[Spellyans] SWF Review

Michael Everson everson at evertype.com
Thu Oct 3 20:14:35 BST 2013

On 24 Sep 2013, at 07:25, Philip Newton <philip.newton at gmail.com> wrote:

> I recently received the following message (indirectly) from MAGA, concerning the review of the SWF.

I received it to. It is another example of MAGA's poor management of the SWF review. 

> The Excel file is a slightly expanded and clarified version of the "Collated issues for SWF review" document that I have seen before; it provides a little bit more information about the occasionally extremely brief headers ("varying vowel & consonant values" -- what, precisely, is the problem of the submitter? etc.) in that document, and also contains suggested resolutions for each point.

It is completely inadequate. I have asked Jenefer Lowe directly and on the MAGA Corpus list, to provide the complete text of the issues as reported by those who sent in their concerns. 

I know as much about Cornish phonology and orthography as anyone. I was asked to comment on the brief draft of the "Collated issues for SWF review" and I refused to do so, because it would be a waste of time, since every bit of it is context-free and it would be guesswork. I asked for the full text of the submissions, suitably anonymized, so that I could prepare a report on it which would be accurate and give good advice. With complete data, I could say why x was a good idea, why y was a bad idea, why implementing z would have a knock-on effect that would imply other changes, and so on. WIth complete data, I would be able to give concrete recommendations to the SWF Review board, which they could accept or reject. 

But instead we have been given "a slightly expanded and clarified version". This is NO BETTER than the original. It still obliges a linguistic expert to GUESS at the thinking behind the submissions. That is a waste of time. 

I still do not understand why MAGA is treating the issues as some sort of State secret. Frankly I don't believe that the list has only been seen by the members of the Review Board. It is very difficult to believe that the list has not been (privately) circulated to the members of the Kesva, who are able to advise their representatives on the Review Board. On our side of the table, however, we have played by the rules, and we have not seen the document. We have asked for the document, and we have been refused. 

Why is this, Jenefer Lowe? Why the secrecy? What is MAGA afraid of? Is MAGA afraid that real external linguists will give real input to the SWF Review process? I assure you, real external linguists will review the results of the SWF Review process, just as we did five years ago when the first SWF specification was published. MAGA has done a great job keeping real linguists from the table. Without proper advice, the SWF Review board can hardly be expected to produce a satisfactory result. 

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

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