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

Michael Everson everson at evertype.com
Thu Sep 19 22:15:18 BST 2013

On 19 Sep 2013, at 08:21, Philip Newton <philip.newton at gmail.com> wrote:

> Could you formulate the rule that "fâls" and "âls" follow, please?

When â precedes -ls it also indicates an alternation although the vowel is short. 

> I think I understand the one for "brâssa" and "glânder" (it's a variety of the one that puts short non-word-initial _i_ - rather than _y_ which is how that sound usually gets spelled - in words such as "gwiryoneth, tiryow" based on the spelling of the base word, I presume).

No, it's not. Tir/tiryow is an expression of the rule "written ‹i› indicates [iː] in stressed monosyllables and [ɪ] in their derivatives.

> I thought that "fâls, âls" were exceptions (which would be fair enough -- if those were the only exceptions to be learned in KS, it would still be wonderful for students!), and am intrigued to learn that they also follow a rule.

When â precedes -ls it also indicates an /ɒ/~/æ/ alternation although the vowel is short. 

> I suppose the rule means that the (borrowed) name of the Dutch town Vaals (pronunciation [f̠aːɫs] according to German Wikipedia) cannot be represented in Cornish since written _Fâls_ cannot represent [fa:ls~fæ:ls]. (Or would that be _Fâlss_? I suppose that would work.)

I really don't think we need to be concerned with something like this. 

>>> 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.
> It wasn't intended as an attack. You yourself said that "No one ever claimed that KS orthography was entirely free from occasional ambiguity."
> I presume this means that complete freedom from ambiguity was not a goal…

Why presume something so extreme? Particularly when two dialects are to be expressed in the orthography. 

> just to remove as many as possible, starting with the "worst" ones (the most confusing, the ones with most wide-ranging effects, etc.). "As many as possible" may well mean 99%.

I'm not going to be counting them. There is no question: KS is the most accurate orthography ever devised, and a familiarity with reading and writing KS fosters better pronunciation by readers and writers. 

>> So the making-explicit of one rule was missed out. Please try to forgive us our imperfections.
> Of course. In return, please understand my slight annoyance at being (essentially) told to "just learn" when the learning material is not yet available.

One formulated rule was missing. The rest was available to you. And indeed the example of âls's dual pronunciation was explicitly stated. 

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

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