[Spellyans] th/dh

Craig Weatherhill craig at agantavas.org
Mon Nov 22 11:49:46 GMT 2010

There is minimal evidence for dh in MC place-name records.


On 22 Du 2010, at 11:29, j.mills at email.com wrote:

> Dan (Sat, Nov 20, 2010 5:16 pm) writes
> ".... Yet Lhuyd is thonly available evidence for <dh> there is, and  
> by your line of reasoning you should abandon writing <dh> at all and  
> spell <th> only. The evidence of the MC texts (outside PA) actually  
> shows us that there was no /ð/.
> All we have is grounds to assume that /ð/ existed from a few  
> occurrences of <ȝ> in PA – and Lhuyd of course, whose evidence you  
> dismiss if it doesn’t fit your theory."
> and
> ".... Michael, you have no evidence for /ð/ at all. How can you tell  
> whether there was or was no contrast between [ð] and [θ] in final  
> position (any position for that matter)? There is no sufficient  
> reason to spell <dh> at all going by the MC MSS. You cannot know for  
> a fact that Lhuyd’s Welsh interfered with his Cornish – you can  
> assume, you can postulate, you can theorise, but you cannot know.  
> That is my point. That’s why doubt remains as to whether final  
> devoicing occurred for /ð/ and if it’s not the safer, more  
> careful, more inclusive way of dealing with this problem in an  
> orthography for RC."
> I agree with Dan that Lhuyd is the only real source for establishing  
> a minimal pair /ð/ and /θ/. Lhuyd (1707: 222) writes, “po kotha  
> Lavar an Enez-ma” 'or the older speech of this island'. Lhuyd  
> (1707: 250a) also writes “hui dho Kodha” 'that you fall'.  So we  
> have a minimal pair kotha ~ kodha. However, in order to accept this  
> minimal pair, one also has to assume Lhuyd's testimony to be  
> reliable. If, on the one hand, one believes Lhuyd to be unreliable,  
> then there is no reliable evidence for this phonemic dictinction. It  
> follows then that we should write <th> everywhere. If, on the other  
> hand, we accept Lhuyd's testimony as reliable, we adopt the minimal  
> pair, /ð/ and /θ/, and write these <dh> and <th>. However one is  
> disingenuous if one accepts Lhuyd's testimony only when it supports  
> one's hypothesis, and rejects Lhuyd when his testimony doesn't suit.
> Ol an gwella,
> Jon
> _____________________________________
> Dr. Jon Mills,
> University of Kent
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Craig Weatherhill

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