[Spellyans] Orthography based on reconstructed phonology

Daniel Prohaska daniel at ryan-prohaska.com
Thu Apr 8 21:13:03 BST 2021


Meur ras dhis anodho, Jon! 

You are right, and I should have been more precise. I did not intend to be so shorthand about Nicholas’ criticisms as to mischaracterise them. I meant his calling spellings like <piw> unauthentic because they don’t occur exactly like that in the texts when otherwise <yw> is used, but you have various other textual spellings. I don’t think these are a huge problem. Nicholas was mainly posting about these types of problems recently. But of course he has written extensively about KK phonology. Thank you for pointing out that I took knowledge about this fact for granted. 
Dan

Sent from my iPhone

> On 8. Apr 2021, at 18:37, Jon Mills <j.mills at email.com> wrote:
> 
> 
>  
> "The approach of using the texts to reconstruct a phonology and then assigning this phonology an orthographic representation" is fundamentally problematic. Reconstructions of Cornish phonology are conjectural and several such reconstructions exist. Furthermore such reconstructions are continually evolving; such orthography is thus built on ever shifting sands. These reconstructions are very largely based on the written forms of Middle and Late Cornish, so, of course, "the textual spellings are important." It is far safer first to base present day standardised orthography on Middle and Late Cornish orthographic practice, and then to offer recommended putative pronunciations.
>  
> Daniel, you are wrong to characterise Nicholas' approach as overly focused on "the textual spellings." Nicholas has written a great deal about Cornish phonology and his criticisms of KK and SWF are largely phonological.
>  
> There are many problems with the SWF, not least the unwillingness of those who oversee it to engage with the broader academic community.
>  
> Jon
>  
> Sent: Thursday, April 08, 2021 at 9:49 AM
> From: "Daniel Prohaska" <daniel at ryan-prohaska.com>
> To: "Standard Cornish discussion list" <spellyans at kernowek.net>
> Cc: "Neil Kennedy" <keverango at yahoo.ie>, "Rod Lyon" <tewennow at btinternet.com>, "Cornish Language Partnership" <cornishlanguage at cornwall.gov.uk>
> Subject: Re: [Spellyans] Final -yn and -in in the Akademi dictionary
> Nicholas, 
>  
> We  are all very well aware of these criticisms. They are the same you levelled against KK and they are just as valid as they were, and you are preaching to the choir here. What I miss in your discussions of the short-comings of the SWF, and I’m being continetally blunt here again, is a certain learning process in terms of understanding different approaches to the same problem. There are just so many Cornish users out there who couldn’t care less about the textual spellings and their standardisation as means of spelling Revived Cornish. Yes, the texts are often viewed as a corrective and something for the experts to ponder about, but not relevant to the communicative needs of the Cornish learners and users today. 
>  
> You are also critiquing KK and the SWF from your standpoint that the textual spellings are important. But they simply aren’t to a large chunk of the Revival. The approach of using the texts to reconstruct a phonology and then assigning this phonology an orthographic representation is fundamentally different from yours, yet you are critiquing it from your standpoint only. And that essentially strawmans the position of those who prefer this other approach. And that’s why you fail to reach most of them with your criticism. It is irrelevant to them, because you are not critiquing what they are supporting, but what you think they ought to be supporting. I completely understand where you are coming from, and it is a completely legitimate approach. But is it not the only approach there is. You can argue for it, but it doesn’t necessarily make it so. It’s an opinion, a rationally justified opinion, but an opinion. It does, however, put you in the position of your elevating your position over the other’s and that is also this attitude that people then reject. They’re put off  by it. I had to learn this the hard way, and still occasionally fall into the trap of not walking myself through the arguements, approaches and reasons of my opponent. It’s always good to be somewhat sceptical of one’s own beliefs, because one’s opponents reasons can be just as justified, only different, with a different premise and goal.  
>  
> Dan
>  
>  
>  
> On 07.04.2021, at 18:18, Nicholas Williams <njawilliams at gmail.com> wrote:
>  
> The following are the attestations of some instances of final unstressed -yn and -en in the traditional texts:
>  
> benen, benyn ‘woman’
> benen OCV, OM 164, 256, 296, 316, 2108, 2837, PC 768, 1283, 1743, 2810, 2925, 3219, RD 191, 420, 1350, 1396, 1446, 1682, 1688, 1697, 2396, BM 847, 1550, 1559, BK 2817, Borde.
> benyn PA 35a, 198c, TH 2a, 14, 22a, CW 394, 450, 584, 614, 854, 895, 2440.
>  
> bowyn ‘beef’
> bouin AB: 33a, 241a
> bowyn BM 3224.
>  
> elyn ‘elbow’
> elin ‘elbow, angle’ OCV 
> elyn PC 2310.
>  
> eythyn ‘furze
> ithen ACB F f 2; Park-an-Nithen field name CPNE: 92; Park an Ithan field name CPNE: 92
> eithin AB: 33c, 56a, 63a, 113c.
>  
> genen, genyn ‘with us’
> genen PA43a, 192b, OM 553, 566, 568, 889, 897, 907, 1179, OM 2378, PC 193, RD 1489, 1794, 2154, 2158, 2345, BM 593, 1084, 1089, 1234, 1349, 2007, 2740, 2936, 2968, 3004, 3242, 3877, 4517, 4523, 4551; gynen PC; genan TH 30, 40, 55a, 59a, BK 1363, CW 1336, 2472
> genyn TH 8, CW 1473, 2375.
>  
> goven, govyn ‘to ask’
> goven BM 2085; goofen Scawen; a woventa PA 80a; govena ‘ask it’ CW 1194
> govyn CF 16, PA 100c, 124d, OM 693, 698,1212, PC 591, 1260, 1264, RD 1262, BM 2361, TH 24a, 36, 38, 43, 57 x3, BK 564, 2468, 2527.
>  
> kegen, kegyn ‘kitchen’
> gegen BM 3928, CW 2012, AB: 242 x2
> gegyn BM 3721.
>  
> Laten, Latyn ‘Latin’
> laten BM 81; Latten BF: 29 x2
> latyn TH 57a. 
>  
> martesen, martesyn ‘perhaps’
> martesen PC 2541, 2870, 3291; metessen BF: 29, 31; martezen AB: 235a
> martesyn TH 4, 25a, SA 62a, BK 1175.
>  
> Metheven, Methevyn ‘June’
> mis metheven BM 4303; Miz ephan AB: 74bc
> Efin AB: 33a.
>  
> melen ‘yellow; yolk’
> mellen ACB: F f 4v; melen AB: 243c
> mellyn ACB F f 4v x 5; melyn OM 1964, BM 3227, AB: 136b, 175a, 243c.
>  
> melen, melyn ‘mill’
> Vellenewson toponym CPNE: 160; Vellanoweth toponym CPNE: 160; Mellanoweth toponym CPNE: 160
> melin OCV; an Velyn BK 1197; belin AB: 92c; Nancemellin toponym CPNE: 160
>  
> mytten, myttyn ‘morning;
> metten LAM: 268, AB: 33a, 251a, 252a, BF: 51, 52; ACB: F f, F f verso; du guener vetten BM 4420
> myttyn PA 243a, OM 2074, 2279, 2307, 2424, PC 2680, TH 44a, BK 827, 2744; mettyn ACB F f; mettin BF: 52 x3; mittin a brees ‘tomorrow early’ CS9.
>  
> termen, termyn‘time’
> termen  BM 447, 513, 592, 1223, 1921, 2024, 2032, 2179, 2736, 2837, 4496, AB: 251a, 252a, 253a x2, BF: 15, 25 x2, 52, TWG: 26, 34, LAM: 244 (Bodinar)
> termyn PA 48c, 66d, 75c, OM 351, 686, 813, 1231, 1360, 1362, 1441, 1748, 2076, 2345, PC 703, 790, 819, 1040, 1053, 1539, 1654, 1690, 1940, 1963, 2200, 2311, 2420, RD 352, 706, 748, 1053, 1111,1157, 1312, 1349, 1852, BM 141, 532, 1741, TH 2a, 5, 7, 19a, 33, 40a, 49a, BK 321, 826, 865, 2037, 3240, CW 88, 592, 1671, 1893, 1914, 2116, 2209, Keigwin x 2; termin TGW: 24.
>  
> lemmyn PA 12c, 51a, 60a, 61b, 69d, 78c, 92c, 125c, 182c, 191c, 194c, OM 656, 1306, 1310, 1323, 1341, 1349, 1396, 1654, PC 1243, 1369, 1377, 1382, 1413, 1445, 2280, 2307, 2418, 2705, 2718, 2772, 2825; 2845, 2852, 2877, 2886, 2945, 2960, 2983, 3018, 3196, 3204, 3207, 3213, RD 27, 86, 150, 179, 289, 361, 445, 453, 494, 501, 508, 756, 765, 777, 822, 874, 893, 951, 1091, 1129, 1156, 1202, 1207, 1221, 1272, 1295, 1297, 1345, 1418, 1476, 1513, 1534, 1571, 1741, 1749, 1770, 1793, 1834, 1901, 1920, 1941, 1992, 2021, 2247, 2295, 2300, 2351, 2433, 2620, 2639, BM 11, 138, 173, 212, 3990, TH 1a, SA 60, 60a, BK 18, 235, 477, 769, 783, 797, 880, 1150, 1223, 1818, 1870, 2787, 2985; lemyn PA 110d, 116b, 166b, 180d, OM 129, 263, 355, 465, 554, 593, 821, 883, 910, 941, 1017, 1073, 1119, 1240, 1361, 1366, 1442, 1463, 1524, 1565, 1638, 1654, 1721, 1773, 1785, 1791, 1883, 1920, 1993, 2001, 2024, 2027, 2029, 2185, 2343, 2768, 2525, 2540, 2590, 2599, 2684, 2716, 2793, PC 337, 385, 410, 787, 823, 856, 938, 952, 1038, 1038, 1082, 1259, 1722, 1735, 1778, 1850, 1883, 1912, 2082, 2151, 2582, RD 92, 730, 919, 1259, BM 530, 3214, 3811, 3962, CW 32, 115, 141, 217, 231, 337, 359, 367, 384, 423, 558, 810, 874, 1012, 1054, 1083, 1173, 1211, 1388, 1563, 1576, 1613, 1647, 1712, 1805, 1882, 2202, 2245, 2419, 2422, 2451; lebmyn CW 70, 80, 2091, 2240, 2486; lymmyn PC 1194.
> lemmen PA 12b, 250d, PC 1913, BM 57, 703, 941, 1335, 1363, 1830, 2493, 2794, 2941, 3013, 3019, 3343, 3363, 3382, 4361, 4535, SA 62, BK 191, 521, 603; lemen CF 17, OM 2389, BM 277, 346, 554, 559, 571, 720, 737, 1084, 1089, 1092, 1264, 1321, 1346, 1456, 1558, 1638, 1689, 1752, 1819, 1834, 1860, 1967, 2102, 2126, 2185, 2209, 2248, 2354, 2386, 2561, 2595, 2624, 2703, 2807, 2835, 2997, 3016, 3040, 3177, 3203, 3277, 3320, 3398, 3419, 3426, 3522, 3572, 3627, 3645, 3681, 3692, 3808, 3835, 3923, 4017, 4076, 4155, 4158, 4238, 4242, 4273, 4504, 4510, 4525,4531; lebmen AB: 251a, 252a x2, 253a x2.
> lemman PA 245d, PC 82, 307, 762, 919, 1304, 2144, RD 2451, BM 2297, 3542; leman PC 70, 691, 755, 955, 1093, 1296, BM 4119, 4143. 
>  
> Several things are immediately apparent from the above lists. In the first place it is clear that traditional scribes spelt the final syllable indifferently as either -yn or -en in all the above lexemes. The difference between termyn and termen, for example, was of no importance, since there was no difference in pronunciation. Secondly it seems that spellings with -in are very infrequent, if they occur at all. 
> The online dictionary of the Akademi, however, writes kegin ‘kitchen’, Latin ‘Latin’, melin ‘mill’ and myttin ‘morning.’ As can be seen from the above lists spellings of this kind in -in are without warrant. Moreover by making a written distinction between Latin, melin, myttin on the one hand and lemmyn ‘now’, melyn ‘yellow’, termyn ‘time’ on the other they are introducing into the orthography of the revived language a distinction without phonetic value. This arbitrary difference is as unnecessary as it is inauthentic.
>  
> Nicholas Williams
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