[Spellyans] redistribution of <i> and <y>

Jon Mills j.mills at email.com
Thu Jul 24 09:54:19 IST 2008


I agree that Cornish has three reduced vowels: schwa, i-schwa and
u-schwa. This is an areal feature that Cornish shares with English. These
are allophones of various other vowels. They are not allophones of the
same vowel. When an affix is added to a word, the stress shifts to the
new penultimate syllable and the syllable containing the previously
unstressed schwa becomes stressed. This allows us to identify the phoneme
of which the schwa in question is an allophone. In order to simplify, in
the following examples, I have written all reduced vowels as [@].
[lag at s] > Ordinalia: 'lagasow'; BM: 'lagasek'; Jordan: 'lagasowe'; Kerew:
'lagagow'. Schwa is an allophone of /a/. We should write 'lagas'.
[ben at n] > PA: 'benenas'; Ordinalia: 'benenes', 'venenes', 'vynynes'; BM:
'benenes'. Schwa is an allophone of /e/. We should write 'benen'.
[gorhem at n] > PA: 'woromynnys'; BM: 'gorhemynnes'. Schwa is an allophone
of /I/. We should write 'gorhemmyn'.
[gal at s] > Ordinalia: 'gallogek', 'gallosek', 'galosek' ; BM: 'galosek',
'gallosek'. Schwa is an allophone of /o/. We should write 'gallos'.
[prof at s] > PA: 'brofusy'; Ordinalia: 'profugy'. Schwa is an allophone of
/u/. We should write 'profus'.
Thus we see that the reduced vowels are allophones of /a/, /e/, /I/, /o/
and /u/. Jon

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: "nicholas williams"
  To: "Standard Cornish discussion list"
  Subject: Re: [Spellyans] redistribution of and
  Date: Wed, 23 Jul 2008 17:12:25 +0100

  I have discussed the question of schwa to some degree in Cornish
  Today.It seems that in MC there were three unstressed vowels: schwa,
  i-coloured schwaand u-coloured schwa (in gallus and arluth, for
  example). In LC all three had a tendency to fall together. One finds
  Cornowok in 1572and Frenkock in NBoson. 
  Flehes  x 14, flehys x 42, and flehas x 11 are all attested in Middle
  Cornish, whichseems to me to indicate that schwa and i-schwa are
  allophones, perhaps conditionedby the following consonant or by
  vocalic harmony. 
  The word for 'one' is onen x 12, onan x 52, onon x 9 and onyn x 90 in
  Middle Cornish.
  In Late Cornish the verbal adjective in -ys is not infrequently spelt
  with <as>, <az>:e.g. En Termen ez passiez thera Trigaz en St. Levan
  JCH § 1.
  Moreover in Middle Cornish itself benegas 'blessed' and malegas
  'accursed' are common (x 60 and 10 respectively).
  In Late Cornish forms like crenjah and venjah seem to suggest that
  schwa in auslaut hada low allophone close to [a].
  We write arlùth with <ù> in KS but in Late Cornish it appears as
  <arleth> 54 times! And as <arlith> 10 times.Nicholas Boson writes
  <arlyth> once.
  The word profus 'prophet' is exclusively Middle Cornish, since it is
  replaced by profet in Tregear and LC. The attested spellings are:
  <profus> 13, <profes> 1, <profys> 1, <profos> 3.
  <eglos> occurs 22 times in MC and LC, <egglos> 197 times (mostly in
  Tregear who had a special interest in the church).<egles> occurs
  twice in Late Cornish and <eglez> three times. <egglys> occurs once
  in Sacrament an Alter.
  The word cafus, cafos is written <cafes> twice in Origo Mundi.
  The collapse of unstressed vowels into schwa is by the way an
  indication that the prosodic shift has occurred by the timeof the
  earliest MC texts i(late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries).
  The specification of the SWF allows fora pre-shift phonology with
  half-length and pure unstressed vowels. This again is an attempt to
  salvage the underlying phonology of KK.It is inauthentic as well as
  being irrelevant, since nobody uses it.
  Any attempt, however, to distinguish unstressed -en, -es from -yn,
  -ys is, I think, doomed to failure.We have schwa, i-schwa and u-schwa
  (if I may be allowed to use the terms) and that is all.And all three
  are by the Late Cornish period (if not before) allophones of the same
  phoneme.
  Nicholas----------





  On 23 Jul 2008, at 14:18, Craig Weatherhill wrote:

    I would support Nicholas's view here.  The place name
    Langostentyn is
    Langustentyn, Langustenstyn and Legostentyn in the C14.  A final
    -in
    creeps in in 1447, followed by -en (1501) and -on (1574 twice)
    and -n
    again in 1574.  The saint's name is S. Constantinus (pure Latin)
    in
    1086, 1284, 1287, 1291; then Costentyne 1468, Costentyn 1441.
     Only in
    the C16 does -in appear (note the lack of "saint" in these
    examples).

    For Constantine Bay, we have only two Cornish examples:
    Egloscontantyne
    c1525, and Constenton 1568.

    Please note, too, that there is a place-name element <kegyn>,
    "ridge"
    (Pengegon), cognate with W. cegin.  To avoid confusion, I would
    recommend that "kitchen" is represented by <kegen>.

    On the subject of <au> I find that I have to revise my advice to
    Jon.
    Nance gives chons, chonsya where I would expect to find chauns,
    chaunsya
    (chaunssya?).  It looks as though most of the <au> words are loan
    words,
    although they extend to Celtic personal (saint's) names such as
    Maunan,
    Maugan and Maudet.

    Craig


    nicholas williams wrote:

      In unstressed syllables there is no difference in
      pronunciation

      between, say, -in in kegyn and -yn in brentyn. Even KK (which
      spells

      "etymologically") admits that unstressed i and y are not to
      be

      distinguished. Moreover the texts always spell MC <brentyn>,

      <bryntyn>. There are no exx of *<brentin>. The name for
      "Constantine"

      is common in BM, where it is spelt <Costentyn> at least 20
      times. It

      never has final <-in>. The only time the name has <in> is in
      the Latin

      form <Constantinus> in stage directions.  To attempt to
      distinguish

      kegyn from *brentin, *Costentin in spelling is not wise. It
      will make

      learning the orthography much harder and with no phonetic
      gain. It

      will merely look like an attempt to salvage a feature of KK,
      which was

      misguided in the first place. The SWF should write kegyn,
      Costentyn,

      brentyn, melyn, gyllyn, etc.

      Notice incidentally, that following KK the SWF at the moment
      writes

      gyllyn, gyllys, gyllyns but gylli!


      Nicholas

      -----------

      On 23 Jul 2008, at 08:40, Daniel Prohaska wrote:


        *I would like to hear everyone’s opinions on the
        following idea for

        redistributing <y> and <i> in the SWF. I would write <i>
        where bother

        Late and Middle Cornish have /i/ and /i:/, and write <y>
        ~ <e> (in

        dictionaries <ÿ> ~ <ë>) where Middle Cornish has /I/ and
        /I:/, but

        Late Cornish has /e/ and /e:/.*

        * *

        *Examples:*

        *SWF <brentin>; RMC /”brentin/, RLC /”brentin/;*

        *SWF <kegyn>; RMC /”kegin/, RLC /”keg at n/;*

        *SWF <tir>; RMC /ti:r/, RLC /ti:r/;*

        *SWF <bys> ~ <bes>; RMC */bI:z/ = [bi:z] ~ [bIz] ~ [beIz]
        etc., RLC

        /be:z/;*

        * *

        *Dan*

        * *

        * *

        *-----Original Message-----

        From: Michael Everson

        Sent: Sunday, July 20, 2008 11:31 PM*


        At 21:46 +0100 2008-07-20, Craig Weatherhill wrote:

          Good question - if <y> is a short i and <i> a long
          one, then this makes

          no sense at all.


        “That is the SWF (and KS) rule for monosyllables. In KS
        we are making

        an attempt to rationalize (and make teachable) the
        distribution of

        <i> and <y>.


        Nicholas and I tried many times to have this distribution
        dealt with

        during the AHG meetings when we were asked our advice.
        Our concerns

        were not addressed. Not even acknowledged.

        --

        Michael Everson * http://www.evertype.com”


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

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