[Spellyans] KK ha'n SWF - pronunciation - re DG

Harry Fraiser harryfraiser at googlemail.com
Sat Aug 9 14:58:13 IST 2008

It's a scandal that his pronunciation hasn't been declared standard.
Clearly, reports of the language's death have been greatly


On 8/9/08, Craig Weatherhill <weatherhill at freenet.co.uk> wrote:
> Yes, I have certainly heard Dick speak in Cornish spontaneously and on
> many occasions, too.  I don't think that there is anyone alive who has
> spoken Cornish for as long as he has and, most certainly, his
> pronunciation contains not a drop of Received English (as I have heard
> from all too many Cornish users).  This is Cornish pure and simple, and
> it accords with Lhuyd's detailed description of the pronunciation of
> native Cornish (which is the only reliable account we have - beyond
> that, everything is pure conjecture).
> Craig
> Penny Squire wrote:
>> Many thanks, Jan, for bringing this to our attention. I have only
>> listened to it once through, but when I have time I will study it
>> properly and make some notes on his pronunciation.
>> Yes, Craig, Dick Gendall certainly gallops through the story in fine
>> style - he is a natural storyteller, and he tells it in a very lively
>> fashion.
>> Having said that, even from a single viewing it is obvious that he has
>> learned the story by heart - few people could read a piece, cold, at
>> that speeed in their first language . So, in itself, it can't indicate
>> anything about his abilites in spontaneous speech. I'm not knocking
>> him, but it is a fact.
>> When my brother was at school his class learned the Chinese national
>> anthem by heart and sang it at the school concert, and as they ended
>> it an enormous Communist flag rolled down behind them as a backdrop.
>> (They did it to wind up the Head, who was known to be a member of the
>> Conservative Party!) They had got one of the staff at the local
>> Chinese restaurant to record it, and they all got it off by heart and
>> it sounded totally convincing especially as none of the audience spoke
>> Chinese. But - none of those who sang could speak a word of
>> conversational Chinese.
>> As I say, I'm not at all knocking Dick Gendall, and I haven't heard
>> him speak spontaneously and you have, but comparing recordings of very
>> well rehearsed tours de force with cold readings and spontaneous
>> conversation has limited value for the purpose of comparison and can
>> be totally misleading.
>> Thinking in Cornish: I've seen plenty of people do this at the
>> Kowethas events I've attended - it is impossible to be fluent if you
>> can't, but again, if we are arguing about pronunciation, it tells us
>> nothing.  One can be fluent in a language and still have poor
>> pronunciation.
>> Penny
>> From: Craig Weatherhill <weatherhill at freenet.co.uk>
>> I never knew that was on Youtube.  If anyone was ever in any doubt the
>> most fluent speaker of Cornish alive today is Dick Gendall, then this
>> must surely convince you.  He's in his 80s now, but he started to learn
>> the language when he was 4.  This man can THINK in Cornish.  I have
>> seen him do this in front of an audience with not a scrap of paper in
>> front of him.  For me, at least, THIS is Cornish as it should be
>> spoken.  Remember the descriptions of the spoken Cornish from years when
>> it was still a community vernacular.
>> "Lively and manly spoken" - William Scawen (c. 1680)
>> "Spoken rapidly" - Don Antonio Ortes (1600) [coming from a Spaniard,
>> that must be taken seriously!]
>> This clip shows extremely well what these two gentlemen were
>> describing.  Now, compare this to the KK speakers on the Youtube menu.
>> (Well, you can't.  There's no comparison whatsoever).
>> Craig
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