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

nicholas williams njawilliams at gmail.com
Thu Jul 24 10:39:04 IST 2008


I take your point, Jon, but by the Late Cornish period I am not so  
sure of the status of schwa.
Look at AB 248b where Lhuyd speaks of the ending of the verbal  
adjective:

He says "I am sensible that the Modern Pronuncitation of the Cornish  
does not
conform to the the Termination of this Participle's being always in  
yz: For they generally
end it in ez, Saying Kreiez, Called; Trehez, Cut; Miskemerez,  
Mistaken, Dylîez, Revenged,
Guerhez, Sold, &c. and sometimes in az: As Ledhaz, Slain; Kyrtaz,  
Delayed; Guesgaz, Worn;
tho' not seldom, also in yz: As Devydhyz, Quenched; Devedhyz, Come,  
Bidhyz, Drowned;
Kelmyz, Bound; Huedhyz, Swoln."

If I understand him, Lhuyd seems to be saying that the historic -ys is  
either [Ez], [Iz] or [aZ]
and it does not seem possible to see why one is used rather than one  
of the others.
Since the -ek ending in Late Cornish is either -ak or -ok, it would  
seem that reduced -ek can
acquire u-colouring.

There are problems with you suggested spellings. The form <nowothow>  
is attested seven times. The plural
of bedneth, baneth is <bannothow> and of molleth <mollothow>. Are you  
therefore
suggesting that we write *<nowoth>, *<bednoth> and *<mollothow>?

Nicholas

On 24 Jul 2008, at 09:54, Jon Mills wrote:

> 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 schwa
> and u-coloured schwa (in gallus and arluth, for example).
> In LC all three had a tendency to fall together. One finds Cornowok  
> in 1572
> and Frenkock in NBoson.
>
> Flehes  x 14, flehys x 42, and flehas x 11 are all attested in  
> Middle Cornish, which
> seems to me to indicate that schwa and i-schwa are allophones,  
> perhaps conditioned
> by 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 had
> a 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 time
> of the earliest MC texts i(late fourteenth and early fifteenth  
> centuries). The specification of the SWF allows for
> a 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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> School of European Culture and Languages,
> University of Kent
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