[Spellyans] gawas 'to get'

Hewitt, Stephen s.hewitt at unesco.org
Thu Sep 8 18:52:46 BST 2011

Michael Everson wrote
"But we're talking about the final segment in unstressed syllables. I've no problem with meneth pl menydhyow."ç

Nor have I, if it is convincingly shown that there actually was a /θ/ ~ /ð/ distinction along the lines of Welsh; I remain unconvinced that there was. Once you accept internal <s> and <f> as /z/ and /v/, why not also <th> as /ð/? My hunch is that, like Breton, Cornish was a "buzzy" language, full of voiced fricatives. Why otherwise do you get "misspellings" such as lyʒer (ʒ is almost always used for etymological /ð/) for what we know was etymologically <lyther>. I suspect that it is because it was actually pronounced /lɪðer/. The pronunciation of [-ð] in monosyllables but [-θ] in polysyllables would thus be merely allophones of a single “th” phoneme, whose default value would be [ð]. The only other instance of [θ] would be in cothha, etc.


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