[Spellyans] Spelling and linguistics - Yes

Chris Parkinson brynbow at btinternet.com
Thu Jun 17 11:23:11 BST 2010

Still plenty of hope, Steve! But will you explain what you mean by a 'true, formal, specific' progressive construction compared with a 'general durative or imperfective' . Tenses in English, for example can have either progressive (with ing) or perfective (with have+pp) aspect, or they can just be simple. How the tenses formed are actually used is not quite the same thing. This may be the case in Cornish. You would have to ask Nicholas about what is attested in the texts. I'm not quite sure either why this is of such fundamental importance that you think the success of the revival depends on it. Cornish may be going the way of Welsh which now seems to freely use either progressive or simple present in some circumstances like those you mention eg. Credaf/dwi'n credu, gwelaf/dwi'n gweld, gwn/dwi'n gwbod etc. Languages change all the time and the problem is whether to accept the changes resulting from close contact with a stronger language or to say, no, we want to keep the older form which is truer to our linguistic heritage.

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Hewitt, Stephen 
  To: Standard Cornish discussion list 
  Sent: Thursday, June 17, 2010 9:44 AM
  Subject: Re: [Spellyans] Spelling and linguistics - Yes

  Yes of course. Welsh mae'n dy blesio di rather than mae'n plesio iti. 

  But that's not the question. The question, which I am astounded to see nobody appears to know the answer to, is whether or not "plekya" is attested in a formally progressive construction: "mae X ow plekya dhys". If something as fundamental as that is not known, what hope is there of resurrecting Cornish as a plausible living language?

  Steve Hewitt

  From: spellyans-bounces at kernowek.net [mailto:spellyans-bounces at kernowek.net] On Behalf Of Chris Parkinson
  Sent: 17 June 2010 10:09
  To: Standard Cornish discussion list
  Subject: Re: [Spellyans] Spelling and linguistics - Yes

  I checked at the shop this morning! 'Pa liw sy'n eich plesio chi' is ok in Welsh. I was also offered 'Pa liw dach chi'n licio?'  'Sydd ' in Welsh equates with 'ujy' in Cornish. Or with 'es, eze, eus, us' sometimes. I haven't worked out the rule yet! So 'pa liw ujy ow plekya......' would be my choice for Cornish. But I don't think 'mae'n plesio iti' works in Welsh. You would use 'mae' for a statement, yes, but it would have to be 'Mae'n dy blesio di'  without the preposition. In Noth Wales anyway. But how should we spell what I learnt as 'eze'.  The vowel is long 'e' with a 'to bach'  =circumflex in Lhuyd's orthography. The SWF says we have to use 'eus'. I'm not sure where this came from.

    ----- Original Message ----- 
    From: Hewitt, Stephen 
    To: Standard Cornish discussion list 
    Sent: Thursday, June 17, 2010 8:27 AM
    Subject: Re: [Spellyans] Spelling and linguistics - Yes

    I find this discussion quite amazing.

    Breton *"...o plijoud dit" is quite impossible.

    While Welsh "mae'n plesio iti" is possible, it is because the formally progressive construction has lost all specifically progressive meaning, and may be used even with stative verbs such as "gwybod" (know), "plesio" (please), so that rather than a true progressive, the "ffurfiau cwmpasog" now serve as a general durative or imperfective. An analogous development has also occurred in Scottish Gaelic, but not in Irish, where "tá sé ag VERB" retains true progressive meaning.

    I was unaware that such a progressive > general imperfective development had occurred in Cornish.

    Are there really any attested instances of a construction with "...ow plekya dhys"?

    Steve Hewitt

    From: spellyans-bounces at kernowek.net [mailto:spellyans-bounces at kernowek.net] On Behalf Of ewan wilson
    Sent: 16 June 2010 22:22
    To: Standard Cornish discussion list
    Subject: Re: [Spellyans] Spelling and linguistics - Yes


    You put the case perfectly in my view and the Welsh example is a very mild one of the contrasting complexity-simplicity of the two registers! The difference between trying to acquire Welsh through an old TYS Welsh from 1960 ( Bowen &Rhys Jones) and the fantastic  Routledge Modern Welsh by Gareth King is virtually night and day! 
    Mind you, as a Scot I have to sat the easiest Celtic language to learn I've found is Scots Gaelic. It has a wonderful orthography, a fairly simple mutations system compared with all its other Celtic sisters, and its word order strikes this learner at least as less confusingly varied. 
    What I mainly wanted to say, though,  is that I agree wholeheartedly that the Tavas A Ragadazow I found was a delightful book and I am wondering what led to its abandonment and what is in its place so far as LC is concerned? I also enjoyed using Rod Lyons' Everyday Cornish , a sort of Late/UC   amalgam? 
    I still usually end up back at my trusty Cornish Smplified and so reckon it will be worth first doing say, Hilary Shaw's step-by-step way into it, along with regular dipping into Caradar's masterpiece!
    By the way, as illustrative of the finicky difficulties ( or my block-headedness) can anyone say whether 'yma or 'usy' should be used in translating the sentence-
    'Which colour pleases you the most?' 
    Py lyw yma ow plekya dhys moya? or
    Py lyw usy( or us!) ow plekya dhys moya?

    I'm bamboozled!

      ----- Original Message ----- 
      From: Chris Parkinson 
      To: Standard Cornish discussion list 
      Sent: Wednesday, June 16, 2010 4:47 PM
      Subject: Re: [Spellyans] Spelling and linguistics - Yes

      Daniel, It's good to read of your support for RLC. But there is a danger in referring to ''pidginised my-a-wra'' Kernowek.  'My ra + verb' is actually a normal part of spoken Cornish and  one of the reasons that Nance avoided late forms in UC was because he thought they were somehow sub-standard. This sort of belief lingered in Welsh for many years, putting native Welsh speakers off using the language as they thought the way they spoke it was not good enough. This same view may be putting people off RLC. It is all to the good that we can now talk happily about colloquial and literary registers, and hopefully choose the right one for the job in hand, whether that is to teach infants or write poetry or whatever.
      I'll give an example from Welsh: 'Yr wyf fi yn mynd'  = I am going (lit.)
                                                     'Dwi'n mynd' = I'm going (coll. gog-N.Wales)
      Compare Cornish: 'Yth esov vy ow mos' (lit.)  'Thera vy mos' (coll)
      They are different styles. Neither is 'bad' or 'wrong'.  But the shorter colloquial versions are better for learners, especially young learners.

        ----- Original Message ----- 
        From: Daniel Prohaska 
        To: 'Standard Cornish discussion list' 
        Sent: Wednesday, June 16, 2010 3:26 PM
        Subject: Re: [Spellyans] Spelling and linguistics - Yes

        Dear all, 

           I share the sentiments, especially with Jan and Mina. It was always my impression that RLC is so much easier to learn. Just to grasp the basics and achieve relative functionality soon. The set of auxiliary verbs, phrases and idioms allows you to say a great deal in very little time, whereas it takes for ages to achieve the same kind of functionality in the literary RMC register, with all its complicated verbal inflections, that were even rarer in MC proper than portrayed in most UC and KK textbooks. Albert Bock, who teaches Breton at the university of Vienna also says that Breton confronts the students with many formal rules before they can achieve relative functionality and Breton verbal inflections are much more regular than the RMC paradigms with their multiple vowel alternations. 

           RMC is so difficult, that the learner has to resort to a pidginised "my-a-wra"-Kernowek to be able to say the most basic things, where RLC offers an elegant idiom, which is equally easy. The present tense with bos + ow + verbal noun is also chronically underused, preferring the present-future as a translation for the English simple present which just doesn't always gel.   

           I wrote to Ray Edwards years ago to ask him if he would support my re-writing his otherwise very well structured KDL course to accommodate UCR and RLC users, but he declined. 

           What Chris and Craig point at is absolutely correct. The big downer for people wanting to use RLC was the inconsistency of the spelling and the many changes of the spelling system. I, too, liked the spelling in Tavas a Ragadazow very much, which was actually very close to what the UdnFormScrefys-group came up with when they presented KS1 - after recent re-viewing - a fine orthography, one that I would have enjoyed writing. This orthography was designed to deal with a colloquial and literary register and I still believe it did an excellent job, fantastically presented in the specification Michael wrote with Neil at his side. 



        -----Original Message-----
        From: Craig Weatherhill
        Sent: Wednesday, June 16, 2010 3:41 PM

        "When UCR first appeared, I saw it as the first realistic bridge between RMC and RLC.  I had persevered with RLC but the problem was that Dick would not make his mind up about a settled orthography. He'd say: "Right, this is it", then 6 months later change his mind, and he's still doing it.  It was doing my head in, and learners just couldn't hack it.  Just look at the bewildering difference between Tavas a Ragadazow (which I thought was a lovely orthography) and "Practical Modern Cornish" (to my mind, a terrible orthography) - only 3 years between them.

        I really do think that, if RLC had settled an orthography in the early 90s, it would be way ahead of where it is now.





        Chris Parkinson wrote: 

        "Maybe because of the past spelling problems with RLC, Mina. I think the structure  and idiom of RLC/spoken Cornish should be fairly close to what Lhuyd and his contemporaries used and described. But the spelling needs to be what everyone can use now so learners can move on easily to read earlier Cornish texts and the whole body of 20th century literature. 



        On 16 Efn 2010, at 13:06, Kernuack at aol.com wrote:

        > Jan is totally right. I made this same point when I sent in my  

        > submission to the Commission way back. RLC supporters would have  

        > worked well with UCR - we always maintained this. the stumbling  

        > block was always KK. My pupils have always attained a good degree of  

        > spoken fluency after relatively few lessons. Why would nobody  

        > listen? Mina


        > From: janicelobb at tiscali.co.uk <janicelobb at tiscali.co.uk>

        > To: spellyans at kernowek.net


        > This is what we in the Cussel have been saying until we are blue in  

        > the face. RLC should be taught first as the colloquial/ 

        > conversational form of Cornish, with simplified grammar and spelling  

        > (authentic, naturally), progressing to the more literary forms of UC/ 

        > UCR when the children (and adults) have become proficient in that.  

        > I'm sure there would be far fewer drop-outs.

        > Jan


        > ----Original Message----

        > From: brynbow at btinternet.com

        > Date: 16/06/2010 9:09

        > Thanks for the comments, Ewan. Literary Welsh indeed makes more use  

        > of inflected verbs, but not, I think, to be particularly Latinate.  

        > All the Celtic languages were quite highly inflected, just as was  

        > Latin.  And they have become simplified in speech. (How did they get  

        > so highly inflected in the first place?!)  Your description of the  

        > difficulties of learning the UC of Nance makes the point. Nance's UC  

        > produced few really fluent speakers. That is why Dick Gendall turned  

        > to Late Cornish which Jenner also considered a legitimate part of  

        > the heritage. As I said before, KK only tried to improve UC's  

        > orthography to make it easier to get the pronunciation right. In  

        > this he was unsuccessful because few follow all of his guidelines.  

        > What really concerns me is the problem of what register should be  

        > used in primary schools because it seems that this hasn't been  

        > discussed. Maybe the Partnership's two new education officers are  

        > thinking about it. Literary Welsh is not used in Welsh primary  

        > schools. It was realised in the 50's and 60's that this didn't work  

        > and steps were successfully taken to improve the situation.   

        > Successful learners, and of course L1 speakers gradually come to  

        > more literary versions of the language as they read more widely. So,  

        > to come back to 'Spellyans',  if  an officially acceptable   

        > orthography is not worked out for all aspects of RLC then as Craig  

        > suggested, the SWF favoured by mainly KK followers, and the formal  

        > language that goes with it, will take precedence in 2013. How many  

        > fluent Cornish infants will come out of that? Or am I overstating  

        > the case and being too negative? What do other people on this list  

        > think? Michael, what do you think?

        > Chris



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