember that.  We  
should be concentrating on getting as much KS input into those  
improvements as we can, bearing in mind that 2013 is only 3 years away  
(just think about how quickly the last 2 years have flown by).   
Although we can aspire to huge SWF improvements from KS, only some of  
it is going to happen - we have to accept that and think about what is  
most likely to get agreement.  The i/y distinction (in/yn) is one  
example that, in my opinion, won't get a look in, however hard it's  
pushed.  Other improvement proposals have a much greater chance of  
acceptance.  Once we get our list up of the SWF faults and what's  
needed to rectify them, we can score off on a 1-10 scale and be ready  
for some to be rejected.

Let's get back on track.


On 5 Me 2010, at 18:56, Michael Everson wrote:

> Dan,
> 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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Craig Weatherhill

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