[Spellyans] chi v chy

Michael Everson everson at evertype.com
Wed May 5 20:48:32 BST 2010

On 5 May 2010, at 19:59, Craig Weatherhill wrote:

> 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.

We don't use the orthographic conventions of the OCV as a source for potential spellings in the Revived language either. The OCV is not part of the scribal tradition of Middle Cornish. Old Cornish is a different language.

> You state that historical place-name evidence is "**NOT**" considered to be part of the scribal tradition etc.  Who says so?  And why?

The scribal tradition is the orthography used by Cornish speakers to write their language. Place-names (outside of those in the texts) are not part of that tradition; rather, they are generally orthographic forms written down by people who did not know Cornish (cartographers, ordnance surveyors, etc). The same thing goes for place-names in Ireland. 

>  I take entirely the opposite view here.  It **IS** valuable evidence that cannot be simply ignored because it doesn't fit into comfort zones.

I did not say it isn't valuable evidence. I said it's not part of the scribal tradition as used in developing Jenner's orthography, or Nance's orthography, or UCR, or KS1, or KS.

> If Jenner and Nance rejected that evidence, then that was poor judgement on their part.

Stop, stop. You're not understanding me. They did not reject the *evidence*. But they did not make use of the orthographic forms in the place-names as sources for their orthographies because place-names forms do not form part of a coherent writing system for texts in the language. 

>  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).

You are completely correct. And we use place-names for evidence about the language. But place-names do not form a coherent writing system for the language.

Orthography design is not "take whatever you happen to find written down somewhere and mix it all up". Orthographic systems need to be coherent.

> 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 am talking about SPELLING, Craig, not the meaning content of the place-names.

> I didn't spend over 25 years gathering all that historical information just to have it ignored.

Stop, stop, please. You've got off on the wrong foot here. NOBODY IS IGNORING PLACE-NAMES. But instances of -i in monosyllabic place-names elements are NOT part of a consistent scheme for writing the language, and it is a mistake to say "oh, I have a bunch of -i's here, that makes it part of the scribal tradition".

>  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.

Nobody is denigrating your input. Place-names are not, however, *continuous texts* in a Cornish orthography. They are outside of the scribal tradition as Nicholas described it (which is why, and how, I use the term).

> 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 find that Dan very often does use this tactic: "It's found once in the texts so it's legit." We don't just mix-and-match spellings this way. I do find his approach to be apologetic for non-traditional aspects in the SWF.

> 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?

The SWF offers this to those who prefer Traditional forms:

1) -y instead of -i in polysyllables

Great! Ken George introduced -i instead of traditional -y in polysyllables. The SWF/T allows us not to have to write that untraditional form.

2) -i only in monosyllables that alternate with [əɪ] in Late Cornish

Terrible! This forces us to use un-traditional -i in these words, which are not particularly numerous, but which are very common. (And Dan's suggestion that a tiny handful of exceptions does not, in my opinion, render this "traditional". It's still Kemmyn.)

This is why KS recommends what it does. This improves the SWF for the use of those who prefer traditional orthographic forms. 

>  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).

There is at present no mechanism set up, so I am not clear what you think we should be doing. We are, however, working on some additional texts and specifications as you have asked. So why are you taking me to task for KS's rejection of -i in monosyllables? That is nothing new.

> 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.

The fact that "in" and "yn" end up different is a result of the orthographic rules used to distribute "i" and "y" in general in the orthography. It was not the reason for the choice of the distribution.

> 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.

There is no way of knowing what will happen since there is no way of knowing what structures for review will be devised and who will be permitted to participate. In the meantime, we offer an orthography which is accurate, robust, and will stand academic scrutiny. 

> Let's get back on track.

I didn't get off track.

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

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