[Spellyans] UC/UCR

Michael Everson everson at evertype.com
Fri Nov 16 11:13:12 GMT 2012

On 14 Nov 2012, at 16:10, Nicky Rowe <nickyrowe at gmail.com> wrote:

>> On 14 November 2012 15:50, Michael Everson <everson at evertype.com> wrote:
>> Really? It's been five years and there's no sign of the SWF in the schools.
> There's no sign of Cornish in the schools. Which is a problem of manpower and resources. But what little there is, is in the SWF.

The schools will not save or restore Cornish any more in Cornwall than they did in Ireland. 

>>> You can push for what you want within the SWF, but you need to be realistic. Think of the old orthographies as dead, think about what might be achievable within the SWF, and think of KS as a nice academic exercise in orthography design
>> Which has given the Cornish Revival 1.4 million words of good, grammatical, idiomatic Cornish, and the most comprehensive grammar book which has ever been written.
> You can keep clinging on to the number of words you've published as self-justification, but it doesn't change the fact that KS as a candidate for the SWF is ignored by much of the revival.

You dismiss what I say by suggesting that I "cling" to the word-count. I note the word-count because it's significant. What you didn't comment on was the fact that the corpus represents "good, grammatical, idiomatic Cornish" which is exactly wheat the Revival needs, since people don't seem to want to read medieval religious plays and sermons. Unless modern literature is written in good Cornish, what people will learn will be a sort of pidgin Cornish. ("me a wra + verbal noun" is not a present tense formation, but it is commonly used as such.) 

"Candidate for the SWF"? KS ought to inform the "process" that deals with the SWF, because KS reforms the SWF in order to remove its shortcomings. The SWF, you may or may not know, was devised after 5 days of hostile negotiations that hammered out some sort of structure. It leaks. It leaks in ways that make it hard to learn or to explain to learners. Those leaks make it unsuitable for use. THey have to be plugged. And they ought to be plugged in a coherent, authentic way. 

Or? Or not? Do you think that it doesn't matter if the "official" orthography for Cornish is devised by non-linguists who don't really understand coherent orthographic structures? Why should such an orthography be "better" for the language, or "easier" for learners or teachers?

>>> but one that many in the revival have resistance to and others completely ignore, for which reason is unlikely ever to get adopted as a SWF. Stop getting bogged down in pointless debates and get real.
>> As long as the SWF fails to be linguistically accurate, it cannot attract consensus.
> I mean this respectfully, but please wake up.


> The SWF is attracting consensus, just not from here.

The *idea* of a single written form attracts consensus. The actual details of the SWF specification are probably not. 

"Oh, I love not being able to use my knowledge of how to pronounce Cornish when trying to remember whether a word has -in or -yn in the last unstressed syllable." 

"I think it's great that what we write as -nn- and -mm- can usually be pre-occluded, but not always."

"It's great that we can't distinguish [eː] from [aɪ] and [əɪ] in words like ‹paynt› and ‹treylya›."

These are indications of FAULTS in the SWF. We identified these faults in 2008, and we provided fixes for these faults, and we've published 

> You (pl.) are so focused on linguistic and academic considerations that you can't see the support the SWF has as a political compromise.

Agreeing that RMC and RTC and RLC form a single community is a political compromise. Being able to distinguish [eː] from [aɪ] from [ǝɪ] in a practical orthography is NOT a matter of politics: it is a matter of linguistics. Do you really want a dumbed-down Cornish orthography that makes it hard for learners to pronounce words properly? Really? 

Don't you think that the Cornish language deserves excellence?

> Reviving Cornish is an inherently political act, and the majority of people come to it for political/emotional reasons rather than linguistic.

Sorry, no. You can't say that reviving Cornish is political and then say people come to it for political reasons and/or emotional reasons. What you mean is:

For some people reviving Cornish is a matter of politics. 
For some people reviving Cornish is a matter of emotions. 

There wouldn't be a Cornish revival had it not been for the linguist Jenner who applied contemporary linguistic theory to the reconstruction of a standardized language out of the apparent chaos of the corpus known to him at the time. There isn't a point, from then till now, at which linguistics becomes irrelevant. 

> In what situation do you see the majority of the revival choosing KS over the SWF?

I think that most people couldn't even tell the difference unless they saw a diacritical mark. KS looks a lot like the SWF -- because it was based on the SWF. We began the SWF Review in 2008. We didn't wait for Jenefer Lowe or Albert Bock or the folk in the Management Group to "give us permission". We saw much that was good in the SWF, but much that was problematic, confusing, or just plain wrong. 

Should we have published the Bible in an orthography we knew to be defective? Maybe you think so. We do not.

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

More information about the Spellyans mailing list