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

Jon Mills j.mills at email.com
Mon Jul 14 15:01:12 IST 2008

I did not mention [e:] and [i:]. What I said was, that in traditional Cornish <i>~<y>~<e> might either represent dialectal or allophonic variation. You appear to be saying that you do not care what the phonology of traditional Cornish entailed. You say, "No dialect of Revived Cornish has [mi:z ri:z di:d] or [me:z re:z de:d]. No free variation is in current use." How do you know this? Perhaps what you are referring to are the recommended orthoepies that accompany the various current didactolects of Cornish.

Correct me if I'm wrong, the difference between us seems to be this:
- I prefer a largely traditional orthography that has been minimally regularised;
- you prefer an orthography that has as its basis several current pedagogical orthoepies: "KS is descriptive of Revived Cornish".

I rejected KK some years ago because it is based on conjectural and, in places proveably erroneous, orthoepy. The SWF gives us a so-called 'Traditional' form which is not all that traditional. In fact, the Traditional Late Cornish SWF does not resemble Late Cornish orthographic practice very much at all.

> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Michael Everson" <everson at evertype.com>
> To: "Standard Cornish discussion list" <spellyans at kernowek.net>
> Subject: Re: [Spellyans] More on bys/bes words and diacritical marks
> Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2008 14:16:18 +0100
> At 12:16 +0000 2008-07-14, Jon Mills wrote:
> > Do you advocate, then, a form of Cornish that is at odds with 
> > traditional Cornish, since you imply that traditional Cornish is 
> > of no consequence?
> I advocate practicality.
> I really don't believe that [e:] and [i:] were
> genuinely allphonic variants *across the board*.
> We would see a *lot* more chaos than we do if
> that were really the case. Lhuyd is able to
> distinguish the sounds easily. And in Revived
> Cornish the RMC schools have tended to favour and
> teach [i:] for the bÿs/bës class, and the RLC
> school has favoured and taught [e:].
> I don't think there's any undoing this. This
> isn't 1904. It's 2008. Whether these might have
> been allophonic in Traditional Cornish or not
> (and that's a big "whether") they're dialectal
> now. The SWF and KS both accept the dialectal
> variation in Revived Cornish, though the SWF
> doesn't use the word "dialect". For isntance Ray
> Chubb says [mi:z re:z di:d] and Neil Kennedy says
> [mi:z re:z de:d]. And even Kebmyn theory
> distinguishes [mi:z re:z dI:d], though in
> practice this results in [mi:z re:z dId] except
> for Kebmyn advocates like Ken George himself who
> has UC [mi:z re:z di:d].
> No dialect of Revived Cornish has [mi:z ri:z
> di:d] or [me:z re:z de:d]. No free variation is
> in current use. And I don't believe that
> Traditional Cornish did either. (Burden of proof
> is on you.)
> Now in 2008 we have a SWF that can't distinguish
> <bys> [bIz] from <bÿs> [bi:z]~[be:z]. That's a
> fault of the SWF. KS has now got a solution to
> that fault.
> You've asked a theoretical question: Revived
> Cornish in the matter of <bÿs>~<bës> treats them
> as a dialectal alternation; would it disturb me
> if it were "proved" that in Traditional Cornish
> they were in free variation? The answer is no,
> not all that very much. Because we would be back
> where we are now: How would you then spell
> 'month' and 'necessary' and 'finger' and 'but'?
> KS is descriptive of Revived Cornish, respectful
> of Cornish linguistics in trying to get it right,
> and will offer a recommended pronunciation which,
> I believe, will be both theoretically sound and
> realistically practical.
> --
> Michael Everson * http://www.evertype.com
> _______________________________________________
> Spellyans mailing list
> Spellyans at kernowek.net
> http://kernowek.net/mailman/listinfo/spellyans_kernowek.net


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

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