[Spellyans] RLC <h> for <gh>

Jon Mills j.mills at email.com
Thu Jun 26 10:31:24 BST 2008

I agree we cannot be sure. You use forward slashes to indicate phonemic representation, Owen. This allows for allophonic variation that might include, for example [e:], [E:], [eI], etc.. A phonemic orthography is convenient because one grapheme is used to represent several variants. However if you are asking whether we have the phoneme /ej/ as opposed to some other phoneme such as /e:/, you are asking a far more difficult question. Phonemes are determined by minimal contrast sets and this is extremely difficult, if not impossible, from the solely written corpus of historical texts that is available to us. On the other hand, if one attempts to codify Cornish with a phonetic orthography, one is obliged to write all the phonic variation that is realised in the language. This would include phenomena such as assimilation at word juncture. Of course, a phonetic orthography of this kind would be totally impractical. The naive method is to maintain that the orthgraphy is phonetic but that each grapheme can be realised by several phones. Such would really be a phonemic orthography without taking the trouble to first properly establish the phonemic inventory by minimal contrast. Such an orthgraphy will inevitably be a mess.

> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "nicholas williams" <njawilliams at gmail.com>
> To: "Standard Cornish discussion list" <spellyans at kernowek.net>
> Subject: Re: [Spellyans] RLC <h> for <gh>
> Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2008 19:03:01 +0100
> We cannot be sure. Can you think of any parallel?
> Nicholas
> On 25 Jun 2008, at 18:52, Owen Cook wrote:
> > I think so too Nicholas, but can we be sure of this? Can we actually
> > exclude the possibility of /ejT/?
> >
> > ~~Owen
> >
> > 2008/6/25 nicholas williams <njawilliams at gmail.com>:
> >> I am not sure eyth is metathesis. Initial ye- is often reduced to e-
> >> in ezow 'Jew', ehaz 'health', for example.
> >> I take eyth to be for [e:T] where ey = e: and initial [j] is lost.
> >> Incidentally the shift /je > e/ in initial position shows that
> >> Caradar's Yesu (adopted by KK in their NT)
> >> cannot be right. If it had been correct the name Yesu would sometimes
> >> appear as *Esu which it never does.
> >>
> >> The name Jesu in MC is like Maria, Jacob, Jerusalem, Jowan and
> >> Loundres and is borrowed from MFrench via Breton.
> >>
> >> Nicholas
> >
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Dr. Jon Mills,
School of European Culture and Languages,
University of Kent

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