[Spellyans] <l>, <ll>, and <lh> in Sacrament an Alter (1576)
njawilliams at gmail.com
Thu Jul 22 14:05:36 BST 2010
What Albert says is partially true. Historic /l/ and /l:/ are indeed
distinct in SA (itself a rather short text). It cannot be assumed,
however, that the distinction is of necessity one of length. It is
also possible that the difference is one of voicing, and that <ll> in
SA may be on occasion a graph for [lh]. (I follow Albert’s notation
here, using <lh> for voiceless l).
<lh> in TH and SA is written for voiceless [lh], e.g. pelha. In BK,
however, <lh> is written for historic /l:/ e.g. ellas ‘alas!’. And
indeed elhas for ellas ‘alas’ is first attested in PA.
The form malla < may halla has <ll> in SA but the same verbal form is
alho in BK i.e. with <lh>.
It seems probable that in some dialects of Middle Cornish the
distinction between original intervocalic /l/ and /l:/ has already
been reshaped as a distinction between /l/ and /lh/.
The same appears to be the case with /n/ and /n:/, i.e. that the
distinction has been reshaped as a difference in voicing. In BK, for
example, cannas ‘messenger’ is frequently <canhas>. Elsewhere in BK
(and in MC in general) <nh> appears to represent a voiceless
consonant, e.g. in lowenhys ‘gladdened’, inhy ‘in her’, where the
devoicing has been caused in both cases by an earlier lenited s.
Albert says that <lh> is only ever written in SA for /l+h/ or /ll+h/.
This may be true in SA, but it is not true in MC as a whole. I have
counted <ellas> ‘alas’ 82 times in the texts. <elhas> occurs 21
times. It would be rash to suggest, then, that <lh> and <ll> are
phonetically distinct in Middle Cornish.
L and n are not completely parallel here. CW confuses historic /l/
and /l:/, writing them both as <ll>. It has not, however, conflated /
n/ and /n:/ since in CW historic /n:/ has been pre-occluded.
A proper study of all the attested texts is required and the spelling
<l>, <ll>, <lh> need to be isolated and tabulated.
In intervocalic position historic /l/ and /l:/ are indeed phonemically
different in some of the MC texts The question remains, however, what
is the phonetic reality.
On 21 Gor 2010, at 12:24, j.mills at email.com wrote:
> Comments please on Bock's recent paper.
> Ol an gwella,
> Dr. Jon Mills,
> School of European Culture and Languages,
> University of Kent
> Spellyans mailing list
> Spellyans at kernowek.net
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