[Spellyans] The sound of r

Eddie Climo eddie_climo at yahoo.co.uk
Thu Dec 12 15:46:20 GMT 2013


On 12 Dec 2013, at 11:53, Craig Weatherhill <craig at agantavas.org> wrote:
> 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!  

Surely not! after all, this is a consensual forum and we are discussing the Cornish Language.

> 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...

That reminds me of a remark in a book on palaeolinguistics that I read once, which went something like this:

"He was the sort of linguist who chose to study dead languages, because there would be no inconveniently living native speakers to contradict his pronouncements."

Such 'necrotaxic' scholar have been attracted to Cornish, under the dubious assumption that our language is dead--or, if it isn't, it jolly well ought to be! There was, for instance, one such from The Land of Song who was quite vile,or, as we might say in Cornish 'Vyl Glan,' or should that be 'Glan Vyl'? You may well be able to think of a few others for yourself.

> ...in stentorian tones that no Cornishman would ever have used, and more suited to an Oxford Don or a Shakespearian actor.

Yeah, what was the name of that awful old ham?

> Many fluent Cornish speakers do sound like English folk trying to speak a foreign tongue using English sounds and intonation.

Still, all praise to them for making the effort to learn and use Kernewek. Just as with some of the speakers on 'Radio an Gernewegva', whose pronunciation is not so good, I'm glad they're making the effort and, rather than the derisive sneers they attract from some 'experts,' they surely deserve encouragement and praise. I believe that's exactly what they would have got from a popular and respected teacher like Morton Nance, anyway.

> 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.

That's good news; I must send him a quick email and wish him 'Nadelek Lowen'.

Eddie Climo
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