[Spellyans] Late Cornish adaptations

Daniel Prohaska daniel at ryan-prohaska.com
Sun Aug 3 15:11:19 BST 2008

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Everson
Sent: Saturday, August 02, 2008 9:01 AM


“{…} We do have some <bÿs>~<bës> words like (I believe) <bÿw>~<bëw> but that
alternation is catered for. I am not sure how many of these there are. The
SWF in §3.0 tries to use <y> as an umbrella graph for this, writing <yw> for
what it says is [IU]~[EU] (it also claims to distinguish this from <iw>
[iU]~[IU] which is a complete fiction). Apart from the verb 'to be' KS
writes <ÿw>~<ëw> regularly, and KS rejects <iw> entirely.”


I don’t believe it is so easy to dismiss an earlier (I’m talking Old
Cornish) distinction between /iw/ and /Iw/. I don’t believe the actual
contrast survived into Middle Cornish, but certain developments differed.
The older /iw/ words remained distinct up to Late Cornish, whereas /Iw/ and
/ew/ eventually merged. What we end up with in Late Cornish is a /iw/ [IU] ~
/ew/ /EU/ distinction. The /iw/ words are usually the Old Cornish
/iw/-words. LC /iw/ from diphthongised MC /y:/ were added to this class. In
a system of umbrella graphs <iw> for “stable” /iw/ isn’t a bad idea, while
<yw> is used as the pre-/Iw/~/ew/-merger umbrella graph. 

To suggest that Middle Cornish had a contrast /iw/ ~ /Iw/ ~ /ew/, is, I
believe, mistaken. Lhuyd shows, though, that it is OC /iw/ that remained
distinct until LC.    


“We could either mark the <bêwnans>~<bôwnans> [eU]~[oU] words with
circumflex, or we could mark the <Jôwan> words with a circumflex. This makes
me wonder if there are words in <ew> which don't have an alternation... in
which case <bêwnans>~<bôwnans> is the better choice as we would be marking
an alternation. We would then have <êwna>~<ôwna> 'emend' and <owna> 'fear'.”


We could do many things, we could spell the Jowan words Joowan, Kernoowek,
loowan… we could right Jûan, Kernûak, lûan, or find many other pretty

We could also talk about the SWF and what we might want to tweak there…




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