[Spellyans] Is there a future for the SWF?

Michael Everson everson at evertype.com
Mon May 21 21:55:02 IST 2012

On 21 May 2012, at 14:17, Ray Chubb wrote:

> The spelling for revived Cornish should reflect that of Cornish at its zenith because spelling afterwards was the outcome of English oppression.

When is the zenith? Who decides? 

Spelling afterwards was devised by the speakers using the tools they had. Some of those speakers had no access to the scribal tradition, it is true. I shouldn't bother with "oppression" as a factor in judging an orthographic form. I like most of us favour the scribal tradition to some of the later forms, but none of those writers were thinking "Oh, drat, I wish I could write properly, but I've been oppressed."

> West Cornish dialect can be shown with alternate spellings, many of which are found in the Middle Cornish texts.

KS offers the usual options (bÿs/bës, penn/pedn). Some later forms like -ei have been put to good use in texts like Enys Tresour where the dialect distinctions are important to the enjoyment of the story.

> The current academic view on correct pronunciation can be indicated with diacritics.
> Everyday writing should omit diacritics to ensure that what we write looks like Cornish.

Sorry, Ray, but this is anachronistic. Most of the medieval orthographies in Europe didn't start out making use of diacritical marks, but modern languages do because it was part of the development of their orthographies.

In fact, traditional Cornish manuscripts make use of a huge number of abbreviations and special symbols which go far beyond the alphabet A-Z. It's simply not true to say that Cornish doesn't look like Cornish if it has marks outside of the alphabet. Cornish has looked like all sorts of things throughout its history! 

Everyday traditional Cornish didn't make any allowance for regularity in spelling, either, yet today we are happy to do so. 

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

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