[Spellyans] Fwd: (no subject)

deliabrotherton at aol.com deliabrotherton at aol.com
Sat Feb 11 20:23:46 GMT 2012

-----Original Message-----
From: deliabrotherton <deliabrotherton at aol.com>
To: spellyans <spellyans at kernowek.net>
Sent: Fri, 10 Feb 2012 14:54
Subject: Re: [Spellyans] (no subject)

Interestingly there was an item on the Today programme this morning about the efforts being made to preserve the language and culture of Scottish Gaelic against the fact that the number of native speakers has been in long term decline.
Research from Edinburgh Uni suggests that before long there will only be 2 dialects of Gaelic left, those from Lewis and South Uist.  A BBC Alba report from Ballachulish in mainland Argyll featured Brigadier John MacFarlane who said he "felt like a dinosaur" after a young life "full of Gaelic."
A young musician, Gregor Lawry, spoke of the importance of local language as part of the culture, a sense of place, connection with ancestors and felt that the ability to express yourself with the same language, sounds and phrases as your ancestors was very important, and described its' loss as "cutting the cultural umbilical chord."  You lose the ability to pronounce local placenames properly and the feel of local stories, he said.
The Brigadier rounded off the report by saying that perhaps other dialects will develop, especially in the cities where Gaelic is strongest and perhaps some will just intermingle so that they're "neither one damn thing oor the other."
Dee Brotherton

-----Original Message-----
From: Jon Mills <j.mills at email.com>
To: Standard Cornish discussion list <spellyans at kernowek.net>
Sent: Fri, 10 Feb 2012 14:13
Subject: [Spellyans] (no subject)

I've just been reading an interesting article by Mark Sebba (http://lancaster.academia.edu/MarkSebba/Papers/1407388/_Sociolinguistic_approaches_to_writing_systems_research_._Writing_Systems_Research_1.1._35-49) in which he concludes,
"One question which has never been satisfactorily answered is why a standardized, invariant orthography is necessary. But not only has this question not been answered, it has hardly been asked: the assumption is always that there ‘should be’ a standard, though who is responsible for providing it is clearer for some languages than for others. Furthermore, as was mentioned in Section 5, optionality is unpopular with users: the prevalent language ideology, at least in European languages, seems to favour prescription. Yet, historically, it seems, variability in spelling was not seen as a problem. 
One conclusion might be that there is simply no linguistic reason why orthography should be standardized. According to this line of reasoning, the emphasis on standardization and prescription is a purely social and cultural phenomenon. However, there is at least an alternative possibility: historically, literacy (at least in the sense of ‘ability to read and write’) has become more pervasive, and the need for individuals to read and write has increased, at least in industrialized countries and contexts. So could standardization offer a benefit in terms of efficiency, either for readers or writers? Are unstandardized language varieties, where the same word could appear in many different forms, actually less easy to read (or to write) than languages where each word has only one form? Is there some sense in which invariance really is linguistically desirable, rather than just preferred by the dominant linguistic culture? This is a question which could be answered experimentally from outside of sociolinguistics, and the answer would contribute to an understanding of the relationship between literacy and writing systems."

Ol an gwella,

Dr. Jon Mills, 
University of Kent 

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