[Spellyans] RLC <h> for <gh>

Michael Everson everson at evertype.com
Thu Jun 26 17:26:31 BST 2008

At 15:42 +0000 2008-06-26, Jon Mills wrote:

>Ultimately, it needs to be decided what the relationship is between 
>KS orthography and the pronunciation of Cornish.

Which Cornish? :-)

>If KS is intended to closely represent the pronunciation system of 
>Cornish, it must be phonemic in principle.

It also has to be more, because there are dialect differences it must 
account for. <u> for instance represents /y/ and /i/, since one 
dialect has no /y/.

>The phonemic system is the principal element of the phonological 
>system where orthography is concerned.  An orthography that is not 
>theoretically sound is just waiting to be shot down.

I'm not much of a linguistic abstractionist. I don't believe i've 
defined any "theory" for KS. I've looked at the data and worked with 
Neil and Nicholas and the rest of UdnFormScrefys to put something 
together that "does the job". Perhaps that matches a theory?

>The reason that we do not like KK is that it is theoretically unsound.

On several grounds. First, George reconstructs Cornish phonology as 
he thinks it ought to be, introducing phonemic geminates and three 
conditioned vowel lengths as the core of a system which all the 
evidence suggests had short or neutral consonants  and two phonemic 
vowel lengths. Second, he insists on a theory that a one-to-one 
relationship between graphs is "good" and anything else is "bad". 
Third, he uses untraditional graphs which piss people off. (Thank 
goodness he did. It really let people dig their heels in against it.)

>Umbrella graphs are being used to bridge dialectal variation not 
>allophonic variation. Nothing wrong with that per se.
>>  At what level of abstraction are you talking?
>Phonemes are abstractions. Allophones are realisations.

OK, but I'm not sure how this affects my task. Though KS 16 describes 
the phonemes and also uses IPA to show phonetic realizations. So 
maybe I took it into account.

>  > We have Revived Cornish and some pretty good
>  > recommended pronunciations that are actually
>  > feasible. What are you getting at? Starting from
>>  scratch and trying to reconstruct? Or?
>Well, I hope that we do not have to start from scratch. We have some 
>recommended pronunciations, didactolects. Just how good, however 
>.... We do not seem to think much of KK's accompanying orthoepy. 
>Theories concerning the pronunciation of Cornish are in a state of 
>flux and are likely to remain so for the forseeable future. An 
>orthography is not going to be robust if it is founded on shifting 
>didactolects. A more stable foundation is needed.

I think the phonology of KS is based on an analysis of what people 
are doing, with some corrections where we would like to encourage 
better pronunciation. For instance, we recommend a flapped /r/ 
intervocalically for people who can manage it and the approximant 
elsewhere. Neil Kennedy has taught this to his students and it sounds 
good and is not unfounded in Cornish dialect. I don't know what 
*other* recommendations about /r/ we would like to make instead.

As I see it UC recommendations are improved by UCR recommendations 
and those were improved by working with RLC speakers, studying Lhuyd, 
and making the effort we began in September 2006.
Michael Everson * http://www.evertype.com

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