[Spellyans] Is there a future for the SWF?

Michael Everson everson at evertype.com
Thu May 17 16:14:34 IST 2012


On 17 May 2012, at 15:32, Ray Chubb wrote:

> I am not trying to say that Nance's work was perfect what I am trying to show is that if you keep as closely as possible to historical sources you are less likely to make major blunders.
> 
> A view which, Nicholas, you once seemed to hold.

I don't think it would be accurate to suggest that Nance's UC kept more closely to historical sources than this group's KS does. The look of KS is thoroughly Cornish. Moreover the corpus has many options in it: the plural of flogh for instance is flehes, flehys, flehas. Nance, like Jenner before him, and like the UdnFormScrefys and Spellyans groups, picked and chose the spellings which he liked best. In many cases we are in agreement with his choices. In some we are not. In a few we were dependent on choices made by the AHG, which took KS1 and KD and KK into account. 

What is "unhistorical" about KS? It uses diacritical marks, but if you take that criterion into account, every language in Europe is "unhistorical" because they were all written without diacritical marks at one stage or another. 

What else? We distinguish ‹i› for [iː] and ‹y› for [ɪ] in monosyllables, which is a distinction not made in the texts, but we inherited it from the SWF, and it is certainly handy enough, when regularly applied.

What else? We use the graphs ‹mm› and ‹nn› only where they occur in words where pre-occlusion is attested; but this distribution is regular, useful, inclusive, and does not add ridiculousness to the look of texts, as all the double letters in KK do. 

What else? We regularized the use of singulars in -or with plurals in -oryon and singulars in -er with plurals in -ers, where they are quite mixed up in UC/UCR/KK/SWF, but I'm fairly sure that's only because nobody else had counted them before and realized that there was a useful pattern to follow that would make spelling easier and learning the plurals easier. 

Is there more? What you say seems quite critical, but I am not sure which things you are criticizing. 

> What I object to on this forum, sometimes, is the way in which conjecture is put forward as certainty.  If in doubt stick to the sources.

We all do our best out of respect for the language. Again though I'm not sure which conjectures, or whose, you're criticizing. But we do try to stick to the sources.

For instance, where there is doubt as to what Lhuyd's use of both -dh and -th in unstressed position means, it is certainly sensible to stick to the spelling of the sources, which only have -th. (We also believe that the phonotactics of the language yielded unvoiced stops and fricatives in unstressed final position.)

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





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