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

Craig Weatherhill weatherhill at freenet.co.uk
Thu Jul 10 23:40:51 IST 2008


No, yeth should not be pronounced that way (and the only attested form 
of that word is, in fact <eyth> in Tregear).  The soft j or zh sound for 
initial Y is confined to very few words, of which yeyn and yet are the 
most commonly found..  I think this also turns up in the coastal name 
Jangye-ryn (Gunwalloe) which (apart from having suffered reversal to an 
English word order) appears to contain the compound yeyn-jy (ice-house, 
cold store).

Craig

A. J. Trim wrote:
> I have long said that I would like to use <z> for <s>/<j> in, for example 
> nynz yu, pyzy, paruzy and kerenza.
> If the true sound is [Z], that works just fine!
>
> So yeyn has <ey> and that could be the [e:] in Jane or [i:] in Jean ... 
> familiar.
> Now, are these separate sounds or its the true sound in between - [I:] 
> perhaps?
> How do you say these two names in West Cornwall?
>
> Should yeth "language" be pronounced [Ze:T]?
>
>
> Regards,
>
> Andrew J. Trim
>
>
>
> --------------------------------------------------
> From: "Craig Weatherhill" <weatherhill at freenet.co.uk>
> Sent: Thursday, July 10, 2008 7:56 PM
> To: "Standard Cornish discussion list" <spellyans at kernowek.net>
> Subject: Re: [Spellyans] More on bys/bes words and diacritical marks
>
>   
>> 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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