[Spellyans] iw

Hewitt, Stephen s.hewitt at unesco.org
Wed Nov 24 13:45:20 GMT 2010

Not true; that is Standard Breton, which is a fabrication with little authentic basis in the spoken language.

Even though this is not indicated in the main standard grammars, many dialects of Breton do in fact have a three-way opposition (the second term –éw found in a relatively small number of words).

This may be checked on ALBB maps 31 (béw), 96 (blew) and 528 (piw):



piw “who”, diw “2 f.”, liw “colour” /iu/



béw “alive, living”, téw “thick, fat” /e̝u/



blew “hair”, lew “league”, rew “frost”, klew “hear” /ɛ̝o/



Steve Hewitt



From: spellyans-bounces at kernowek.net [mailto:spellyans-bounces at kernowek.net] On Behalf Of nicholas williams
Sent: Wednesday, November 24, 2010 2:29 PM
To: Standard Cornish discussion list
Subject: Re: [Spellyans] iw


Breton now has ev and iv. Welsh has iw, yw and ew; but iw and yw are identical in SW. In North Welsh yw does not contain a high front vowel but a centralised one.

George's hypothetic threeway distinction in Cornish, if it existed, would be unique in Brythonic.

It doesn't, of course, and the orthography of the revived language has no business pretending that it does.


I notice in OCV:


bleu 'hair'   [blew PC 484 ]

ieu 'yoke' [pl. ewyow BK 849]

leu 'lion' [replaced by lion in MC]

reu 'frost' [Reu AB: 250a in a contemporary sentence] 

leu 'rudder' [not attested in MC]


biu 'life, flesh' [agan bew RD 74]

liu 'colour' [lyw PA 68c, RD 2101; lew CW 1051]


luu 'host' (in luulistri) [lu PA 163c]

duv 'black' [du RD 2101]


duy 'god' [metathesised in MC and spelt dew, du, dyw; duwaw in the plural sometimes]

ruy 'king' [unattested in MC]

uy 'egg' [wy BM 3953; oy BM 3302]

plui 'parish' [plu OM 2463; plew TH 25a].


As Jon says, OC, or at least the Cornish of OCV, has only two diphthongs here: /ew/ and /Iw/.

KK was conlang and the SWF is also a conlang.

I prefer something a little closer to Cornish.








On 2010 Du 24, at 12:33, j.mills at email.com wrote:

What actually is the evidence for three phonemes /ɪƱ/, /iƱ/ and /εƱ/ in Old Cornish? The Vocabularium Cornicum has "clavus: leu pi obi" [Vocabularium Cornicum: 282], "leo: leu" [Vocabularium Cornicum: 560] and "color: liu" [Vocabularium Cornicum: 481]. This suggests two phonemes, /ɪƱ/ and /εƱ/. How is a third phoneme extrapolated?

Ol an gwella,



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