[Spellyans] A little essay for "Penny"

Michael Everson everson at evertype.com
Tue Feb 10 21:41:23 GMT 2009

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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