[Spellyans] SWF vowel inconsistencies

Ken MacKinnon kenmackinnon at enterprise.net
Wed Jul 2 13:05:33 IST 2008

There was a very ingenious thesis on this by Seamas O Coileain BPhil at Univ 
of East London abouit 12 years ago.  Well worth chasing up.
Cordial regards:

Ken  MacKinnon

(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: "Christian Semmens" <christian.semmens at gmail.com>
To: "Standard Cornish discussion list" <spellyans at kernowek.net>
Sent: Wednesday, July 02, 2008 11:15 AM
Subject: Re: [Spellyans] SWF vowel inconsistencies

> >From Terry's introduction:
> "I am still  searching for answers about what the phonology of Cornish
> was and what the best way is to represent it to make it as inclusive
> of all periods as well as easy to learn."
> His question:
> "Could you tell me what you believe were the vowels of pre-prosodic
> shift Cornish?"
> I think he was simply asking if anyone had any thoughts other than KG
> as to these sounds. I suspect he got the hump because he felt his
> question was being dismissed in quite an abrupt way, when all he was
> asking was if anyone knew the answer to his question.
> Nicholas' reply could be interpreted as dissmissive:
> "Why should we consider pre-shift Cornish? We're not trying to revive
> Old Cornish, are we?"
> and your reply could be interpreted as sarcastic:
> 'Why? Do you think anyone says "I want to learn Cornish but only that
> Cornish spoken before the Prosodic Shift"?'
> Not to suggest that the quotes above were intended to be dismissive or
> sarcastic, merely that they could be interpreted as such.
> My interpretation is that his reasons for departing this list are as
> simple as that.
> It is *very* easy for the wrong tone to be implied in emails. Their
> immediacy and conversational nature can lead to this kind of position.
> It can be all too easy to come across as sarcastic, patronising or
> impatient. Without facial expressions or tone of voice to colour the
> meaning of the written words, it is often the more severe
> interpretation that is taken when reading others comments.
> Christian
> 2008/7/2 Michael Everson <everson at evertype.com>:
>> .... and since Terry has quit the list, I'd like to ask if anyone
>> thinks what I'd said is out of line:
>> At 23:11 +0100 2008-07-01, Michael Everson wrote:
>>>At 13:44 -0600 2008-07-01, Terry Corbett wrote:
>>>>Could you tell me what you believe were the vowels of pre-prosodic
>>>>shift Cornish?
>>>Why? Do you think anyone says "I want to learn Cornish but only that
>>>Cornish spoken before the Prosodic Shift"?
>> I asked that because it really vexes me. I can understand people
>> saying "I don't prefer to pre-occlude". I can understand people
>> saying "I prefer saying [di:D] rather than [de:D]. I do not, however,
>> believe that people are really saying "I want to speak Cornish that
>> distinguishes [I:] and [i:] and [e:] phonemically."
>> In the first place, that system is linguistically unstable. In
>> Cornish as we have seen words which might have had [I:] in terms of a
>> reconstruction of an original and different vowel have ended up as
>> [e:] in RLC (and in LC as recorded by Lhuyd) and as [i:] in RMC (as
>> recommended by Jenner and Nance). Where KK writes <dydh> and <bys>
>> and recommends [dI:D] and [bI:z], its learners almost invariably end
>> up saying [dID] and [bIz] -- with the wrong vowel length.
>> KS cannot recommend the wrong vowel length: either [di:D]~[de:D] or
>> [bi:z]~[be:z] is preferable (and more authentic) than *[dID] and
>> *[bIz]. Note that Ken George himself has no [I:] in these words when
>> he speaks Cornish.
>> (It worries me greatly that drafts of Dan's dictionaries perpetuate
>> the fiction of [I:]. But I've said it to him and it's his dictionary.)
>>>>Obviously most KK speakers fail to acquire recommended KK
>>>>pronunciation, but not including this "aspirational" pronunciation
>>>>in the SWF is probably politically impractical if you want to get
>>>>the SWF to accept diacritics.
>>>What I want is a coherent and accurate orthography that we can use
>>>to publish with. Whether it gets adopted at some time by the CLP is
>>>not my primary goal. My primary goal is to get books published so
>>>people can read them.
>> My point here is that I have no influence over the CLP. Nicholas and
>> I were kept out of it; I doubt that the discussion documents we wrote
>> were discussed at enough length for the AHG to have understood them.
>> (Really: there is nothing wrong with <ai> and <au> for the dozen
>> words affected, yet this was not considered, and now we have,
>> evidently, either Awstrya or Ostrya.) I think that the Arbitrator had
>> made some decisions and wanted to stick with them -- Nicholas and I
>> called for a meeting of linguists, and Jenefer said that Trond could
>> call one if he wanted to, but no meeting was called. Nicholas and I
>> were prevented from making a case before the AHG, and also, really,
>> before the Arbitrator and his two assistants.
>> So am I worried whether KS will be "politically acceptable" in five
>> years' time? No. I'd like to see many excellent publications in KS
>> out there. I'd like to see what the book-buying public has to say. I
>> suspect our books will be popular and influential.
>>>KS will not support "aspirational" phonology. I can't see how it could.
>> And I mean that. How can it? It is challenging enough to ensure that
>> the *real* dialects of Revived Cornish are represented accurately
>> without adding in fiction.
>> --
>> Michael Everson * http://www.evertype.com
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