[Spellyans] Problems in revived Cornish

Craig Weatherhill craig at agantavas.org
Wed Nov 1 12:35:21 GMT 2017

Even Ollie Padel criticised KK back in 1988 when he wrote that it: "removes itself undesirably far from the spellings of the Middle Cornish texts".

KK was the worst thing that could have happened to Cornish and it set us back by decades.  I can understand why Ken took on that exercise, but he went much too far.  So now it contaminates SWF ("Main" Form) with the universal and very Germanic-looking K, the absurd Hw, and equally absurd Kw.

We all knew that Nance's Unified had its faults but, overall it was not that bad, and was the best he could do with the material he had (major works like Tregear and BK had yet to be discovered).  All that was needed was tweaking in accordance with expended textual material, which Nicholas did very well with UCR.  But maybe the core date was too early for use as a modern language,  KS1, which shifted that core date to 1611, was - in my opinion - the best orthography for Cornish yet devised, and so very like Jenner.  Again, in my view, KS2 has gone too far, with things like differentiation between <yn> and <in>, but it also had the distinct disadvantage of the need to remain close to the SWF agreements (many of which were stupidly undone at the review, while other agreements have been broken).  Personally, I don't think that SWF has a future.  After all, how many people actually use it?  On social media I see KK users still using KK, UC users writing UC, and  even the Late Cornish people have revised their preference to approximate SWF Late but without actually conforming to it.

But we ARE trying to construct a language for the 21st century, and languages do change over time.

I know that I have to work with SWF Main Form with the Signage Panel, which can often be cringeworthy, but in my new place-names book, I've used SWF Traditional, except to retain final -i, which avoids certain problems.  I think I already mentioned the case of Bartinney Hill:  <Bre Tiny> or <Bre Tini>?  I'd far rather work with KS1.

I should say, before I sign off - may Richard Gendall rest in peace.


On 2017 Du 1, at 09:15, Ray Chubb wrote:

> If Tom Trethewey and others wish to know what has gone wrong in at least  one part of the revival over the last 30 years I suggest they read my booklet 'Thoughts on Cornish Today' which is free to download at:  https://www.agantavas.com/thoughts-on-cornish-today/
> It think it is pretty clear that excessive invention in spelling has led to a similar situation in grammar and vocabulary. It's not a position that should be defended, especially on this list.
> Oll an gwella,
> Ray Chubb
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