[Spellyans] Shall we vote on diacritics just now?
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
>> 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
> Again, this is normal pronunciation variation, and in fact we
> describe the variety of ways in which the plural -ow can be
> 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
> 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/
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