[Spellyans] Is there a future for the SWF?

Ray Chubb ray at spyrys.org
Tue May 22 13:58:25 IST 2012

On 21 Me 2012, at 21:55, Michael Everson wrote:

> 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?

That's an easy one, up until Glasney College was surpressed.

> 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."

Somewhat facetious Michael. If you were a Cornishman living in  
Cornwall today and still suffering under that oppression, (I have  
commented here about the difficulty of getting Cornish into schools),  
you would have a better appreciation of where I am coming from.

>> 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.

That's fine but why not mark a single final 'n' and 'm' with a  
diacritic to show that it can pre-occlude?  Final double consonants  
are only rarely found in the historical texts.

>> 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.

How can real Cornish be anachronistic? You may as well say the Mona  
Lisa is anachronistic. Cornish is what it is.

> 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!

If the manuscripts have so many markings perhaps you would like to  
restrict yourself to the ones that are found.

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

Yes of course, Nance had to make choices. We should restrict ourselves  
to saying that his choices were wrong not indulge in wholesale  
invention as some revivalists have done.
> Michael Everson * http://www.evertype.com/
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Ray Chubb


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