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

Daniel Prohaska daniel at ryan-prohaska.com
Wed Jun 25 09:51:49 BST 2008

From: Michael Everson
Sent: Tuesday, June 24, 2008 11:59 PM

At 23:43 +0200 2008-06-24, Daniel Prohaska wrote:


>I very much sympathise with Owen. For me, e/y + 

>dewboynt is as easy or difficult to write as e/y 

>+ circumflex.


“There are many fonts and keyboard drivers which do not offer y-circumflex
or y-acute.”


I should say there are probably many fonts and keyboard drivers that don’t
offer y-diaeresis. Same problem. I don’t think font and keyboard limitations
should put us off designing a workable orthography. We’ll just have to make
sure to explain to and provide users with the necessary software. Also, a
majority of users has Microsoft, and designing an orthography to Mac
specifications, because you happen to work with that system, is a little,
well, should I say, self-centred ;-)


>There is no difference. The circumflex, tome, is 

>more logical, as it suggests a long vowel, 

>whereas a diaeresis in my association could 

>suggest a long or short vowel.


“As I said, consider <schön> which is pronounced [Sø:n] in Standard German
and [Se:n] in certain dialects (and Yiddish). We're not marking the length
in <bës>. We're indicating that it can be pronounced [be:z] or [bi:z].”


I know, and I know it works, but that doesn’t mean I particularly like it. I
prefer the circumflex because for me that is an unambiguous length marker,
while the diaeresis isn’t. In the case or bys/bes, we are marking length;
bys “unil” has a short vowel by(diaeresis)s “world” has a long vowel.  


>And why are we talking about this? The 

>alternation of <y> ~ <e> in the SWF is OK and it 

>is also authentic in that it occurred in 

>traditional Cornish. This is not an error in the 

>SWF in my opinion.


“The fact that SWF bes [be:z] 'world' (which has an alternate pronunciation
[bi:z]) is not 

distinguished from SWF res [re:z] 'necessary' (which has no alternate
pronunciation) is an error in my opinion. (That is why we had KS16 beis.)”


We also had earlier KS with just bes. It wasn’t an error then, and I don’t
believe it is now. In fact it just shows the later merger of the
bys/bes-vowel with the res-vowel.


“The fact that SWF bys [bi:z] 'world' (which has an alternate pronunciation
[be:z]) is not 

distinguished from SWF bys [bIz] 'until' (which has a completely different
pronunciation) is an error in my opinion. (That is why we had KS16 bìs.)”


Again, I disagree. Bys “until” is an unstressed proclitic and has by this
definition a short vowel. It’s the same as the unstressed y in benyn
“woman”, or the unstressed a in war “on”.



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