[Spellyans] tavas

Michael Everson everson at evertype.com
Wed May 15 01:18:13 IST 2013


On 14 May 2013, at 22:12, Daniel Prohaska <daniel at ryan-prohaska.com> wrote:

>>> I see no unexpected development. It seems regular Pre-OC */taˈvœd/ > OC */ˈtavœd/
>> 
>> An unattested, hypothetical form of a language no one knows. 
> 
> OC ‹tauot› - attested!

Pre-OC */taˈvœd/ is not attested. 

>> An unattested, hypothetical form of a language no one knows. 
> 
> OC ‹tauot› - attested!

And? So? What does spelling ‹taves› because of ‹tauot› gain you? 

>>> eMidC */ˈtavɛz/ > MC *[ˈtavəz] > LC *[ˈtævɐz]. What's out of the ordinary?
>> 
>> Sure. Nothing. You're just ignoring the discussion about whether or not any of this reconstructionism is USEFUL FOR ANYTHING.
> 
> You use reconstructions where it suits your argument don't you? 

No. I use reconstructions where it adds value to a practical orthography for a language that some people would like to revive. 

>> Knowing Germanic etymology is really useful. When I was 18 I learnt to speak Danish in 12 days because I had read a little grammar, I had studied Old English and Old Norse, and I spoke German. I was able to apply sound changes in my head to devise words to increase my vocabulary. This worked very well for lots of types of vocabulary, which ultimately got borrowed into Nordic as calques from Low German, for instance. 
> 
> You are obviously very talented. 

I was talented enough when I was 18, yes. But I had practical experience with using sound changes, which has served me well for many years. 

>> Speaking Spanish and having studied a little Latin helps you a lot when you start to learn Romanian.
> 
> Yes, it does. 
> 
>> Does etymology help between Irish and Cornish? Not at all. Is it particularly helpful between Welsh and Cornish or Breton and Cornish? Not really, if you look at the actual Cornish texts.
> 
> Oh, but it is. The three Brythonic languages are quite closely related. Stating that they aren't doesn't make it so.

I don't think many people within any language family find it easy to make such sound changes on the fly. While I can with Germanic and Romance, I never found such comparisons to be particularly useful in Celtic. 

> Cornish has assibilation, but apart from that there is remarkably little differences.

You're kidding. Cornish vocabulary and syntax and phonology differs greatly from the other two. 

> All other features, except PO, can be found in one form or another in the living spoken dialects of Welsh and Breton, including centralising of unstressed vowels and more, dropping of /ð/ or /θ/ in certain environments…

And yet the three languages sound nothing alike. And in the matter of unstressed final syllables?

>> Breton is a little handy for KK since the 1980s, but that language might well not have been understood by speakers of Traditional Cornish.
> 
> 18th century fishermen are said to have made themselves understood in Brittany through Cornish. There was also a level of cultural exchange between Brittany and Cornwall until the reformation, so the languages cannot have been as unlike as you claim.

Pragmatically, and synchronically, learners of Cornish do not typically know either Welsh or Breton and usually don't try to learn either. So etymological spellings are of dubious value. In my judgement they offer no genuine advantage over simpler systems. 

>> Does Proto-Brythonic or Old Cornish help ANYBODY to learn Cornish? 
> 
> That's not the point. 

Yes, it is, if you are building into an orthography distinctions based on such etymologies and not on anything practical. 

> 
>> 
>> I do not believe so. It's neither practical (since nobody knows either) nor useful (since the etymological spellings lead to fairly random "patterns" that don't help anyone remember anything. 
>> 
>> It's starting from the wrong place. The right place to start is the texts. 
> 
> Yes. OM contains ‹taves›.

So? OM contains ‹davas› in line 826. And that form is found more frequently elsewhere. The only reason to prefer the spelling in ‹es› is if you are looking for excuses to retain KK's "etymological" spellings. I think that's what you're doing, Dan (and have been doing since the SWF was published), and I think you ought to know better. 

The right place to start is the texts. And the texts don't lead me to consider the spelling ‹tavas› to be suitable for use in the Revived Language. 

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



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