[Spellyans] SWF

Daniel Prohaska daniel at ryan-prohaska.com
Wed Nov 17 12:08:36 GMT 2010

-----Original Message-----
From: Nicholas Williams
Sent: Tuesday, November 16, 2010 9:12 PM

“The spelling is not the same. I always write screfa as do the Middle and Late texts so often. After all Lhuyd writes skrepha. George's opinion on this matter is not a theory but a hypothesis which is not borne out by the facts.”


There are also the following spellings for the verbal noun (I have excluded the e-spellings, and listed the y~i spellings only):


scrife (PA)              

scrife (PC)            

scriffa (TH)            

scriffa (TH)             

scryffa (TH)             

scryfa (SA)              

skreifa (T.Boson)            

skreefa (N.Boson)            

skrîfa (Lh)           

scrifa (Pryce)             


For the verbal adjective:

scriuit (VC)            

scrifys (PA)            

scryfys (PA)            

scrifis (PA)             

scryfis (PA)            

scryffys (OM)           

scrifys (PC)            

scryfys (PC)            

scrifys (RD)            

scriffes (TH)           

scriffes (TH)           

skryffes (TH)                           

scriffys (TH)            

scriffis (TH)           

scryffys (TH)           

scryfys (TH)            

scryfys (SA)            

scryffes (CW)           

skryffes (CW)           

skryves (CW)            

scriffez (N.Boson)           

skreefez (N.Boson)           

scriffas (J.Boson)           

skrifyz (Lh)            


1st sg. pres.-fut.:

scrifaf (PC)            


2nd sg. pret.:

scrifys (PC)             

scrifis (PC)            


3rd sg. pret.: 

scryfas (PA)             

scrifas (PA)            

scryffas (PA) 


So, yes, I believe alternative views are possible.              


“You, Dan, don't believe George on the question of length any more than I do, so don't pretend that the two opinions are on equal footing. All the evidence suggests that half-length had been lost in Middle Cornish.”


I’m not pretending, I just respect the SWF’s principle of inclusivity. If people want to use half-length then they should be able to. Yes, you are right, I don’t think KG’s solution of the Cornish quantity system is right, but that’s an opinion. Albert has recently mention an interesting point looking at the quantity system of northern Welsh dialects, where vocalic length in polysyllabic words was lost in the low and mid vowels, but retained in the high vowels.  


“Clutching dogmatically cuts both ways.” 


Yes, it does, and I don’t like it – either way.


“The KK people have been insisting that there was half-length for years without actually using it--and that includes the inventor himself. If that's not dogmatic, what is?” 


That doesn’t mean that we have to make the same mistake.


“I merely suggested returning to the position of Nance and Caradar. Polin Pris was a firm advocate of KK but when confronted by Albert in the LWG about half-length, asked "What's half-length?"


I know. Funny, innit? 


“The spelling of RC should not pander to mistakes.”


Looking at the many attestations with <i> or <y>, a spelling such as <scrifa> cannot be considered a mistake. 


“I am very opposed to KG's position because I think he has done the revival massive damage. You weren't at the LWG where everybody was prepared to compromise except one person. Nor were you at Tremough when KG insisted that Trond refer to him publicly as a fellow linguist as the price for agreeing to the SWF. Trond did so, and apologised to me afterwards for it. But KG reneged on his word and still refuses to accept the SWF.



We also need to deal with the fact that he and his form Cornish has support. We can also not expect every Cornish learner to be a linguist. I believe we have to correct the mistakes from within without frightening anybody away.



On 11/16/10, Daniel Prohaska <daniel at ryan-prohaska.com> wrote:

> -----Original Message-----

> From: Nicholas Williams

> Sent: Tuesday, November 16, 2010 11:48 AM



> ”All power to your elbow, Dan. But please spare a thought for those people

> who cannot in conscience use the SWF either M or T. I cannot write <iw> in

> dyw, because I have read all the Cornish texts and know it doesn't occur

> anywhere. I cannot write chi, ki, bri because I know such forms are

> virtually unknown. I cannot write genev, orthiv, warnav because I know such

> forms are Lhuydian inventions based on Welsh and are unknown in traditional

> Cornish.”




> That’s fine, if that is your opinion. I don’t think it’s all that difficult.

> Since <i> and <y> have been redistributed both in KS and SWF I see little

> problem with writing <iw>, even if it does not occur in MC. Note that <iu>

> occurs in Lhuyd though who distinguishes it from <eu> found in etyma that

> frequently have <yw> in MC. If you can stand the general redistribution of

> <i> and <y> I don’t see what the problem is bearing with <iw> if it’s

> useful.


> I, too, don’t like <chi, ki, bri> etc. and would much rather be allowed to

> write <chy, ky, bry> - this is definitely something the people who prefer

> SWF/t will need in 2013, if the SWF : SWF/t dichotomy is to continue.


> I think we could propose to write <f> in <genef, orthif, warnaf> by spelling

> [f] as <ff>, [v] as <v> and using <f> as an umbrella graph for [v] and [f].

> This would work for secondary lenition, initial voicing in LC as well as

> word final traditional <f> which can be either [v] or dropped.




> “So what am I supposed to do? Do you think I should write SWF/T — an

> orthography for Cornish devised by people who know Cornish less well than I

> and who for the most part don't understand the linguistic arguments and have

> never read the texts?”




> I would like to see RC as close to traditional Cornish, too, but it has to a

> certain extent become its own thing. The texts always have to be our main

> corrective, I agree, but there are some practical considerations we have

> accepted for RC such as writing <dh> and <j>. And while KK went over the top

> with these “practical” characteristics, we have learnt from it that many

> people don’t so much care for the traditional texts as much as having (or at

> least believing so) a solid guide to pronunciation for RC. These sentiments

> need to be considered.




> “I have no choice but to avoid the SWF. The SWF has two merits. 1. it is not

> as erroneous as KK (with its specious phonology—unused by anybody). 2. Since

> it is not KK, it has removed George's ability to dictate to the revival.”




> Sorry Nicholas, this is too much anti-George for my taste. We’ve got what

> we’ve got for now. There is the upcoming 2013 adjustment and I’m sure if

> errors can be pointed out, they can at any time be addressed discussed and

> in the spirit of consensus and reasoned argument, implemented.




> “It is far from perfect however, and where it is mistaken it does not

> resemble the texts. In this respect it differs notably from UC and UCR.




> Until the SWF is emended I won't use it.




> Finally I don't think the Cornish people should be compelled to "live with"

> an orthography that is neither traditional nor correct.


> Nicholas”




> Correct is a matter of interpretation of the data. None of us possess the

> absolute truth about what traditional Cornish phonology was at a given time.

> We must not make the mistake of dogmatically clutching to our pet theories

> if problems with them are pointed out. Also, in an orthography of RC there

> can be room for considerable variation in pronunciation while sticking to a

> standard spelling, thus even mutually exclusive theories underlying the

> phonology can be orthographically represented to allow adherents of the

> various schools of thought to read their Cornish in their pronunciation,

> e.g. a follower of George’s phonological theories will read <scrifa> as

> [ˈskriˑfa] while somebody who espouses your theories can say [ˈskrɪfə] or

> [ˈskrɛfə]. The spelling is the same.


> Dan









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