[Spellyans] Spelling and linguistics - Yes

Chris Parkinson brynbow at btinternet.com
Tue Jun 22 14:36:15 BST 2010

Thanks again, Michael, for your comments and corrections.

First, yes, I made an unsubstantiated  claim about what 'most people' do. It 
was based on watching 'Pellwolok an Gernewegva'  where it merely seemed that 
a lot of people pronounce Cornish "ow" as "oh", whether using it as a verbal 
particle or as the possessive adjective "my".  Sorry!

Second, I note how you write Cornish "ow" phonetically. The English sound in 
"law" etc. is fairly close to Cardinal vowel 'o' and can be useful in 
teaching learners to avoid putting "oh" at the end of Welsh words.

Third, the description I gave of the English "oh" is what Gimson gives for 
the RP sound, and he says there are variants even within RP. People living 
further North  refer to RP as 'Southern British
Standard' so calling this a dialect is ok. But it's the dominant dialect 
whereas Northern and Welsh pronunciations et. al. are described as regional.

Fourth, you say that people have to learn to prnounce "ow" as schwa. This 
would apply largely to "ow" = "my"  as well, as it is frequently unstressed. 
This is why RLC prefers to use "a" , if using anything, which you do not 
like. But would you use it if publishing something in RLC, or in 
representing the spoken language in fiction?

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Michael Everson" <everson at evertype.com>
To: "Standard Cornish discussion list" <spellyans at kernowek.net>
Sent: Tuesday, June 22, 2010 9:27 AM
Subject: Re: [Spellyans] Spelling and linguistics - Yes

> On 22 Jun 2010, at 08:13, Chris Parkinson wrote:
>> Thankyou for your reply, Michael. The problem with writing "ow" and 
>> saying you should pronounce it schwa is that most people, on seeing "ow" 
>> immediately pronounce it "oh", the old UC pronounciation.
> You are making a claim about what "most people" do.
>> KK, UCR, RLC, Lhuyd, KS and  SWF on the other hand all describe this 
>> diphthong as starting from a short form of the vowel in English 'for', 
>> 'law' etc gliding to 'w'.
> I write it as [oʊ]~[ə]. I do not write it as [ɔʊ]
>> The English diphthong in "oh", "boat" etc. starts from schwa and glides 
>> to 'w'.
> In some dialects, it is [əʊ], yes.
>> Does this matter?
> No, because the rule to be taught is that the particle is rarely if ever 
> stressed, and it should usually be pronounced [ə].
>> It gets worse when the English "oh" pronunciation is transferred to 
>> Cornish words ending in "o" which does not represent a diphthong at all. 
>> But I speak from a Welsh perspective. Here, the use of the English sound 
>> system when speaking Welsh or just used in place names, can be considered 
>> something of an insult.
> Diphthongization of stressed vowels in Cornish is the one aspect of 
> Revivalist pronunciation which needs serious attention.
> Michael Everson * http://www.evertype.com/
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