[Spellyans] i ~ y

Hewitt, Stephen s.hewitt at unesco.org
Wed Feb 4 16:23:51 GMT 2009

Well, that ties in exactly with what we know about Middle Breton - the only instance in which /th/ is preserved, and has not become /dh,/ or even fallen entirely together with /dh/, is precisely with comparatives, superlatives, where the element after the morpheme boundary began historically (in the superlative, and later in the comparative by analogy) with +h-. In fact what appears to have happened is /th/ > /dh,/ +/h/ > /th/.
On the analogy with Breton, I would fully expect Cornish /th/ to be preserved in such environments. But what about simple "etymological" /th/ outside of any provective environment, such as in <le?erow>? My question is whether one can really prove the existence of two separate phonemes in such words.
Steve Hewitt

-----Original Message-----
From: spellyans-bounces at kernowek.net [mailto:spellyans-bounces at kernowek.net]On Behalf Of nicholas williams
Sent: 04 February 2009 17:15
To: Standard Cornish discussion list
Subject: Re: [Spellyans] i ~ y

Lhuyd writes: po kotha Lavar an Enez-ma 'or the older speech of this island' AB: 222. He also writes hui dho Kodha 'that you fall' AB: 250a. 
It certainly looks as though Lhuyd distinguished intervocalic [T] from intervocalic [D]. I cannot believe he was simply basing himself on Welsh
in these items, since coth is not the Welsh for 'old', although cwyddo 'fall' is common.
So we have a minimal pair kotha ~ kodha. 

There is therefore a prima facie case for th ~ dh medially. Can those who deny the distinction in medial position prove their assertion?

I should like to see them do so. Suspicions and doubts are not enough. Proof please.


On 4 Feb 2009, at 15:53, Hewitt, Stephen wrote:

but I am certain that this is a serious linguistic question about the phoneme inventory of Cornish from at least BM on.

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