[Spellyans] <y Y> + diacritical

stinney at sas.upenn.edu stinney at sas.upenn.edu
Wed Jun 25 13:55:53 BST 2008

Quoting Michael Everson <everson at evertype.com>:

> At 12:45 +0100 2008-06-25, Christian Semmens wrote:
> >At the risk of stirring up a hornets nest, I think this may be taking
> >things a bit too far. I think everyone would be happy with 'deth' or
> >'dyth' without recourse to diacritics at all. I strongly suspect that
> >no one will actually write them once they become fluent enough anyway.
> >Deith still looks horrible to me (as does chei, rei etc..), and I've
> >tried to like it, really I have.
> >
> >Is it really such a huge problem?
> It is. It is a problem for readers of texts
> written in the other dialect. The brief was to be
> phonetic. The SWF doesn't give learners enough
> information.
> Take a word, <pes>. A learner sees it. Is this a
> <bys>/<bes> word? Or is it a <res> word? What
> about bes, des, fes, ges, hes, les, mes, nes,
> ses, tes, or ves? (I'm sure some of these are not
> attested; I just made a list.)
> If we write bÿs/bës, the learner who encounters
> pes will know it's not got a *pys form.
> Making this distinction is good orthography design.

But it is necessary for the othography to bear the entire burden of these
distinctions?  For one thing, learners are routinely taught exceptions, and if
the list of bys/bes words is short, they can simply learn them.  For another,
information of this kind really belongs in the lexicon, not in the spelling.


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