[Spellyans] Diacritics and their necessity

Michael Everson everson at evertype.com
Tue Feb 1 20:06:10 GMT 2011

On 1 Feb 2011, at 19:06, Eddie Climo wrote:

> No, Michael. You may have proposed those things in 2008, but they were never ratified by the membership of Spellyans.

Spellyans no process for "ratification" and we never did in UdnFormScrefys either. What we have is a sense of general consensus of linguists and non-linguists, and decisions taken by the editors. The editors have had a mandate an the confidence of both UdnFormScrefys and Spellyans because of the care and expertise they have taken with this material.

I hear several people whose knowledge of linguistics and in particular phonology I respect saying that they are satisfied with KS, warts and all. It may not be perfect, but it is the best orthography yet designed for Cornish, as several people have said today. 

Your proposals aim to make it an unstable and therefore inferior orthography. Your proposal will not be accepted, because they go against the entire effort we have been engaging in since 2006. I am sorry if this grieves you, but you are not making any kind of case that would lead.

> Until that process has been undertaken by a vote taken after full discussion, there is no KS; there is only a proposal for what you think KS ought to be.

Alys in Pow an Anethow, Adro dhe'n Bÿs in Peswar Ugans Dëdh, Kensa Lyver Redya, Jowal Lethesow, Skeul an Tavas, Devocyon an Greryow, and Enys Tresour ALL of them use the same orthography. This is an implemented orthography. It is not a "proposal". It has not been a "proposal" since Alys was published in January 2009 -- six months after your proposal to make diacritical marks "optional" failed to attract consensus. 

If Nicholas or Jon or Christian or Neil or Dan or Owen or I had thought that it was a good idea to have an orthography where the rules of spelling could be ignored in "ordinary published material for the more fluent user of Cornish" (as you said in July 2008) then that idea would have had support 2008. 

But wasn't a good idea. Indeed it is an unprecedented idea, to have an orthography with such options in it. No other Celtic language has such rules. No Germanic language has such rules. No Romance or Slavic language has such rules. And your assertion that "Cornish is different" does not convince me by any means that Cornish should be different in this regard. 

You may, if you wish, reject KS utterly. But you should not be surprised if we resist your suggestion that we hamstring the best and most accurate orthography ever designed for Cornish by making its optimization and accuracy *optional*. I regret, very much, Eddie, that I have to defend KS against the suggestions you are making -- but the suggestions you are making would *damage* KS by making it an unreliable orthography. 

> Neither Michael nor Nicholas nor any other individuals in this group are empowered to decide unilaterally what KS will be.

Are you "empowered" to "unilaterally" decided to open closed issued because you disagree with them? And even now that you have tried to open it, and you have got push-back. We even re-visited the decision to use ë/ÿ instead of ê/ŷ -- and we got the same result, for the same technical and practical reasons. 

> Only the membership of this group can do so. If that were not so, then this whole UdnFormScrefys and Spellyans process has been a sham, a mere talking shop.

Diacritical marks were also mandated in KS1. Indeed in much stronger language than our recommendation now, that diacritical marks are important and should be learned as a proper part of the words which have them.

> Dres ethom akennow byner re bo lyeshes
> Accenti non multiplicandi praeter necessitatem

The accents used in KS are, as it happens, necessary. Each one that is used has a specific linguistic rationale. 

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

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