[Spellyans] iw

Daniel Prohaska daniel at ryan-prohaska.com
Wed Nov 24 07:48:09 GMT 2010

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Everson
Sent: Tuesday, November 23, 2010 10:38 PM

"On 23 Nov 2010, at 20:19, Daniel Prohaska wrote:

> TH 18a <diweth> 


This is not a diphthong. This is disyllabic "di-weth"~"dy-weth"~"de-weth" in the same way that "dy-worth"~"de-worth"~"da-worth and "dy-war"~"de-war" are disyllabic.” 


This is a false analogy because diwedh is stressed on the first syllable whereas dhyworth is stressed on the second. I doubt that /w/ had phonemic status in Proto-Celtic, or even in British. It’s phonemic status is still difficult to ascertain for Welsh as it is rather a positional variant of /ʊ/.  


“On etymological grounds as well it is di- + wed-. Moreover Breton is "di-vez" and Welsh is "di-wedd".” 


Etymological grounds? Whose etymology? … just kidding…

Yes, I’m aware of the etymology. My Breton dictionary transcribes diwezh with [iw] just like it transcribes the diphthong div ‘two’. As I said above, the phonemic status of /w/ in Welsh is difficult to ascertain and one may question whether it’s not just a positional variant of /ʊ/. Also, on etymological grounds, this is a very old formation, cf. Old Irish díad.


“Lhuyd's "diụath" is "di-ụath", and as you know he does explicitly state that ụ may be either vocalic or consonantal.”


So, you are saying either is possible.


 “I don't believe that you have grounds to read this as "diw-eth", Dan.” 


I believe I do.


“Or that George is right to write it [ˈdiƱęð] (which must mean [ˈdiʊɛð]).”


It must, though I would transcribe [ˈdɪʊəθ] (in pausa).  


“The texts also have the verb "dywethe", "dowethe", with Lhuyd's "diụadha". Clearly these are "dy-wethe", "do-wethe", "di-ụadha";” 


Yes, they are. Such allophonic alternations of vocalic versus consonantal [w] ~ [ʊ] are typical of the British languages when stress travels along with an added syllable in derivation. 


“compare "tha worth" for "dyworth".”


I cannot consider this an analogical case as there is not form of dyworth that has initial stress like diwedh.


 “Even the form "duatha" can be analyzed "du-[w]atha" where the initial "di" has become "də".


I hope you won't claim that /diʊ/ becomes /doʊ/ or that "duatha" indicates du- [diʊ] + atha, because you're still stuck with "dowethe" and "tha worth" which could not be explained by the same claim.”


Well, that N.Boson’s <duath> is the equivalent of Lhuyd’s <diụaδ> shows that <u> is a valid spelling for [ɪʊ]. With loss of stress the vowel in the prefix can easily be further centralised to [ə] which would give [dəˈwɛðə] spelt <dowethe>, though the pronunciation <diụaδa> was also recorded by Lhuyd. 

So, no I’m not claiming /iw/ became [oʊ], but in stress shift from initial [ˈdɪʊəθ] to penultimate [dɪˈwɛðə] vocalic [ʊ] is replaced by consonantal [w]. 

Lhuyd spells the w-diphthongs with <ụ> where it means [ʊ], just as he spells syllable initial /w/ as <ụ>.  


“I agree with Nicholas: there is no example of a diphthong "iw" in Traditional Cornish.”


 Of course you do. You must explain away the attestation of <iw> I ponted out because it threatens your dogma that <iw> is unattested and unwarranted in Cornish. But, it occurs and is explicable. Your defaulting to words with a different stress pattern as attested <diweth> is not a correct analogy and I shall consider it special pleading. 



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