[Spellyans] The sound of r

Craig Weatherhill craig at agantavas.org
Thu Dec 12 10:28:13 GMT 2013


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).

Craig




On 2013 Kev 12, at 10:11, kinhelfa . wrote:

> Having been exposed to a few "murrderr" quotes during my working time in various areas of Scotland, I quite agree with Ewan's comments although, to this day, I never could understand Hector Nicol.
>  
> Nigel
> 
> On 12 December 2013 00:03, ewan wilson <butlerdunnit at ntlworld.com> wrote:
> The 'smoothing out' of the 'r' sound is something few Scots can understand in English dialects, especially as it then seems to intervene in certain other English dialects.
> For instance 'Against the law' is often heard as 'Against the LawR.' Verry peculiarr!! Is this an invasive 'Estuary English' feature?
>  
> As for Scots producing a very pronounced trilled 'r' as in Private Fraser in Dad's Army, I have to say few Scots actually realise the trill in quite such a strongly rolled fashion, though 'r' definitely makes itself felt in most  Scottish dialects.
>  
> Ewan.
>  
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Craig Weatherhill
> To: Standard Cornish discussion list
> Sent: Wednesday, December 11, 2013 5:57 PM
> Subject: Re: [Spellyans] The sound of r
> 
> I haven't a clue when it comes to the technical terms.  I simply use the same R I've spoken all my life.  Just like the older folk in West Cornwall.  A R which is spoken and never left silent, e.g "baker" is "BAI-ker", never "BAIK-uh".  It's simply spoken and not exaggerated in any way.
> 
> Craig
> 
> 
> 
> On 2013 Kev 11, at 17:17, Christian Semmens wrote:
> 
>> Pop along to KDL and prepare for more r-r-r-r-r's than your ears can stand! It is horrible.
>> 
>> That aside, Craig, do you use a retroflex r or a bunched r, or both? I find it depends on the word, something like "murder" seems retroflex whilst "grand" or "great" used a bunched r whilst "grander" uses both.
>> 
>> It can be difficult to tell without an x-ray machine or a pen to poke about with to work out what the tip of your tongue is actually doing  :)
>> 
>> Is there any evidence that a pervasive trilled r was used in Cornish this side of the Norman Conquest?
>> 
>> Christian
>> 
>> 
>> On 11 December 2013 16:34, Clive Baker <clive.baker at gmail.com> wrote:
>> It was used by and taught to me by Tallek and Peter Poole although only as a very light trill and never with such a rrrrrr as spoken by the bard you talk of Craig...his is so obviously false.....as to its validity I can give no answer but believe that I have heard Nance use the same many many years ago
>> Clive
>> 
>> On Dec 11, 2013 4:26 PM, "Craig Weatherhill" <craig at agantavas.org> wrote:
>> I've heard it at a Gorsedh, from an elderly (non-Cornish) bard, intoning Cornish like some Biblical prophet of doom.  Rak (rag) was coming out as "R-r-r-r-r-r- ak"., rather as once taught in elocution lessons.  I felt so embarrassed that spectators were being subjected to Cornish being spoken in such an appallingly awful manner which it never had as a community language, and which was far more likely to invite ridicule.  In fact, I felt rather…err…"browned-off".
>> 
>> Craig
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> On 2013 Kev 11, at 15:47, Christian Semmens wrote:
>> 
>> > Whilst stumbling around the internet during a quiet few minutes, I came upon someone recommending the KDL free language course. I hadn't been over that fence for a while so I thought I'd have a listen to the audio.
>> >
>> > I will make no further comment on it as I am no expert on ancient Cornish sounds, I'll leave that for others (although I would be interested to hear if anyone thinks those sounds have any merit in revived Cornish at all).
>> >
>> > That took me on to the sounds of r in British and Irish dialects and, although it will be no news to others, came across the "bunched r" or "molar r" and was surprised to find that I used it too, particularly when in Cornwall. Although it may well be the effect on my speech by having moved up-country at an early age. It appears that this type of r sound is fairly common in the US and Australia. For those of you who still have a full-time Cornish accent (mine is oddly dependent upon which side of Gordano services I am on), do you also use a bunched r sound or are your r sounds the retroflex alveolar appoximant variety or a mix?
>> >
>> > (I've never heard a Cornishman use an alveolar trill, unless he was impersonating a Scotsman)
>> >
>> > Christian
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