Feb 03

Evertype is pleased to announce the reprinting of Form and Content in Revived Cornish with articles by Michael Everson, Craig Weatherhill, Ray Chubb, Bernard Deacon, and Nicholas Williams.

Kernowek Kemyn, a form of spelling currently promoted by the Cornish Language Board, has been subject to sustained criticism for nearly two decades since its inception. The form and content of the Cornish Language Board’s publications continue to invite criticism and have inspired this volume. The essays begin with Michael Everson’s review of recent Cornish Language Board typography, includ ing the second edition of Ken George’s Gerlyver Kres, the New Testament in Kernowek Kemyn, George’s Gerlyvrik, and the recent and controversial “preliminary edition” called in Kernowek Kemyn “Bywnans Ke”. This is followed by a reprint of Everson’s review of the first edition of George’s Gerlyver Kres, since reference is made to it in the first article. Craig Weatherhill, one of Cornwall’s foremost experts on place-names, provides the next two articles, both reviews of Cornish Language Board publications, Place-Names in Cornwall and The Formation of Cornish Place-Names. Ray Chubb and Craig Weatherhill collaborated on a short paper in which they provide an analysis of the similarity of Revived Cornish orthographic forms to traditional spellings of Cornish place-names. Bernard Deacon provides two insightful articles, the first on the values expressed in Kernowek Kemyn rhetoric, and the second on the aims and methods of the Cornish Language Board. Finally, Nicholas Williams reviews An Testament Nowydh edited by Keith Syed and published by the Cornish Language Board. First published on 2007-01-09.

Feb 03

Evertype is pleased to announce the reprinting of Towards Authentic Cornish by Nicholas Williams.

Towards Authentic Cornish is in the first place a rebuttal of the defence of Kernowek Kemyn attempted by Paul Dunbar and Ken George in Kernewek Kemmyn: Cornish for the Twenty-First Century. In the present work, Professor Williams demonstrates with examples from the Cornish texts just how unconvincing is George’s defence of Kernowek Kemyn. The latter portions of the book offer a detailed critique of George’s Gerlyver Kernewek Kemmyn and of Wella Brown’s Grammar of Modern Cornish. First published on 2006-11-30.

Feb 03

Evertype is pleased to announce the reprinting of Writings on Revived Cornish by Nicholas Williams.

This book brings together in one convenient volume eight articles by Professor Nicholas Williams on the Cornish Revival. They range from his “A Problem in Cornish Phonology” (1990) in which he shows that the “phonemes” /dj/ and /tj/ of Kernowek Kemyn were unwarranted, to his review “‘A Modern and Scholarly Cornish-English Dictionary’: a Review of Ken George’s Gerlyver Kernewek Kemmyn” of 2001 in which he demonstrates how at least 370 entries in George’s dictionary are mistaken. Writings on Revived Cornish concludes with a short note on George’s inconsistent lexicographical practice with respect to geographical names, a discussion of the implications for the revived language of the recently-discovered play Bewnans Ke and the text of a lecture on Unified Cornish Revised given by Professor Williams in September 2006. First published on 2006-10-30.

Feb 03

Evertype is pleased to announce the reprinting of the third edition of Cornish Today by Nicholas Williams.

The publication of Cornish Today by Kernewek dre Lyther in 1995 was a landmark event in the Cornish Revival. In that book, Professor Williams offered the first professional analysis of the various systems of Cornish in use, and also outlined his suggested emendations for Unified Cornish. The present revised edition makes this most important work available to those who may have missed the earlier editions. First published on 2006-09-30.

Oct 13

Evertype is pleased to announce the publication of Gladys in Grammarland and Alice in Grammarland, two educational tales inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass.

Gladys in Grammarland
The two tales in this book are not related to one another, though both are responses to Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland, and both are somewhat didactic in nature.

Audrey Mayhew Allen was born in 1870, and so was about 27 years of age when she wrote Gladys in Grammarland. In this story, Gladys becomes sleepy after class and finds that a Verb Fairy has taken an interest in her education.

Louise Franklin Bache wrote several plays for the Junior Red Cross News, and later published a book Health Education in an American City. The charming Alice in Grammarland was written as a play for “Better Speech Week”, 5–8 November 1923, and “American Education Week”, 18–24 November 1923, and was published in Junior Red Cross News in that month and year. In it, Carroll’s Alice returns to meet her old friends the Hatter and the White Rabbit, together with the King and Queen of Grammarland.

ALICE: Curious! Curiouser! Curiousest! [Scrambling to feet.] No, that is all wrong, Dinah. I mean, curious, more curious, most curious. That is the most curious sight I have ever seen!

RABBIT [rushes back and forth across stage]: The Queen, the Queen! Oh, my dear paws! Oh, my fur and whiskers! She’ll have me executed as sure as cats are cats.

ALICE: [intercepts RABBIT]: I heard you mention a Queen. I’d give anything in the world to see a real Queen.

RABBIT [stops; looks ALICE over; spies cat, shudders; hurries off; speaks over shoulder]: Your language is wantonly extravagant. However, for your benefit I will say that no one who carries a carnivorous, domesticated quadruped is permitted to gaze at my Queen.

ALICE [rushes after RABBIT; grabs sleeve]: You use such long words I am not sure that I know what you mean. If you are by any chance speaking of my cat, I can assure you she will not mind being left at home.

RABBIT [struggling to free himself]: I speak English. If you cannot apprehend the meaning of my words, whose fault is it? [Exit RABBIT.]

Jul 23

The International Phonetic Alphabet is based on the Latin alphabet A-Z, with a lot of extensions. There are extensions like “Latin script a” ɑ, like “Latin epsilon” ɛ, like “Latin gamma” ɣ, like “Latin eng” ŋ, like “Latin phi” ɸ, and so on. Notice the following:

  • Latin ɛ is fairly similar to Greek ε, though its capital is Ɛ and the Greek’s is Ε.
  • Latin ɣ is rather different to to Greek γ being symmetrical with a loop; its capital is Ɣ and the Greek’s is Γ.
  • Latin ɸ is distinctly different from Greek φ, having strong serifs in its ascender and descender; it has no capital and the Greek’s capital is Φ.

And this is fine. These Latin letters were “disunified” from Greek a long time ago, and the UCS contains all of them as uniquely encoded characters. Three letters, however, were not disunified, and are problematic.


Now the first and third of these do have non-Greek shapes, just as Latin phi does. Here’s an example from Daniel Jones’ Outline of English Phonetics (1932)—click on the image to see it larger if you like:
Latin beta from Jones 1932

Now, the serifs on that beta’s descender are very atypical indeed in Greek typography. Moreover, the fact that the letter is unified with Greek can cause some troubles in sorting multilingual data, since oin a typical English or German or French sort (for instance) the Latin alphabet sorts first, then the Greek alphabet, then the Cyrillic, and then others. In practice this means that β does not sort after b (where one might expect it), but after z.

The IPA chi can also differ from the typical Greek chi. In the 1949 Handbook of the IPA, the serifs on the letter are on the top-right to bottom-left branch of the x; the other branch is curved.
Latin beta from Jones 1932
A point to remember is that the intent of the IPA chi was originally not that it was unified with Greek chi, but rather that it was different:

The non-roman letters of the International Phonetic Alphabet have been designed as far as possible to harmonise well with the roman letters. The Association does not recognise makeshift letters; it recognises only letters which have been carefully cut so as to be in harmony with the other letters, For instance, the Greek letters included in the International Phonetic Alphabet are cut in roman adaptations.

Let’s compare capital and small Latin Xx, Greek Χχ, and that IPA chi. Now it’s possible that because Greek fonts have been in use for a good while that some people might prefer a greekish glyph to a latinish glyph. Nevertheless, take note of the weight of that older IPA chi, and compare it to the “stretched x” shape.
Exes and chis
But in fact there’s another reason to encode a Latin chi. Lepsius made use of it in his transcription of Chukchi, and there its capital is entirely different from the capital used in Greek. Now, there is precedent for just this kind of thing being a reason to disunify: Cyrillic Ԛ and ԛ (used in Kurdish) were disunified from Latin Q and q because the capital Cyrillic one sometimes looks like an oversized small one.
Latin beta from Jones 1932
So, what it looks like is that we have the following—Latin x, Greek chi, and Latin chi (both greekish and latinish glyphs are shown):
Exes and chis
Let’s assume that LATIN LETTER CHI and LATIN LETTER BETA get encoded (leaving aside the question of THETA for now). Now the big question for the IPA is, what should be done when they are? The current recommendation is “use GREEK LETTER CHI”, but of course there’s no alternative. When there is… well, I for one would prefer a Latin letter that sorts between x and y, rather than a Greek letter that sorts between φ and ψ.

There is certainly data out there using the Greek letters β and χ and θ. Of course, there is also data out there using non-Unicode fonts, or SAMPA, or other things. In my opinion, the right thing to do is bite the bullet, get Latin beta, chi, and theta encoded, and get the recommediations promulgated through fonts and keyboard drivers. But I do not know what the view of the International Phonetic Association might be.

Here is an example of some functionality related to this. I created a number of folders named “a_la”, where the “_” is replaced by various letters.

Sorting folders
It’s easy to see that in the Mac OS, Latin letters sort before Greek. Thorn þ sorts correctly after z. Eth ð after d. IPA ɡ after g, followed by IPA gamma ɣ. Small capital ɪ and Latin iota ɩ follow i, as expected. Then, after þ, we see that the Greek alphabet appears in its correct order. But I am sure that I want IPA beta to sort after b, not after þ, and likewise IPA chi after x. I am torn between wanting IPA theta to sort after t or after þ, but probably the former. Anyway, I want a disunification of these three IPA letters from Greek.

Dec 03

While it would be nice if fortune went more hand-in-hand with fame, fame sometimes brings one a nice surprise. I often get inquiries from people looking into languages and writing systems, and sometimes those queries are really very interesting. Last night, I received a very nice request from a charming person from West Virginia whose initials are V.E.L., who was born in 1927ː

Good evening to you, sir. This may sound very stupid to you but I’m willing to take that chance to ask you a question; I’m 80 years old and, as a young kid, I remember my Mother telling me and my siblings that she could count to 20 in Cherokee. We, of course, memorized that stuff and still have most of it stored in the old noggin. It went like this; teen, tain, tether, fether, fimps, matha, latha, catha, doublo, beaudix, teendix, taindix, tetherdix, fetherdix, bumpus, teenbump, tainbump, tetherbump, fetherbump, jenkus. (1 to 20)

It turns out that the numbers one to ten in Cherokee really don’t have anything to do with the list which V.E.L. gave.

1 sa’wu
2 ta’li’
3 tsoː’i’
4 nvgi’
5 hiːsgi’
6 su’dali’
7 galoquoː’gi’
8 tsuneːla’
9 so’neːla’
10 sgo’hi’

So it’s not Cherokee.

Is there any possibility that there was any merit at all in this, or was she simply kidding with us? I have been under the impression that dix was possibly French for 10 and that, coupled with teen for 11, makes a little bit of sense to me. The spelling is just my idea of how the words sounded and I am not a linguist at all. If you can find time to respond, it will greatly appreciated.

I think there’s a good chance it’s Welsh. At least some of it is. It’s five and the shift after fifteen that clinch it for me.

W.Va. IPA Welsh IPA
1 teen tiːn un iːn
2 tain tɑɪn dau dɑɪ
3 tether ˈtɛðər tri triː
4 fether ˈfɛðər pedwar ˈpɛdwɑr
5 fimps fɪmps pemp pɛmp
6 matha ˈmɑθə chwech xwɛx
7 latha ˈlɑθə saith sɑɪθ
8 catha ˈkɑθə wyth wɪθ
9 doublo ˈduːblo naw nɑʊ
10 beaudix ˈboːdɪks deg deg
11 teendix ˈtiːndɪks un ar ddeg iːn ɑr ðeg
12 taindix ˈtɑɪndɪks deuddeg deɪðeg
13 tetherdix ˈtɛðərdɪks tri ar ddeg triː ɑr ðeg
14 fetherdix ˈfɛðərdɪks pedwar ar ddeg ˈpɛdwɑr ɑr ðeg
15 bumpus ˈbʌmpəs pymtheg ˈpɪmθeg
16 teenbump ˈtiːnbʌmp un ar bymtheg iːn ɑr ˈbɪmθeg
17 tainbump ˈtɑɪnbʌmp dau ar bymtheg dɑɪ ɑr ˈbɪmθeg
18 tetherbump ˈtɛðərbʌmp deunaw ˈdeɪnɑʊ
19 fetherbump ˈfɛðərbʌmp pedwar ar bymtheg ˈpɛdwɑr ɑr ˈbɪmθeg
20 jenkus ˈdʒɛŋkəs ugain ˈigɑɪn
preload preload preload