[Spellyans] <y Y> + diacritical
everson at evertype.com
Wed Jun 25 19:53:54 BST 2008
At 21:12 +0300 2008-06-25, Owen Cook wrote:
>By the same token, it's an awful lot of words to be using a diacritic
It's a phonetic orthography or it's not. We can
have people be able to read texts reliably when
written in the other dialect, or not.
>Now, I firmly believe diacritics should be used
>when they're really necessary, for example to
>mark length anomalies or distinguish certain key
>homographs, for example a 'of' and â 'goes'.
Weve got that. For something like eight words.
>But are they really necessary here? Michael
>agrees that an umbrella graph would be better.
Would have been better.
>An umbrella graph, be it <ei> as in KS16, or
><ea> as somebody suggested (was it Andrew?), or
><ee>, would save us from having to use
>diacritics across the board in this very large
>set of words. Why play into the hands of the
>diacriticophobes if we don't have to?
Because they rejected <ei> and gave us <y>~<e>.
Since that causes a major ambiguity, we can get
around it by marking these vowels.
>If an umbrella graph were out of the question,
>then a diacritic will probably become necessary
>on the <y> to distinguish length.
And on the <e> because this is a dialect issue.
>(Probably because vocalic <y> is equivalent to <ì> for now, but we haven't
>really decided how we're going to deal with <y> and <i>.)
<y> is [I] and <i> is [i:] in monosyllables and
their derivatives. Except that the SWF is
incoherent here where bÿs/bës are concerned.
>Michael argues that the same diacritic must be used on the <e> to aid
We have the same principle for pre-occlusion. We
could agree no single umbrella graph for
pre-occlusion, so we have <bm> locked to <mm> and
(in KS) <mm> forbidden where there is no
>If we accept this idea, then really we ought to
>be using the right diacritic. Nicholas says that
>to him, an acute indicates either stress or
>length. Good! The vowel in both dédh and prés is
>both stressed and long.
That isn't what we are marking. The vowel in
<dedh> and <pres> is stressed and long without
any mark at all, according to the rules. What we
are marking is an optional pronunciation: <dëdh>
is [di:D] or [de:D]. <dedh> is only [de:D].
>To me, a diaeresis indicates a hiatus or umlaut or centralization.
And to you, what does the letter <c> mean?
Because in some langauges it means [k] and in
some [s] and in some [tS] and in some [dZ] and in
some [ts] and in some [?].
The diaresis has NO INHERENT MEANING. Originally
(in German, where it was originally a superscript
"e") it indicated a vowel shift. Indeed, that is
what we have here: not just a shift, but an
alternation. <dëdh> is [di:D] or [de:D]. <dÿdh>
is [di:D] or [de:D]. It's not exactly like the
German usage. But then the German usage isn't the
same as the Albanian, or the Spanish, or the
French, or even the Elvish.
>The vowels in these words are none of those.
The acute is not the "right" diacritic, because
it is not available to everybody.
>To argue that y-acute is out of the question
>because the minority of Mac users who are
>technologically inept will find it awkward,
>seems rather a bizarre constraint.
That is NOT what I said. I said NOTHING about
"technological ineptness". I said that there are
TENS OF THOUSANDS OF FONTS OUT THERE that people
are using TODAY that don't have this letter, and
we will never, ever fix them. That has nothing to
do with their ineptness. It is not "awkward". It
is a recipe for failure.
We can do something about inputting software,
making Cornish keyboard drivers available
>Like Dan, I'd prefer not to work with our hands
>tied like this. In the end, of course, we want a
>finished product that will be useable by the
>greatest number of people in the greatest number
>of media. But plenty of languages use a y-acute
>and they've figured out how to work around this
Not so. Czech uses it but it had its own 8-bit
code pages. Icelandic uses it but it had its own
8-bit code pages. Welsh uses it and it had
several ad-hoc 8-bit code pages and they STILL
don't have the range of fonts available to them
that the Irish and Scottish and Cornish and
Bretons have. You're arguing to disadvantage the
Cornish by pushing them out of "standard"
>Heck, Turkmen in its recent Romanization
>specifically avoided special characters that
>aren't widely supported, like s-cedilla or
>dotless i. And yes,
>they use y-acute. In preference to y-diaeresis.
The Turkmen don't use Western 8-bit fonts. BUT
EVERYONE IN CORNWALL DOES. We can't
disenfranchise Mac users just because you think
that diaeresis "means" something other than the
use we want to put it to. We can't afford to
alienate Mac-using people who want to use
Cornish, can we? No better way than to choose
letters that their fonts won't support.
I'm not going to suggest that we use the
Traditional letter YOGH either. It's in Unicode.
We could use it. We could use Lhuyd's y-dot-above
and the Lithuanian e-dot-above, if you want to
restrict Cornish users only to new Unicode fonts
that happen to have support for those characters.
Do you want to do that? I don't. It wouldn't be
fair to Cornish users, would it?
I think I am right to insist that we be fair to
Mac users of Cornish no less than Windows users
>I also don't see why Michael wants to nix
>Andrew's suggestion of <é> and <í> from the
>start, when we know that sorting out <y> and <i>
>is a big part of what we want to decide here and
>we haven't yet begun to decide how to do it. It
>may be that <í> in these words ends up being a
>relatively painless solution.
Because we can't succeed by "fixing" the SWF by
changing the spelling of bys and dydh to bis and
didh. They elected to preserve the bogus [I:]
here. If we put diaeresis on <dÿdh> and <dëdh> we
are treading lightly. If we change these to
<dídh> and <dédh> we have gone too far.
Michael Everson * http://www.evertype.com
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