[Spellyans] <l>, <ll>, and <lh> in Sacrament an Alter (1576)

nicholas williams njawilliams at gmail.com
Thu Jul 22 14:05:36 IST 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.

Nicholas

On 21 Gor 2010, at 12:24, j.mills at email.com wrote:

> Comments please on Bock's recent paper.
> http://homepage.univie.ac.at/albert.bock/archive/l_ll_lh_SA.pdf
>
> Ol an gwella,
> Jon
> _____________________________________
> Dr. Jon Mills,
> School of European Culture and Languages,
> University of Kent
> _______________________________________________
> Spellyans mailing list
> Spellyans at kernowek.net
> http://kernowek.net/mailman/listinfo/spellyans_kernowek.net

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