[Spellyans] iw

nicholas williams njawilliams at gmail.com
Wed Nov 24 14:10:55 GMT 2010

Actually, Stephen, the three diphthongs in Breton seem to corroborate my thesis.
North Welsh has three diphthongs, but <yw> does not contain a high front vowel but a centralised one.
This is because the series /iw Iw ew/ was too crowded, so the middle diphthong has moved its nucleus backwards in the mouth.
In Breton the distinction to which you refer does not seem to be in the nucleus but in the coda.
Because the members of the series would otherwise be too close together, in those dialects that distinguish three diphthongs
one finds iw/ew/eo. I cannot see from the three maps for which you provided links that
there is anywhere a series iw/Iw/ew. The distinguishing feature of ew~éw is in the second part of the diphthong, not
the first. Have I understood this correctly?
If I have then my thesis stands. George's series /iw Iw ew/ is without parallel in Brythonic.


On 2010 Du 24, at 13:45, Hewitt, Stephen wrote:

> 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).

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