[Spellyans] Dauns and dauncya

Daniel Prohaska daniel at ryan-prohaska.com
Tue Apr 24 18:48:46 IST 2012

On Apr 23, 2012, at 5:51 PM, Michael Everson wrote:

> I had a look at the most recent SWF dictionary draft, and I have to say I don't understand the transcription they are using.
> ros [rɔːz]M [roːz]L -- surely no one actually says the former (even if it is described in Nance)

Actually, I've heard it a lot of times. Also RLC speaker tend to have a rather open quality closer to [ɔː] than to [oː] especially in words such as mos, dos, which Gendall transcribes with [ɒː] (i.e. the same vowel as in bras), while he transcribes nos and ros with [oː]. Speakers who aim for a monophthongal pronunciation (many unfortunately have **[əʊ]) of ‹o› /ɔ(ː)/ tend to have a rather open sound as in southern British English "caught" or "call". 

So the former isn't uncommon be they RMC or RLC speakers….

> awotta [aˈwɔta]M [əˈwɔtɐ]L -- I know that KK claims that /a/ is always [a], but what is this [ɐ] doing at the end of the RLC?

As explained before, this is a transcription convention that Albert and I discussed and decided to implement because we both in our respective dictionary compilation give both an RMC as well as an RLC transcription. While Albert gives the full vowels in a more abstract phonological transcription, I show the likely MC development of post-tonic vowels to schwa. To bring the RLC transcription closer to what Gendall has been teaching for 35 years, that is with word-final -a pronounced fully and back [ɒ], sometimes even relatively long, I shall write [ɒˑ] phonetically here - without claiming the three-way quantity system being operational in post-tonic syllables (or anywhere else by the 16th century). Albert and I wanted to show the a-colouring of these post-tonic vowels that are abundant in later MC and LC texts, regardless of whether the vowels were etymologically /ɔ/, /ɛ/ or /a/. It's a transcription convention much like the [ɨ] you use in the draft of the small KS dictionary you sent me, instead of just using [ɪ]. 

> Of course part of the problem here is that what the SWF says is RMC is really KK, where they are said to distinguish /o/ [oː][o] from /ɔ/ [ɔː][ɔ] -- but I don't believe they really do it.

Again, I have heard plenty of counterexamples. The people in Jerry's class in Nanpean that I visited, for example, could all make the distinction as intended in KK. Whether KK or SWF speakers actually achieve, phonetically, the distinction between [oː] and [ɔː], is not so much the relevant question, but whether they contrast what is spelt ‹o› and ‹oe› in KK or ‹o› and ‹oo› in ModC. RLC speakers contrast ‹ros› [oː] 'roses' and ‹roos› [uː] 'net'. KK speakers do, too, or at least very many I've heard. Some only manage [əʊ] and [ɔː], but they are distinct.
Have you heard KK-speakers consistently merging ‹o› and ‹oe›? 

> I don't believe that most RLC speakers pronounce roos 'net' as [roːz] but ros 'rose' as [rɔːz].

No, they don't - see above….

> =====
> bras [braːz]M (broas [brɒːz]L), brassa [ˈbrasa]M [ˈbrɒsə]L -- here no mention is made of genuine RMC [bræːz] though I see that they (whoever) have analysed /ɒ/ as [ɒː][ɒ]. Neil says [ɔ] for short ‹â› though.

Where have you heard this genuine RMC [bræːz]? The RMC speakers I heard tend to pronounce long ‹a› as [ɑː] as in 'father'. The RLC speakers say ‹bras› (also: ‹broas›) with a back vowel [ɒː] as in south western English 'broad'. But they are the only ones who consistently raise long ‹a› in other environments, such as [tæːz] or even [tɛːz] for ‹tas›. 

> =====
> dons [dɔːns], donsya [ˈdɔːnsjə] -- here though we see them treating the vowel long in the polysyllable, though their spelling is mistaken and must be corrected to ‹doncya› because ‹donsya› would be [ˈdɔːnzjə].

Yes, I agree this should be spelt ‹dauncya›, that is, if we get ‹au› back in the Review13, with the same vowel as the one in ‹bras›. 

> On this last point, at least we agree, though I am not sure what their rationale for the long vowel in the verb is. (In our case, as I have pointed out it is because the quality is kept in the polysyllable.)

I should think that Cornish ‹dauncya› developed alongside English "dance" mirroring the development from the Norman French loan with [ɑ̃n] to Middle English [ɑʊ] then to regional Modern English varieties.

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