[Spellyans] gwiryoneth

Daniel Prohaska daniel at ryan-prohaska.com
Thu Nov 18 22:50:46 GMT 2010


From: nicholas williams
Sent: Thursday, November 18, 2010 7:39 PM


“With all due respect George has no theory. He says of the voicing/devoicing in stressed and unstressed syllables:


"it is a phonetic problem, and one which cannot be solved in the absence of traditional Cornish speakers" (KKC21: 157). That is not a theory.

It is an admission that he cannot explain the matter—which did not by the way stop his overthrowing the accepted orthography of Cornish and splitting the revival.”


No, it’s not a theory, but it’s not wrong, either. I wish he had been this careful with so many other issues that are problematic about KK. 


“My view is that the lenis after an unstressed vowel was devoiced and was voiced after a stressed one.

This is systematic and affects p/b. k/g, th/dh and f/dh.”


f/dh? Do you mean f/v. I think so. As I said I agree with you on p/b, k/g and f/Ø. Th/dh is another matter though, because of Lhuyd, in my view. 


“When I suggested writing th for dh I meant only that dhe was not part of the inventory of traditional Cornish. I never suggested, as you know perfectly well, that the medial segment in cotha 'older' and cotha/codha 'to fall' were the same.”


You misunderstand. I wasn’t suggesting that you stated the sounds were the same, only that they weren’t distinguished in the traditional orthography. I haven’t got Clappya Kernowek with me right now, but as far as I recall you stated this in the introduction to your UCR/t version of JCH and it meant that you would write, if the Revival had been started from scratch, both [ˈkɔθə] and [ˈkɔðə] as <cotha>, and [ˈkrɛgɪ] and [ˈkrɛʤɪ] as <cregy>. Correct me if I misunderstood you here. 


“You have come nowhere near to convincing me that I am mistaken.”


I didn’t expect to, but that will not stop me from stating my opinions and doubts.


“You have suggested no coherent and systematic reason for Lhuyd's variations. guironedh/guironeth, nowydh/noweth.”


I don’t need to. I was merely observing the attested forms by Lhuyd and interpreting them.  


“You have suggested no explanation for such forms as sewenaffa and genaffa in CW.”


This wasn’t the topic, though I did state that I believe /v/ was generally lost in this position.


“You haven't suggested why the texts regularly write geneff, etc.”


As I said, this wasn’t what we were discussing. We were discussing possibility of final [ð].


“Your only example not from Lhuyd is gwreanathe in CW, which as I have pointed out, proves nothing—since CW also writes whathe, Sethe, forsothe, etc., where the final segment must be voiceless.”


Now you are being disingenuous as the traditional MMS outside the Charter Fragment and PA don’t distinguish, and even then, not consistently, [ð] and [θ], so CW gwreanathe doesn’t prove or disprove anything either way. Absence of proof isn’t proof of absence. 


“Lhuyd is useful, but he is not infallible.” 


I never stated he was. His spellings are interesting nonetheless and they cannot simply be accepted arbitrarily when the fit a held theory and dismissed when they don’t. 


“He writes uarnav and genev.” 


These are obviously his interpretations of the MMS spellings. 


“But such forms with final v after an unstressed vowel occur in his writing only and nowhere else in the remains of Cornish. On the other hand, though they are not common, examples of final v after a stressed vowel are found sporadically and in increasing numbers from the Ordinalia onwards.

Traditional Cornish sometimes writes ov 'I am', nev 'heaven', ev 'he'. Traditional Cornish never writes warnav or genev. How do you explain that?”


I don’t need to! This has nothing to do with final <dh>. I don’t have a problem with the f/v~Ø pair. Furthermore there are scribal restrictions to writing <v> for [v] in final position because most scribes used <v> for [u]. The pronoun <ev> is mainly found in OM, BM and BK. The other scribes use <ef> or <eff>. How do you explain that, if you believe that it was pronounced [eːv]? 


“It seems to me that you are trying to defend final unstressed dh and v only because they are in KK and therefore in SWF.”


Again, I wasn’t defending anything in KK or SWF specifically. And I wasn’t talking about f/v at all. I was observing that Lhuyd occasionally writes <dh> in final position in unstressed syllables, the position you say it was [θ]. So, if we want to distinguish <dh> and <th> in Revived Cornish and your theory is not supported completely by the evidence (which is admitted scanty in the case of <dh>), then we have to find a solution how to be careful about the issue.  


“But in recent times the first person to change myghterneth to myghterneth and genef to genev was KG and he can't explain why.

You will forgive me for not agreeing to write gwiryonedh and genev.”


How about Lhuyd’s <diuadh>? This occurs several times in JHC which you claim was the story that Lhuyd wrote down from hearing informants. Or was he merely transcribing N. Bosons manuscript and never heard the story. How come his version is longer than N. Boson’s?


“I will not write forms that I believe to be wrong.



That’s my whole point. It may not be wrong to write <dh> in this position. We cannot say. We can even recommend a pronunciation with [θ] and write <dh> because we can formulate a rule that states that <dh> can be pronounced [θ] – so no harm is done. On the other hand, if you say that the texts don’t support spelling <dh> here, then this extends to all cases of <dh> because the MMS don’t generally distinguish them – in any position, meaning if you were consistent you would write [ˈkɔθə] and [ˈkɔðə] as <cotha> and <dyweth> as [ˈdɪʊəθ].  




On 2010 Du 18, at 18:13, Daniel Prohaska wrote:

that your theory is right and Ken George’s theory is wrong, not when we have so little to go by.



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