[Spellyans] Spelling and linguistics - Yes

Michael Everson everson at evertype.com
Tue Jun 22 09:27:22 IST 2010

On 22 Jun 2010, at 08:13, Chris Parkinson wrote:

> Thankyou for your reply, Michael. The problem with writing "ow" and saying you should pronounce it schwa is that most people, on seeing "ow" immediately pronounce it "oh", the old UC pronounciation.

You are making a claim about what "most people" do. 

> KK, UCR, RLC, Lhuyd, KS and  SWF on the other hand all describe this diphthong as starting from a short form of the vowel in English 'for', 'law' etc gliding to 'w'.

I write it as [oʊ]~[ə]. I do not write it as [ɔʊ]

> The English diphthong in "oh", "boat" etc. starts from schwa and glides to 'w'.

In some dialects, it is [əʊ], yes. 

> Does this matter?

No, because the rule to be taught is that the particle is rarely if ever stressed, and it should usually be pronounced [ə].

> It gets worse when the English "oh" pronunciation is transferred to Cornish words ending in "o" which does not represent a diphthong at all. But I speak from a Welsh perspective. Here, the use of the English sound system when speaking Welsh or just used in place names, can be considered something of an insult.

Diphthongization of stressed vowels in Cornish is the one aspect of Revivalist pronunciation which needs serious attention.

Michael Everson * http://www.evertype.com/

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