[Spellyans] Dauns and dauncya

Michael Everson everson at evertype.com
Mon Apr 23 16:15:31 IST 2012

Here's a transcription issue that has been bugging me since the beginning. Even when I was editing Jenner it kept coming up. 

Dick Gendell writes these as ‹daunz› [dɐːnz] with a long vowel, and ‹daunssia› [ˈdɐnsjə] with a short vowel. His [ɐ] is IPA [ɔ]. Nance writes ‹dōns› (Late downs, daunce), ‹donsya› (downsya CW) and says that "au is like aw in "saw"; this sound is usually represented by ō".

The question I think is how many phonemes we have in Cornish. We have

/o/ long [oː] short [ɔ] (ros, awotta)
/ɒ/ long [ɒː] short [ɔ] (brâs, brâssa)

where the short vowels fall together though the phonemes remain distinct when long.

I don't believe ‹dauns›, ‹dauncya› have /o/; ‹dauns› does not rhyme with ‹ôns› 'they go'. I've been speaking with Neil Kennedy eliciting examples from him, and we agree that while the short vowel in ‹brâssa› (sometimes ‹brossa› in the texts) is the same as the short vowel in ‹awotta›, the vowel in ‹dauncya› retains its quality. 

For it do do that, it must, I think, be retaining (at least some of) its length. In this way it would be like other loanwords in ‹ai›: ‹paint› [peːnt], ‹paintya› [ˈpeːntjə]. The CW ‹downssya› doesn't look very short to me. 

ros [ɹoːz], awotta [əˈwɔtə]
brâs [bɹɒːz], brâssa [ˈbɹɔsə]
dauns [dɒːns], dauncya [ˈdɒːnsjə]

Or, if you like dauns [dɒːns], dauncya [ˈdɒ(ː)nsjə]... but not [ˈdɔnsjə]

Michael Everson * http://www.evertype.com/

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