[Spellyans] diacritics

Craig Weatherhill craig at agantavas.org
Wed Feb 2 10:49:44 GMT 2011

With regard to apostrophes in English, I don't know how many people  
are aware that there's even an official policy to drop them.  This  
practice started in the USA (there's a surprise), and the first in the  
UK to adopt this "lowest common denominator" or "dumbing-down"  
approach was Birmingham City Council.  This instructed that street  
signage boards will not have apostrophes, or any superscript symbol.   
So  Peter's Lane now has to be Peters Lane.  Wonderful - so in future,  
people will remain wondering if this is named after a man called  
Peter, or one called Peters.

Cornwall Council, in its infinite lack of wisdom, decided (like  
others) to follow suit.  This then created problems for the Street  
Signage Panel and particularly for Late Cornish forms.  For example,   
fordh, "road" is often represented in Late Cornish (and the SWF Late  
variant) as For'.  Henvor Road in Marazion has never appeared as  
"Henfordh" but, because of this ridiculous Highways policy, we can't  
erect a sign with "Henfor'", much as we'd prefer to do so.


On 2 Whe 2011, at 10:32, Herbie Blackburn wrote:

> As far as the official spelling German uses daereses most of the  
> time, and it is mandated – but when working in Germany for 2 years  
> I came across many uses of the digraph by Germans who just saw it as  
> a practical stop gap in certain situations – e.g. in eMails using  
> standard keyboards, on multinational projects hwre other users  
> couldn’t be expected to use the daeresis, in SMS txts where it was  
> just quicker (this might prove an area in Cornish that needs  
> considering), and people even had their names in email addresses  
> written with a digraph rather than a daeresis (so that it was  
> truelly typable easily worldwide) e.g. Stür became Stuer etc. The  
> same is true of the German β for ‘ss’. All Germans know the  
> correct spellings, and in formal documents it is used, but there’s  
> no way to stop practical use of the digraph or simply dropping the  
> diacritics if people choose to. I think that whatever the official  
> line is, this will always be true. So have a correct spelling system  
> with daereses and other diacritics, but recognise the above.
> Craig wrote
> How can diacritics be declared mandatory, and hope to control that,
> when users will go their own way no matter what we say?  Diacritics
> always used to be written in loan-words into English that had them,
> but are now rarely seen.  Even apostrophes are disappearing from
> English (crazy, but true).  We would have no power of control.  Strong
> recommendation of their use is all we can realistically achieve.
> Craig
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Craig Weatherhill

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