[Spellyans] SWF vowel inconsistencies

Christian Semmens christian.semmens at gmail.com
Wed Jul 2 09:59:56 IST 2008

This is a particular bugbear of mine. The audio resources (living
people or recordings) for language learning are (IMHO) the MOST vital
piece of the puzzle and in the case of Cornish are, more often than
not wholly inadequate. You only have to hear poor Graham Sandercock
gargling his way through the "Holywgh an Lergh" tapes to hear what I
mean - and he actually seems to have a Cornish accent (I've never
heard him speak anywhere else though).

We NEED good examples of well spoken Cornish and I am with Craig on
this matter, West Penwith gives you the best guide. I was never
particularly impressed by the rather disparaging tone taken by
supporters of some other orthographies to the West Penwith accent. It
seems some people have the attitude that its the way bumpkins talk and
rather look down on it.

For distance learners and people well away from Cornwall I cannot
believe they have a hope of even coming close to reasonable spoken
Cornish without access to a good teacher or at the barest minimum good
audio recordings. Thinking back to my school days when learning
French, my first teacher was English. My second teacher, on the other
hand was French, and I had no idea what she was saying for weeks.

We need examples of conversations, more than the simple "Good morning
Mr Angwin" type basic interchanges although they have their place. We
need more examples like Dan's wonderful JCH recording. I have heard
one KK teacher speaking 'Cornish' with impeccable English RP vowels -
makes my hair stand on end!


2008/7/2 Ken MacKinnon <kenmackinnon at enterprise.net>:
> Yes - that is my problem too.  I attempted fourth grade exams two or three
> years ago - but came a cropper (inter alia) with the pronunciation in the
> oral test.  So that is where I am stuck at present.   With the current
> developments I do not see any way forward at present.
> I do not propose to re-run my experience learning Gaelic ( as a teenager
> some sixty years ago in circumstances beyond reavch of any native speakers)
> having learned the language from books - I had effectively to re-learn it
> when I came in contact with actual native speakers whom I could not
> understand and who could not understand me.
> This is a real problem and it needs to be addressed.
> - an Ken ken
> (Prof) Ken MacKinnon,
> Ivy Cottage, Ferintosh,
> The Black Isle, by Dingwall,
> Ross-shire  IV7 8HX
> Tel: 01349 - 863460
> E-mail: kenmackinnon at enterprise.net
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "John Sheridan" <john_s_sheridan at yahoo.com>
> To: "Standard Cornish discussion list" <spellyans at kernowek.net>
> Sent: Wednesday, July 02, 2008 1:16 AM
> Subject: Re: [Spellyans] SWF vowel inconsistencies
>> --- 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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