[Spellyans] chi v chy

Craig Weatherhill craig at agantavas.org
Thu May 6 00:16:07 BST 2010

I won't go into great detail because it's late and sleep is greatly  
needed.  Firstly Old Cornish is not a different language - simply an  
earlier form of the language we now use, and which developed from it.   
It still has much to offer, so let's not call it a different  
language.  I remember the term 'tota Cornicitas' being mooted not too  
long ago (and that has to include the place-name evidence, which I  
have right here beside me.  It has to include ALL linguistic  
evidence).  If that has changed, we need to know, and, if so, was  
there a consensus view on that?

With regard to place-name evidence - the historic forms are as valid  
as the textual ones and should be included in the same category.  I  
have a firm view on that (in case you all hadn't noticed).  Reject  
nothing without close scrutiny is my advice.

Michael says he's not clear what I'm saying as regards the 2103  
review.  Just this:  list out the perceived faults of the SWF, then  
put a proposal for improvement with each, so we can look, discuss and  
come up with a clear programme for the review.

This is the track I'm referring to, and I do think that we have moved  
away from it.  The 2013 review is the goal.  There ain't going to be  
another one.  We lose sight of that at our peril (and the language's  
peril, which is rather more to the point).  KS is, in my own view,  
excellent.  Just look at the publications so far. However, several  
traditional Cornish users don't accept it, and that's something else  
we must think about.  We cannot afford to dismiss their stance - their  
views are just as important as ours.

Sorry if I'm coming in a bit hard here, but we MUST focus.  I just  
feel that we might be straying off course.


PS - I realise that my place-name evidence is not in the public domain  
- it would take me until 2013 to make it so if I could spend all day,  
every day, on it.  However, where it is of use in a particular  
discussion, I will produce that evidence if relevant, as I have on  
several occasions.  I just want to be sure that it isn't rejected out  
of hand.

On 5 Me 2010, at 23:47, A. J. Trim wrote:

> I agree with Craig here.
> Place names may be anglicised, and they may reflect archaic forms  
> but I believe that they contain evidence about the Cornish we wish  
> to revive. It is difficult to extract that evidence but it is there,  
> and in my view it must not be ignored.  Not only do place names tell  
> us something of the language but they also tell us something about  
> the culture of the people who coined the names and how they saw  
> their world (or at least their little bit of it.)
> The traditional texts do not distinguish between the preposition  
> <in> "in" and the adverbial particle <yn>. Why should we make that  
> distinction but not make the distinction between "her" and "she",  
> and between "we" and the negative verbal particle?
> I have a practical problem with <in> for "in": When you want to say  
> "in the", the expected forms would be <i'n> or <y'n>. In the first  
> case, my word processor always changes it to <I'n>. This can be  
> turned off but it is very annoying. I do have a solution: Use <yn>  
> for "in" and <in> for "in the".
> I like to use <yn-> for the adverbial particle, i.e. with a hyphen,  
> though I wouldn't have a problem with using <in-> for the adverbial  
> particle.
> I think that <y'n> should be reserved for the positive verbal  
> particle with the pronoun <'n> infixed. Caradar saw this problem,  
> and he used <y-n-> for this but folks didn't like so many hyphens.
> I'm not sure about: "Other improvement proposals have a much greater  
> chance of  acceptance."  Several of those proposals involve the  
> introduction of diacritical marks. I think that these will be given  
> a harder time than the likes of when to use <i> instead of <y>.
> Yes, 3 years is not long. KS will not be accepted in toto. The SWF  
> should be improved. People with other views will make their inputs  
> too. I fear that most of the comments will come after 2013. It would  
> be good to avoid that.
> I like the idea of a tangible list on the lines of "Problems with  
> the SWF and their Proposed Remediation".
> There are just a few people on this forum. How can we get other  
> people to express their views? Can we publish the list widely? The  
> more views we get and from the more people, the easier it will be to  
> rank the proposals (because we will know more about what the  
> reaction will be.)  At the moment, we think we are right, and we  
> discuss with people who (at least partly) agree. That's not  
> necessarily the real world.
> Regards,
> Andrew J. Trim
> --------------------------------------------------
> From: "Craig Weatherhill" <craig at agantavas.org>
> Sent: Wednesday, May 05, 2010 7:59 PM
> To: "Standard Cornish discussion list" <spellyans at kernowek.net>
> Subject: Re: [Spellyans] chi v chy
>> 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.
>> Craig
>> 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/
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> Spellyans mailing list
>>> Spellyans at kernowek.net
>>> http://kernowek.net/mailman/listinfo/spellyans_kernowek.net
>> --
>> Craig Weatherhill
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Craig Weatherhill

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