[Spellyans] Is there a future for the SWF?

ewan wilson butlerdunnit at ntlworld.com
Tue May 22 22:27:38 IST 2012

As a Scot who maintains perfectly amicable relations with many Englishmen 
and women, nevertheless one does come across the odd crass 'superiority 
complex' haughty and plain pig ignorant offensive types. ( It , alas, works 
both ways, I confess) .
However, when one's language and culture are being deliberately sudelined 
and denigrated then indignation is a perfectly justified response! The 
latest 'snub' at Land's End really takes the biscuit. Considering the way 
the Establishment fall over backwards to accommodate so many 'immigrant' 
tongues it makes this latest suppression all the more insulting.
What were the circumstances in which Tregear was found? How long did it take 
to 'decipher' it and then issue it for publish consumption?
I believe the late Prof Caerwyn Williams discovered BK but it languished in 
his possession till his passing? Wonder where exactly he laid hands on it? 
Again it says something about the 'cinderella' status Celtic Studies Depts 
seem to accord to Cornish  ( a result, even of 'snooty'  prejudice, 
perhaps?!) Does Manx suffer similarly, I wonder?
At least Glasgow University Celtic Dept, to give them their due, offered 
both Cornish and Breton as an optional paper up to the early 80s when the 
late Donald Howells retired. The Cornish literature studied included Sokes 
Pascon agan Arluth; Beunans Meriasek and Norris' The Ancient Cornish Drama. 
No Tregear. Not a thing from the later period or the revival or UC. Breton 
included a whole range up to the modern period. Evidently UC was sniffed at! 
Manx was supposed to follow Kenneth Hurlstone Jackson's phonology study but 
it had been 'pinched' from the University Library so we just did the new 
Manx Bible and some carvals instead!!

There was a 'thesis' option instead of one of the Papers, so I guess, 
theoretically, one might have offered something specialising in Revived 


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Ray Chubb" <ray at spyrys.org>
To: "Standard Cornish discussion list" <spellyans at kernowek.net>
Sent: Tuesday, May 22, 2012 1:58 PM
Subject: Re: [Spellyans] Is there a future for the SWF?

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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> Spellyans at kernowek.net
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Ray Chubb


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