[Spellyans] A little essay for "Penny"

Jon Mills j.mills at email.com
Wed Feb 11 10:40:08 GMT 2009

I'm not sure what it is that you are trying to say with regard to fortis and lenis consonants. It is, I believe, generally recognised that Present Day English has fortis and lenis consonants. So why do you say, "It is unlikely that Dolly Pentreath or her contemporaries  were speaking English or Cornish with fortis and lenis consonants ..."?

> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Michael Everson" <everson at evertype.com>
> To: Spellyans <spellyans at kernowek.net>
> Subject: [Spellyans] A little essay for "Penny"
> Date: Tue, 10 Feb 2009 21:41:23 +0000
> On the off-chance that it may interest people here. I've said this 
> to  "Penny Squire" (probably Pawl Dunbar).
> =====
> The recommended phonology of a language (how you should pronounce 
> it)  may be different from what people actually manage, vis à vis 
> training  and talent.
> A recommended phonology which is familiar has a higher likelihood 
> of  attracting successful pronunciation than an unfamiliar one. 
> English  speakers learn to speak Dutch more easily than they learn 
> to speak  Vietnamese, because the underlying phonologies are very 
> similar.
> The mainstream phonology of Revived Cornish (spoken by almost all  
> Cornish speakers) is similar to the phonology of English. Whatever 
> the  phonology of the earliest Middle Cornish may have been, the 
> phonology  of the language certainly changed under the influence of 
> the English  language. It is unlikely that Dolly Pentreath or her 
> contemporaries  were speaking English or Cornish with fortis and 
> lenis consonants;  there is no trace of gemination in the English 
> dialects of Cornwall. A  simple comparison with Ireland (where the 
> Irish language was similarly  replaced) shows that the phonology of 
> the substrate language remains  strong. You only need go to the pub 
> 5 minutes from my house in West  Mayo to hear Gaelic phonology, in 
> the mouths of speakers two  generations or more removed from 
> speaking Irish.
> The phonology of Ken George's KK is just too alien for Cornish  
> learners to assimilate. Burden of proof is on the Kesva to 
> demonstrate  how geminates have taken hold *anywhere*. We say they 
> haven't. If you  say they have, *prove it*. It should be easy for 
> you, should it not?
> =====
> Michael Everson * http://www.evertype.com
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Dr. Jon Mills,
School of European Culture and Languages,
University of Kent

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