[Spellyans] Is there a future for the SWF?

Michael Everson everson at evertype.com
Sun May 20 11:36:23 IST 2012

On 20 May 2012, at 11:03, Daniel Prohaska wrote:

> On May 10, 2012, at 12:38 PM, Ray Chubb wrote:
>> The whole AHG process was weighted against those of us who prefer traditional/authentic Cornish.
> Yes, and as I said earlier, there was no unified traditional side to begin with. 

It was not as un-unified as you may think. At least I was in Cornwall before the AHG began and Mina Dresser came to an AT meeting where I explained what was going on in KS1. 

> There was no consensus among the "traditionalists" about what traditional spelling was. Even the RLC faction has its "traditionalists" that follow Rowe, the Bosons, the Tonkins, and those who follow Lhuyd.

That just means that RLC users have more than one thing that they consider "traditional". I know that Neil Kennedy has been working with them to come to a more unified approach and it appears to be in terms of "scribal tradition traditional".

> This lack of coordination between the groups also lead to a position of strength of the KK group in the AHG.

The fact that there were four KK reps and two AT reps and two CaT reps was more crucial, I think,.

> KS1 managed to bring quite a few people together, but there were so many people in the KK group ignorant of both recommended reform proposals KS1 and KD, that KK was quickly reverted to as a a starting point. I was appalled at how bad some of the AHG members were prepared for these meetings in that they were so ignorant of KS1 and KD. After the commissions recommendations and knowing they would be on the board I would have expected more thorough preparation of the reform proposals. 

For my part I was ensconced down the road in a hotel and debriefed Andrew each evening after the AGH meetings. I had a meeting with Albert and both AT members in that hotel. I offered to give a short presentation to the AHG on what KS1 was and how it worked, but was forbidden to do so. 

> In this respect the SWF is an entirely different beast. It may seem tedious to work through all its boards and groups and whatever, but it's consensual, more people are involved in shaping it. The only problem from the traditionalists' perspective is that too few of these have become involved in it.

We produced the first textbooks in the SWF. We produced second editions of those which were necessary because one chapter of curriculum was missing and because of the "mistakes" in spelling which were made because of the "etymological" spellings inherited from KK which make no sense and have no relation to spelling on foot of knowing the language. 

> Working for traditional graphs from within the SWF I sometimes feel I'm completely alone… no, Craig has been incredibly supportive here too, but still, I would like to see the "traditionalists" taking a more active part in the process. If they don't do anything or write in the SWF/T how are the SWF/K-ers supposed to realise there is a desire to use the  t-graphs in the first place? To get the funds available, the few people quite willing to use SWF/t are "coerced" into using SWF/K because Maga said they wouldn't publish other wise or fear that early learners' material would get the support their work deserves. It's very unfortunate. 

The SWF isn't suitable for use. It confuses the bÿs/bës words with the bys/res words, it shifts ambiguity from u/ü to u/o, it is incoherent in the treatment of final unstressed syllables, and hamstrung by its etymological distribution of i/y. 

The SWF/K and SWF/T disparity is a problem, but it's not the biggest problem. That's the political problem. But if you look at the texts produced for and by Revivalists since 2009, the bulk of it uses traditional graphs. I think that politically the lack of parity between /K and /T graphs should be one thing tackled during the SWF review. But even if the political parity can't be resolved, it still remains that the SWF/T contains graphs (like -i in monosyllables) which are not in a meaningful sense traditional. There's no reason to think that "whi" is better than "why". It's not. But the spelling "whi" was pushed by people who wanted to be able to convert /K and /T texts automatically.

That's not a key requirement for users of Traditional graphs. 

Even if KS were written with SWF/K graphs the result would be better than the SWF is now. 

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

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