[Spellyans] ragtho, rygthy

Craig Weatherhill craig at agantavas.org
Thu Nov 18 09:23:36 GMT 2010


I suppose it demonstrates the knottiness of the some of the problems  
that remain with Cornish, and it's good that the debate is happening,  
even if a bit overheated at times.  It amazes me that these questions  
have never been seriously explored before during the 106-year period  
of the revival.

Craig


On 18 Du 2010, at 09:16, Daniel Prohaska wrote:

> Craig,
> Thank you for your kind words, but Michael and I have had similar  
> arguments before. It takes a lot more to alienate me than a fun,  
> academic quibble as the one we’re having. I know it is exceedingly  
> difficult for Michael to accept an opinion differing from his own,  
> but that’s life. I’ll keep on keeping on, and I hope that I’m  
> open minded enough to see reason when it hits me in the face. I can  
> always be convinced with a better argument. I just haven’t read it  
> as far as this particular topic is concerned.
> Dan
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Craig Weatherhill
> Sent: Wednesday, November 17, 2010 10:24 PM
>
> "Michael - Dan KNOWS that it isn't good enough.  He's having to work  
> within the SWF spec. as it stands.  He is on OUR side of the debate.  
> Nonetheless, we can take no definite action until 2013.  Don't  
> alienate Dan, for Heaven's sake!  He's one of our biggest assets!
> Craig"
>
>
> On 17 Du 2010, at 20:06, Michael Everson wrote:
>
> > On 15 Nov 2010, at 15:56, Daniel Prohaska wrote:
> >
> >> I resent the fact that you portray my work and involvement in the
> >> process as “ensuring that KK forms are in the SWF”.
> >
> > You might. But that's what you've been doing. You've been telling me
> > that I have to use -es for animal plurals because Ken George has
> > that in KK. In fact, you've suggested doing that for words which
> > aren't even in George's dictionaries. KK recognizes one plural of
> > 'goat', namely "gever". I pointed out that Tregear has a different
> > plural, which he writes "gyffras" and suggested that this plural be
> > used, spelt "gyfras". But you said I was obliged to Kemmynize the
> > suffix, and write "gyfres".
> >
> > I consider this to be an instance of “ensuring that KK forms are  
> in
> > the SWF”.
> >
> >> Yes, there are many things wrong with KK and forms that have
> >> entered the SWF through KK, but others that aren’t that you
> >> continually oppose or “derogate”, as you put it, because they
> >> were used in KK, not because they are linguistically questionable
> >> (taves, gaver etc.). The things that are wrong need to be
> >> corrected, which is exactly what we’re working on.
> >
> > I understood that KK was taken as "the base" because there was
> > little time to deal with the question of vowels. KK was not taken as
> > "the base" because of the excellence or utility or reliability of
> > its etymologies -- it is just that KK has those changes to
> > traditional orthographic forms as part of its make-up. You work
> > away, diligently, checking whether "taves" and "kegin" and "gaver"
> > are defensible on the grounds of etymological reconstruction, but
> > you have not answered the Big Question: What **use** are
> > etymological vowels in unstressed syllables? Do they make it easier
> > to remember a singular/plural pair? Do they make it easier for a
> > teacher or learner to classify nouns in various ways? How exactly
> > will the reflex of a theoretical Brythonic form dating to the 6th
> > century BC be understood by the student? Is it expected that
> > students will appreciate thet the -in in "kegin" is Latin, while the
> > -yn in some other word is Celtic? And why is 'puppy' spelt "colen"
> > rather than "colyn"? I can't think of a reason. It must be some of
> > that clever hidden Celtic reconstruction Ken George liked.
> >
> >> I find a lot of things in KS which are not admirable and which I
> >> wouldn’t teach learners, such as the <i ~ y> distribution
> >
> > Yet we are the only ones who *have* principled, teachable rules for
> > distributing i and y.
> >
> >> and some solutions for unstressed vowels (-ek ~ -ak).
> >
> > Do you mean the distribution of -ek with suffixes in -y- and -e- but
> > -ak in suffixes with -a- and -o-? I wonder what you don't admire
> > about that. It helps the learner predict the suffix class. Compared
> > with the evident randomness of the KK "etymological" vowels in
> > unstressed syllables (vis à vis pronunciation) I find this, and our
> > distribution of -er and -or and their suffixes, to be very admirable
> > indeed.
> >
> >> Also KS has derogated from the SWF and is thus not an orthography
> >> by consensus any more.
> >
> > Hm? Its *brief* was to derogate from the SWF where the SWF was
> > mistaken or where it was inconsistent.
> >
> >> But the consensus in the SWF entirely the point of the whole
> >> exercise.
> >
> > At the expense of linguistic excellence and at the expense of people
> > who know a lot about Cornish linguistics. You don't have me, or
> > Nicholas, or Jon on board with your views about how the SWF should
> > be revised.
> >
> >> I’d rather work from within to make the SWF linguistically more
> >> sound.
> >
> > But you're not. You're working to clean up some of KK's mistakes,
> > maybe, but you've not asked the question posed above: "What use are
> > etymological vowels?" We have asked it. We have also worked with
> > them. We have engaged quite seriously with the SWF, in writing three
> > versions of Skeul an Tavas. Agan Tavas teachers have worked with the
> > SWF/T and have been frustrated by it. One RLC leader I know says he
> > can't even write sensible Cornish in the SWF/Late that is supposed
> > to be for is use. KS is a response to the SWF which **is**
> > linguistically more sound, in a practical way. The SWF is, as
> > Nicholas said, "neither traditional nor correct".
> >
> > Ben seems to be out of the picture. Albert communicates when he
> > wants to, and prevaricates and doesn't rule on things even when
> > rulings are asked for. Oh, I'm sure, it's my fault. I bully Albert,
> > so he ignores me. Uh huh. That's how come I'm so encouraged to work
> > "within the process" as you put it. You fellows over in Austria are
> > beavering away on your glossary, sometimes listening to us but
> > feeling perfectly willing to dismiss things like a principled
> > distribution of i and y, without offering an alternative. So you end
> > up with an SWF that has corrected some bad mistakes in KK, but which
> > still fails to meet fairly simple requirements.
> >
> > As Nicholas said, "We need an orthography that is phonetic,
> > unambiguous and as
> > traditional as possible."
> >
> >> Don’t get me wrong, I love your books and especially Nicholas’
> >> Cornish which is most enjoyable to read… but I will stick to the
> >> SWF because there has been too much in-fighting and many KK-flaws
> >> have been expunged from the SWF and I’m sure there are quite a  
> few
> >> that will follow. But the first step was to get the people to sit
> >> down at the same table and talk … and that is what the SWF has
> >> achieved – not KS and not KK.
> >
> > "The people"? The people who actually knew something about Cornish
> > linguistics weren't even allowed to come to the table. The SWF was a
> > nice political move. It allows the CLP to publish in a form which
> > isn't going to be attract attack from the language groups. But the
> > SWF wasn't designed on the basis of establishing sound principles
> > and sticking to them.
> >
> >> The point is – we don’t know. What I would like have as a brief
> >> for correcting and emending SWF forms is something like “if in
> >> doubt follow the MSS”.
> >
> > You may not have noticed, but that is what we do already.
> >
> >> I would definitely prefer to spell <f> finally whether I drop the
> >> sound or not. This would lead to <ff> = [f]; <f> = [f] ~ [v]; <v> =
> >> [v] which would be something I could live with…
> >> Just a little demonstration of what open minded and able to
> >> compromise can mean…
> >
> > Don't criticize me for dismissing an idea of yours which you've
> > never shared with us before, please.
> >
> >>> “I think that argument is poor, since the SWF otherwise permits  
> -
> >>> p  and -k in unstressed syllables while having -b and -g in
> >>> stressed ones.”
> >>>
> >> What’s right for stops may not be so for fricatives.
> >
> > It works for "jùj" and "imach".
> >
> > Lhuyd (and by the way we have been saying this for years now) was
> > well able to distinguish /θ/ and /ð/. What the evidence shows is
> > that he often writes -th in final unstressed syllables, and it is
> > not unreasonable to suggest that where he wavers between that and -
> > dh it is because he is being influenced by his Welsh. Taking that
> > into account makes final /ð/ in unstressed syllables a lot less
> > attractive a possibility. So at some point one has to take a stand,
> > and we did.
> >
> >> Lhuyd suggests [ð] in this position was retained. Some MMS
> >> spellings add magic-e, which can be interpreted as making sequence
> >> such as -athe mean [əð].
> >
> > Nicholas showed that not to be the case. Another strike against
> > [əð].
> >
> >> “I think, in fact, that that argument is apologism for a blot in
> >> the orthography.”
> >>
> >> … or historically and linguistically correct, given the  
> evidence…
> >
> > Take Lhuyd's Welsh into account and the picture is quite clear. But
> > you want to change from "nowyth" to "nowydh".
> >
> > You'll get opposition from us on that.
> >
> >> No, closing your eyes to the evidence or dismissing it out of hand,
> >> or not reacting to it at all and then talking down to me is.
> >
> > I have not closed my eyes to the evidence, nor have I dismissed it
> > out of hand. We investigated this long since.
> >
> >> The way you have proceeded has alienated so many people who beg to
> >> differ with your point of view – or some of them at least. In  
> fact
> >> you have alienated so many people don’t even want to talk to you
> >> anymore.
> >
> > Sure. Story of my life, Dan. You might remember I was banned from my
> > appointment to the AHG (in advance) and even banned from coming to  
> the
> >
> >> Condescension aside, I am at least working from within the process,
> >
> > Bosh. Who produced Skeul an Tavas SWF/T and SWF/K? Did we have help?
> > Not really. Did we get enthusiastic support from the CLP after we
> > published it? Not really. Only very recently did we get comments.
> > The second edition of the SWF versions will be launched at the MAGA
> > Conference.
> >
> > But producing Skeul an Tavas is engagement with the SWF, as part of
> > the process.
> >
> >> I believe in this process,
> >
> > I don't. Not really. When Agan Tavas can't appoint its own
> > representative to the AHG, when four people who know about place-
> > names and Traditional Cornish resign from the Signage Panel due to
> > obstinacy from the KK contingent, when the one person who knows
> > Cornish better than anyone alive is not regularly consulted, when I
> > see people more or less mechanically following "rules" laid down in
> > a set of hostile negotiations -- I think I can't really be blamed
> > for having my doubts about this process.
> >
> > Yet I am finalizing the second edition of Skeul an Tavas for
> > publication. Yet I participate on the Corpus Group forum.
> >
> >> I believe it will do the SWF and the Cornish language movement as a
> >> whole a favour to agree to a Single Written Form and achieve
> >> something that we can all live with, so that Cornish language
> >> speakers in and outside of Cornwall can spend their energy on
> >> producing good Cornish in speech and writing without the dark
> >> shadow of the spelling wars looming over them.
> >
> > To quote Nicholas again:
> >
> > "We need an orthography that is phonetic, unambiguous and as
> > traditional as possible. KK certainly wasn't that, nor is either
> > form of the SWF at present. Until revived Cornish gets a
> > satisfactory orthography it cannot prosper."
> >
> >> People, I find, are listening to my reasoned arguments as I am to
> >> theirs and that makes compromise possible, you should have seen how
> >> much more Kemmyn the first drafts of the Glossary were before Neil
> >> and I sent in our proofs. But, people listened to what we had to
> >> say because we generally respected the agreement, the consensus.
> >
> > We have a list of the faults in the SWF.
> >
> >> You derogated from it from day one
> >
> > Because most of the faults in the SWF were evident from day one.
> >
> >> and argue from the outside and all the people on the inside go
> >> “lalalalalalalaaa”.
> >
> > Oh, bosh again, Dan. They all went "Lalalalalalalaaa" before when we
> > published KS1. It's personal, their animosity against Nicholas and
> > me. Didn't you know that?
> >
> >> That’s not doing much good is it?
> >
> > I'm not really all that worried about it. We'll see what happens
> > when Nicholas and I and Jon and Neil and Ray and Andrew are all six
> > of us invited to the table.
> >
> > In my opinion, I don't care who else comes to the table. But those
> > six had better ought to be there.
> >
> >> Now, if you’d published those books in SWF/Mt or SWF/Lt you might
> >> have a completely different standing in fora such as the corpus
> >> group.
> >
> > It... isn't... good... enough.
> >
> > Get it? The SWF is a dog's breakfast, to use the phrase of one of my
> > favourite detractors. Nicholas said:
> >
> >>> 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?"
> >
> >
> > And you answered:
> >
> >> I would like to see RC as close to traditional Cornish, too, but it
> >> has to a certain extent become its own thing.
> >
> > Why? What does that mean?
> >
> >> 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.
> >
> > But we *can* have an orthography which is is phonetic, unambiguous,
> > and traditional. In fact, we already have one. And I guess it's one
> > that you're going to have to reckon with. Unless the SWF is emended,
> > it's going to have a competitor. Because in conscience, some of us
> > at least can't use an orthography that is unworthy of Cornish.
> >
> >> These sentiments need to be considered.
> >
> > Do our sentiments not need not be considered?
> >
> > Finally, to something else you said:
> >
> >> 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.
> >
> >
> > They don't use it, even when they want to. And they shouldn't want
> > to. they were sold a pup.
> >
> >> Yes, you are right, I don’t think KG’s solution of the Cornish
> >> quantity system is right, but that’s an opinion.
> >
> > What, so we're to be saddled with a spurious phonology forever just
> > to be even-handed as far as opinions go? Even if nobody learnt it?
> > Even if the competing quantity system is more closely related to
> > features in learners' L1?
> >
> > The claim that the SWF "is not a system of pronunciation" is one of
> > the biggest loads of hogwash that came out of the AHG. Without an
> > underlying phonology there is no rational basis for an orthography,
> > which is one of the problems with the SWF.
> >
> > Pol Hodge said this to us in his comments. "The SWF is *not* a
> > system of pronunciation, so I advice using just what you propose" in
> > our section on pronunciation. So I've done that. I've assumed a
> > phonology -- which is the one most people use, the one Jenner taught
> > Nance -- and written the section accordingly, with IPA, and with
> > notes about where the SWF is ambiguous as to the application of the
> > orthography to the phonology. I've done a serious and careful job at
> > it. It is another example of my serious engagement with the  SWF.
> > Please tell your friends and my detractors, OK?
> >
> > Of course, they won't like it. :-S
> >
> >> 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.
> >
> > The texts teach us all that we need. Jenner did the work. Albert's
> > suggestion just sounds like a move toward trying to justify or
> > rescue George's phonology. A waste of time, as that phonology has
> > failed to be taken up. (That's more of what I consider "apologism".
> > I don't see any of you working hard to justify Nicholas' views on
> > Cornish phonology. I see a lot of work attempting to justify Ken's.)
> >
> > You can be inclusive, but you must NOT include error. Not even to
> > "appease" some people. (I wonder if you ever argue to them that they
> > should appease us.)
> >
> > 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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