[Spellyans] iw

Daniel Prohaska daniel at ryan-prohaska.com
Thu Nov 25 16:45:01 GMT 2010

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Everson
Sent: Thursday, November 25, 2010 4:55 PM

"On 25 Nov 2010, at 14:48, Daniel Prohaska wrote:

> Just like you. I've offered plenty or arguments, attestations and interpretations. You just don't choose to accept them.


I don't accept them because they aren't convincing. You can insult me (again) by claiming that I am close-minded and refuse to listen,” 


That is not an insult. It’s a fact. Many people have complained about this time and time again. You may not notice it, but a steamroller doesn’t notice a pebble either. 


“though that's not the case. Albert made a good case about the alternation in dallath/dalathfos. Nicholas and I "chose to accept them": we evaluated the data and the argument and made a change in the orthography: a change which will be seen in the book we are launching on Saturday, in fact.”


Great. Power to you.  


“You just haven't made a good case with your arguments, attestations, and interpretations. Your argument that "iw" is a traditional graph doesn't fly, and your argument that it is necessary in the spelling of six lexical items, well, you haven't made your case.”


It’s attested. That’s good enough for me. It was always good enough for you, too, as long as it supported one of your pet-theories. I have made a case. I know I have. You refused outright, from the very beginning, quod erat demonstrandum - see my first comment above… 


“We distinguish the bÿs~bës words from the mes words because both are very large classes of words. Having pronunciation ambiguity between large classes of words is problematic. Yet you say that this doesn't bother you.”


I said it doesn’t bother me as much… It didn’t bother you in KS.1 (fisrt published version) either. The pronunciation is not ambiguous. The spelling is. 


“What does bother you is a half-dozen words which Ken George writes -iw. He does so because this accords with Welsh and Breton, near as I can tell. (He is on record saying that the SWF should have -i only and not -y *because Breton and Welsh have -i*.) In the Revived language, these six words rhyme with words in -yw.”


This has nothing to do with me. Talk to him about it … oh! He won’t talk to you! I wonder why – not. 


“So these *six* words are problematic enough to write them with a non-traditional graph, while you "don’t find not distinguishing bys ~ bes ‘world’ from mes ‘open field’ problematic as old /ɪː/ and /eː/ coalesced in /eː/ anyway." Well it may not be problematic for clever fellows like you who know things about old /ɪː/ and /eː/, but it sure is problematic for learners who can't work out whether words in -es belong to one class or the other. Or at least that's how I see it, given the context of the problems we have been trying to solve since we first began working on KS1. 


I fear you've fallen for the trap of believing that indicating etymological vowels is somehow valuable to the modern learner. That case has yet to be made.”


I have not fallen into any “trap”. I open about one orthographical solution which is as good as the other depending on where you’re coming from.


“Nicholas and I did some statistics a good while back. 

dyw ‘two (f.)’* dyw 3, diw 0, dyv 3, diu 0, div 0

gwyw ‘worthy’ gvyw 4 gviw 0, guyv 5 guiv 0, gwyw 1 gwiw 0, guew 7 guiu 0

lyw ‘colour’ lyv 3 liv 0 lew 1, lyw 9 liw 0, liu 0

nywl ‘mist, fog’ niul (Lhuyd) 1

pyw ‘own’** pev 1, pew 4

pyw ‘who’ pyv 33 piv 0 peua (Lhuyd) 1, pyw 11 piw 0 pew 24. piu (Lhuyd) 3 peu 1. pu 4”


Do some statistics on the distribution of <i> ~ <y> and then question the legitimacy of redistributing according to rules that were never in operation in traditional Cornish – and just to emphasise your theory that etymological /i/ and /ɪ/ were indistinguishable.  


“66% of examples have -yw, 30% have -ew/-u, and 4% (both of which are Lhuydian) have -iu which isn't -iw anyway.


(stryw 'sneeze' is extrapolated from Lhuyd's strihue which is problematic in a number of ways anyway.) 


> What more is there to say? I'm not surprised.


By me not being convinced” 


Yes. Though I didn’t want to convince you in the first place. I pointed out certain choices the SWf took might not even be that wrong. I don’t have a problem with disagreeing with people. I can accommodate that and find compromises that both sides can have their way by applying one rule or another and thus ensure an inclusive orthographic design. This is something you cannot, or will not do. You are intent upon establishing orthographically your pet theory, which is just as likely or unlikely to have been part of traditional Cornish than anybody else’s theory and thus enshrine it in writing. So, my intention was never to convince you of my theory, just convince you to be open minded enough to allow two theories to exist next to each other. I believe that’s fair enough. 


“by your argument that it is important to distinguish a tiny class of words with a non-traditional graph while not minding that a large class of words is not distinguished?”


For the reasons given…


“On 25 Nov 2010, at 15:02, Daniel Prohaska wrote:

> Just so we’re clear here. I was not being dismissive. You were. From the very beginning we started this argument.


You started out by claiming that "iw" is suitable for a traditionally-based orthography, when it is not a traditional graph. We didn't agree with you, since it isn't one. Turning up once only in Tregear does not put in a class of regularly employed graphs. It's just as likely as Nicholas said that it's just an error (since he regularly wrote "deweth").”


 How can it be an error when Tregear wrote it? How can it be an error if <i> in the MSS means exactly the same as <y> and dyweth is attested more than once? Tregear wrote <iw>, <ew> and <yw> because these were possible ways to write [ɪʊ]. It’s that simple. It is not an error. It’s just not his usual spelling, but then he hardly writes other words that occur more than once consistently.


“> Calling me “disingenuous” is an insult I my books.

Trying to play the "numbers game" card out of context on me seemed to me to be a disingenuous thing to do,” 


No, it’s not, because of the way you do it. When the number suit you, you count the attestations and argue from numerical strength. When they don’t you say the actual number of attestations is irrelevant. That’s the way you operate. I cannot cite examples, because I just cannot be bothered looking them up. But I do know it has happened more tan once..  


“since my views are well enough known that it is hard for me to think that you were being serious. So I said so: you know me to be straightforward in expressing my views. You've taken offence, which is regrettable,” 


Saying ‘having taken offence is regrettable’ is not an apology. I apologised EVERY SINGLE time I caused offence, when I was being rash or frustrated – yet you have offended so many people and not once did you bring yourself to apologise and say “I’m sorry” – well, to me being able to apologise and admit to having overstepped a certain mark is a sign of character.  


“but you might notice that you've been just as testy as you say that I have been.” 


Yes… and I have apologised for it.


“I don't suppose either of us is enjoying that.”


Not anymore. 


“And yes, I think your attempt to claim that one Tregearian "diweth" out of 25 "deweth"s counts as a traditional graph (never mind all the "dyweth"s and "deweth"s in the rest of the corpus) is unconvincing. The numbers are way against you there.”


Go ahead and close your eyes to an attestation in traditional Cornish.  


“I think that if Ken George's -iw had never been shoved into the SWF that you wouldn't have started out trying to justify it.” 


Think what you will. I am beyond being interested.


“You've come up with some sort of justification, all right. But it hasn't been sufficient for us at least to change our view that "iw" is unnecessary. Same thing with -edh: you've found a very shaky justification for it, but it fails Occam's razor as far as I can see. 


I'm sorry if you're disappointed that we don't accept your analysis. But it would be disingenuous of us to pretend that we did, wouldn't it?”


 You way overuse the word “disingenious”.



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