[Spellyans] iw

Daniel Prohaska daniel at ryan-prohaska.com
Tue Nov 23 16:54:50 GMT 2010

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Everson
Sent: Tuesday, November 23, 2010 12:01 PM

“On 23 Nov 2010, at 09:20, j.mills at email.com wrote:

> Rightly or wrongly, I pronounce <yw> as [ɪw] and I pronounce <ew> as [ew].


We recommend pronouncing <yw> with the allophonic range [iʊ]~[ɪʊ] and <ew> with the allophonic range [eʊ]~[ɛʊ].”


Talking about traditional Cornish here… please explain why lyw-words were kept separate from byw/bew-words while the latter fell I with tew-words. Why then should lyw-words not be clearly distinguished from byw/bew-words and tew-words. It would make more sense to group together the byw/bew-word with the tew-words and keep the lyw-words separate. Note that I don’t care about the graphs used (preferably traditional) but I do care about the distinction. 


“> I do not distinguish between [ɪw] and [iw] in my pronunciation.


And as far as anyone can tell neither does anyone else in the Revival. Indeed, at the AHG, the Kesva and Cowethas representatives allowed that they did not distinguish [ɪw] and [iw], but that "they aspired to". And this is why this "iw" was saddled upon the”


(You left a dangling sentence here. This keeps happening in your posts, what’s going on here?)

I too, do not distinguish [iʊ] and [ɪʊ] because I pronounce lyw-words with [ɪʊ] and byw/bew-words and tew-words with [ɛʊ]. 


“For our part, we recognized that "wh" was given as a "side form" for "hw" for our use, and we asked that "yw" be given as an authentic "side form" for "iw". This was not granted. Cue immediate derogation from an inauthentic SWF/T.”


 I’m afraid this won’t work in the SWF because it doesn’t allow diacritics. There should be a way to distinguish lyw-words from byw-words. I would have no problem with having the bew-words and tew-words coalesce and write lyw. Unfortunately the SWF kept the archaic or archaizing distinctions /iw/ : /ɪw/, which I believe was given up by the earlierst MC texts, but not because these two phonemes coalesced, but because /ɪw/ fell in with /ɛʊ/. So the contrast was of old /iw/ : /eʊ/ (< /ɪw/ + /ɛʊ/). 

To derogate from the SWF because of <iw> is an overreaction, because the graphs <i> and <y> were in free variation in mediaeval scribal Cornish and <y> was preferred in minim-environments which includes <w>, <u> and <v>, so <iw> would have been difficult to decipher in mediaeval MSS. Since all written varieties of Revived Cornish have always done some, or even extensive redistribution of <i> and <y> vis à vis the texts, why is <iw> such a problem, especially when it is attested in TH?. It’s not that I’m necessarily arguing in favour of <iw>, I could easily write <yw>, but why changing <i>, <y> and <ÿ> around is easy, advantageous and all the wonderful things, while redistributing <iw> and <yw> is not is difficult to understand. 





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