[Spellyans] The sound of r

Ken MacKinnon ken at ferintosh.org
Thu Dec 12 12:15:15 GMT 2013

Very much echo these sentiments, Craig and friends.

I am delighted to have your good news of Neil, and must contact him with my
good wishes (and fellow-feelings).

- an Ken ken

-----Original Message-----
From: Spellyans [mailto:spellyans-bounces at kernowek.net] On Behalf Of Craig
Sent: 12 December 2013 11:53
To: Standard Cornish discussion list
Subject: Re: [Spellyans] The sound of r

Well, I'm sure Michael will slap us for these observations when he gets back
from China (on his way back now) but.what the hell!  The gentleman we've
both referred to, and some others, intone Cornish as though it was a
language from some great classical civilization of the past, in stentorian
tones that no Cornishman would ever have used, and more suited to an Oxford
Don or a Shakespearian actor.   Many fluent Cornish speakers do sound like
English folk trying to speak a foreign tongue using English sounds and

Orthography has always been a serious and much-discussed issue, but - I feel
- at the expense of pronunciation and delivery, both of which have been
somewhat neglected.

There are some good deliverers of spoken Cornish, including those you
mention.  Dick Gendall (some great YouTube clips of him), Neil Kennedy and
Dan Prohaska are well worth listening to.

By the way - Neil's OK.  He tells me that he did suffer a minor stroke, but
with no discernible effect.  The cause remains unknown and he's on some
preventive pills.  Otherwise, he's home, up and running again, which is good
to hear.


On 2013 Kev 12, at 11:03, Eddie Climo wrote:

> Murastajy a hedna, Craig; bryntyn o an cana yn whyr! Wosa golsowes orth an
gennen-ma, my a welas ken kevres gether war YouTube--"Geevor Mine, Songs
from the shaft." Gwell genef o nyver 4, "What are Cornish boys to do?"
> I agree with you about the Introducer's voice on the 'Pendeen' clip. It
sounds just right, and if he spoke Cornish with that same accent and
pronunciation, it would also sound just right. Some other native
Kernewegoryon who sound just right are Neil Kennedy, Rod Lyon, Richard Lyon,
the Chubbs, and the late Jowan Pengelly.
> It's rather ironic that the self-styled 'experts' on Cornish phonology,
for all their much vaunted 'expertise', just don't manage to sound Cornish!
One, whom I shall refrain from naming in public, sounds to my ears like a
Portuguese immigrant to Brittany; and as for the 'Sofa' that Craig alluded
to, he sounds like he's a Welshman trying to clear something stuck in his
craw! Heard him at a Gorseth a few years ago, and.well, 'ee browned me right
> Eddie Climo
> On 12 Dec 2013, at 10:28, Craig Weatherhill <craig at agantavas.org> wrote:
>> I tried to share a YouTube clip to this group, of a Pendeen miners'
carol, but it didn't get here for some reason.  The clip is from 1934, and
the first 30 seconds of it are what I wanted people to hear.  An
introduction to the carol by a seasoned old Pendeen man with an unspoiled
local accent.  Just that 30 seconds is precious - the intonation, delivery,
vowel sounds and that R.  (With "carol" pronounced "curl").   If you go into
YouTube, and enter "Pendeen Miners' Carol", you'll find it.
>> I remain convinced that what you hear are the sounds and delivery of
traditional Cornish, perhaps as it was in its final centuries and as Lhuyd
heard it.  Listen to the voice and imagine that the words he speaks are not
in English, but Cornish.  "Lively and manly spoken" (W. Scawen)
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