[Spellyans] Ian's message on SWF policy

Ian Jackson iacobianus at googlemail.com
Tue Apr 6 19:09:44 BST 2021

Dear Neil,


I’m glad to hear there is no policy on ‘etymological levelling’. Certainly I did not find anything in “An Outline …” (2008) that amounted to one. SWF digraph eu for cases where broad agreement exists for its use is one thing; applying it to every case where Welsh or Breton points to it when the actual textual evidence does not confirm it, that is something else. I believe the levelling tendency originated in Kernewek Kemmyn. If it has not become a policy of the Akademi, then perhaps a little more care is required, to ensure the Akademi is applying only the explicitly agreed principles of the SWF. It should not be continuing KK under a new brand name. I find the close de facto relationship between the Akademi and the Kesva in this regard a matter of some considerable concern.


Kind regards,





From: Neil Kennedy <keverango at yahoo.ie> 
Sent: 06 April 2021 18:52
To: 'Nicholas Williams' <njawilliams at gmail.com>; 'Standard Cornish discussion list' <spellyans at kernowek.net>; 'Cornish Language Partnership' <cornishlanguage at cornwall.gov.uk>; 'Kyle Odgers' <kyleodgers at hotmail.com>; 'jenefer Lowe' <jeneferl at hotmail.co.uk>; 'Rod Lyon' <tewennow at btinternet.com>; 'Daniel Prohaska' <daniel at ryan-prohaska.com>; mickpaynter at paynter6862.fsnet.co.uk; 'Matthew Clarke' <pennlorwydh at hotmail.com>; 'Peter Jenkin' <peternjenkin at gmail.com>; 'graham sandercock' <grahamsandercock at blueyonder.co.uk>; 'Linus Band' <linusband at gmail.com>; Ian Jackson <iacobianus at googlemail.com>
Subject: Re: Ian's message on SWF policy


Hello Ian,


You wrote "driven wholly by a policy of levelling on etymological grounds."

Fortunately the Academy has no policy other than that published as "An Outline..." by Albert Boch and Ben Bruch in 2008 and modified somewhat in the Review. Both followed lengthy consultations in which most of us on this list took part.


The spelling of  individual words is currently discussed in the overlapping meetings of the Corpus Panel (of which I am a member, as is Ray) and the Dictionary Panel (of which Dan is a member). Where decisions are controversial, they are furthermore referred to the Research Panel (I see Nicholas is no longer listed as a member).


Many issues have been addressed, which is why some of the spellings we wish for appeared, at least as alternatives, in the former online dictionary. It is therefore unfortunate that this new dictionary has been put online and sparked so much speculation. If I have understood correctly from Mark, it has not yet been set up in such a way as to allow multiple spellings and notes to be shown. While this is frustrating for those on the Panels who have spent hours discussing the issues, it is clearly cock-up rather than conspiracy and it should be put right soon.


It seems that in the longer term we will move beyond the current L & M codes and make a number of improvements so it is important for all to appreciate that Ken George (Research Panel) has been particularly helpful and constructive in discussing ideas with me.


All the best,




On Tuesday 6 April 2021, 18:16:14 GMT+2, Ian Jackson <iacobianus at googlemail.com <mailto:iacobianus at googlemail.com> > wrote: 



As I understand it, the Akademi here is driven wholly by a policy of levelling on etymological grounds that it inducts by examining other Brythonic languages in accordance with the comparative method of historical linguistics. Even when this means ignoring concrete textual evidence demonstrating that Middle Cornish had already moved on, in a different direction. This is not revival. It is Cornish as it might have become, but did not. I agree with Professor Williams that it could legitimately be regarded as a sort of conlang. Interesting but essentially fictional.


Quite apart from my view of the merits, I am baffled to know how the Akademi believes it has a mandate to operate in this way. I am not aware that the broad Cornish language community has ever agreed to it, or even been properly consulted,. The revival did not begin this way with Jenner and Nance. So where is the authority for the change of approach?


Ian Jackson


-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://kernowek.net/pipermail/spellyans_kernowek.net/attachments/20210406/441b55b9/attachment.html>

More information about the Spellyans mailing list