[Spellyans] Final -dh, final -th, final -v, final -f

Daniel Prohaska daniel at ryan-prohaska.com
Sat Aug 11 01:50:33 IST 2012

On Aug 10, 2012, at 10:29 PM, Michael Everson wrote:

> Sending this again with a meaningful subject line. No other changes.
> On 10 Aug 2012, at 15:43, Daniel Prohaska wrote:
>>> Taking these three together, Dan, I have to say to you again that yes, it can be argued (as you always do) that there is some room for doubt if you take Lhuyd's spellings at face value.
>> I don't take Lhuyd's transcriptions at face value and I don't necessarily believe there wasn't a stressed/voiced : unstressed/unvoiced phonotactic relationship in traditional Cornish. However, the textual spellings don't give us very much to go on. 
> When you say "I don't necessarily believe there wasn't a stressed/voiced : unstressed/unvoiced phonotactic relationship in traditional Cornish" you are saying "I might believe there was a stressed/voiced : unstressed/unvoiced phonotactic relationship in traditional Cornish".

I believe that the lenis auslaut consonant was perceived as being more voiced in stressed syllables than in unstressed syllables, but that in the case of the stops there was no voiced counterpart in auslaut position stressed or unstressed.

The fricatives, however, were able to show this opposition. This is likely to have been the case before Nicholas' prosodic shift (PS). The question remains whether the consonant system was really rebuilt in the manner that Nicholas proposes.  

> If so, why can't you join with some others with the same view, as opposed to letting us know that you intend to oppose our proposal to the Review in favour of your own proposal in the Review?

I don't intend to oppose your proposal to the Review, but I won't endorse it either. It departs to strongly from the theoretically flexible consensus phonology of the SWF and follows Nicholas' theory to exactly. Not everyone agrees with his views, and I'm not just talking about Ken George. 

>> The plosives are different from the fricatives in so far as there never was a clear cut voiced : voiceless opposition in the first place.
> You can't know that. 

There are no native counterpart phonemes, so how can there be an opposition? 
The oppositions were reintroduced by way of English loan words, but the way English loan words change along with the development o English in many cases, many of them weren't fully assimilated. If you look at the way one German speakers pronounce "Chance" and "Orange" you'd think German phonology was completely Frenchified, but this is not the case. 

>> The texts show that even in stressed monosyllabic words there was no opposition between /k/ : /g/ or /p/ : /b/.
> I believe you are mistaken.

I should have added, "...as far as the native (including the assimilated loans) vocabulary is concerned..."

> In medieval writing, voiceless stops are often written where we *know* that the sound must have been voiced.

How do we 'know' this. Exactly the same can be said for the unstressed syllables, cf. MW ‹marchawc› or MB ‹marhec›, the cognates of C ‹marhak› 'knight'. Yet in W we find ‹marchog›, in Breton ‹marc'heg› and in Cornish I can find PA ‹marreg› (4x); Lhuyd ‹marhag› (1x, doubled by Pryce) as opposed to PA ‹marrek› (4x), OM (6x), BM (2x), Pryce (2x); PA ‹marrak› (1x), BK (2x), Pryce (1x); Lhuyd ‹marhak› (1x).

The unvoiced graph ‹k› is more frequent, but the voiced ‹g› occurs nonetheless. So maybe this is all just mediaeval scribal convention to write voiceless stops in this position and I know Cornish is neither Welsh nor Breton. 

> If this is true for Welsh and Irish (and it is) it ought to be true for Cornish as well. (I don't believe that there is evidence for final -g or -b in unstressed final position, If there are examples they must be rather rare.) 

See above…

Here's evidence for ‹b›

VC ‹modereb›
Lhuyd ‹modrap› (2x)
Lhuyd ‹†modryb›
Pryce ‹modereb› (undoubtedly copied from VC); 

VC also has ‹eneb›; 

OM ‹wortheb› (1x)
BM ‹gorthyb› (2x), BK (7x)
BK ‹worthyb› (7x) 
TH ‹gurryb› (1x), CW (3x)
TH ‹gorrub› (1x)
SA ‹orybe› (1x)
SA ‹worryb› (1x)
CW ‹gorthib› (1x)
CW ‹worthib› (1x)
Pryce ‹gorib› (2x)
Pryce ‹wotheb› (2x)
Pryce ‹wortheb› (1x)

as opposed to:

PA ‹worȝyp› (1x)
PC ‹gorthyp› (2x), Pryce (2x)
PC ‹worthyp› (4x), RD (2x)
BK ‹gorthyp› (1x)
Th ‹gurryp› (1x)

Took me a while, but should think there are more… so much for very rare and no evidence...

>> The fricatives, however, have this opposition as you can see in ‹kôth› (Lh) for /θ/ and ‹bêdh› (Lh) for /ð/.
> Yes, I know. I already mentioned that we aren't concerned with the monosyllables.

But don't you get my point? There is an opposition between voiced and voiceless in the auslaut, which isn't possible in the native vocabulary as ‹k› is just a variant of ‹g›, and ‹p› of ‹b›.

>> The native writers always wrote ‹th› for both /θ/ and /ð/; so from their writings we cannot determine when, where or how the two were distinguished, but it seems plausible to assume that the distinction was valid throughout the development of Cornish as a living language.
> Why? If final consonants in unstressed position devoiced,

That's your assumption. Right now as a working hypothesis I say they might not have been...

> why would some of them devoice but not others? What specific mechanism do you suggest. 

I don't assume general unvoicing…. that's my whole point. 

>> The cognates of C ‹coth› are W ‹coth› 'old man' and B ‹kozh› 'old', as well as Gaulish ‹cottos› preserving the original Celtic *kott-o-s. By the same token original British /ð/ continues to be distinguished in C ‹bedh› 'grave, tomb', cf. W ‹bedd› and B ‹bez›, going back to CC *bed-o-. 
> Yes, I know. 

I know you know ;-)

>> Yet the Middle Cornish scribes wrote ‹coth› and ‹beth› with no way for us of knowing whether they heard or pronounced /θ/ or /ð/ and in which context. We have only Lhuyd to tell us that these two consonants were distinguished. 
> We also have the comparison with the stressed monosyllables of the sister languages. 

Doesn't an argument like this prompt you to say Cornish isn't Welsh or Breton ;-)

>> The same holds true for the contrast between /θ/ and /ð/ in unstressed syllables.
> No, because they don't exist in a vacuum.

I didn't say they did...

> The exist within a linguistic system where other consonants are also devoiced in final unstressed syllables. 

As is your assumption, but this may be mediaeval scripal tradition only, as you indicated. MW and MB often write ‹p t k/c› in unstressed auslaut where the modern orthographies show ‹b d g›… 

>> There is no way of knowing from the native writers which of these two phonemes was intended. In medial position PA sometimes wrote ‹ȝ› to indicate /ð/,
> ‹Ȝ› can also indicate /θ/; compare PA 341 worthebys and 345 worȝebys.

Yes. In the case of ‹menyȝyow›, however, it is highly likely that ‹ȝ› indicates [ð], wouldn't you say? It's an inlaut and intervocalic form in voiced environment with an etymological */ð/... I'd say the odds are high….

>> so here we have independent proof that the etymon ‹menydh› 'hill' contained /ð/ at least in medial/intervocalic position, cf. PA.(170) ‹menyȝyow› 'hills', corroborated by Lhuyd's ‹menedhiou›. 
>> In this word Lhuyd writes the simplex with ‹dh› also. 
> Lhuyd also writes the simplex with ‹th›. 

Lhuyd has:
‹†menydh› (2x)
‹menedh› (2x)


‹meneth› (2x)

and in the plural:

>> So even if Nicholas' theory of Cornish phonotactics after the prosodic shift seems nice an neat and ties the MC spellings (which don't distinguish word/final /f/ : /v/
> Yes they do. ev RD and ev and ov occur in CW; compare ynaff, allaff, mannaff, genaffa and sewenaffa in CW. A more systematic presentation could be presented but the way you have put it is simplistic. 

Yes, I don't deny either….

>> and /θ/ : /ð/) it remains a theory only. Nothing more, nothing less. 
> And yet most speakers have -əθ in final unstressed position.

So, now we're not talking about traditional Cornish anymore, but using RC as support for your decision. There are many things many speakers of RC pronounce incorrectly, or perhaps correctly in this case...

> I've been listening to them for years. I take notes in IPA at the Lostwithiel meetings. So "it remains a theory only" but it is a theory that stands up in the framework of a phonological system, which happens to match the practice of speakers of the revived language. 
> The only reason to want to keep the KK -dh in final unstressed syllables is if one wanted to encourage speakers of the revived language to voice that segment. I don't believe that we should want to do that. 

Why? Because it was KK that introduced ‹dh› in this position? Maybe Ken George did this for a good reason. It works both ways, especially where ‹dh/th› is concerned. There is no proof either way… the Cornish scribal convention was not to distinguish /θ/ from /ð/ and to write ‹th› overwhelmingly. 

>> For us the relevant question is how to treat this in Revived Cornish. Why is distinguishing /θ/ : /ð/in ‹coth› and ‹bedh› any more authentic than distinguishing /θ/ and /ð/in ‹dalleth› and ‹menydh›?
> Everybody agrees about coth and bedh! Why drag them into it?

Because writing ‹bedh› is no more or less authentic than writing ‹nowydh›. You're already writing ‹bedh› which is strictly spoken inauthentic. What's the harm in writing ‹nowydh› too? Unless it is to orthographically cement your theory of general unvoicing in auslaut of unstressed syllables.  

> It doesn't explain what happens in final unstressed syllables!

I have shown above that unveiling in this environment was not universal. 

> Stressed monosyllables are different.

Which we only know from the sister languages… 

Don't get me wrong, I realise that a stressed monosyllabic word ending in a lenis consonant is more prone to voicing than in unstressed position, but that is true of W and B as well.

> Final unstressed syllables in Cornish are very weak. Welsh syllables are staccato and crisp and very different from Cornish.

Yes. Yet MW often wrote ‹p t k/c› in this position as did MB and MC. 

> Cornish has a *different* phonological system. 

No doubt.

>> Just because it fits Nicholas' theory on Cornish phonotactics? If that is the case, then I'd prefer to err on the side of caution. Rather than following one man's theory, I'd write ‹th› and ‹dh› consistently, that is as it has already been chosen to distinguish /θ/ and /ð/ in RC at all. 
> So what you're saying is that you're happy to ignore the evidence Lhuyd gives for -th,

No, I don't do that. 

> because you would rather "follow one man's theory", namely that of Ken George,

There you go again, as if there's only Ken and Nicholas. There are other people out there doing research on Cornish. The important thing is to keep an open mind and not become entrenched in one's own theories so much so that one doesn't want to see other possibilities. 

> who is responsible for deciding that these segments "must" have been voiced. 
> Of course, in the revived language, they *aren't* voiced. The Grand Bard and Polin Prys,

I will not judge Polin's pronunciation here, but there are other issues apart from unvoicing final ‹dh› - and I never said I consider it to be wrong to do so. But if we distinguish ‹dh› and ‹th› orthographically shouldn't we entertain the possibility that [ð] could have occurred in this position? 

> for example, both of whom learnt KK, say "gorseth". They don't say "gorsedh". 

Both of them learnt UC before they switched to KK and UC had ‹th›. 

> Nor should they. 
> You want to write ‹th› and ‹dh› "consistently", that is "where Welsh has -dd".

No, not because W does, but because there is no hard factual proof that Cornish didn't. 

> But Cornish isn't Welsh,

I know, yet you rely on W where the stressed syllables are concerned… 

> and if some final consonants devoice in final unstressed position, WHY SHOULDN'T ALL OF THEM DO LIKEWISE? This you do not explain. 

I am trying… maybe I'm not doing a very good job. But maybe you're also not hearing me, because you don't want to see a feature of KK in the SWF that may or may not have been part of C phonology. 

>> The principle of ‹menydh› pl. ‹menydhyow› can be regarded as the same with ‹tir› pl. ‹tiryow›. ‹i› is written in ‹tiryow› because the simplex has ‹tir›. 
> They are in no way analogous. This is a poor argument. 

Orthographically they're analogous, not phonologically I'll give you that. 

>> The same rule can apply for ‹menydh› which has ‹dh› because the derived form has ‹menydhyow›. With ‹menydh› and ‹nowydh› you can chose to devoice them in speech if that is what you think the correct pronunciation is. 
>> It's really not that difficult.
> Then why do you not do this?
> [ɡ] rag, teg, kig
> but
> [k] marhag, carreg, uthyg
> [b] mab, glëb, me a dÿb
> but
> [p] methêwneb, morreb, modryb
> [ð] sedh, bëdh, scoodh, rudh
> but
> [θ] gorsedh, menedh, nowydh, arlùdh

That's what I mean… this would be one option for people who think Nicholas' theory is most likely and want to follow it. Others may want to say [ð] and if the SWF writes ‹dh› they will know when to do this. 

For several reasons, mainly because the mediaeval scribal tradition was what it was, it was the aesthetic decision to stick to ‹k› and ‹p› rather than write ‹g› and ‹b›, though as I show above, ‹g› and ‹b› occur in final unstressed position. 

Like the case of the stressed vowels the ‹p› and ‹k› is pretty much a feature that is agreed to by all sides so it wouldn't really make sense to endorse and promote ‹b› and ‹g› in this position.  

> [v] gwrav, nev, gov, cuv
> but
> [f] manav, genev, orthyv (often drops to Ø)
> Why not?

Yes, why not, though I would prefer to write ‹f› and recommend the the choice of whether to pronounce [f], [v] or drop it altogether. 

> It is just the same.

Yes, it is. 

> Sure 'aunt' is "modryb" in Welsh and 'knight' is "marchog". If Cornish is like Welsh for -dh and -v (‹f›), surely it should be like Welsh for -b and -g. 

I see your point, but there is already unanimity where final ‹k› and ‹p› are concerned and as I said above, from the point of view of the native and assimilated vocabulary there is no phonological opposition between /k/ : /g/ and /p/ : /b/ in the auslaut. 

> The same rule can apply for ‹marhag› which has ‹g› because the derived form has ‹marhogyon›,

It can have ‹g› or ‹k› because there was no opposition between /k/ and /g/ in the auslaut. I don't know how else to put it...

> and The same rule can apply for ‹modryb› which has ‹b› because the derived form has ‹modrebeth›.

Yes, and I'd have much less of a problem with accepting final unstressed ‹b› than ‹g›, because ‹k/ck› for the latter was so frequent in traditional C. 
> With ‹marhag› and ‹modryb› you can chose to devoice them in speech if that is what you think the correct pronunciation is. 
> THAT is an exact analogy. 

The analogy is correct. But as with stressed ‹dh› : ‹th› there is no real contention… hence… don't make waves...

>>> But then we come to the area of language structure and practical phonotactics.
>> I see no evidence that this was the case in traditional Cornish. Yes, the unstressed/unvoiced consonants are more frequent in the stops, but not universal and there's no way of knowing /θ/ : /ð/, both written ‹th› and /f/ and /v/ both written ‹f› or ‹ff› in final position. 
> /v/ is also found as ‹v› in final position. And then there are the rest of the consonants. 


>>> We have offered -- based on our observation of what is in the texts -- a phonological model of Cornish where final consonants are very often voiced in stressed monosyllables, but which devoice in unstressed final position.
>> Final devoicing can have other reasons as well, which has been theorized by others. I'm not on anyone's side here.
> Gee, that's very helpful.

Thanks. (I did get the irony BTW)

> What you are doing, however, is setting it all up for a nice big battle during the Review,

No, I'm not interested in battles. I'm interested in a workable solution to the problems of the SWF. But it's give and take...

> don't you think?


> It's all very well to be nice and theoretical and "neutral".

I'm not neutral. I have my opinions, sternly so, and informed I might add. That doesn't mean I can't see other possibilities. Some issues will have to be left open because we have no native speakers to interview in order to find out what C phonology real was like. But I'd like to see an orthography that can leave these issues open to interpretation, for practical implementation set up rules of recommend pronunciations with a proviso or two...

> But you're not "neutral".

I never said I was.

> You're pursuing a definite result.

See above...

> You want a system where final -b alternates with final unstressed -p, where final -g alternates with final unstressed -k, but instead of having a system where final -dh and final -v alternate with final unstressed -th and -f. for those ones you want to have a "special rule" that people can follow "if they think that's the correct pronunciation". 

Yes, because there is doubt as to the universality of final devoicing of fricatives. 

> This is inconsistent.

It may be, but no one has ever claimed that traditional C orthography is consistent… 

> It's contentious because it ignores the fact that people already actually say "gorseth" and not "gorsedh" (even those who were taught otherwise). That is really, really bad orthography design. 

Taken from the true master of orthographic design this hurts just a little, but I'll get over it...

>> I'm not saying this particular linguist is right and the other is wrong.
> You might try saying "Hey, people are using the devoiced form already anyway, why not just allow the orthography to be paradigmatic in this matter?"

As I've said before, I wouldn't like to use the current phonology of many RC speakers as the basis for a SWF… that would remove it too far from traditional Cornish. 

> Then you don't have to worry about this or that particular linguist. You can just observe -- as I have -- the reality of the revived language and support that. 

I support it, but even speakers of RC are painfully aware of their shortcomings as far as pronunciation is concerned...

>> I want to find a sensible and consistent way of spelling RC. and in so doing accommodate the greatest number of users.
> How do you gauge them? I observed prominent KK users, some of them teachers. They had -əθ in final unstressed position.

I'm not just talking about KK users. Why do you allays assume this?

>> I feel in the case of /θ/ and /ð/ this is best achieved by distinguishing /θ/ and /ð/ consistently as ‹th› and ‹dh› even in final unstressed position, as any final devoicing can be done by rule.
> Then you are inconsistent with p/b and k/g.


> Because if you were consistent, you'd have the same orthographic convention for those, "as any final devoicing can be done by rule". 

Yes, but see above for my reasons...

>> Final voicing of ‹nowyth› can on the other hand not be predicted because the learner wouldn't know why to voice in ‹nowyth› but not in ‹dalleth›. So the best way would be to write ‹nowydh› and ‹dalleth› and allow for the speaker to decide whether to pronounce /ˈnɔwɪθ/ or /ˈnɔwɪð/.
> People say [ˈnoʊəθ] already. Why should we *want* them to say [ˈnoʊəð]? Oh, that's right. Because Ken George thought that Cornish should be like Welsh in this matter. 

It's not always about Ken George or Welsh. It's about the difficulty of finding hard factual proof that traditional C always and in all cases unvoiced in this position. 

>> Again, I see no reason in the argument that ‹dh› in ‹bedh› is any more or less authentic than ‹dh› in ‹nowydh›. 
> The question of stressed monosyllables is not contentious.

As the issue of writing final ‹k› and ‹p› isn't. 

> Everyone agrees about them.

As with ‹k› and ‹p›….

> The question of what happens to consonants in final unstressed syllables is a question of systematic phonotactics.

Now, as far as I can see it, traditional C phonotactics were as Nicholas argues, or… they weren't… either way, we will never be sure. So we can either endorse Nicholas' theory and say, "hey, whether this was the case or not we'll never know, but let's pretend it was" or we can say "we cannot prove that it was so and so, so let's find an orthographic solution that enables us to do either". I favour the latter approach. 

> The two things are not the same, regardless of what was written in the MSS. 

I've lost you here, I'm not quite sure what you mean...

>>> [z] bos, tas, in mes (original tad)
>>> but (at least earlier)
>>> [s] gwelys, gweles, myternes (original gwelet)
>>> We also think that the influence of final voiced ‹s› in English plurals is the cause of the general voicing of  final ‹s› in later Cornish. 
>> I find this highly unlikely. If Cornish writers identified the Cornish ending with English ending they would have spelt them accordingly, with ‹s›. No, I believe they wrote ‹z› because they pronounced and heard [z]. 
> I think you misunderstood.

I don't think I did. 

> I was not talking about spelling, but of sounds.

As was I. 

> We think that ‹bos› and ‹tas› were [boːz] and [tæːz] and that ‹gweles› and ‹myternes› were originally [ˈɡwɛləs] and [mᵻˈtɛɹnəs]

You think it was [ˈgweləs] and [mɪˈtɛrnəs], but you do not know. There's no way of knowing as MC didn't distinguish /s/ : /z/ orthographically. And LC writers, who do use ‹z› and ‹s›, in fact wrote ‹gwellaz› (WR, TT), though ‹myternes› doesn't occur with ‹z› as far as I can make out, though NB has ‹arlothaze› with the same suffix. 

> (fitting into the same paradigm as the b/p, ɡ/k, ð/θ, v/f), but that the later influx of English plurals in -ys [əz] helped to spread the voiced sound even in the native words. So it was natural for the letter ‹z› to be written for all of these in the late period. 

I did understand you correctly, but I still fail to see why they would write /əz/ as ‹az› an not as ‹as›. But my argument from above stands. It's a nice hypothesis, but it's unprovable because MC writers up to CW didn't use ‹z›. So we have no way of knowing when this influence from English plurals prompted C speaker to introduce final /z/ into their native vocabulary. Usually when speakers of a language with Auslautverhärtung (word-final devoicing) borrow a word from a language with a voiced final consonant they will substitute the closest voiceless sound, in this respect [s], and it would take a long time until they introduced it into the native phonological system if it hadn't previously been there. 

I find this hypothesis rather unlikely.  

>> There's no way of knowing if MC distinguished /s/ : /z/, /f/ : /v/ or /θ/ : /ð/, in final unstressed position, but it seems odd that if in MC the general rule was that the stressed/voiced : unstressed/unvoiced phonotactic relationship was operational and that after the MC period in LC ‹bedh› and ‹nowydh›, as well as ‹coth› and ‹dalleth› "resurface". If indeed MC had had */beð/, */koð/
> Who said anything about MC /koð/? There is no problem with MC having both /beð/ and /koθ/. This is not related to the question of final unstressed syllables. 

It is to exemplify that there was a possible opposition between these two sounds in the native phonological system, but there wasn't in the case of /g/ and /b/ because /k/ and /p/ didn't occur because they had been lenited by the time WCB became separate languages. 

>> and */ˈnowɪθ/, */ˈdal(ː)əθ/, why do [they] show their expected sounds in LC? 
> By "in LC" do you mean "in Lhuyd"?

LC = Late Cornish

> Lhuyd isn't consistent. 

No, he's not, but then again neither are th MC scribes where /k/ and /p/ are concerned. 

>> Yes, one possible explanation is that Lhuyd substituted the Welsh distribution.
> Yes. We think that this is the most likely explanation given the paradigmatic nature of unstressed final syllables. 
>> The other explanation is that Cornish retained the original values all along.
> But then you have to explain what mechanism devoices some final consonants and not others.

I have… I don't believe there is hard factual proof that Cornish universally unvoiced. 

> Come on!

No, you come on!

> You have marchog/marhak and modryb/modrep and newydd/nowyth and W‹genef›/C‹geneff› (careful now!). What mechanism protects -ð and -v from devoicing when -g and -b do?

Did they? See above.

> It is that the nature of the syllable stresses differs dramatically between the staccato Welsh and the much less crisp, much more Anglicized perhaps, Cornish. 
>> Whatever it may be, neither can be ruled out, nor proven.
> No, but I think our explanation is strongly plausible and your explanation is quite unclear and gives rise to lots of questions. 

It's not a theory. It's an elaborate way of saying we don't know. we can't know.

>>> This is a structured pattern, which fits the data.
>> Partially, and very dependent upon dismissing evidence from Lhuyd. 
> We do not "dismiss" evidence from Lhuyd. (You've made this mistake before. It offends.)

OK, I'll not mention it again. 

> We try to interpret his inconsistency. It is easy to understand him hearing [ˈɡɛnə vi] and parsing it like his native Welsh ‹genef fy›. And come on, he writes:
> arleth,


> banneth, bisqueth, bisᵹụeth, bithqueth, bitqueth,

These words contain etymological /θ/

> bolongeth,


> borègueth,

etymological /θ/

> bysqueth,

etymological /θ/

> dallath,

etymological /θ/

> degụyth, deụyth, ergụath,

etymological /θ/

> filgeth,


> folneth,

SWF ‹folneth›

> foloreth,

SWF ‹foloreth›

> flannith,


> foủetneth, gresyth, guanath, gụanath,

SWF ‹gwaneth›

> gụrkath,

etymological /θ/

> gwyroneth,


> hanath,

possibly etymological /f/

> iganzvath,

etymological /d/

> kanzụyth,

etymological /d/

> karlat,

etymological /θ/

> kettoth,

etymological /θ/

> kidniath

also ‹kidniadh›
etymological /v/

CC *kentu-giamo- (cf. W cynhaeaf)

> kyzalath, kẏzɐleth,

SWF ‹cosoleth›

> lonath,

SWF ‹loneth›

> meneth, mennith,

also occurs with ‹dh›

> milụyth,

etymological /θ/

> molleth,

SWF ‹molleth›

> mẏhterneth,

SWF ‹my(gh)terneth›

> nèpyth,

etymological /θ/

> progath,

SWF ‹pregoth›

> skiantoleth,

SWF ‹skientoleth›

> sẏụêth,

etymological /θ/

> tallath,

is this ‹dalleth›? 
in that case etymological /θ/

> tergụyth,

etymological /θ/

> gravêth,

SWF ‹gravath›

> traveth,

etymological /θ/

> rrebath,


> triụath,

JB writes ‹triuadh›

> ụarbarth,

etymological /θ/

> ụihith,


> unụyth,

etymological /θ/

> zolᵹụeth, and ᵹevyth.


So, what is this list supposed to tell me?

> [List provided by Jon Mills in 2008.]
> Explain to me your phonotactic rationale for marchog/marhak and modryb/modrep BUT newydd/nowydh and W‹genef›/C‹genev› in a nice paradigmatic way that makes sense, and then show me how dependent you are about "dismissing evidence from Lhuyd", because you have to dismiss all those words right there. 

I don't think I am...

>>> It is coherent, easily explained, and indeed, easily taught.
>> Nice and neat in historical linguistics always makes me a little suspicious, especially in this muddle of scribal spellings, prosodic shifts and Cornish-writing Welshmen of the 18th century….
> Occam's razor says to me that your dependent-upon-dismissing-some-of-Lhuyd argument (in the light of wide-spread devoiced -th in the revived language) has little to recommend it. 

Same to you… ups, I said I wouldn't mention it.
No, I'm not dismissing Lhuyd's ‹th› forms. But he does give ‹dh› forms as well. And look at good old JB playing around with ‹dh›….

>>> Do you have a different description for these pairs, Dan?
>> Yes, I do. I've explained them many times, as you know. 
>>> If so, shouldn't you wish to explain it to us?
>> Yes, I have done. Many times, as you know. 
> No, I don't know. You've never set anything out in a nice neat table as I have done above, together with your description of the pairs. I'm asking you to do so now, here, in this thread. 

Well above are as many tables as I want to give you right now, it's 2:23 am...

>>> Or have you not thought about the phonotactics of Cornish?
>> Yes, I have. 
> Then set out your argument plainly, as I have done above. The table begins:
> [ɡ] rag, teg, kig
> Copy it out, and give your explanation of it, so that everyone on Spellyans can evaluate it.
> You see, you're asking us to accept "menydh" and "genev". We don't believe we should. Convince us.  

I am trying...

>>> It's true that Lhuyd writes -v in ‹a hanav›, ‹a yuhav›, ‹dredhev›, ‹genev/ᵹenev›, ‹orthiv›, ‹ragov›, ‹ụarnav›, ‹olav›, but this -v is **not found in traditional Cornish** (though -ff and -f and Ø are) and so the most likely reason for this is the influence of Welsh. He heard "gene vy" and the thought it was like Welsh "genef vy". 
>> It's true that there is even less dependable evidence concerning /f/ : /v/ than there is for /θ/ : /ð/. This is why I would like to propose for R13 an umbrella graph ‹f› that more or less works like ‹s›. We would spell ‹f› word-initially and word-finally with the optional pronunciations [f] ~ [v], but spell ‹v› where both 'dialects' of Cornish agree on /v/, i.e. ‹ev›, but ‹bedhaf›, in essence what you have in KS, but with the rule-based option of pronouncing [f] or [v] for words/position in doubt or where one variety has [f] and the other [v]. SWF ‹cavos› could then be spelt SWF13 ‹cafos› meaning [ˈkafəz] or [ˈkavəz]. 
> Not quite sure what you mean by 'dialect' here. 

R;C and RLC.

> I would support your scheme as far as it goes (since it does away with -v in final unstressed position), but I don't see much need for your rule-based option. We simply state thet "cafos" has as variant forms of the verbal noun "cavos", "cawas", and "gawas", and allow people to write what they like. We also premit both "gul" and "gwil". 

Fair enough...

>>> It's true that Lhuyd writes -dh or -ꝺ sometimes -- but he also writes -th and -ꞇ, and the texts all write either -th or -ȝ. So the most likely reason for this is the influence of Welsh. 
>> Dismissing Lhuyd's evidence, though I'm not saying you shouldn't view his work critically, doesn't really help, because what you find in MC doesn't tell you much and leaves only speculation without any kind of proof. 
> We explain Lhuyd's use of -dh in unstressed final syllables as the natural influence of his native tongue. 
> You are left still "dismissing" this:

see above….

> arleth, banneth, bisqueth, bisᵹụeth, bithqueth, bitqueth, bolongeth, borègueth, bysqueth, dallath, degụyth, deụyth, ergụath, filgeth, folneth, foloreth, flannith, foủetneth, gresyth, guanath, gụanath, gụrkath, gwyroneth, hanath, iganzvath, kanzụyth, karlat, kettoth, kidniath kyzalath, kẏzɐleth, lonath, meneth, mennith, milụyth, molleth, mẏhterneth, nèpyth, progath, skiantoleth, sẏụêth, tallath, tergụyth, gravêth, traveth, rrebath, triụath, ụarbarth, ụihith, unụyth, zolᵹụeth, and ᵹevyth.
>>> For your view to be taken seriously, shouldn't you wish to produce a coherent argument which takes the linguistic system into account?
>> Yes, I should.
>>> You'd have to have a convincing reason why we have g/k and b/p (and probably z/s) on the one hand but ð/ð and v/v on the other.
>> Yes, as mentioned above, I have. 
> Do it again. Don't just say that you've done it, please. 

I have done above...

>>> Because so far, Dan, while we have shown a coherent and systematic linguistic structure, you have just said "it's doubtful because of what's in Lhuyd, and so we should have dh and v throughout".
>> But that's precisely what we have! You have a coherent theory for which there cannot be any proof and I have several theories that I believe may be possible and simply wonder what the best way is to treat these doubtful cases in RC.
> Why not support the actual phonology of the revived language in this matter?

Because I want to know as much about historical Cornish as there is to find out and I would like to see RC based firmly on that phonology even if there are some points we must leave open for interpretation. 

>> I'm not saying you're wrong, nor do I favour any other particular theory, but when it comes to the point where several theories are unprovable yet imaginable and fit the data, as I believe both theories here do, then I need to find out how to accommodate these theories and include them in written and spoken Revived Cornish. 
> Well, all I can say is that I won't support -dh in unstressed final syllables

In principle, even if you cannot show that there is no doubt that C always had [θ] in this position. That's conviction, I'll give you that!

> because I don't believe that the evidence or any arguments I have heard is sufficient to convince me that it is anything but an unwelcome and unnecessary Cymricism. 

You'll make me much happier if we call it a possible Cornicism….

>> You on the other hand seem to be so convinced that your theory is correct, that you wish to impose it on the spelling of RC regardless of lack of absolute and convincing proof.
> I believe that our model fits the phonology of the revived language and that it is the most plausible model to explain the treatment of final consonants in unstressed final syllables in Cornish generally. I have yet to hear a more plausible argument. I've asked you for one, and suggested that you try to demonstrate statistically your claims about the data in Lhuyd. 

Ugh those ours, I'm already losing out on my dictionary time just by responding to you here...

>> This is what I don't want to go along with. I don't believe it is inclusive, I don't believe it is sensible. And I don't believe it is very respectful of the theories other linguists working on Cornish have where this problematic issue is concerned. 
> Inclusive of... what? The phonology of KK,

Why is it always about KK. Why can't it be about Cornish? 

> which nobody uses? Which linguists are you talking about? 


oh, and George...

>> As Nicholas has written in "Clappya Kernowek" - along the lines of, if he were to jump-start the Revival he would probably choose not to distinguish ‹th› and ‹dh› and write only ‹th›. I can relate to this and this is legitimate position. But he didn't jump-start the Revival and decided to distinguish the two sounds. 
> Quoting his book from 1990 at this juncture doesn't do your argument much good! 

Why not? He held this position. He made it public. It's out there. I happen to agree with him, on both counts…. meaning also the decision not to try and jump-start the Revival but accept the use of ‹dh› in RC. 

>> Originally in the first edition of Cornish today, his UCR spellings did include words that had ‹dh› in final unstressed position. But by the time of "Clappya Kernowek" and his dictionary, the final unstressed ‹dh› had changed to ‹th›. 
> I can't say. §17.13 of the third edition which discusses ‹dh› doesn't mention final unstressed syllables. 

Maybe so. I'll check tomorrow. 

>> I would like to explain ‹dh› as an umbrella graph in the context of the SWF: those who believe Nicholas' theory that final unstressed /ð/ was unvoiced to [θ] in final unstressed position can do this by rule, whereas those who believe final unstressed /ð/ was variously pronounced either [θ] or [ð] according to the phonological environment can do so as well, while those who believe final unstressed /ð/ was always [ð], can do so, too. Thus we have a spelling that caters to all tastes and doesn't prescribe one man's theory saying that final unstressed /ð/ was always unvoiced. 
> I don't think you'll find anyone on the traditionalist side who really wants to write "menydh" or "nowydh".

That's a lot of people you're speaking for. But I concede the possibility had crossed my mind.

> An unwelcome umbrella graph is no good to anybody.

An orthographically enshrined theory isn't either….

And umbrella graphs work for ‹u› and ‹eu›, why should they for ‹dh› and ‹f›?

> And I think you should really face up to the marchog/modryb discussion above.   

I did.

>>> That's not a structural argument.
>> From the point of view of orthographic design it is. 
>>> And indeed, it would only approach being a convincing argument if you were to list **all** of the words in -dh and -ꝺ and -th and -ꞇ in Lhuyd, with a following word in instances of words within a sentence or phrase.
>> I know, and this would take a lot of time, as I haven't got a single searchable computer database of attested Cornish spellings. In my dictionary I'm currently in the process of putting such a database together so in time it'll be easier to search. Perhaps then I will write something along the lines. I will prepare a short statement though within the R13 proposals. 
>>> Really, there aren't all that many. To know what the implications of Lhuyd are (since there is doubt because of his Welsh) the only way to deal with it is exhaustively.
>> You are mistaken, in my opinion, to dismiss Lhuyds distinction of ‹th› and ‹dh› by assuming analogy with Welsh.
> Enough with the "dismiss", Dan.


> Lhuyd is *inconsistent* in his use of these, and we have endeavoured to explain why. 

So are the MC scribes. Why?

>> Since the other evidence is silent, Lhuyd is all we have in this question. We can choose to ignore him, choose to view him critically or choose to dismiss him.
> We have chosen to view him critically. 

As one should with all sources...

>> I view him critically. With the evidence available I feel I have to entertain the possibility that final unstressed /ð/ was indeed distinguished, at least occasionally from final unstressed /θ/ and that I cannot in full conviction endorse Nichoals' theory that final unstressed /ð/ was always unvoiced. 
> Then you must explain how and why ð differs from all the other consonants in final unstressed position. But let me say this:

I repeat. I don't hold a hard and fast theory on this. But I believe there comes a point when we cannot prove or disprove a given theory. 

> "At least occasionally" is not a strong enough argument for imposing a "spell -dh always" rule on the orthography.

We spell stressed ‹dh› etymologically … how is this any different if you cannot prove that unvoicing in unstressed position was universal?

> "At least occasionally" is *weak*, and is only enough to suggest a reading rule for "occasional" voicing of the segment, perhaps intervocalically across word boundaries. But in that case, the stronger argument is for a "spell -th always" orthographic rule. 

Even if the possibility exists that it is wrong. 

>>> Now, we know that the reason KK has -i is that Ken George was very impressed by Welsh and Breton. Ken George said as much in his Linguistic Advisor submission to Albert and Ben and Trond. He said:
>>>> I advise against <-y>. Welsh and Breton both write <-i>.
>>> The reason the SWF (via KK) has -dh and -v is that Welsh has them. 
>> Welsh has -v?
> Welsh has -dh? (Pay attention.)

My bad.

>>> You suggested that perhaps there could be a rule for people who say [ˈɡɔɹsəθ] that they could learn to devoice -dh in some positions.
>> Yes.
>>> And you said, I believe, that there was evidence in Lhuyd that some of these words were voiced in intervocalic position. I don't think there is much evidence of that, and you haven't produced a complete analysis with exhaustive examples (the sort of thing Nicholas does), but even so. 
>> No I haven't, just a few examples from JCH. Though I wouldn't go so far as to endorse the theory that we have a voiced : unvoiced alternation similar to Breton which is what Ken George proposes. 
> Neither would I, but it the use of -dh in final unstressed syllables is Ken George's Cymricism. 

Not necessarily. It may just be Cornish's Cornicity. 

>>> The easier rule,
>> Says you...
>>> the safer rule,
>> says you….
>>> the rule that is more certain in terms of Traditional orthography, is to spell -th and -f as the texts do (for then we know we are not erring), and to allow these sounds to be voiced in intervocalic position.
>> No, it is not, because it is no easier, safer or more authentic to distinguish final stressed /ð/ and final stressed /θ/ while deciding not to do so in final unstressed position. The evidence for the stressed distinction doesn't weigh much heavier than for the unstressed distinction. The native MC writers didn't distinguish them either. 
> Modern speakers say "gorseth". Modern KK speakers too.

Especially those who started out learning UC and learnt from those who started out learning UC.  

> All of this argument is either navel-gazing or supporting KK for, well, for no good reason I can see. 

It's all about KK with you. It's not for me. 

>> So the safest bet in my opinion would be not to distinguish ‹th› and ‹dh› at all and write only ‹th›. But this option isn't practical for the non-linguistically inclined average learner of Cornish, who wishes to be able to predict the pronunciation of /ð/ and /θ/ by the spelling. That leaves us with distinguishing the two consistently. 
> And so we do. 

Possibly. Though I admire your confidence.

>>> Most people including KK users whom I hear speak say -əθ or -ɛθ for these words. Maybe they voice them intervocalically. But they don't in absolute auslaut. 
>> True, but hardly relevant to my argument, as I said that ‹dh› is to be viewed as an umbrella graph for [θ] and [ð] by the learner/speaker according to which school of though s/he may wish to follow. 
> I would have a fundamental objection and opposition to the use of ‹dh› and an umbrella graph for [θ] and [ð].

OK. You've made that perfectly clear.

> It is just a fence-sitting dodge, and especially in light of the fact that speakers from all camps have -[əθ] in their speech, I find nothing "inclusive" about it. This is just supporting a Cymricist fantasy built into KK. 

Again, I think you're too fixated on this KK issue. 

> You might get away with ‹th› in final unstressed position with optional intervocalic voicing across word boundaries. But the evidence from Lhuyd is not "conclusive". 

That goes the other way, too. 

> I know a convincing argument when I hear one. You've not offered one, not yet. 

I shall endeavor to do better. 

> marchog/marchogion, modryb/modrybedd, arglwydd/arglwyddi, cwrw(f)/cyrfau
> marhak/marhogyon, modrep/modrebeth, arlùth/arlydhy, core(f)/corevow
> Regular pattern, anyone? 

Except there are examples to cast doubt on the regularity of this pattern. See above...

> (Evidence for nouns in -f in both Welsh and Cornish is very scant.)


>>> (We don't have to worry about -dh and -v in stressed monosyllables because we all agree that they were voiced.)
>> But the evidence for this distinction in the traditional texts is also lacking. So why treat the two differently?
> Because the environment is what counts, not just the spelling. Come on, Dan. That is elementary philology. You know that!

I do realise this. What I meant was that the proof for stressed/voiced where ‹dh› is concerned isn't greater than for unstressed/voiced, yet you accept ‹dh› in stressed position. No, not the same phonological issue, but from the viewpoint of authenticity stressed ‹dh› is no more authentic than unstressed ‹dh›.

Good night, 

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