[Spellyans] <l>, <ll>, and <lh> in Sacrament an Alter (1576)

ewan wilson butlerdunnit at ntlworld.com
Fri Jul 23 20:22:58 BST 2010

Daniel wheg,

I wonder if I also might ask permission for a copy of the Wmffre work?
It sounds too interesting to miss! 
I know there's also a PhD thesis on the History and Prospects of Revived Cornish at Lampeter College, University of Wales in the Celtic Dept by Victoria Morgan. I'm trying to find out if we might kindly get access to it from the author and/or Dept. I'm assuming nobody else is aware of this work? 

Off to MAGA now! 

Sowena dheso-jy!
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Daniel Prohaska 
  To: 'Standard Cornish discussion list' 
  Sent: Friday, July 23, 2010 12:01 PM
  Subject: Re: [Spellyans] <l>, <ll>, and <lh> in Sacrament an Alter (1576)

  Of course we can never be sure about the exact phonetic realisations of traditional Cornish, so whether Cornish <ll> was realised as voiceless or geminate will remain a matter of theory, but what we can say, is that the author of SA most likely retained the contrast of <l> : <ll> ~ <lh>. In this I found Albert’s paper convincing. Whether we present this as /l/ : /L/, /l/ : /lʰ/ ~ /lh/ or /l/ : /lː/ is of little relevance. What we also need to determine is, whether there was a contrast /L/ : /lʰ/, so whether we should write <ll> for etymological geminate /L/ and <lh> in subjunctives and comparatives.




  From: nicholas williams
  Sent: Thursday, July 22, 2010 3:06 PM


  What Albert says is partially true. Historic /l/ and /l:/ are indeed distinct in SA (itself a rather short text). It cannot be assumed, however, that the distinction is of necessity one of length. It is also possible that the difference is one of voicing, and that <ll> in SA may be on occasion a graph for [lh]. (I follow Albert’s notation here, using <lh> for voiceless l).


  <lh> in TH and SA  is written for voiceless [lh], e.g. pelha. In BK, however, <lh> is written for historic /l:/ e.g. ellas ‘alas!’. And indeed elhas for ellas ‘alas’ is first attested in PA.

  The form malla < may halla has <ll> in SA but the same verbal form is alho in BK i.e. with <lh>. 


  It seems probable that in some dialects of Middle Cornish the distinction between original intervocalic /l/ and /l:/ has already been reshaped as a distinction between /l/ and /lh/.


  The same appears to be the case with /n/ and /n:/, i.e. that the distinction has been reshaped as a difference in voicing. In BK, for example, cannas ‘messenger’ is frequently <canhas>. Elsewhere in BK (and in MC in general) <nh> appears to represent a voiceless consonant, e.g. in lowenhys ‘gladdened’, inhy ‘in her’, where the devoicing has been caused in both cases by an earlier lenited s.


  Albert says that <lh> is only ever written in SA for /l+h/ or /ll+h/. This may be true in SA, but it is not true in MC as a whole. I have counted  <ellas> ‘alas’ 82 times in the texts. <elhas> occurs 21 times. It would be rash to suggest, then, that <lh> and <ll> are phonetically distinct in Middle Cornish.


  L and n are not completely parallel here. CW confuses historic /l/ and /l:/, writing them both as <ll>. It has not, however, conflated /n/ and /n:/ since in CW historic /n:/ has been pre-occluded. 


  A proper study of all the attested texts is required and the spelling <l>, <ll>, <lh> need to be isolated and tabulated. 


  In intervocalic position historic /l/ and /l:/ are indeed phonemically different in some of the MC texts The question remains, however, what is the phonetic reality.






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