[Spellyans] i ~ y

Hewitt, Stephen s.hewitt at unesco.org
Wed Feb 4 15:53:15 GMT 2009

I am bound to agree with Jon Mills. I find Michael's statement:

> Revived Cornish is the Cornish of language learners and comes with  
> the errors that L2 learners make.

an astonishing admission that the real aim of this list is not primarily to ascertain the phonological system of Cornish at given stages of its history and attempt to codify that orthographically using only authentic graphemes attested in the historical corpus. From what I have seen, I am not certain that this is entirely feasible, but I certainly find it an interesting linguistic exercise, and one which ought to shed much light on the history of the language.

To get back to the /th/ ~ /dh/ problem, in Llawlyfr Cernyweg Canol, the only small anthology of historic texts I have to hand, there are very numerous instances of <th> being used for etymological /dh/, as we all know, and fewer, but still regular instances of <ȝ> (~<z>) being used for etymological /th/. When <th> corresponds th /th/ and <ȝ> (~<z>) to /dh/, one might imgagine that that was the result of a certain orthographical tradition from an earlier period, when the /th/ ~ /dh/ distinction undoubtedly existed; the frequent use of the "wrong" graphemes, however, suggests to me that confusion may have set in, most likely following a merger of the two phonemes. I do not know the answer, but I am certain that this is a serious linguistic question about the phoneme inventory of Cornish from at least BM on.

If ascertaining the historical facts about the language is not what this list is really about, please forgive me for having raised what appears to be an awkward question.

Steve Hewitt

-----Original Message-----
From: spellyans-bounces at kernowek.net
[mailto:spellyans-bounces at kernowek.net]On Behalf Of Michael Everson
Sent: 04 February 2009 16:27
To: Standard Cornish discussion list
Subject: Re: [Spellyans] i ~ y

On 4 Feb 2009, at 15:10, Jon Mills wrote:

> Revived Cornish is the Cornish of language learners and comes with  
> the errors that L2 learners make.

Yes, like "yn whir".

> I do not hold with the view that 'this or that usage may not concur  
> with what is attested in the corpus of traditional Cornish but its  
> what we do now, so its okay'. By such a standard, any common  
> solecism could be said to be good Revived Cornish. We all make  
> errors when we learn a second language. We should admit that they  
> are errors and try to improve.

So... you don't care whether Revived Cornish has two phonemes /θ/ or / 
ð/ or not? You're happy to accept them both as they are, or abolish  
one or the other of them based on.... what?

Michael Everson * http://www.evertype.com

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