[Spellyans] KK ha'n SWF - pronunciation

Michael Everson everson at evertype.com
Sat Aug 9 14:05:51 IST 2008

On 9 Aug 2008, at 13:42, Penny Squire wrote:

> I think that we will have to agree to differ on this, Nicholas. To  
> my ear there are distinct differences between the pronunciation of   
> Ken George and KK users and that of the UC users that I have heard.

I am a trained phonologist and I can tell you that Ken George speaks  
Unified Cornish. None of the major features of KK phonology (and "eu"  
is not one of the major features) are present in his speech.

> As for half length and long consonants - I can hear the difference  
> between the length of consonants (and the vowels) in <pel> and  
> <pell>, <del> and <dell> <mel> and <mell> and so on in KK users'  
> speech, but it's very hit and miss with the  UC users I have heard.

I don't believe that you do hear the difference between the length of  
consonants in KK users' speech. It's certainly not a feature of Ken  
George's speech.

In phonetic representation, I would write all of the words you have  
written above as [peːl pɛl deːl dɛl
meːl mɛl]. An approximation in English would be "pale pell dale dell  
male mell". We have long vowels and short vowels here. We do not have  
long consonants. I have mentioned before that I speak some Estonian.  
They have three lengths of consonants and vowels, and nothing like  
that occurs in Revived Cornish. Ken George posited a system of  
phonology which he thought *ought* to have been the system in the  
earliest Middle Cornish (I doubt it) and which he though *ought* to be  
the way people learn to pronounce Cornish. The fact that he himself  
fails to do so is bad enough, but after twenty years we still do not  
hear geminate consonants in the speech of Revivalists, KK or otherwise.

> I'll have to think about and listen out for the half-length vowels  
> (or lack of them!) in speech.

You won't find them. The phonology of English has always affected the  
phonology of Cornish, and in Revived Cornish we find no different.

Please note that the AHG *rejected* an orthography based on George's  
model of gemination and half-length, because they recognized to to be  
a *fiction*. You'll hear other descriptions. You'll hear that the SWF  
is based on KK. It isn't. It's based on the model of consonant and  
vowel length we described in KS. The SWF Main form looks a bit like KK  
because of a number of unhistorical graphs.

> It would really be helpful to the discussions on Spellyans if  
> yourself and Michael were to record some Middle Cornish for us so  
> that we can hear what you believe it should sound like.

For the present I have other things to do, like continue working out  
the changes which need to be made for us to have an orthography that  
doesn't leak as the SWF does.

Michael Everson * http://www.evertype.com

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