[Spellyans] i ~ y

Hewitt, Stephen s.hewitt at unesco.org
Tue Feb 3 16:27:22 GMT 2009

I've asked this before, but not had a clear answer.

Apart from Lhuyd, who was not immune to interference from his native Welsh, what evidence is there, from Middle Cornish on, for two separate phonemes /ð/ and /θ/?

My unexpert impression is that as /s/ was voiced internally to [z] (as in Middle Breton), /θ/ (as in Middle Breton) may well have been voiced internally to /ð/, in which case one is forced to ask whether there really were two separate phonemes.

An eminent Cornish specialist, neither a member of this list nor a target of its numerous attacks, told me privately at the Congress of Celtic Studies in Bonn in 2007 that such a hypothesis was perfectly plausible.

So please, incontrovertible evidence, Lhuyd aside, in favour of two separate phonemes /ð/ and /θ/? Surely the "authentic spellings" strongly suggest only one...?

Steve Hewitt

-----Original Message-----
From: spellyans-bounces at kernowek.net
[mailto:spellyans-bounces at kernowek.net]On Behalf Of nicholas williams
Sent: 03 February 2009 16:55
To: Standard Cornish discussion list
Subject: Re: [Spellyans] i ~ y

What evidence is there for any such variation anywhere in Cornish?

On 3 Feb 2009, at 15:32, Michael Everson wrote:

> context conditioned variation of [ð] and [θ]

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