[Spellyans] i ~ y

Jon Mills j.mills at email.com
Thu Feb 5 09:05:05 GMT 2009

"Hewitt, Stephen" <s.hewitt at unesco.org> writes,
> I think we have both been using somewhat imprecise shorthand - /θ/ 
> and /ð/ being used to mean the simple historical phonemes 
> inherited from Old Cornish, 

Actually, I use /θ/ and /ð/ to refer to the voiceless and voiced dental fricatives. I do not use these as reflexes of some supposed Old Cornish phonemes. As Stephen writes, 
> the historical spellings provide no reliable clue.
Thus we know no more about the phonemes of Old Cornish than we do about the phonemes of Middle Cornish and it is futile to attempt to derive the phonemics of one from the other.

Stephen writes,
> I have never understood why Cornish specialists all agree that 
> historic /f/, /s/ and /x/ were generally lenited internally to /v/, 
> /z/ and /h/, 
Since /s/ and /z/ were not distinguished in Middle Cornish orthography, it is again only supposition that /s/ was generally lenited internally to /z/.
Ol an gwella,

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

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