[Spellyans] More on bys/bes words and diacritical marks

Tom Trethewey tom.trethewey at yahoo.co.uk
Thu Jul 10 13:30:59 IST 2008

When words are sometimes spelled with <i> or <y> and sometimes with <e>,
there are two explanations.  The one favoured hitherto on this forum has been that there were two different pronunciations, [i:] and [E:] for the words with long vowels. 
I find this explanation naive compared with its alternative, that the mixture of <i~y> and <e> (and indeed <ey>) represents a sound intermediate between [i] and [E], say [I]. 
So when the word for 'finger' is spelled both <bis> and <bes> in Old Cornish,
it means that the vowel was between [i:] and [E:].  The same observation may be made for the spelling of many words in Middle Cornish, such as <dyth~deyth~deth> 'day'.
Tom Trethewey

--- On Thu, 10/7/08, Jon Mills <j.mills at email.com> wrote:

If  OCV "bis truit", is Cornish, then how do we account for the alternation of  <-i-> and <-e-> in Old Cornish?

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