[Spellyans] The quantity system

Jon Mills j.mills at email.com
Tue Jun 24 15:42:45 IST 2008


Are there two different diphthongs in Cornish then /ia/ and /ya/?
Jon

> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "A. J. Trim" <ajtrim at msn.com>
> To: "Standard Cornish discussion list" <spellyans at kernowek.net>
> Subject: Re: [Spellyans] The quantity system
> Date: Tue, 24 Jun 2008 14:43:13 +0100
> 
> 
> 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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> >>
> >
> >
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>



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


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