[Spellyans] tavas

Nicholas Williams njawilliams at gmail.com
Tue May 14 16:44:11 BST 2013

The two cases are completely different. The Breton dialects are known and understood.
In the case of Cornish the spellings are all we have to go on. There are no speakers.
Of course standard forms of spoken languages use etymological spellings in order to arrive at hyperdialects acceptable to all.
In the case of Cornish, however, the question of taves is not a matter of dialect, but rather a question of how the now extinct language developed. Taves
is a possible etymological spelling, but so for that matter is tavas, since the expected e hardly occurs at all in the texts. We have a rule that OC oe is not unrounded in certain environments. The unstressed vowel is almost invariably
a and I suggest that this is a result of the labial immediately preceding. That tavas not taves was the attested form is further suggested by the plural.
The orthography of Breton, though interesting, is not relevant.
The bias against etymological spellings understandable. In KK melin and gwelyn rhyme perfectly, but are spelt differently for etymological reasons.
Not only does this violate the phonemic principle, it also makes learning the orthography much more difficult.
The SWF is a new orthography and it is a great pity that it should be burdened with the incubus of etymological (but non-phonemic spellings) taken holus
bolus from an orthography which has been found wanting.


On 14 May 2013, at 15:13, Hewitt, Stephen wrote:

> I don’t really understand the persistent bias against etymology in this group. My etymological orthography for Breton builds on the interdialectal (S-SS) orthography, and works much the best of all systems to accomodate predictable dialect reflexes with a minimum of spelling variation.

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