[Spellyans] Pre-Occlusion (PO)

Daniel Prohaska daniel at ryan-prohaska.com
Thu Sep 8 07:40:10 IST 2011


Deiniol a scrifas:
"An interesting point here is that Manx and Cornish are not the only
"British languages" (in a strictly *geographical* sense) to exhibit
pre-occlusion: it's also abundantly attested for Norn, the extinct
Scandinavian language of the Shetland Islands. As Michael points out,
pre-occlusion also obtains in Icelandic but not, IIRC, in Faroese, which is
interesting, as it's halfway between Norn and Icelandic both geographically
and linguistically. Given this, I have to doubt if there's any direct
influence between Man and Cornwall which could give rise to pre-occlusion.
Deiniol"
 
PO occurs in Faeroese. It may be interesting to note that there apparently
was a dialectal split in the occurrence of PO in Shetland Norn. The island
of Foula of the West Coast showed PO as did the western seaboard of
Mainland, but not in the East where /n:/ and /rn/ become palatalised
(perhaps something like */?/) rather than pre-occluded.
A sort of PO also occurs in the South Bavarian dialect of South Tyrol where
the clashing of root-final /n/ with plural /?n/ after the syncope of [?].
Two /nn/ are left creating the environment for PO as a way to dissimilate
the sounds, e.g. /ba?/ 'bee', /'ba?dn/ 'bees' < *ba?nn < *ba?n?n. Something
similar may have occurred in Late Cornish two where the unstressed syllable
in <benen> was so weakened that the second <e> dropped altogether leaving
*/benn/ which could then pre-occlude to /bedn/ in Borlase's <bednvaz> along
with the rest of the /n?/ that were part of the phonological system of
Western Cornish. 
I suspect that PO is something that develops spontaneously out of a
phonologica environment that has to do with strong stress on the one hand
and geminate consonants on the other. The development of PO in Western
Scandinavian (Icelandic, Faeroese, western Shetland Norn; - don't know about
south-western Norway) share this development and they are connected as PO
occurs in the same environment under the same conditions in a very similar
set of words. It is still possible that PO developed individually out of
common tendencies and seafaring contact with each other. Contact between
Foula and the Faeroes is attested and also that the respective dialects were
mutually comprehensible. 
I find it hard to imagine that Manx PO has nothing to do with western
Scandinavian PO, after all Man was partially Norse speaking for a long time
and settled by mainly Norwegian, i.e. western Scandinavian, speakers. Their
phonology may have initialised the development of a Manx-specific type of
PO.
South Tyrolean PO cannot be connected to Western Scandinavian and this
example shows that PO is not as uncommon a development in languages as one
may think and can develop individually in different non-connected speech
areas spontaneously. 
We can also see that a smallish language community can show a dialectal
split where one dialect has PO and the other doesn't, observable in Shetland
Norn; furthermore some south Tyrolean dialects do not show PO while others
do not. I do not know whether PO occurs in northern Tyrolean dialects. 
This is the kind of dialectal split that Nicholas proposes to have been one
of the contrasting features of western and central/eastern Cornish. 
Dan
 
 
-----Original Message-----
From: spellyans-bounces at kernowek.net [mailto:spellyans-bounces at kernowek.net]
On Behalf Of Deiniol Jones
Sent: Thursday, September 08, 2011 1:17 AM
To: Standard Cornish discussion list
Subject: Re: [Spellyans] gawas 'to get'
 
 
On 7 Sep 2011, at 22:31, Craig Weatherhill wrote:
 
> That is strange regarding the pre-occlusion in Manx.  Only one  
> British tongue has it, only one Gaelic tongue has it.  It's hard to  
> see whether one influenced the other.  Sea-trading might be one  
> possibility, but that trade would also have called into Wales,  
> Ireland, Scotland and Brittany.  They have no trace of it.  Maybe  
> those languages had so many speakers that they were beyond minor  
> external influences - but Manx would not have been, having perhaps  
> as few speakers as Cornish did.  And vice-versa, of course.  From  
> whence came the influence?  Cornwall to Man, or the other way  
> round?  If there is a connection between the two developments of pre- 
> occlusion, then that's the only one I can think of.
 
An interesting point here is that Manx and Cornish are not the only "British
languages" (in a strictly *geographical* sense) to exhibit pre-occlusion:
it's also abundantly attested for Norn, the extinct Scandinavian language of
the Shetland Islands. As Michael points out, pre-occlusion also obtains in
Icelandic but not, IIRC, in Faroese, which is interesting, as it's halfway
between Norn and Icelandic both geographically and linguistically. Given
this, I have to doubt if there's any direct influence between Man and
Cornwall which could give rise to pre-occlusion.
Deiniol
 
_______________________________________________
Spellyans mailing list
Spellyans at kernowek.net
http://kernowek.net/mailman/listinfo/spellyans_kernowek.net
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://kernowek.net/pipermail/spellyans_kernowek.net/attachments/20110908/7416790c/attachment-0001.html>


More information about the Spellyans mailing list