[Spellyans] The Pronounciation of 'r' in traditional Cornish

Harry Hawkey bendyfrog at live.com
Mon Mar 27 12:38:52 IST 2017


Here's some comments from Jackson, 'Language and History in Early Britain', pg 477-478: (slightly edited, may contain OCR errors...)

In Cornish...no distinctions in l and r were recognised in the orthography...there is some trace of a voiceless initial r- [...] as has been pointed out by Forster [...] where he quotes  Hret Winiau "the Ford of Winiau" ... in an AS[Anglo-Saxon] document of 969, and Hryd in one of 960   and Hryt in another of 967, both in Cornwall.

And here's what Lhuyd has to say (AB, pg 229)

The Cornish very rarely asperate their Initial r, saying Risk ha reden rydh [Bark and red Fern]  and not as in Welsh Rhîsk a rhedyn rhydh; but they had this aspiration I suppose formerly, for I have frequently observ'd them to say Rhag [ For] as well as Rag.

Also, there are various examples of internal 'rh' spellings in the texts which also seem to indicate devoicing.

So, possibly a voiceless r sound  [r̥] (as in Welsh) existed as an allophone of the 'normal' voiced r [ɹ] in Cornish.


Perhaps an actual linguist will reply later and give a better analysis...



On 27/03/17 09:06, G ROBERTS wrote:
How would 'r' have been pronounced in traditional spoken Cornish?

Are there any pointers to this?

Meur ras,
Gorwel Roberts

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On Fri, 24 Mar 2017 at 18:16, Nicholas Williams
<njawilliams at gmail.com><mailto:njawilliams at gmail.com> wrote:
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