[Spellyans] The two roles of â (a-circumflex) in Kernowek Standard

Michael Everson everson at evertype.com
Thu Sep 19 14:49:20 BST 2013

On 19 Sep 2013, at 00:31, Philip Newton <philip.newton at gmail.com> wrote:

>> there are not many of these [â = ɒ~æ] words, and most of them are of high enough frequency that you are expected to learn them.
> OK. Perhaps those words should be mentioned explicitly in learning books.

Thank you for your suggestion. Please remember that books do not write themselves. And there are costs involved in revising a book. 

>> No one ever claimed that KS orthography was entirely free from occasional ambiguity.
> Oh! Then this was a misunderstanding on my part.
> I had understood, for some reason, that KS was essentially "SWF made phonemic",

"Phonetic" rather. Or more accurately, "SWF with its shortcomings, errors, and ambiguities corrected. SWF with its leaks plugged."

> and that one of its goals was to enable users to pronounce any word they see written.

Which it is, according to the rules. Fâls, âls, brâssa, and glânder follow the rules, though the particular rule for those was overlooked when making them explicit. 

> Perhaps a better description would be something like "SWF with as many ambiguities as possible removed"?

Oh, please. We took the SWF spec as the starting point for a mature, traditionally-based orthography that could stand up to academic scrutiny (where UC and KK and the SWF are open to serious criticism). I believe we have achieved the development of such an orthography. 

>> "Continue to guess"? At what point does one learn?
> Learn from where? There's no complete list of such corner cases that I'm aware of, there's no KS dictionary indicating pronunciation, 

Books do not write themselves. 

> there's no audio companion for _Desky Kernowek_,

No, there isn't. 

> and the CD for _Skeul an Tavas_ features a variety of pronunciations, some of which I suspect are not entirely standard in places (such as "imach" with a final /x/).

It's [ˈɪmətʃ] I believe. 

>> Of these 10 words, 3 of them end in -ân (cân, glân, gwlân), 3 of them end in -âv (clâv, gwâv, hâv), 2 of them end in -âls (âls, fâls), 1 in -âs (brâs), and 1 in -âl (tâl)
> And of those, all but _âls, fâls_ are fairly easily recognisable since they end in a single, voiced consonant.

So the making-explicit of one rule was missed out. Please try to forgive us our imperfections. 

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

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