[Spellyans] The Cornish for 'who?'

Daniel Prohaska daniel at ryan-prohaska.com
Thu Apr 8 08:06:17 BST 2021


Clive, 

You’re actually scratching at the heart of the matter here, ... it’s one of approach to  the issue. What Nance did on the one hand and Ken George did on the other are very different things. Nance standardised spellings that were found in the texts and then derived a pronunciation from these spellings, while Ken reconstructed a phonology of historical Cornish and then assigned each distinctive  sound a letter (or combination of letters) to represent it orthographically. These are two very different approaches. Criticising the one for a given approach is a bit like watching an atheist and Tridentine Catholic debating a Southern Baptists view on divinity, each side strawmanning the other’s position and essentially failing to listen, or  getting anywhere, because one’s own views are in the way. The arguement thus becomes useless, because neither approach is fairly discussed for what it represents. 

Dan 

> On 07.04.2021, at 13:45, Clive Baker <clive.baker at gmail.com> wrote:
> 
> It ALMOST seems Nicholas, as if they search for any combination of letters that hasn't been used and pick that as their standard...and I find it utterly annoying and a tragic waste of taxpayers money...Akademi my arse
> 
> On Wed, 7 Apr 2021 at 12:35, Nicholas Williams <njawilliams at gmail.com <mailto:njawilliams at gmail.com>> wrote:
> The Cornish for ‘who?’ is pyw, pew. Here are as many attested forms as I have been able to find in the traditional texts (I ignore capitalization):
> 
> pyv 
> PA 190d, OM 1874, PC 771, 798, 1116, 1380, 1384, 2853, RD 262, 1640, 2383, 2467, 2511, 2547, BM 307, 775, 1791, 1977, 2691, 2708, 2714, 2869, 3301, 3463, 3678, 3719, 4039
> 
> pyw
> OM 261, 1368, 2339, PC 320, 1109, RD 196, 410, 589, 2499, CW 872
> 
> pew
> TH 7, 11, 28a x2, 36, 43a x2, 57, SA 59 x2, BK 100, 209, 214, 1998, 2068, CW 548, 1462, 1593, 2346, Pryce: F f 4 verso.
> 
> pu
> PA 81d, 160c, 253d, Revue Celtique 23: 179.
> 
> 
> The spelling <pu> found in both PA and Rowe (Revue Celtique 23: 179) and is comparable with <du> ‘god, God.’ The only Cornish forms with <i> are found in Lhuyd in his semi-phonetic spelling. He writes piu a uor? ‘who knows?’ and piu a’ryg an bad-ober? ‘who comitted the crime?’ (with a dot under the u) but he also writes peu a’ryg an bad-ober? (AB: 352a).
> 	The online dictionary of the Akademi Kernewek under ‘who’ gives piw — a form which is attested nowhere in traditional Cornish.
> 	Why are learners offered a spelling which is without warrant in any traditional Cornish text?
> 
> Nicholas Williams
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