[Spellyans] gwyw

Daniel Prohaska daniel at ryan-prohaska.com
Tue Jul 26 13:54:37 IST 2011

Nicholas a scrifas:
“The SWF for 'worthy' writes either gwiw or RLC gwew. In so doing it uses two spellings neither of which is attested, though guew of BK is close to gwew.”
The assumption is that MC <gwyw> stands for */gwiw/ which would be spelt <gwiw> in the SWF/M (‘Middle’ not ‘Main’). SWF/L <gwew> is unfortunate, as this should be <gwev>, that is if the attestations you mention below are really examples of gwyw ‘worthy’ and not a contraction of go ef ‘woe to him’.
“In the texts this word is spelt:
gwyw x 1; guyu x 1; gvyw x 4; guyv x 5; gyw x 3;
guew x 7 (all in BK); gweve x 1;  gweff x1; gwef x 1.”
“Lhuyd has no form *guiu or *guiw.”
Lhuyd does not give this word at all, as far as I can make out.
“I cannot see what reason there is for spelling this word with <iw> in the SWF, apart from gwiw in Common Cornish. This is based upon Welsh gwiw and Breton gwiv.”
While I believe you are right in saying the SWF spelling is based upon KK, it is the whole distribution of <i> and <y> that was largely taken over from KK. 
As far as I can gather, Nicholas, you say that <y> and <i> are allographs in MC. So I would conclude that any systematic or regular distribution decided upon for RC is arbitrary and per se a feature of modern RC orthography and not ‘spelling as the texts’.
“Everybody pronounces gwyw to rhyme with 'alive', which the SWF spells byw and bew.”
I don’t know if this is true. The SWF/M form <gwiw> has /gwiw/ which is pronounced [gwiˑʊ], while SWF/M <byw> is /bɪw/ pronounced [beˑʊ]. 
“Would it not be sensible therefore to spell 'worthy' gwyw and gwew?
I would like to see SWF/L <gwew> either dropped or replaced by <gwev>. I could accept SWF/M <gwyw> if we were to spell <tyr> ‘land’ and <hyr> ‘long’, but if we have <tir> and <hir>, <gwiw> makes sense on a systematic level. If, however, we are discussing the redistribution of <y> and <i> in general, I’m open to discussing other options and suggestions. I do not find the KS solution workable in an ‘interdialectal’ orthography such as the SWF as it doesn’t take into account the differences between MC and LC based forms. RLC users, other than myself, have said as much. 
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