[Spellyans] SWF vowel inconsistencies

Craig Weatherhill weatherhill at freenet.co.uk
Wed Jul 2 07:28:12 IST 2008


No, not a heavy SW UK accent, which is clearly English in origin, but 
the vowel sounds and intonation used by older people in West Penwith 
where the language was spoken longest.  The likes of Wakelin and George 
might disagree with me but I would ask them where they imagine those 
unique vowel sounds come from as there are not, and never have been, 
parallels in English.

Sadly, the number of people who still speak that way is diminishing at 
an alarming rate.  However, several of them were recorded on tape, 
especially by Chris Blount (and I must get hold of him to see if he 
still has these in stock).  He had a marvellous tape of locals in The 
Radjel Inn, Pendeen, recorded back in the 70s: Willie Warren the 
landlord, Jack Strick and others, all no longer with us.  Willie died, 
aged 80+, in the room over the bar - which is exactly where he was 
born.  I remember that tape - I used to have a copy but have no idea 
what happened to it - and the conversation was fascinating.  Certain 
words in a sentence would be fired out like bullets (at times it almost 
sounded like the old men were arguing but they weren't.  The speech was 
heavily emphatic, "lively and manly spoken", exactly as William Scawen 
described c. 1680).  And those wonderful vowel sounds.

Craig


John Sheridan wrote:
> --- On Tue, 7/1/08, nicholas williams <njawilliams at gmail.com> wrote:
>
>   
>> I don't understand what you mean by this remark.
>> It's not most KK speakers, it's all KK speakers
>> (except Ben Bruch who  
>> now doesn't believe KK anyway). 
>>     
>
> Well, and Ben's students, e.g. me.  
>
> Although I've wondered often if, in order to pronounce revived Cornish properly, I need to overlay it with a heavy southwestern UK accent.  That is not meant to be a criticism in any way, but a legitimate question.  If the current Cornish language community uses the inventory of vowels and consonants from their native English dialect when pronouncing Cornish, doesn't that amount to those sounds being the inventory of sounds in contemporary Cornish, and shouldn't I emulate that?  If, rather, I try to pronounce it as laid out in some book whether by Ken George or by you, Professor Williams, or anyone else, can I be said to be pronouncing it properly?
>
> Yn lel,
> -John Sheridan
>
>
>       
>
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