[Spellyans] th/dh

Daniel Prohaska daniel at ryan-prohaska.com
Sun Nov 21 11:22:45 GMT 2010

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Everson
Sent: Sunday, November 21, 2010 9:46 AM

“On 21 Nov 2010, at 01:04, Daniel Prohaska wrote:

> I’m serious. I’m not talking about consonantS. I’m talking about ONE consonant [ð]. I have ointed out why I think ð/θ is treated differently from g/k.


If you are serious, then you will prove your case. Otherwise you are arguing just exactly as Keith Bailey does.”


I was serious about talking about one consonant, not the whole voiced/unvoiced oppositions in Cornish. And by the way, thank you very much for your kind words. 


“You claim that Edward Lhuyd’s transcription of JCH shows external sandhi only for ð/θ.”


I claim, “may show”, “may suggest” – you will note that I was always very careful in stating this, as I am quite aware that this hasn’t been worked out yet, that the evidence is scanty and interpretable. All I said was that final voicing cannot, with this evidence we have, not be dismissed out of hand and may need to be re-examined. 


“1) Show please all the examples, and a decent if not exhaustive selection of the counter-examples of the consonants which do not exhibit this behaviour.


2) Show please that Lhuyd voices θ to ð in sandhi across word boundaries in other passages of connected text in AB.”


Our strongest evidence is not, e.g. the introduction of AB as Lhuyd must have translated this himself. The Cornish isn’t idiomatic, sometimes mistaken. The strongest text of evidence would be JCH because this would have been read or recounted to him. So, this text he actually heard from a Cornish speaker. 


“3) Explain please what exactly the phonetic mechanism that makes θ different from p t k f, which alternate in unstressed final syllables with b d g v and which do not voice in sandhi across word boundaries.


4. Show please whether Lhuyd's distribution of θ and ð shows instances of either voicelessness or voicing which is unrelated to internal or external sandhi, and give your explanation which counters our explanation (that he was influenced by his native Welsh).”


Well, we haven’t yet established whether voicing is unrelated to sandhi; don’t load the question… ;-) 


“At present you may have ointed out why you think ð/θ is treated differently from the other consonants, but unless your argument is "special pleading" you should be able to clarify your position with evidence of the sort requested above and further argument.”


Yes, when I have the time I will get down to it. 


“Lhuyd published AB in 1707. We are lucky that his transcription is as good as it is, but it cannot be judged according to modern phoneme theory. 1707 was a long way from William Jones' proposal that Sanskrit and Persian had resemblances to Celtic, Greek, Latin, and Gothic. Lhuyd did not know as von Humbold and Brugman did that sounds change regularly. We do, however, and your claim, if it is to be credible, has to be backed up rigorously. What Nicholas and I have seen does not bear out your theory. He has been offering examples. It's time you do likewise, if you think your analysis is accurate.”


I have also offered many examples.




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