[Spellyans] SWF vowel inconsistencies

nicholas williams njawilliams at gmail.com
Wed Jul 2 10:34:58 IST 2008

Not having native speakers to imitate is *the* problem. It was  
actually why I abandoned
Cornish between ca 1969 and 1987 and learnt Irish instead.
There is really no way round the difficulty. Revived Cornish even when  
sounds like English in both phonemic inventory and intonation.
The problem is exacerbated by the inevitable tendency to sound- 
Matthew Clarke and Bernard Deacon though using varying dialects both  
pronounce yw/ew
as ju: rather than i:w. Ken George, is a fluent but very anglicised  
speaker of Unified: he also says ju:. He
moreover pronounces den as [dein] and le as [lei]. He certainly does  
not pronounce my a grys
with a long open i, but rather with a long closed i. But because he is  
the actual realisation is as in Modern English [Ii] where the nucleus  
is lower than the
latter part of the vowel.

The best Cornish I have ever heard was Neil Kennedy's before he left  
for Brittany and
Dan's JCH. Dan has the great advantages
of being 1. a trained linguist; 2. a professional actor.

Perhaps Dan should be employed to produce learners' materials.

At least we won't have Christian's problem of inability to understand  
native speakers
since there are no native speakers.


On 2 Jul 2008, at 09:59, Christian Semmens wrote:

> 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!
> Christian
> 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
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> Spellyans mailing list
>>> Spellyans at kernowek.net
>>> http://kernowek.net/mailman/listinfo/spellyans_kernowek.net
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