[Spellyans] Front unrounded vowels, was: The quantity system

Michael Everson everson at evertype.com
Tue Jun 24 22:51:50 BST 2008

At 22:33 +0100 2008-06-24, A. J. Trim wrote:
>I have looked at your sample text, as requested.
>I  really don't like this use of the dieresis. I think that it makes the
>text look unauthentic.

It's not hard to get used to. It's a solution to 
a problem. Without an umbrella graph (and we 
don't have one) we need to distinguish bÿs/bës 
words from bys and res words.

>It's not really "unobtrusive". If it were it just wouldn't work.

I remember not liking the look of <beis> too. I got used to it.

>However, if we must have the dieresis in our orthography, I have the
>following comments:
>1) It is easy to remember that <ÿ> is [i:]. It is less easy to remember that
><ÿ> is [e:].

You don't have to. If you say [i:] you should 
write <ÿ>. If you say [e:] you should write <ë>. 
But when you encounter a text written in the 
other dialect, the diaeresis will ensure that you 
know what word the writer intended.

>2) It is easy to remember that <ë> is [e:]. It is easy for English speakers
>to remember that <ë> is [i:].

Again, you're going to choose the dialect you 
prefer to write. Those dots will become familiar, 
and when you see the dots on the other vowel, 
you'll recognize the word. (Trust me, I know a 
fair bit about literacy and orthography.)

>3) I would maintain <ei> as an alternative for those who cannot or do not
>want to use diacritical marks.

We can't mandate that in KS. It would introduce 
too great a change. (We will be doing other things

>4) <ei> is closer to <ë> than it is to <ÿ>, so I would favour <ë>.

You should favour whichever you pronounce. If you 
say [di:D], write <dÿdh>. If you say [de:D], 
write <dëdh>.

>5) <ea> could be used, instead of <ei>, if the <ei> is politically
>unacceptable. This would give veadh, beas, deadh, preas ... just a thought.

It's too late for that. I'm sorry. We have to 
interact with the SWF. The SWF isn't a total 
disaster. It has problems that need fixing so 
that it can be used and considered academically 
suitable. Nice as <ei> or <ea> might be, we won 
the bys/bes options.

(Remember, at one stage only bys was on offer; 
<y> was going to be an umbrella graph for 
[i:]~[e:] and <i> was going to be used everywhere 
else. We fought hard against that -- it would 
have been a massive change for everyone 
(including KK users. It was a very bad idea. 
Since we won the right to write bys or bes as we 
pronounce, all we need to do is mark those so 
they can be distinguished from words without an 

bys [bIz] 'until'
bÿs [bi:z]~[be:z] 'world'
bës [bi:z]~[be:z] 'world'
res [re:z] 'necessary'

Really -- this will work. It will make texts easy 
to read and to write and it will make teaching 
easier and learning easier.
Michael Everson * http://www.evertype.com

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