[Spellyans] diacritics

Michael Everson everson at evertype.com
Wed Feb 2 09:46:35 GMT 2011


On 1 Feb 2011, at 22:12, Daniel Prohaska wrote:

>> —      Should the diacritics in KS be mandatory in all writings?”
> 
> In KS, yes.

Good.

> I no longer see KS as an improvement to the SWF, but as an orthography in its own right.

Well, you may cut the Sachertorte as you like, but KS is in fact based on the SWF with a number of derogations to correct its infelicities. It is being used practically, which makes it an orthography in its own right.

> I would welcome the introduction of a limited number of diacritics in the SWF, but not necessarily those used in KS.

If changes to the SWF don't correct its failings, what is the point of changing it?

> —      Should they be optional in all writings?
>  
> Yes.

I don't think you mean "yes" since you said above and below that they should be mandatory.

> —      Should they be hightly recommented in lexicographic/reference/didactic writings and optional elsewhere?
>  
> They would be an integral part of the orthography and mandatory in all writings.

"Integral part of the orthography" is a nice phrase. In KS,

* vowels being long before voiced consonants is an integral part of the orthography

* vowels being short before voiceless consonants is an integral part of the orthography

* marking with diacritics vowels which are short before voiced consonants is an integral part of the orthography

* marking with diacritics vowels which are long before voiceless consonants is an integral part of the orthography

And so on. 

> —      Or should they have some other role?
>  
> Diacritics should have one distinct purpose, e.g. circumflex for irregular vowel length, grave for irregular shortness, diaeresis for a different sound.

You mentioned this before. It is an interesting idea. But I think that writing bräs [bræːz]~[brɒːz] and böwnans [ˈbɛʊnəns]~[ˈboʊnəns] would not be practical. In the first case anyone who'd done German in school would probaby find them interfering. In the second place it would increase the instances in the orthography of a diacritical mark which is already less popular than circumflex and grave. 

> —      Furthermore, do we currently have a surfeit of diacritics? Could we idealy do with fewer of them?”
>  
> Yes, I would reduce the number of diacritics where possible.

Since all of the diacritical marks we use have a linguistic rationale, I don't see how we can reduce the number further and keep the orthography accurate and unambiguous.

Michael Everson * http://www.evertype.com/



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