[Spellyans] Shall we vote on diacritics just now?

Michael Everson everson at evertype.com
Mon Jan 31 21:03:42 GMT 2011

On 31 Jan 2011, at 19:08, Eddie Climo wrote:

> Are we yet ready, fellow Spellyansoryon, to consider a consensual rewording of  the KS formal spec vis à vis the precise rôle recommened by us for diacritical signs in KS? Perhaps we need more time to discuss the issue. Perhaps not.
> I call for a vote; does anyone second the motion that we vote on the following form of words? 
>> Spellyans believes that diacritics in KS be highly recommended in lexicographic/reference/didactic material, but be optional in other writings, at the discretion of the writer/publisher/teacher.

I don't think so. In the first place I oppose this attempt to railroad the discussion into a vote with such haste. (In the second I find your proposed wording to be unacceptable.) 

Yesterday I gave a number of good reasons for the opposition yesterday. I note that you did not respond to any particular of the linguistic argument; you merely said that you did not agree with it holus bolus. (The same sort of non-response was given by Bailey and friends to Towards Authentic Cornish.) Gainsaying is not argument. 

KS orthography is what it is. It has been designed to be an accurate unambiguous orthography. As such it does not differ from the orthography of French or Irish or Hungarian. If a person cannot or will not follow the orthography because of technical or volitional reasons, then all this implies is that the person cannot or will not follow the orthography. 

KS would not be accurate or unambiguous if its recommendation were to be watered down. I can see no linguistic advantage to wavering on the recommendation that good practice is to use diacritical marks, and indeed I can see no political advantage to doing so in advance of any possible discussion with others in two years' time. 

Six Cornish letters can take diacritical marks to make pronunciation clear. 

â, à, ê, è, ë, î, ô, ò, û, ù, ÿ

These diacritical marks are important and should be learned as a proper part of the words which have them. If you write them regularly, they will help you to pronounce words more correctly, and they will help others to read what you write more easily. 

That is a description of good practice. We mandate good practice in KS, and have since its inception. If one wishes to derogate from that practice, then one is derogating. Please don't ask us to *recommend* inaccuracy or ambiguity. We must aim high. 

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

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