[Spellyans] Spellyans, KS, and reconstruction

Michael Everson everson at evertype.com
Thu May 17 22:23:47 BST 2012

On 17 May 2012, at 19:35, Linus Band wrote:

> Okay, yes, I do understand that arguing over details of individual pronunciation might not be of utmost importance at the moment, as that takes a lot of time and the review is around the corner. Of course, a spelling that is open to multiple interpretation would be best, without being as random as the traditional texts are most of the time.

I think we have one here. I think that we did what we intended to do: plug the linguistic leaks in the SWF, which was in large part designed not on the basis of linguistics, but on the basis of familiarity. The SWF was a major achievement, particularly in a political sense. But we saw immediately that the linguistic problems in the SWF made it unsuitable for academic or literary use. 

> The field of historical linguistics has proven itself time and again (cf. de Saussure's laryngeal theory).

I am well aware of that. I've been a student of historical linguistics since my early teens, and did my Indo-European and my Middle Welsh and my Old Irish and so on. 

> Of course it is dangerous to base something merely on reconstructions, but I think that the analysis of texts and historical linguistics can and should complement each other. Even more so, I think that using all available tools constitutes good scholarship.

Good old fashioned philology has been the strongest tool, I think, in the Revival of Cornish. It is rarely, very rarely, ever necessary to dig back hundreds and hundreds of years earlier than our corpus. Revived Cornish is a synchronic entity, as was the Middle/Tudor/Late continuum which has been revived. (Continuum because nearly every feature of Cornish is found at nearly every period.) 

>> The other aggravating thing is that those interested in the ramifications of the reconstructions of Jackson and Schrijver and George and whoever else is that they do not publish their work. They do not publish etymologies justifying their tinkering; they expect everybody to take it on faith. "Ah, yes, those fellows over there, they know their Brythonic, they're doing all the checking of the reconstructions just fine." But there aren't any publications showing the work.
> Sorry, but this is simply not true. You should take a better look or ask people who work in the field where to find stuff before saying something like this.

I'm not talking about academic scholars. I'm talking about some of the decisions that are taken about the SWF. Maybe many of them are sound. But none of them are being documented with etymology. 

> Then, to conclude: I find KS a very elegant solution, good job! 
> (How's that for a compliment-sandwich?)

It does credit to everyone who has participated on this list since June 2008 for you to say so.

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

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