Spellyans Watch -- Goelva Spellyans

A new forum dedicated to Kernewek - the Cornish language, Cornish culture and the history of the Duchy of Cornwall
Morvran
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Post by Morvran » Mon Jun 01, 2009 1:40 am


Evertype said:
[quote=morvran]Addendum.

The document outlining the duties of the LWG states that it was to "Work closely with the Commission", and "Respond to requests for information from the Commission".

Reports I had from people who were in the LWG make it quite clear that there were attempts to have productive discussions but that Ken George rebutted all attempts to discuss anything but whatever minor changes to KK he thought would "fix" it. (Evidently if he changes lots of -s to -z that's supposed to make it acceptable to us. :lol: )

The LWG wasn't Linguistic, wasn't a Group, and couldn't do any Work. So it was cancelled.

After the Commission's report at Tremough, one hoped that the AHG would be linguistic, but it was not.[/quote]

It was no part of the LWG's advertised purpose and remit (I have the documents, people wanted me to apply) to discuss anything with itself. It's sole purpose was to provide technical and other information about Cornish and possibly local circumstances etc. to the Commission at their request. If they got a different slant from each LWG member or group of members, then it was up to the Commission, in their wisdom, based on them supposedly being experts on this sort of thing and knowing how these things go, to weigh up those responses for themselves.

It is quite clear from the documents I've quoted that the LWG was to be the Commission's first port of call for clarifying the (no doubt often contradictary) contents of the submissions. And for supplying whatever further information they needed, although again as my quotes show, they were free to call on anyone for assistance.

In the event their only (official) communication with the LWG appears to have been a couple of very general questions. And the communicated officially with no-one else, afaik. So how were they supposed to reach any kind of sensible conclusion, without the promised dialogue? Crystal balls?

The Cornish are not normally easily led, I amazed they fell for this charade.

Also if you know anything about any 'spelling war' anywhere, ever (and there have been quite a few), you'll know that they're always political. If you don't you can hardly be the 'expert' you claim to be.

Morvran
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Post by Morvran » Mon Jun 01, 2009 3:08 am

Just more evidence that I'm not imagining this. From the official minutes of the first LWG meeting.


Session 3 said:

K[en] G[eorge] -- Will the Commission be able to summon individuals to bring further information?

J[enefer] L[owe] -- Yes, of course.




So, all along the impression was given that the Commission were to enter into dialogue with the LWG and the language community generally. They were initially busy looking at the submissions, there were lots, although I'm sure many covered much the same ground -- we shall see if we're ever given access to them. Anyway, as seemed reasonable at the time we were told, "don't call them, they'll call you". So we waited, and waited, and heard nothing, and time dragged on, and on, and on, until finally we had a final report dictated (literally dictated) to us, with no prior discussions, consultations, or even a sight of the thing. It was just, "Here it is, like it or lump it, Trond will stay and sort out the messy bits, you may talk amongst yourselves (for all the good it will do you), thank you and good night)."

I'm still completely staggered that anyone accepted this total stitch-up!

Michael, please tell us all about your experience will other standardisation processes.




edited by: morvran, Jun 01, 2009 - 03:11 AM

Morvran
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Post by Morvran » Wed Jun 03, 2009 10:40 pm

Getting back to watching Spelly ...


Everson said:

Tally:
-ek BM UC UCR KK
-egyon DG
-egeth NK
-egy UCR
-eges UCR
-egesow UCR

-ak BK DG NK
-ogyon NK UC UCR KK
-ogeth DG UC UCR KK
-ogy KK
-ogyl UCR

On balance I suggest the following normalization:

KS -ak, -ogyon, -ogeth, -egy, -ogyl, -oges, -ogesow,
perhennak, perhenogyon
perhenogeth
perhenegy (this suffix seems to be only attested as -egy in the corpus)*
perhenogyans
perhenogyl
perhenoges, perhenogesow (fems. best attested in UCR and mostly -oges)

*cf KK muskok, muskogyon, muskogneth, muskogenn, but muskegi;




Oh my paws and whiskers, and this is the work of an 'expert'?

You don't solve a problem like this by adding up the citations willy-nilly. You need to ask how reliable each text is, does it tend to mistake 'e' and 'o' (probably the commonest reading/copying error in the texts), what are the underlying morphemes and their etymology ... And adding in existing 'reconstructions' is just chasing your own tail. Either the texts are the touchstone or they're not.

As for muskok this clearly doesn't contain the -ek/-ogyon (i.e. |-eug|) formative which is only written with 'o' in Old Cornish which in any case is an open or centralised o, the precursor of MC eu~o~e, a different phoneme from 'normal o'.

Cador
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Post by Cador » Wed Jun 03, 2009 10:47 pm


morvran said:

Oh my paws and whiskers, and this is the work of an 'expert'?

You don't solve a problem like this by adding up the citations willy-nilly. You need to ask how reliable each text is, does it tend to mistake 'e' and 'o' (probably the commonest reading/copying error in the texts), what are the underlying morphemes and their etymology ... And adding in existing 'reconstructions' is just chasing your own tail. Either the texts are the touchstone or they're not.



That is why they obviously have you helping them, because you know better? I believe the citation phase is long done and now it is just a recount of the many suffixes. This is linguistics not the science your degree is about!

Just be happy with the results and not the process.

Cador ;)

truru
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Post by truru » Thu Jun 04, 2009 10:08 am

It's this "work in progress" view of "unfinished" Cornish that is stalling the revival.

Morvran
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Post by Morvran » Thu Jun 04, 2009 1:20 pm

Well you could take the view of Nance's immediate successors, that UC was the last word, set in stone. That would give absolute stability. UC is there, well established, well resourced and well understood, for anyone who wishes to take that line.

The problem is that when errors are found, from looking more carefully at the texts, or when new texts turn up, etc. then the criticism arises that Revived Cornish is a 'made-up language'. The original response to this charge, by UC supporters was, "so what?", basically admitting that Revived Cornish was an independent language from historic Cornish.

Had the revival been more advanced at the time, with say many hundreds of speakers, then that argument might have to have been taken seriously, but in fact the more progressive part of the Revival responded to the "made-up language" criticism by doing more research and improving the reconstruction.

Where will this end, you may well ask? Well most of the main points are now fairly well mapped out and a few details remain to be resolved. But all languages have a certain degree of variation, of latitude, so there's no need for a reconstruction to be 100% exact, indeed that would probably be impossible.

Michael seems intent on making his own arbitrary decisions rather than either accepting Nance's (equally arbitrary) choices, on the one hand, or looking into the history and formation of the words, on the other. ME an NJAW both seem obsessed by the superficial appearance of the texts, which since they're so variable, contain errors etc., means that they're forever going around in circles trying to solve problems of their own making.

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Marhak
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Post by Marhak » Thu Jun 04, 2009 2:17 pm

At least the research and questioning is being done, Keith. Perhaps your people can explain why they didn't do it.

truru
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Post by truru » Thu Jun 04, 2009 2:18 pm

I'm not talking about language reform, which is obviously a part of most world languages. I'm talking about the language itself, the Cornish language itself is unfinished, which is why there is so little enthusiasm from grassroots speakers and after 100 years there are still only 700 speakers.

Welsh: complete
Breton: complete
Manx: complete
Scots Gaelic: complete
Irish: complete
Cornish: incomplete

Now granted that the other languages didn't become extinct so it's harder to revive Cornish, but after 100 years the language still isn't finished, and it's ridiculous.

While the continuing factions are a problem, they're not the sole problem, a lot of Cornish speakers are, to be blunt and border on rudeness, stubborn, short-sighted old fogies, too proud or wrapped up in their own self-interests in advancing their preferred forms to score cheap points against their perceived opponents or for making a name or a legacy for themselves in the language's history so they'll be regarded as the language's saviour after they're dead.

KK is the stubborn mule of the pack and is unwilling to compromise while pushing yet another form onto a saturated field, the SWF has too many different forms, errors, will probably look different in 2013 and has nothing for people to learn it from, KS continues to selfishly push its still-under-construction form on people and is continuing the factionalism that brought the language so much disrepute for so long, and UC, UCR and RLC continue to float around in the background like a lingering smell.

I long for the day that Cornish is as self-confident, stable and comprehensively complete as Welsh is, but I really don't see that happening in this generation. You are all your own worst enemies. Keith accuses the CLP of being a government conspiracy to keep the language and Cornish nationalism as a whole down, but I think you're all doing a fine job of that on your own.




edited by: truru, Jun 04, 2009 - 02:21 PM

Morvran
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Post by Morvran » Thu Jun 04, 2009 5:01 pm

Truru, what would need to happen for Cornish to be "complete"?

Do you mean, "having a single literary standard"?

Such standards are often hard-won. The Welsh spent the greater part of the C19 in spelling wars. A standard was settled around the turn of the last century and was well established by WWI. But, in more recent times that standard has been seen as too rigid, artificial, archaic and 'literary' by many people, and isn't strictly kept to in modern works, not even official notices etc. (I was reading one on a train in Cornwall just the other week). In addition there has been a resurgence of local dialect forms, previously frowned upon, as 'real' Welsh. The trend in teaching learners theres days seems to be to teach the local dialect , more or less. But if you look up two or three on-line Welsh courses you'll often find they use quite different forms for common expressions, verb forms etc. I've seen several people complaining about this, often they're put off.

Standard Irish too is rather an artificial government 'imposed' system attempting to bridge three major dialects, which unlike the Breton and Welsh dialects, no longer merge into one another. Again the trend is to teach actual dialects, so buy two or three books on Irish and the chances are you'll get different versions.

The problem is that it's always the most used bits of a language that change the fastest, so a beginner hits all the differences at the beginning.

Obviously the reasons for the various versions of Revived Cornish are rather different, but the effect on would-be learners is the same. It's not a very good excuse for not learning the language though. I would recommend KK obviously, it's well resourced and apart from making the s/z distinction and maybe respelling the odd word here and there is not likely to change very much. OTOH, if you need absolute stability to give you confidence (and I understand that need) then learn UC which is due to be reviewed for another 930 years, and is also reasonably well resourced.

As for the rest ... :-?

Morvyl
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Post by Morvyl » Thu Jun 04, 2009 8:30 pm

Why this fixation on one complete and invariable Cornish? Cornish has variants. In that it is the same as all other natural languages. Give me a single language, that doesn't have variation, dialectal, lexical, grammatical etc....



edited by: morvyl, Jun 04, 2009 - 08:30 PM

Morvran
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Post by Morvran » Fri Jun 05, 2009 1:59 am

Simply because beginners, on the whole, like the security of knowing "this is right" and "that is wrong". Also I suspect people who set and mark exams. Literary standards, in almost any language, are always somewhat simplified, and even in part 'made-up'. The fashion may well have changed now, but when most adult Cornish beginners went to school they would have been taught standard French, German, Spanish etc., presumably on the unlikely assumption that they would go on to read 'great books' in the language. But at least it defined the task and made examinations possible and reasonably fair. No doubt people expect to learn Cornish in much the same way.

For example, if you set out to learn Welsh say, you'd expect to initially be presented with a fairly 'colourless', acceptable everywhere, version. And having mastered that might go on to study dialect variation, or poetic language, or Middle Welsh, or whatever. But only the most gifted student could take all that on broadside from day one.

Teachers please comment.

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Eddie-C
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Post by Eddie-C » Fri Jun 05, 2009 7:39 am

My experience of teaching Welsh is completely different. The coursebook I used (in Gwynedd) taught 3 versions of Welsh right from the very beginning. The main emphasis was on colloquial Gwynedd Welsh (the 2 main forms), along with a more neutral literary form as well.

There were, apparently, several other similar versions of the course, which covered the other main dialects of the language.

Your simplistic "right/wrong" paradigm is utter rubbish. Students are perfectly capable of handling more nuanced values than that, even at an early age.

As for Truru dreaming up this notion of a 'complete' language, such a thing has never existed for any language on earth. They are all incomplete, and with the sole exception of dead languages, are constantly evolving to meet the changing needs of their speakers.




edited by: Eddie-C, Jun 05, 2009 - 10:22 AM

truru
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Post by truru » Fri Jun 05, 2009 10:14 am

Again, I'm not talking about reform, and I'm not talking about variants, standards, forms, dialects, of course languages have that.

I'm using "complete" in the sense that the language is comprehensive, widely agreed, is past the under-construction phase and has entered the complete-but-being-tweaked-every-50-years phase.

A language that doesn't have people arguing and debating over what individual words should look like, words that have existed for centuries in other languages, I'm not talking about new words that need to be invented when new technology comes along etc, that's understandable, but in Welsh and Breton, hell even in French and English, although are dialects and different forms (again that's not what I'm talking about for those who still think so) the words and the spelling are constant, stable, not likely to have significant change, agreed upon, accepted, not questioned, the people who use the language are secure about using it, they know it will definitly look the same in 50 years, save for perhaps a minor reform, there's no *significant* section of the speakers going off on their own and inventing "French 2.0" because they don't like the look of today's French

Can you honestly say the same about Cornish?

The argument that "well it's bound to be like that because Cornish died out" is rubbish, because a) you've had over 100 years, and b) you created an SWF but there are still people going off on their own tangent



edited by: truru, Jun 05, 2009 - 10:16 AM

Kio
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Post by Kio » Fri Jun 05, 2009 11:43 am


Your simplistic "right/wrong" paradigm is utter rubbish. Students are perfectly capable of handling more nuanced values than that, even at an early age.


Maybe true for some students, and also Welsh is a living language,with a variety of natural dialects,Cornish being a revived language, and from what I can gather the variants are not dialectical but differences in spelling and style, LC can be considered an exception, I tried to study Middle Cornish and LC at the same time, and got totally muddled sometimes, many courses of other languages I have looked at, especially conversational courses, will have the main official standard in the body with variances as an appendix, with guides for further study in that area.
With Welsh at least one can go to the various regions of Wales where dialects are spoken and study with the locals, that is not possible with Cornish.
Let's be honest someone who is going to study Cornish is going to be put off by five different varieties ,for a language that has only a relative few speakers.
So answering a
simplistic "right/wrong" paradigm

with an equally simplistic response, ie "utter rubbish" does not advance the debate.

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