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

Craig Weatherhill weatherhill at freenet.co.uk
Thu Jul 10 19:56:32 IST 2008


Can I suggest that the s/g sound is like the S of leisure (from West 
Cornish speech), a soft zh sound rather than a hard J.  This sound also 
attached itself to certain words with the initial Y, such as yeyn and 
yet, explaining location and field names such as Chapel Jane, Venton 
Jean and Park an Jet.

Craig



Tom Trethewey wrote:
>
>
> --- On *Thu, 10/7/08, nicholas williams /<njawilliams at gmail.com>/* wrote:
>
> Nicholas Williams wrote:
>
>  
>
> >The argument that a phoneme is midway between Y and Z and is therefore 
> written X is not one that carries much weight.
>
>  
>
> Indeed.  If there is no obvious graph available, then it is likely to 
> be written sometimes Y and sometimes Z.
>
>  
>
> >If there is a phoneme X then the scribes will tend to spell it by the 
> closest graph available.
>
>  
>
> If it lies between Y and Z, but closer to Y, one might expect more Ys 
> than Zs.  If it lies closer to Z then Z would be commoner than Y.
>
>  
>
> >They may write two different sounds in the same way, e.g. <u> for /oe/ 
> and /y/ in Middle Cornish. But the idea that <e> and <i> mean 
> something in between both is naive.
>
>  
>
> On the contrary, it is commonsense.
>
>  
>
> >Ken George noticed the hesitation between s and g and suggested the 
> absurd /tj/ and /dj/. The most likely explanation is that both /dZ/ 
> and /z/ occurred and this seems to be the case in Late Cornish and in 
> toponyms.
>
>  
>
> But is this the most likely explanation?  Chaudhri points out that 
> /ose/ is followed within thirty line in OM. by /oge, /and in BM. we 
> find /dewgys/ and /dewsys/ within six lines.  It is not absurd to 
> suggest that we are dealing here with a single sound which is not [z] 
> but not far from [z], and which is not [dZ] but is not far from [dZ].  
> [Z] would fit the bill.
>
>  
>
> If there had been a sound *[dj] the scribes would have devised a 
> combination of letters  to write it.
>
>  
>
> > But you just said that "the scribes will tend to spell it by the 
> closest graph available."  You cannot have it both ways.  :-)
>
>  
>
> >Res 'necessity' is indeed written rys and ris.
>
> Also <reys>
>
>  
>
> >Just as 'given' is reys, rys, ris and res. <res> is much commoner for 
> 'necessity' than for 'given'.
>
> You would be well advised to check the veracity of this statement.
>
>  
>
> >There are several problems here. One is that the scribes learnt to 
> write rys for 'given',
>
> Pure speculation.
>
>  
>
> >but may have said res.
>
> Pure speculation.
>
>  
>
>  
>
> >My own view is that some words had variant pronunciations, e.g. bys 
> 'world' was either bi:z or be:z. I do not believe that Middle Cornish 
> had i: I: and e:.  
>
>  
>
> You made that clear in your book /Towards Authentic Cornish/.  Yet the 
> spellings in the texts are compatible with just such a threefold 
> distinction.
>
>  
>
> Tom Trethewey
>
>
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