[Spellyans] Ian Jackson: introduction

iacobianus at googlemail.com iacobianus at googlemail.com
Sun Dec 13 15:49:08 GMT 2015

Dear Spellyans Members,

I have joined the Spellyans list. This email is to introduce myself.

I am 57, and a secondary school teacher of Classics (Latin, Classical Greek, Classical Civilisation). I completed 7 years at Downside School (near Bath) In August 2015, the last five of them spent as Head of Classics. I am now on a self-regulated sabbatical of open-ended duration (but at least until September 2016), to research, to write, and to travel.

I have a masters degree in Classics (Literae Humaniores) from Oxford University, as well as a masters degree in Law from Cambridge University. I was with one of the large international law firms for 21 years (London, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Beijing, Frankfurt), specialising in financial transactions. I speak Esperanto fluently, was president of the World Organisation of Esperanto Youth 1983-1987, and General Secretary of the Universal Esperanto Association 1991-1994. I have translated from English into Esperanto (The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, A Doll’s House, Swallows and Amazons, A Christmas Carol). I speak German, and my children (now adults) were brought up bilingually in German and English. I learnt Welsh as an adolescent; I read straightforward Welsh well enough, and I subscribe to the weekly magazine Golwg. I have designed my own constructed language (‘conlang’) called Yothak: an agglutinating object-verb accusative language, with a fully developed grammar, and a lexicon currently comprising more than three thousand bases.

In July 2015 I began learning Cornish, using Desky Kernowek and the various translations by Nicholas Williams. I should like to achieve an ‘A Level’ standard  equivalent to Kesva’s Grade 4 in Common Cornish by the time of the Penseythen in April; but my ability to speak lags behind the other skills, because of a dearth of Cornish speakers in Oxfordshire, where I am based. As some compensation I have set myself the challenge of translating The Weirdstone of Brisingamen into decent Standard Cornish, and hope that this can be published in due course.

I have heard and read nothing that convinces me of the case for, or the merits of, Common Cornish. In my view the existing translations in Unified Cornish and Standard Cornish attain a higher literary standard than those I have seen in Common Cornish. I am attracted to the continuity with the historical texts and the work of the earlier Revivalists that is offered by Standard Cornish. I believe I understand better than many the limitations of a ‘conlang’ approach to the revival of a language with a long tradition. I am disappointed with the recent review of the Standard Written Form.

I am a member of Agan Tavas; but have also joined the Kowethas to receive An Gannas and other information that comes from them.

I have agreed with Michael Everson to help with the production of a Standard Cornish dictionary. I am therefore very interested in all questions of Cornish spelling (leaving Common Cornish aside). I have already worked to clarify the writing of double consonants in Standard Cornish. I am currently looking closely at the spelling of the adjectival suffix -(y)ak (-ak, -yak, -ek, -yk) in different environments, with the related issues of plural forms and grammatical gender for words built with the suffix that then function as nouns (substantives).

I am particularly grateful to Ray Chubb and Nicholas Williams for their support and encouragement.

I look forward to working with you all!

Best regards,

Ian Jackson
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