[Spellyans] diacritics

ewan wilson butlerdunnit at ntlworld.com
Wed Feb 2 20:45:12 GMT 2011


As a learner I do agree that having one definitive spelling system and syntax would be a huge encouragement to us learners. There is nothing more dispiriting than doing the hard work of acquisition with the doubt at the back of one's mind that this may end up being replaced or that the major body of the literature will be in another orthography! 
The nearest equivalent I can think of is in Norwegian where traditional Bokmal and Landsmal run alongside Nynorsk. This might be paralleled in Cornish with a form based mainly on the mediaeval tongue ( such as U/UCR/KK) alongside LCR with its 'late' base which shows up in the grammar in particular.
As for the point about having to refer to a dictionary in order to check the prnunciation of every single lexical item, I cannot see the hardship in that! So long as the pronunciation guide is pretty accesible for English learners and accurate it seems perfectly acceptable. My Welsh may not be wonderfully extensive but I have found that a practical and non technical learner's dictionary like Heini Gruffudd's from Y Lolfa provides an excellent grounding. It can't be beyond Cornish language teachers to produce something of similar quality once a definitive orthography has been attained. I suspect precision in vowel articulation is something that is nigh impossible and even in settled, living languages it fluctuates to a surprising degree. 

Ewan. 
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: e-mail kevin.blackburn1 
  To: Standard Cornish discussion list 
  Sent: Wednesday, February 02, 2011 5:39 PM
  Subject: Re: [Spellyans] diacritics


  I think we're actually arguing about nothing now - the position Michael takes below is one I agree with - OK, so we've had to go round the houses a bit to get to an understanding! The sooner we get one unambiguous acceptable orthography out there the better - then pronounciation can be detremined from ots spelling, and Cornish can start to live. I still believe people will often ignore the diacritics in everyday use, but as you say that is incorrect spelling - in the same way I know it is incorrect usage, but I still write 'c u soon, @ abt 4pm' in SMS txt mesgages. the point is that there is a known correct basis from which we knowingly deviate by choice. Roll on the 2013 decision - assuming it is the right one!

  Herbie 


  On 2 February 2011 13:40, Michael Everson <everson at evertype.com> wrote:

    On 2 Feb 2011, at 13:29, Craig Weatherhill wrote:

    > I think there's a problem of wording here.


    I think that people are getting stuck on words. Not you, Craig. But others.


    > "Mandatory" sounds as though we're dictating.


    Yes, well people need to learn how to read and not to get all whacked out about words like this.

    We've specified an orthography. Like every other orthography, its rules are, well, rules. They're not meant to be broken. Get it, everybody? There is correct spelling in English. If one doesn't follow those rules, then the spelling is incorrect.

    Correct spelling is mandatory in English, if you want to spell correctly.
    Correct spelling is mandatory in KS, if you want to spell correctly.

    The use of diacritical marks as specified is essential for correct spelling in KS. They are not optional. They are an important functional part of the orthography.

    I keep pasting in the following text, because I have yet to get a sense that many people in this discussion has read it and understood it.

    =====
    Six Cornish letters can take diacritical marks to make pronunciation clear.

    â, à, ê, è, ë, î, ô, ò, û, ù, ÿ

    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.
    =====

    That's the "recommendation". The recommendation is that diacritics are "a proper part" of the words that have them. That means they're not "optional". It means that they're "mandatory". It means that they should always be used whenever one writes KS.


    > It's obvious that diacritics are essential to the KS system.  Perhaps better to make that plain, to say that all KS publications will feature them, and that their everyday use is highly recommended/encouraged to assist problems of pronunciation.


    Well, Craig... isn't that what is said here?

    =====
    Six Cornish letters can take diacritical marks to make pronunciation clear.

    â, à, ê, è, ë, î, ô, ò, û, ù, ÿ

    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.
    =====

    That's the "recommendation". The recommendation is that diacritics are "a proper part" of the words that have them. That means they're not "optional". It means that they're "mandatory". It means that they should always be used whenever one writes KS.


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


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  Kevin 'Herbie' Blackburn
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