[Spellyans] dictionnaire de l'Académie française

Christian Semmens christian.semmens at gmail.com
Wed Feb 2 09:09:07 GMT 2011

But it is this inability to reliably pronounce words which is one of the
banes of other Cornish orthographies. Without access to a living teacher
with good pronunciation, how are you to guess how a word is pronounced?
Check it in a dictionary? Every word? Every word would need to have an IPA
description and every learner would need a thorough knowledge of IPA, and
every word would need to be checked to see if its pronunciation was
anomalous. This is the situation we currently have with all other
orthographies except KS.

Pronunciation is not a misguided goal, it is the majority of what makes a
living language, the other side of the coin being able to read and write.
Living in total isolation and communicating only by written word is OK for
us isolated people, but there is no substitute for talking and if no one can
understand your utterances then how are you to accomplish that?

The accents in KS allow an accurate pronunciation to be assessed without
disturbing traditional word forms. They amount to little more than
decoration, not a fundamental alteration to the traditional form of the

To mandate the use of diacritics means that all publications in KS are
easily used by a learner to reproduce the sounds of Cornish reliably, what
they write to each other, on the other hand, is up to them. No one can
mandate correct spelling! If people speel wurds wrongly, make typographical
errors or use grammar and syntax that isn't the bestest grammar and syntax,
then that is down to either their own ignorance or choice. No one can
*force* them to do otherwise, but to publish these errors would not be
acceptable practice.

To fail to mandate diacritics in KS means that, as Jon so clearly put it, it
looses it's raison d'être. If you wish to attempt to use unadorned Latin
characters then you must, perforce, mess with the traditional word forms and
you get something like KK. If you strip KS of diactirics, you end up with
the same problems that dogged UC/R and still dog the SWF. Ambiguous
pronunciation. If learners can make mistakes, they will (I know that only
too well myself!) why make it more difficult?


2011/2/1 ewan wilson <butlerdunnit at ntlworld.com>

>  Though no expert by any means my instincts are with Herbie and Ray.
> The 'fine tuning' of pronunciation is perhaps best left to a good learner's
> dictionary with a half decent pronunciation guide for English speakers.
> Normal Cornish orthography meanwhile, as Ray says, must not depart from the
> historic orthographic bases too radically or authenticity will be lost.
> Easing pronunciation for learners may be a laudable but misguided goal.
> Adopting a spelling system based on too much deduction may simply have the
> effect of ingraining what turns out to be error! I'd rather have a system
> of spellings that is substantially found in the historic manuscripts and
> might require a little extra effort to master pronuciations - though there
> is no excuse for a lack of a good learner's dictionary to supply this
> central concern- than a tendentious system perilously removed from the
> original texts and so open both to major potential faults and accusations of
> not being 'proper' or authentic Cornish.
> Ewan.
> ----- Original Message -----
> *From:* Ray Chubb <ray at spyrys.org>
> *To:* Standard Cornish discussion list <spellyans at kernowek.net>
> *Sent:* Sunday, January 30, 2011 9:58 AM
> *Subject:* Re: [Spellyans] dictionnaire de l'Académie française
> Herbie is making a lot of sense here.  I have always maintained that if the
> Cornish revival is to have credibility its written form must approach the
> forms of Cornish written down by our ancestors.
> Only by reflecting, as far as possible within the bounds of their
> irregularities, the Cornish of the texts can we avoid the 'badly restored
> painting' charge.
>  On 29 Gen 2011, at 22:36, Herbie Blackburn wrote:
>  My main question would be – were diacritics always used in the heyday of
> Cornish literature? Having looked at folios of the Ordinalia I think they
> did not have diacritics in the general text, maybe elsewhere?
> If not – then I suggest diacritics are optional in written Cornish, but
> mandated in dictionaries, teaching material and the like, I,e, as Eddie
> suggests ‘Should they be hightly recommented in
> lexicographic/reference/didactic writings and optional elsewhere?‘,
> otherwise it becomes a language that alienates those trying to pick it up
> from a less familiar base, one more block to taking it up.
> Herbie
>  Ray Chubb
> Portreth
> Kernow
>  ------------------------------
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