[Spellyans] The two roles of â (a-circumflex) in Kernowek Standard

Michael Everson everson at evertype.com
Thu Sep 19 22:37:39 IST 2013

On 19 Sep 2013, at 00:44, Philip Newton <philip.newton at gmail.com> wrote:

> Right now, the SWF is being revised after the initial five-year "frozen/stable" period.

The Spellyans group began revising the SWF the week after it was released, five years ago. And the Spellyans group has done a top-notch job on it, too. 

> If the SWF should make changes, will KS change as well to track those changes, in order to remain close to the SWF and broadly compatible with it?

I think it unlikely that the SWF will make changes which would actually impact on the stability of KS. I expect a few changes in the direction of KS (the addition of ‹ai› and ‹au› would be sensible for instance), but I do not hold up high hopes. I entered in submissions on behalf of the Spellyans group, dealing with a number of salient problems with the SWF. I have had no feedback, no discussion, no questions, nothing from this "SWF Review group". There is no dialogue.

Moreover, Jenefer Lowe asked a number of us linguists to advise on the submissions in general. Unfortunately, we were only given the summary heads of each submission, more or less vague on the lines of "There is a problem with final n". I asked several times for a copy of the entire set of submissions, to be made available anonymously. This was refused. Because it was impossible to guess what these summaries meant, I refused to waste my time writing up my views on these heads, because this would have been nothing more than hearsay. 

I have 20 years experience in International Standardization. We regularly receive ballot comments on important standards like the Unicode Standard. Had the submissions been made available to me, I could have simply gone through them and made a formal Disposition of Comments, as we do routinely in ISO. This involves saying "Accepted" or "Rejected" or "Noted" depending on the nature of the comment. If something is Rejected one gives an explanation as to why. Such a document could have been reviewed, and its recommendations agreed with or disagreed with by the Review Board. But at least the views of a well-informed linguist on the matter submitted would be available to the Board. 

It could still be provided, if the people directing this project would act in a professional manner, and treat the linguists whom they have asked for advice with respect. Instead, it is all treated like some sort of State Secret. It isn't. It's a matter of linguistic science. 

Keeping the linguists out just opens up the SWF Mark II to the same sorts of criticisms which were levelled at the SWF itself. We kept our criticisms of the SWF Mark I civil, of course, and simply worked to improve it. It is difficult to believe that any revision of the SWF will produce anything as robust or useful as Kernowek Standard. 

A report on the SWF Mark II will not be difficult to produce, however. 

> Perhaps another way to ask the question is whether KS is "SWF with the warts removed/ambiguities disambiguated" (as I understood it was at the beginning), or whether it is its own orthography at this point, which originated in the SWF but now feels no connection to it (nor a need to remain compatible with it).

All I can say to this is that KS began with the SWF specification and applied a number of remedies to its shortcomings. 

> Since I was under the impression that KS was essentially "SWF Amendys" (SWFR?), I used to think it was a bit premature to publish so much in an orthography whose base was not stabilised (since it was always known that changes to the SWF may occur in 2013).

In that case nothing of any value would have been published in the last five years. For my part I do not find that any of the materials published in the SWF to date have had any particular merit to them. 

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

More information about the Spellyans mailing list