[Spellyans] Modern English

Michael Everson everson at evertype.com
Sun Jul 6 15:03:27 IST 2008

At 14:36 +0100 2008-07-06, Craig Weatherhill wrote:
>But "jazz" isn't a Cornish word.  It's a loan from an undefined

It is a loan into Cornish from English.

>Interesting to see that some other languags do have
>alternative spellings, but when you consider that not even the
>definitive dictionaries can show how the word was derived, I wonder (and
>question) how these spellings have been arrived at.

All of those spellings represent [dZæ:z] or 
[dZEz]. In Cornish and English it is the former.

Here is the etymology:

1909, Amer.Eng., first recorded in lyrics of song 
"Uncle Josh in Society" ("One lady asked me if I 
danced the jazz ..."), where it apparently refers 
to a style of ragtime dancing; as a type of music 
(originally to accompany the dance), attested 
from 1913. Probably ult. from Creole patois jass 
"strenuous activity," especially "sexual 
intercourse" but also used of Congo dances, from 
jasm (1860) "energy, drive," of African origin 
(cf. Mandingo jasi, Temne yas), also the source 
of slang jism.
"If the truth were known about the origin of the 
word 'Jazz' it would never be mentioned in polite 
society." ["Étude," Sept. 1924]

>I honestly feel that we should be concentrating on how we spell Cornish
>rather than the loan words which, I feel, should remain in their
>original state.

Dick Gendall thinks the same. but then one never 
knows when a word has been nativized or not. 
Common words ought to be assimilated. After all, 
Cornish has been doing that from the beginning. 
Consider how many verbs there are which are 
English + ya.

>It would then be obvious that they are loan 
>words and, as such, do not have to conform to 
>Cornish orthographic conventions.

In Welsh we have:

jas, jasband (band jas), jasio 'to jazz, to play 
jazz', yn jaslyd 'jazzily', jaswr/jasiwr 
'jazzman', jasaidd 'jazzy'.

Sure Cornish isn't Welsh, but I think here Welsh practice is good.

>English certainly doesn't do this (at least in spelling).

English doesn't attempt to have a "phonetic" spelling. But KS does.

>Italian <zz> is a "tz" sound and one might 
>expect English to spell it "pitsa".  But it 
>doesn't.  It retains the Italian spelling.  I 
>think we should do the

But the Welsh don't. Nor the Irish.

We should strike a balance. (I am doing my best.)
Michael Everson * http://www.evertype.com

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