[Spellyans] New member introduction

Craig Weatherhill craig at agantavas.org
Mon Dec 8 21:34:08 GMT 2008

A Tobmas wheg,

Wolcum y'n bagas Spellyans, sos!


On 8 Kev 2008, at 20:55, Thomas Leigh wrote:

> Lowena dhewgh!
> My name is Thomas Leigh. Several list members already know me. I'm  
> American, raised in the Boston suburbs, currently living near  
> Hartford, Connecticut (roughly halfway between Boston and New York  
> City). I have a longstanding passion for languages in general,  
> dating back to my youth, and a deep interest in Celtic languages  
> (and a few others) in particular. I have an MA with Honours in  
> Gaelic Studies from the University of Aberdeen (1998). I speak  
> Scottish Gaelic fairly fluently (though it gets ever rustier due to  
> lack of opportunities for use on this side of the pond), a fair bit  
> of Manx, and some Cornish. I've got a decent passive knowledge of  
> Irish and read it with a dictionary, though I have a hard time  
> actually producing it.
> I think I first discovered Cornish in the Aberdeen University  
> library, where there were several books on the language, including  
> Jenner's Handbook and Ken George's PSRC. While at home during one of  
> the summer holidays I found "Holyewgh an Lergh" and Caradar's  
> "Cornish Simplified" in the local foreign-language bookshop, though  
> of course I knew nothing of UC versus KK at the time, and was  
> confused by the different spellings. I also later on got hold of the  
> KDL lessons for grades 1-3, and passed the first grade exam back in  
> 1999 or 2000. I believe it was the summer of 1997, when I was about  
> to enter my final year in Aberdeen, that I met and became friends  
> with Ben Bruch, who is the only real Cornish teacher I've had. I  
> ended up studying mostly KK, since that was the variety of Cornish  
> that Ben used, and also the variety that the majority of  
> publications seemed to be written in — practical rather than  
> ideological reasons, in other words. I've since ended up with a  
> decent passive knowledge of Cornish — I read KK, UC and UCR with a  
> dictionary — but my active knowledge is much poorer, to my  
> embarrassment (if you think finding opportunities to speak Gaelic in  
> North America is hard, try finding opportunities to speak Cornish!)
> I've been to Cornwall twice, once in 2000 for my honeymoon, and  
> again in 2002 with Ben for the Pennseythun in St. Austell. It was  
> there that I discovered that my (and Ben's) very textbook KK  
> pronunciation was vastly different from how every Cornish person  
> there spoke, which caused me quite a bit of anxiety for a long time  
> afterwards (should I try to speak like folk in Cornwall do, which  
> was wrong from the prescriptive KK standpoint, or should I continue  
> to speak "proper" KK and not sound like anyone in Cornwall?).
> I first heard Late Cornish four or five years ago, thanks to Dan  
> Prohaska, whom I met (so to speak) in some of the online Cornish  
> forums and who very generously took the time to send me scans of the  
> first 40 or 50 pages of Richard Gendall's "An Curnoack Hethow" (sp?)  
> along with copies of the cassette recordings, and I was instantly  
> smitten. Listening to Gendall and Dan speaking Cornish was quite a  
> revelation for me, and I've since been trying to learn as much as I  
> can about Late Cornish — I managed to procure copies of two of  
> Gendall's more recent books ("Tavaz A Ragadazow" and "Practical  
> Modern Cornish 1"), and I discovered that orthographic vagaries  
> aside (though I rather like the look of Gendall's earlier  
> orthographies, perhaps because they remind me a lot of Manx, which  
> is probably my favourite language in the world) Late Cornish is  
> really not at all so very different from Middle Cornish. I'm having  
> some trouble trying to adjust my speech, though — some MC  
> phonological features, such as front rounded vowels, are so  
> ingrained in my pronunciation habits that I can't seem to get rid of  
> them. I suspect I'll end up being completely  
> "inauthentic" (eccentric?) and using front rounded vowels,  
> preocclusion, and third person plural conjugated prepositions in -ans.
> As far as this list goes, I'm more interested in questions of usage  
> and style than in amending the SWF, though I want to remain current  
> with your (plural) work as one of my long-term goals in Cornish is  
> to help produce (write, translate, proofread, etc.) books in Cornish  
> and for that I shall have to know both the SWF as-is and SWF revised/ 
> KS, depending on who is putting them out! So I will likely end up  
> reading more than participating, but I'm sure I'll have questions  
> from time to time.
> Gans oll ow holon vy,
> Thomas / Tobmas
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Craig Weatherhill

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