[Spellyans] tavas

Linus Band linusband at gmail.com
Wed May 15 09:45:20 BST 2013

2013/5/15 Michael Everson <everson at evertype.com>

> On 14 May 2013, at 23:37, Deiniol Jones <deiniolabioan at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Obviously, this is just personal experience speaking, but as it happens
> I'm in disagreement here. As a Welsh speaker who's studied Breton and made
> a fairly in-depth study of Gaulish, Proto-Celtic and in particularly how
> the latter becomes the modern Brythonic languages, I have to say yes, it
> does help. Significantly. While my active production of Cornish might be on
> the scant side (I've not made a serious study of the language for several
> years- but even so working through Clappya Kernowek was made easier by my
> knowledge of the related languages and their common parent), I have fairly
> good passive comprehension of Cornish solely from knowing about
> Proto-Brythonic. It would not be at all inaccurate to say that I learnt to
> read Cornish from Nicholas Williams and Kenneth Jackson.
> I don't believe for a minute that the etymological value you got from the
> fact that Brythonic languages are related had anything to do with the
> specific reconstructions of **final unstressed syllables**.

> And even if it does help you, you'd be less than 99.8% of people who want
> to learn Cornish. They deserve a system that is an actual system, not a
> system based on a hypothetical relationship to two other systems seen
> through the lens of a reconstructed language predating all of them by
> centuries.
Just like Deiniol I found knowing Middle Welsh and Breton (and to some
extent Proto-Brythonic to connect them) useful when learning Cornish. Now
that I have started learning Modern Welsh I find that my knowledge of
Cornish is helping me a lot. I would like to add that first saying that you
find Germanic etymology and the knowledge of multiple Germanic languages
very useful when learning another Germanic language, but then dismissing
somebody else's claim that they experience the same when learning a
Brythonic language, is a prime example of double standards.
Talking about double standards, the assumption that final unstressed
syllables contained a *ə is also merely hypothetical, yet we roll with it.
So why is it so difficult to accept that at an earlier stage (that some
people indeed attempt to speak) was more of a *ɛ, which, by the way, can be
derived from an even earlier *œ that would neatly connect Cornish *tavas* to
Breton *teod*, and even a bit further back to the ancestor of Welsh *tafod.*
I don't really understand the argument here. KS bases itself on a stage of
Cornish where we can be fairly sure that unstressed vowels were reduced to
a schwa. All that Dan and Nicholas are saying is that there was an earlier
stage of *œ for the final syllable of Cornish *tavas*. This is generally
agreed upon. I find an intermediate stage of *ɛ between earlier *œ and
later *ə only logical, since [ɛ] is simply the unrounded and therefore more
relaxed version of [œ]. It shows that the sound is already on its way to
become [ə].

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