[Spellyans] KK ha'n SWF - pronunciation - re DG

Craig Weatherhill weatherhill at freenet.co.uk
Sat Aug 9 14:08:17 BST 2008

Yes, I have certainly heard Dick speak in Cornish spontaneously and on 
many occasions, too.  I don't think that there is anyone alive who has 
spoken Cornish for as long as he has and, most certainly, his 
pronunciation contains not a drop of Received English (as I have heard 
from all too many Cornish users).  This is Cornish pure and simple, and 
it accords with Lhuyd's detailed description of the pronunciation of 
native Cornish (which is the only reliable account we have - beyond 
that, everything is pure conjecture).


Penny Squire wrote:
> Many thanks, Jan, for bringing this to our attention. I have only 
> listened to it once through, but when I have time I will study it 
> properly and make some notes on his pronunciation.
> Yes, Craig, Dick Gendall certainly gallops through the story in fine 
> style - he is a natural storyteller, and he tells it in a very lively 
> fashion.
> Having said that, even from a single viewing it is obvious that he has 
> learned the story by heart - few people could read a piece, cold, at 
> that speeed in their first language . So, in itself, it can't indicate 
> anything about his abilites in spontaneous speech. I'm not knocking 
> him, but it is a fact.
> When my brother was at school his class learned the Chinese national 
> anthem by heart and sang it at the school concert, and as they ended 
> it an enormous Communist flag rolled down behind them as a backdrop. 
> (They did it to wind up the Head, who was known to be a member of the 
> Conservative Party!) They had got one of the staff at the local 
> Chinese restaurant to record it, and they all got it off by heart and 
> it sounded totally convincing especially as none of the audience spoke 
> Chinese. But - none of those who sang could speak a word of 
> conversational Chinese.
> As I say, I'm not at all knocking Dick Gendall, and I haven't heard 
> him speak spontaneously and you have, but comparing recordings of very 
> well rehearsed tours de force with cold readings and spontaneous 
> conversation has limited value for the purpose of comparison and can 
> be totally misleading.
> Thinking in Cornish: I've seen plenty of people do this at the 
> Kowethas events I've attended - it is impossible to be fluent if you 
> can't, but again, if we are arguing about pronunciation, it tells us 
> nothing.  One can be fluent in a language and still have poor 
> pronunciation.
> Penny
> From: Craig Weatherhill <weatherhill at freenet.co.uk>
> I never knew that was on Youtube.  If anyone was ever in any doubt the
> most fluent speaker of Cornish alive today is Dick Gendall, then this
> must surely convince you.  He's in his 80s now, but he started to learn
> the language when he was 4.  This man can THINK in Cornish.  I have
> seen him do this in front of an audience with not a scrap of paper in
> front of him.  For me, at least, THIS is Cornish as it should be
> spoken.  Remember the descriptions of the spoken Cornish from years when
> it was still a community vernacular.
> "Lively and manly spoken" - William Scawen (c. 1680)
> "Spoken rapidly" - Don Antonio Ortes (1600) [coming from a Spaniard,
> that must be taken seriously!]
> This clip shows extremely well what these two gentlemen were
> describing.  Now, compare this to the KK speakers on the Youtube menu.
> (Well, you can't.  There's no comparison whatsoever).
> Craig
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