[Spellyans] SWF Y (was Re: Falmouth)

Philip Newton philip.newton at gmail.com
Tue Apr 29 20:10:39 BST 2014

On 29 April 2014 20:53, Craig Weatherhill <craig at agantavas.org> wrote:
> SWF's a confusing system then

In the sense that you have to learn when to use Y and when to use I
more or less by heart arbitrarily: yes, I suppose.

> Surely it would be far easier to learners and readers if the long vowel
> was I and the short one Y throughout.

Even easier would be if I was used as a vowel throughout, and Y used
only as a consonant. (Then UC ‘gwyn gwyn’ would turn into a
hypothetical ‘gwin gwinn’. And ‘an velin velin’ would be spelled like
that, saving you from remembering that a mill is ‘melin’ while the
colour is ‘melyn~melen’.)

Length would then still not be marked, but this is already the case
with the other vowels, which can be either short or long (there’s no
separate long E / short E, for example; you have to learn that it’s
short in ‘mes’ but long in ‘yn-mes’).

Not that I’m arguing for that change. I think that there is more value
in having the SWF be stable than in having it be perfectly logical or
supremely easy to learn to use.

(It would be good if it were both, of course, but if I had to choose,
I’d go with a standard _now_ that’s got some bits I dislike or find
questionable rather than with a hypothetical perfect orthography that
only got there by being successively tinkered with until all the
imperfections were removed and everyone agrees that it’s a perfect fit
for the language.)


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