[Spellyans] The quantity system

A. J. Trim ajtrim at msn.com
Tue Jun 24 14:43:13 IST 2008


Yes, rial would be better than ryal ... (unless we are saying that the y is 
short, and the stress is on the second syllable.)

Regards,

Andrew J. Trim



--------------------------------------------------
From: "Craig Weatherhill" <weatherhill at freenet.co.uk>
Sent: Tuesday, June 24, 2008 2:13 PM
To: "Standard Cornish discussion list" <spellyans at kernowek.net>
Subject: Re: [Spellyans] The quantity system

> The SWF is inconsistent in the values of <y> and <i>.  Yes, we have
> <gwynn/gwydn> where the vowel is short in both but the geminate is there
> to show that preocclusion occurs, BUT we have words like <ryal> "regal,
> royal" where the vowel is most definitely long.  So, why isn't it <rial>?
>
> Surely it would be far simpler, and easier for learners, to have <y>
> representing the short vowel (except for final position, as in <gwary>)
> and <i> representing the long.
>
> Craig
>
>
>
>
> A. J. Trim wrote:
>> OK, so far - Simple, practical, not at odds with the evidence.
>>
>> Why does gwyll need to have two ls if y is always short?
>>
>>
>> Regards,
>>
>> Andrew J. Trim
>>
>>
>>
>> --------------------------------------------------
>> From: "Michael Everson" <everson at evertype.com>
>> Sent: Tuesday, June 24, 2008 10:59 AM
>> To: "Standard Cornish discussion list" <spellyans at kernowek.net>
>> Subject: Re: [Spellyans] The quantity system
>>
>>
>>> At 09:18 +0000 2008-06-24, Jon Mills wrote:
>>>
>>>> Adherents of KK maintain that KK is easier to learn because it is
>>>> supposedly phonemic. However KK entails a phonology that, for most
>>>> learners is, in fact, difficult to achieve: 3 vowels lengths and
>>>> geminate consonants. As a result, KK is more difficult to learn than
>>>> the other forms of Cornish.
>>>>
>>> It would be easier if learners were Estonians. ;-)
>>>
>>>
>>>> Actual realisations of vowel length do not neatly fit in to 2 or 3
>>>> lengths. For example, with regard to English, Trager and Smith
>>>> (1957) observed 5 different vowel lengths in the set, bit bid bin
>>>> hiss his. They write, "The vowel quality is in each case lower high
>>>> front unrounded: [I]. In bit there is the shortest vowel,in his the
>>>> longest for most speakers; bid and bin have fairly long vowels too
>>>> -- some speakers have the longest varieties here, sometimes even
>>>> with a drawling off-glide effect; in hiss the vowel is longer than
>>>> in bit, but considerably shorter than in his or bid; in bin there is
>>>> a marked nasalization of the vowel ...."
>>>>
>>> For me this is an overstatement. I'd have bit/hiss as short, and
>>> bid/bin/his as longer. I don't detect more subtlety than that without
>>> a whole lot of persnicketiness. The bit/bid distinction is easy to
>>> teach to English speaking learners however, and that's one of the
>>> reasons it is the core of the vowel system in KS and by adoption the
>>> SWF.
>>>
>>> English bit/bid is an allophonic distinction, of course, not a
>>> phonemic distinction.
>>>
>>>
>>>> However, within the phonological system of English, only 2 vowel
>>>> lengths operate. These are determined by minimal contrast pairs:
>>>> bit - beat
>>>> bid - bead
>>>> his - he's
>>>> etc.
>>>>
>>> I am not sure if I agree with this analysis. Bit and beat differ in
>>> quality, not in quantity. Bid and bead differ in quality, not in
>>> quantity. Same with his and he's, and piss and peace.
>>>
>>>
>>>> With regard to Cornish then, if one wants to argue for either 2 or 3
>>>> vowel lengths, minimal contrast sets (extracted from the historical
>>>> corpus) need to be presented. But even this method is questionable
>>>> because the corpus is written and the actual pronunciation of any
>>>> forms contained therein is conjectural.
>>>>
>>> Quite so.
>>>
>>>
>>>> The only sensible and practical pedagogy is surely for learners to
>>>> be taught 2 vowel lengths and 1 consonant length. But should the SWF
>>>> make provision for those who aspire to 3 vowels lengths and long
>>>> consonants? I cannot imagine that these aspirants are very numerous.
>>>> My guess is that, given the choice, the vast majority of KK learners
>>>> would opt for a phonology that is easier to learn.
>>>>
>>> I agree. And the fact that they are English speakers makes the above
>>> relevant.
>>>
>>> In English we have qualitative phonemes:
>>>
>>> /I/ "bit [bIt], bid [bI.d], piss [pIs], his [hI.z] with allphonic
>>> lengthening
>>>
>>> /i/ "beat [bit], bead [bi.d], peace [pis], he's [hi.z] with allphonic
>>> lengthening
>>>
>>> In Cornish we have quantitative phonemes:
>>>
>>> /i/  myn [mIn], gwyll [gwIl], loss [lOs] with allphonic lowering
>>>
>>> /i:/ min [mi:n], gwil [gwi:l] los [lo:z] with allphonic raising
>>>
>>> With the quantity rules in KS/SWF, teachers should be able to use
>>> English phonology to teach and to improve the pronunciation of
>>> Cornish phonemic quantity.
>>>
>>> Is this scheme agreeable to everyone? (This is key; as editor I will
>>> use IPA symbols to show both quality and quantity in phonetic
>>> transcription.)
>>> -- 
>>> Michael Everson * http://www.evertype.com
>>>
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>>>
>>
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