[Spellyans] 'to bury' in the Akademi's dictionary

Daniel Prohaska daniel at ryan-prohaska.com
Wed Apr 7 10:29:39 BST 2021

On 06.04.2021, at 18:15, Ian Jackson <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.


I disagree with the above sentence. Most people in the Academy don’t know enough about historical linguistics to make that  determination. They are Cornish language enthusiasts wanting to provide terminology and resources to the best of their abilties each bringing to the table different experiences and areas of speciality. 

And then there is the SWF. It’s a rule based orthography that was agreed upon by consensus. Most of the etymological spellings are from Kernewek Kemmyn. As the rule states that KK is the default base from which to derive the SWF spellings. And occasionally, Ken George gave mistaken etymologies, as here in the case of ‹kleudh› “trench, ditch, etc.” {cleath (CW), klêdh (Lh), cledh (Pr); (pl.) kledhioụ (Lh), cledhiou (Pr). Plc.nm., Cargloth, Mungluth(e), Mungloeth (Mongleath), Trevongluth, Trevongleth (Trongle). Cf. OB clud, MB cleuz, B kleuz; W clawdd. < PrC *klād-o-} as opposed to ‹ynkledhyas› ~ ‹encledhyas› {anclethyas (OM, PC, RD, BM), anclythyas (PC, CW, Pr), enclethyes (PC), anclethyes (RD, BM), anclethias (BM), anclotha (H), anclethy (Pr), ancleythyas (Pr); (vb.adj.) anclethys (PC, BM),anclethyys (RD, BM), inclithis (SA), anclythys (CW), ynklythys (JK), vmclithes (TB), enkledhyz (Lh, Pr), kleidhez (JB); (3sg.pres.-fut.) anclath (Pr). < PrC. *klad-o-}. 
The 2014 Review has accepted the spelling ‹ynkladhva› ~ ‹enkladhva› as correct (cf. W claddfa). 
The Breton and Welsh cognates would have actually helped in the interpretation of the vocalic variants in these related two roots. It’s also a very old distinction, going back to Proto-Indo-European Ablaut. 
So, the fault does not lie with some policy of “etymologically levelling” but with the default base of the SWF in KK. And we actually have a mandate to correct these mistakes, again by consensus. And that, for example, is one of the things I do on the dictionary panel, though of late the terminology and dictionary panels have somewhat merged. 

So, the Academy is not “driven by a policy” of the sort, but by default, take over the KK form. Since many of the members are users (still or former) of KK, they accept these spellings on authority. You have to walk them through the SWF rules, e.g. how to derived a SWF spelling from KK by rule, where the problems lie, e.g. in the KK base etc., where and why it needs to be corrected etc. And in my experience most of them are quite open to reasoning, and I’ve had a number of words that have been emended,  they just haven’t made it into the dictionary yet, because of the software issues, that Neil explained, and miscoordination between the panels. 

> 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. 

This is an old trope, and not one that is particularly useful, because it doesn’t help further the discussion or get anything actually changed. People who are not historical linguists need to be taken by the hand and walked through these issues and even then, there  will be plenty of room for different interpretations, also different interpretations on what “authentic Cornish” means, how Revived Cornish is viewed vis à vis traditional Cornish etc. There is a broader spectrum of opinions than is being given cretit to here and indignantly claiming a certain form of Cornish to be “inauthentic” or a “conlang” doesn’t make it so on account of a number of mistakes. I agree, these mistakes need to be rectified, but to call it a conlang or fictional because ‹ynkleudhyas› (and a number of other words) is misspelt is not helpful, nor does it actually get this mistake rectified. ‘Der Ton macht die Musik’ - “The tone makes the music” - a German proverb that ought to curb the cliché German national characteristic of being bluntly honest and in your face - I’ve had to learn the hard way that British sensitivities and my culture sometimes clash in terms of being too blunt and forthright. So, toning things down, actually working with the people helps. It’ll be a while before this work shows in the Academy dictionary, which is very much work in progress and from a  point of software, simply not up to the task of representing the SWF adequately, warts and all. And yes, it can  be a little frustrating at times. 

> 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

“The Academy” does not “believe”. The Academy panels are made up of various people from the Cornish language community with different views and aspirations. What unites us is a love, passion and enthusiasm for the Cornish language and while not representative for the whole Cornish language community, it’s quite a broad section of it nonetheless. 

If you scroll down to the Academy dictionary page and click “Daslev” (https://cornishdictionary.org.uk) you will be able to submit feedback and suggestions and you will be heard, in some cases you will probably be invited to lend your expertise. It may take some time for certain changes to be implemented as they are sent from panel to panel and sent back, commented on again, and re-sent etc. but what the Academy and the SWF are set up to do, is that things do not work like Jenner and Nance, or George, Gendall and Williams. We don’t want any more gurus and inflights, we don’t want one man in charge of a whole orthographic system with a bunch of unquestioning followers. Work with us! Give us your feedback! Help us make Cornish better! 

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