[Spellyans] Goat

Michael Everson everson at evertype.com
Mon Apr 6 23:42:17 BST 2009

On 6 Apr 2009, at 22:29, Daniel Prohaska wrote:

> > There are two attestations of gaver in the Middle Cornish texts. No
> > others. That’s overwhelming.
> No, it's not. It's **paucity**.

You chose not to respond to this salient point.

>> And gavar is attested in OC and LC, so it is improbable that that  
>> form could be considered *proscribed* by MC orthography.”
> All orthographies of Revived Cornish except RLC are based on Middle  
> Cornish.

The point is that it is improbable that the form "gavar" could be  
considered proscribed by MC orthography.

> Now this is not in the spec but Trond’s ruling was that the KK form  
> is to be taken as the basis and if it is found linguistically faulty  
> or inauthentic, or in violation of the SWF specification, changed.

What document are you citing? I have seen no such document.

> Since we find gaver in KK and in the texts the criteria for  
> retaining-er are met. So, the SWF will have gaver, but if you want  
> to write gavar in KS that’s fine by me.


> “You said it decides things on etymology.”
> As we have discussed already, the etymology is irrelevant here since  
> the reconstructed Late-British form would have *gaβr-, cf. W gafr.
> “Now you're saying it sticks to the texts.”
> No, I try to stick to the texts where possible and where in  
> accordance with the SWF spec.

It is merely accidental that we have no MC "gavar" attested. Unless  
you posit a linguistic and orthographic change gavar > gaver > gavar  
(as I mentioned previously).

> “Do you really think George was thinking of the texts when he  
> changed from gavar to gaver? He didn't give a hoot for the texts  
> most of the time. I bet he was thinking of Latin. Not the texts.”
> I don’t think any of us can say how he came to his decision without  
> asking him.

It is more likely that he was thinking of Latin caper. It is doubtful  
that he was thinking of the two attestations in MC.

> “> You are trying to be different from KK for the sake of being
> > different.
> No I'm not! I've been asking for *plausible* reasons for making this  
> change.”
> Yet you fail to accept the given reasons.

Because they're not very good. They sound like excuses to use KK forms.

> You simply dislike gaver for some reason or another. For some this  
> is not a “change”. From the perspective of OM and BM this is not  
> a change.

I have made reference to OM and BM orthography previously and you  
chose to overlook my comments.

> You always speak of “change”, and I disagree, there is no change,  
> but choice between gaver and gavar, both which have been used for 20  
> years,


OCV gauar 1x
Lhuyd gavar 2x
Borlase gavar 1x gavar môr 1x
Williams gavar
Jago gaver, gavar (both)
Jenner gavar
Hal Wyn gavar môr, gaver (both)
Nance gavar
Williams gavar
Gendall gavar
Kennedy gavar

**Only** George's adventitious change has been used for a mere 20  
years. There seems to be no good reason for it apart from Latin caper.

This is an unwarranted CHANGE from mainstream Cornish practice for  
this word, in my view.

> as well as in the 15th century. As far as the SWF goes and Trond’s  
> ruling,

To which document do you refer? Are you privy to documents we are not?

> gaver is the form in the SWF.

This is your choice alone. Trond did not rule on this word and neither  
does it appear in the SWF specification.

> So KK and SWF have gaver while UC/R, KS, RLC have gavar. Can we all  
> be happy people now?

Have you noticed that this word is contentious, as tavas/taves was?

> “Have you established your own rule that no form will be acceptable  
> unless it is attested? Because that has *never* been the way we do  
> things.”
> No, I haven’t. And I never said I did. But it makes me feel better  
> if the SWF spelling can be backed up with a textual attestation.

The weight of

OCV gauar 1x
Lhuyd gavar 2x
Borlase gavar 1x gavar môr 1x
Williams gavar
Jago gaver, gavar (both)
Jenner gavar
Hal Wyn gavar môr, gaver (both)
Nance gavar
Williams gavar
Gendall gavar
Kennedy gavar

really does outweigh the two attestations in BM and OM for me,  
particularly as we know that there are many spellings in those texts  
(map for instance) which are not followed now.

> “So you rule is epenthetic vowels at least before -r must be  
> written -e-?”
> No, it isn’t. The rule is Trond’s ruling.

That's not a linguistic rule.

> I don’t like it anymore than you do, but that’s the way it is.  
> We’ve discussed this before, so there’s really no need to bring  
> this up again.

I think you would do well to note this word as a tavas/taves

> Well, the word form is justifiable in several ways. That actually  
> speaks in favour of the word form in itself. Gaver meets all the SWF  
> criteria with the bonus that it is also thus attested in MC.

And I say again it is only accidental that we don't have additional  
spellings, because the word is poorly attested in MC.

> I can live with that form. It doesn’t have to become my favourite  
> lexical item and it is definitely not something I want to fight  
> over, because it’s simply not that important. Personally I find  
> both gaver and gavar acceptable. Gaver meets the SWF criteria.

So does gavar.

> End of story for one who is putting together a SWF dictionary.

You have a lot of respect for George's reconstructions, it seems.

> Or rather, in that case KS and UC and UCR and RLC will differ from  
> the choice you made to follow George's choice for this etymon in the  
> SWF.”
> The author(s) of OM and BM chose this form, too, and they were  
> native speakers of traditional Cornish. Good enough for me.

I have spoken to this point already. This word isn't like "tavas" with  
dozens of attestations. It is poorly attested, so your resting on this  
argument isn't very convincing. Your analysis of the scribal  
tradition, by the argument you give here, is shallow, and not dynamic.  
I find that surprising and troubling.

>  “> And I thought the motivation was for it to be as close as  
> possible
> > to the SWF.
> It has been, but so far I have not found your arguments to be  
> compelling. In this case it's *you* who are the lexicographer who  
> has chosen the form of this word in the SWF.”
> I’m sorry to hear that. From an SWF perspective I have to go with  
> gaver.

Because Trond said use KK in a document we have not seen.

> That’s what will be in my SWF dictionary. Whether you believe it is  
> George’s choice or a spelling found in OM and BM or whatever else  
> makes little difference.

I believe it is your choice and there are good grounds to make a  
different one.


>> I am sure there are other examples of final unstressed -e- in BM  
>> and OM for which we nevertheless prefer to write -a-. OM writes  
>> "taves" for instance, and we do not.”
> But the SWF writes taves, allowing tavas as a variant.

I am sure there are OTHER examples. This is about principles, not  
individual attestations, which are often accidental as we know.

> “I'm afraid you haven't made a strong enough case for your choice.  
> Do you really think that OC gavar > MC gaver > LC gavar?”
> MC -er and LC -ar are ways of writing schwa + r.

So you are saying that -ar would be proscribed in MC? If not, then it is
"MC -er/-ar and LC -ar are ways of writing schwa + r".

> This reminds me of the way KKer try to justify oe (OC luit > MC los  
> > LC loose etc. against OC nos > MC nos > LC nos).

I don't see it as the same at all. In fact it seems to me that one  
OUGHT to expect vowel colouring of the kind Eddie mentioned earlier in  
sg. gav(a)r and pl. gev(e)r.

> If you want to write gavar, write gavar. I’m bound by SWF rules.

I think you interpret these very selectively, by ignoring all but two  
sources for this word. That is not tota Cornicitas, is it?

> This could go on your list of request for changes in 2013.


Michael Everson * http://www.evertype.com/

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