[Spellyans] Goat

Daniel Prohaska daniel at ryan-prohaska.com
Sun Apr 12 12:43:34 BST 2009


From: Clive Baker
Sent: Sunday, April 12, 2009 12:06 PM


“I watch these postings with great interest, and sometimes great humour, and
rarely enter the affray on this forum. However, I feel I must question a
couple of things I see. 


Firstly, as I have seen it, since the attendance of those first heady days
at Tremough, the whole purpose of the SWF was to reach a compromise, between
UC/UCR, KK, and LC using KD as the basis of that compromise... albeit that
whole purpose was usurped by "Bill and Ben" and altered more in favour of
KK. That said and done, the basic compromise still is the desired aim... or
am I missing something here?”


Dhis lowena, Clive! 

I’m not quite sure who you’re referring to when you say “the whole purpose
was usurped by ‘Bill and Ben’” beyond the flower pot men reference.
According to the first hand report I go from Albert Bock KD was the basis at
the first AHG meeting and Ben Bruch (do you consider him the “Ben”, I
wonder) tried to focus everyone on the KD foundation several times, but
failing. It was Albert’s impression that the KD spec was either not knon
enough to the AHG members, or they didn’t care about it, so it shifted
towards KK. 

Mind you, KD was very similar to KK in many respects. The only linguistic
difference was that is had fewer instances of <oe> and <ù> for the short
u-sound. It also marked irregular stress with an acute accent. Apart from
that, the differences to KK were cosmetic, mainly in the form of using <c>
as well as <k> and <qu> for KK <kw> and <h> medially instead of <gh>. 

Since some of these choices were, in fact incorporated into the SWF, at
least as “traditional” forms, I don’t think the commission’s recommendations
has been overruled or usurped. It simply was a matter of unfamiliarity with
the KD specon part of some AHG members, which I think is a real shame. I
would have felt obliged to look at the spec in great care, if had been a
member of the AHG, for the sake of responsibility towards the language and
the commission’s recommendation. 

Anyway, the KD issue is in the past, and I don’t feel it necessary to lament
over the AHG’s failing. Since KD was so much closer in many ways to KK than
the SWF is to KK (except for the superficially visible “main” form graphs),
I think the SWF actually meets the criterion of being based on a number of
ideas which were presented in KD.    


“Secondly I understood that KS was our attempt to correct those errors
within the SWF that had shortcomings... no-one mentioned to me that we were
throwing away the compromise theme that was so important to everyone ( at
least they all seemed to mumble something about that)


Lastly... you all (or most of you) know me as coming from the UC/UCR camp,
and all my arguments with any of the other forms of Cornish is that each of
us should be fair to the others in our representations... for instance: if
we have joint events as we regularly do these days, equal space and equal
opportunity must be given to all forms of the language.”


As far as the SWF goes, there is a set of specification that has been
decided upon and anyone working with the intention of writing in the SWF
will have to stick to that, or it simply isn’t the SWF.  


“The goodwill is there from the general Cornish speaking populus, based on
the SWF agreement, and if we are to carry KS to its ultimate conclusion,
then we must not forget its origins, nor the required support of those who
use the language, whatever their colour, creed, religion or sexual


I’m a hundred percent with you on that! I see KS as an idealised version the
“traditionalists” have of an SWF, however, it is not the SWF. Maybe some
features of KS can be worked into the SWF when it is reviewed in 2013,
valuable experience from the great publishing work that is being done in KS,
and other features, too. 


“UC/UCR rightly or wrongly used gavar and so did everyone learning any
Cornish during the greater part of the last century including most of our
experts here until KK was invented.” 


Gavar is by all means not wrong. It is an authentic, attested form that
suggests the correct pronunciation in Revived Cornish. Having said that
though, it is not in the SWF. The SWF rules specify gaver. Anyone can harp
on about Trond’s ruling not having been in the SWF spec, but it has to have
been part of the minutes taken at the first two AHG meetings. I suggest
writing to the Cornish Language officer (Jenefer Lowe) and asking for
publication of these minutes. Why this wasn’t done sooner, I don’t know. 

Gaver is but one word, a more interesting question to me on a systematic
level, is how to handle words that can be classed with gaver, namely words
that have a so-called epenthetic vowel in the unstressed syllable. This
means that at some point in the history of Cornish the monosyllabic word
*gavr got an extra syllable by way of inserting an extra vowel: *gavXr. How,
on a systematic level are we to specify the vowel graph used in the SWF,
without saying, do it as it is done in KK, that is if you find fault in what
Ken George decided for KK. We have words such as *pobl, *marw, *lavr and
*lyvr. How do we spell these words and words that can be classed alongside
them, hwo do we spell *pobXl, *marXw, *lavXr and *lyvXr.

I think the Cornish speakers and the textual attestations are pretty much
decided where *marXw and *lyvXr are concerned. They ought to be marow and
lyver (that is if you don’t want to write Late Cornish lever). What rules
can we attach to this decision? Either we say X = o before w, and X = e
before r, for example. That gives us *pobXl, marow, laver and lyver. What to
do with *pobXl? What should the rule be? X = o? X = e?

This is something which could be talked about and worked out for the SWF
specifications following the 2013 review.


“I see little account taken of that fact... yes Nicholas uses "gavar".. and
Michael supports "gavar"( whilst everyone seems to howl, he's just anti KK)
I think that most of us are, else why would be here for God's sake!! So
don't throw away the thousands who have learned any Cornish at all since the
1920's with the washing. Keep them with you… 

 I await the responses with interest.



Michael and Nicholas certainly take this into account. I cannot, because I
feel bound to the specification of the SWF and the rulings in the AHG
meetings. I don’t think spelling gaver and laver throws away what has been
learnt since the 1920s. But this is just my opinion.

Yehes dad his, 




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