[Spellyans] KS specification document

Craig Weatherhill craig at agantavas.org
Thu May 6 08:58:21 BST 2010

Regarding place-names and Anglicisation.  This becomes a problem from  
the 16th century onwards, when external commentators start to get  
involved: Leland, Norden, Speed, Gascoyne, etc.  What Gascoyne (1699)  
makes of many names really raises eyebrows.  Tithe Apportionment  
surveyors and the Ordnance Survey became notorious for writing down  
what they thought they heard, and their errors are still on the modern  
map.  The Ordnance Survey wasn't averse to inventing names, either:  
Bodmin Moor being one example.  Before they came along, it was Fowey  
Moor (named from the principal river that rises on it, like Dartmoor  
and Exmoor) and before that (from John of Cornwall): Goen Bren (not  
much Anglicisation there).

Prior to the 16th century (and I am speaking in general terms), the  
sources are generally local: Pipe Rolls, Assize Rolls, Feet of Fines,  
etc., and Anglicisation is far less noticeable.  These spellings (and  
I AM talking about spellings) have much to offer.  One could mention  
the Anglicisation (the many inserted English words) in Tregear's text,  
but no one rejects that evidence because of it.  One train of thought  
accepts those English borrowings as genuinely Cornish and to be  
included in the corpus: others reject that.

The corpus of historical Cornish is limited and, therefore, we can't  
afford to pick and choose which we utilise and which we discard.  We  
have to use everything that is available to us.  When I mentioned that  
the place-name evidence often shows the progressive development of a  
word, or words, I wasn't talking about meanings, but spellings and  
their clues regarding pronunciation.

We seem to have two desired points from which to progress towards 2013:
1).  A KS spec.
2).  A list of the perceived faults of SWF, why they are so  
considered, and proposals for correction.

Over to the rest of you:  I'm off to the wonderfully named Praze-an- 


On 6 Me 2010, at 07:12, Eddie Climo wrote:

> Andrew and Craig,
> I agree with what you say, and would like to add that, in addition  
> to the proposed list of SWF faults+remedies, we desperately need one  
> more thing:
> ... a draft specification of KS.
> Without that, some of us (well, I don't imagine I'm the only one)  
> don't know all of what KS currently proposes. This makes it  
> extremely difficult to discuss KS.
> For instance, I want to start a discussion of the diacritics  
> currently proposed in KS, and raise 2 questions:
> 1) does it have too many diacritics?
> 2) what should the status of diacritics be in KS: compulsory?  
> recommended? optional?
> Without a KS specification to refer to, I can't initiate that thread.
> I've requested this document before, but nothing has come of it.  
> Please, Michael and Nicholas, draft a KS spec document. Rough draft  
> is fine, no need for fine typesetting; just get it out asap.
> Gromercy dheugh!
> Eddie Climo
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Craig Weatherhill

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