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

Jon Mills j.mills at email.com
Thu Jul 10 13:52:32 IST 2008


If the vowel were [I], as you suggest, Tom,  then why was it sometimes
written <e>? Surely [I] would have been written <i> or <y>. For the vowel
to be sometimes written <e>, the vowel would have to be even lower than
[I], but not as low as [e]. We might notate this hypothetical lowered [I]
as [I_o]. However, I think it unlikely that Cornish speakers made a clear
distinction between [I], [I_o] and [e]. What might perhaps be more
plausible is a phoneme /I_o/ with allophones [I] and [e].Jon

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: "Tom Trethewey"
  To: "Standard Cornish discussion list"
  Subject: Re: [Spellyans] More on bys/bes words and diacritical marks
  Date: Thu, 10 Jul 2008 12:30:59 +0000 (GMT)

  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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_____________________________________
Dr. Jon Mills,
School of European Culture and Languages,
University of Kent

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