[Spellyans] 'Book' in the Akademi dictionary

Daniel Prohaska daniel at ryan-prohaska.com
Mon Apr 5 17:11:12 BST 2021

> On 05.04.2021, at 15:44, Nicholas Williams <njawilliams at gmail.com> wrote:
> We must try to keep our revived language as close as possible to the traditional language, otherwise it becomes a conlang. 

I agree, and the texts will always be our corrective, in that we are on the same page. There are plenty of people on the Academy panels who think like this, too, and prioritise what was done in traditional Cornish, others who include what has previously done in Revived Cornish, and both are defensible prositions that leave plenty of wiggle space for compromise. And then, after all, there are also the speakers and writers themselves who are free to make stylistic choices. 

If we consider that Ivrit is far more different from Old Hebrew than any variety of Revived Cornish is from traditional Cornish, though not writing vowels  helps ;-), I think we’re largely on the right track, though it’s always good to be reminded, and I greatly appreciate what you do here Nicholas, with these recent reminders as well as books like “Geryow Gwir”. It’s all the more important, I think, not to strawman the argument, which is why I interjected that the tags refer to Revived Cornish rather than traditional Cornish. Indeed the vocabulary of Revived Cornish has so much expanded, that a scholarly dictionary of traditional Cornish would, noweadays, have to be a different publication, than one that includes the vocabulary of Revived Cornish. 

In the younger generation of Cornish revivalists (20 - 35) I see a strong desire to develop colloquialisms and slang, which I greatly applaud and try to offer the register based on Late Cornish as an orientation for this. 

> Except before -h- the short vowels e and i <y> are in free variation in open syllables.

My only interjection here would be that, as we have no way of hearing the spoken word of traditional Cornish, that the free variation is one of orthography (fact) and possibly one of phonology. 

> The unnecessary L and M designations could be removed and be replaced by a statement ‘e and y tend to alternate in open syllables’; Late Cornish speakers often prefer the e-form’. 

Of course this would be possible, though people new to Cornish wouldn’t then know which particular cases of ‹y›, ‹i› and ‹e› can alternate with each other. In that the tags work (where applied consistently). Personally, I use a colour code, and there are surely plenty of other options to mark diachronic differences as well as those of register etc. 

Cornish students tend to want to know what they may write in what context and often transfer their notions of what “correct usage” means from English onto Cornish. Since Middle Cornish based classes still on occasion actively discriminate against Late forms, disparaging em as “corrupt”, “unelegant”, “clumsy” and worst of all “English influenced” the choice to discriminate still seems to be wanted, to a degree, also considering the exam reading lists, that really need to be dusted - and Rod’s “Colloquial Doesn’t Mean Corrupt” inserted. I have spoken to Mark about this and we should stop this kind of discrimination and focus on a default and intermediate Cornish and only mark the stylistic extremes, e.g. early forms like ‹kemert› (this came to mind first, though I don’t think anyone actually uses this particular form - but I  think you know what I mean) and later forms like ‹lavaras›. Anything between BM and CW could be unmarked “standard” Cornish, with earlier forms reserved for certain functions and later forms for others. Usage varies widely and there are quite a few Late forms around in the spoken word, even from people who otherwise write Revived Cornish based on Middle Cornish.  

One of the main problems here is that KK, which forms the basis for the SWF spellings, has a rather archaic phonology even from the standpoint of Ken’s “bull’s eye” around 1500.   

> I don’t know how the Late forms keniffer and keneffra would fit in there. 
> Nicholas Williams

And ‹gwydn›…, which always has /i/ for us. In the original SWF discussions I proposed a solution that would spell non-alternating /i/ as ‹i›, alternating /i/ ~ /e/ as ‹y› and non-alternating /e/ as ‹e›. I still find this an attractive compromise solution. 


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