[Spellyans] SWF (t) and Maga web site

Daniel Prohaska daniel at ryan-prohaska.com
Fri Aug 17 15:39:16 IST 2012

On Aug 17, 2012, at 12:16 PM, Michael Everson wrote:

> On 17 Aug 2012, at 01:03, A. J. Trim wrote:
>> Dan asked, ”What do you think?”
>> I think that the SWF is almost acceptable as a compromise orthography, providing that the traditional graphs are being used.
> There is much wrong with it. 

For me the main structural issues are the u-vowels, i.e. unambiguously contrasting 

-) short [ɔ] (‹bronn, brodn› 'breast'), short [ʊ] (‹bronn, brodn› 'rushes', ‹brunnyon, brudnyon› 'ota, oatmeal') and short [ʏ] (‹unn, udn› 'one', ‹fortunnyes, fortudnyes›);
-) long [yː] (‹fur› 'wise'), long [uː] (‹tour›) and [ɪʊ] (‹us› 'use') in loan words; 
-) long [ɒː] in words now spelt with ‹aw› or ‹o› where UC/R usually have ‹au› (‹applaudya› 'applaud', ‹assaultya› 'assault'; the ‹cons› 'cunt' : ‹cauns› 'pavement' distinction); 

>> I would abandon SWF/K and promote SWF/T as the official form.
> That would result in fixing part of the aesthetic fault of the SWF. It would not make the SWF more accurate, however. 

See above. 

>> We are then left with some minor faults in the SWF like the distribution of i and y.
> That is a major fault. 

I don't think it is. It's an ideological matter and one of opinion and interpretation. 
I don't believe the KS solution is any more 'correct' that the SWF in this matter. 

>> I would have i for long and y for short, 
> That was proposed in KS1, but what was decided for the SWF was that ‹i› would be used for [iː] in stressed monosyllables and their derivatives. We have been able to take that and a few other rules in KS and come up with a system which is attractive, readable, teachable, and memorable. 

And no more or less provably 'correct' than the SWF solution. 

>> and y at the end of a word.
> You didn't say what you would do at the beginning of a word.

>> An i in polysyllables like pitsa “pizza” would be long with no need of the circumflex. The KS bës/bÿs words would become bes/bis words.
> That doesn't solve the problem. It just shifts it. There are three classes of words. We have monosyllables in [iː] and monosyllables in [eː] and monosyllables which can be either [iː] or [eː]. By shifting ‹bÿs› to ‹bis› as you propose, you just shift the ambiguity of the bÿs/bës class from the "mes"-type words to the "mis"-type words. So there again, you'd have to have bïs/bës in order to mark this class. 
>> You may want to spell these like beis 
> That umbrella graph could have worked, but there was resistance to it.
>> or just have them as unmarked optional spellings as we do for KS triga/trega words. 
> The monosyllabic class is much larger, and more problematic. 

It's a matter of presentation. You have three lexical sets (mis : bys/bes : deg), as does the SWF. 

>> As we have seen on this forum, and from new publications in KS, it is clearly superior to mark vowels with diacritics, especially for the letter u. KS does an excellent job at distinguishing the vowels but I believe that the SWF and place-names on signposts will remain diacritic-free for the foreseeable future. Perhaps, we’ll find out next year!
> Diacritics must be "permitted" and not "proscribed" as they are at present. Or there is no chance of a solution. But an orthography which omits diacritics doesn't help learners to remember the correct sounds. That was one of the criticisms levelled at Unified Cornish back in the 80s, and the resulting "solution" was KK, which at least made a stab at dealing with the problem of vowel length. (Doubling consonants before short vowels yielded a hideous orthography; the rules we have in the SWF are a bit messy (and too complex and confusing where the nasals are concerned), but the rules we have in KS are quite user-friendly and in fact take advantage of L1 English speech habits in order to achieve correct vowel lenth in stressed monosyllables.)
>> As for -v, I would spell this -f. Stressed -f would then need to be -ff.
> That train has left the station, I think. I don't see the KK people wanting to shift to that, for starters. 

But you see them wanting to shift the ‹i, y, e› distribution?
You see them wanting to shit the word-final unstressed ‹dh› to ‹th›?

>> As for -dh, I would spell this -th, except where we know it to be voiced.

'We're' not always sure whether it was voiced or not. The thing with final devoicing (or not) is only a theory among many. 

>> The digraph dh is not a traditional graph any more than hw is. dh  deviates from the traditional language. dh should be used only where a th is known to have been voiced (or where it has been generally agreed that it should be voiced), e.g. fedh “faith” but not in words such as menydh. This should be menyth, but that is just my (not very-well informed) opinion.
> I would rather use the paradigm we have in KS.

Of course you would, because you are convinced of its merits. You have failed to convince me though. 

> Certainly the time for arguing whether "dh" is a legitimate graph is long over.

I agree.

> It is a part of Cornish and we're keeping it. The argument is about ð/θ in final position in unstressed syllables, where I believe we have a stronger,

I can't see that it is.

> more accurate,

I can't see that it is.

> more easily taught paradigm

I strongly disagree with this perception… 

> than the other one which has been put forward. 

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