[Spellyans] Shall we vote on diacritics just now?

Craig Weatherhill craig at agantavas.org
Tue Feb 1 20:40:03 GMT 2011

That's the end of Cowans, then.  Trust Iceland to show us all how to  
drag a nation out of a hole.  (Off-topic, as is this:  see Agan Tavas  
list for my take on today's meeting).


On 1 Whe 2011, at 20:24, Michael Everson wrote:

> On 1 Feb 2011, at 19:58, Craig Weatherhill wrote:
>> Diacritical marks are essential to KS in order to show anomalous  
>> pronunciations, etc.
> Yes, and so we specify that the correct spelling of KS is to use them.
> We also specify that the correct spelling of [ð] is "dh" and the  
> correct spelling of [θ] is "th". This is no different from saying  
> that the correct spelling of the word pronounced [bræːz]~[brɒːz]  
> depending on dialect is "brâs". And no different from saying that  
> the correct spelling of [ˈreːzən] is "rêson" (because "reson" is  
> [ˈrɛzən]).
>> On the other hand, no one will ever be able to enforce their use.   
>> Individuals will write what they please.  Some will use the  
>> diacritics; others (most people, I suspect) won't in their everyday  
>> writings.  As we can't dictate their use, what can KS do?
> KS says:
> These diacritical marks are important and should be learned as a  
> proper part of the words which have them. If you write them  
> regularly, they will help you to pronounce words more correctly, and  
> they will help others to read what you write more easily.
>> The only way forward, as I see it, is to use diacritics in  
>> dictionaries and learning materials, much as Nance did. Users will  
>> come to learn how each word is pronounced as the language becomes  
>> increasingly familiar, just as most people did with UC.
> But they didn't. We have KK precisely because people did not  
> pronounce vowel length correctly *because Nance's recommendation  
> removed the visual support people needed to reinforce it*.
>> What those pronunciations are is another question because speakers  
>> do pronounce differently.  Many pronounce a stressed long A as the  
>> "a" of "hat" prolonged.  Others (like me) pronounce it to rhyme  
>> with the "ai" of "fair".
> That's not an issue. Both [æː] and [ɛː] are allophones of the  
> same phoneme. That's just normal variation.
>> In words like clav, bras, gwav (but NOT hav), some (me again) will  
>> speak it as something like "aw".
> And we write clâv, brâs, gwâv (and hâv; Neil found a poem in  
> which they rhyme) to indicate this.
> If we were to make this means of indication "optional" we would be  
> going right back to where we started: an orthography that doesn't  
> support good pronunciation. The last time we were there, it gave  
> rise to KK.
>> Some round a final -ow as in "blow"; others will pronounce it  
>> somewhere between "au" and "ah" (or the US way of pronouncing  
>> "thought").
> Again, this is normal pronunciation variation, and in fact we  
> describe the variety of ways in which the plural -ow can be  
> pronounced.
> Because we're linguists. :-)
>> That still leaves (at least) one problem:  the bys/bes words.  If  
>> we derogate from the SWF with regard to those words, and revert to  
>> the -ei- of KS1, then that's solved as well (beas might be another  
>> possibility).
> For my part, I think we need to stick with the decision we made: not  
> to change SWF wordshapes where not necessary. The diaeresis solves  
> this problem with just two tiny dots.
> Moreover, words like the past participle of gwakhe would end up  
> gwakheis, and I don't believe -heis is attested (this was not  
> identified in KS1).
>> Other observers may have ideas that differ from mine, and I look  
>> forward to reading them.  There has to be a solution somewhere  
>> among those views and, what's more, we must find it.  We can only  
>> do this by constructive debate, not point-of-view, I'm-not- 
>> shifting, table-thumping, and I'm seeing far less of that kind of  
>> debate which we had (quite brilliantly) to begin with, and got us  
>> KS1 in a remarkably short time.
>> Thinking caps on.
> These issues were put to bed in 2008, though. We did not hear them  
> raised again and again as each of our books was published. Nobody  
> said "Jowal Lethesow -- great book, apart from those diaereses".
> We had a general election called today. I am taking the night off  
> for a few jars in my local.
> Michael Everson * http://www.evertype.com/
> _______________________________________________
> Spellyans mailing list
> Spellyans at kernowek.net
> http://kernowek.net/mailman/listinfo/spellyans_kernowek.net

Craig Weatherhill

More information about the Spellyans mailing list