[Spellyans] tavas

Chris Parkinson brynbow at btinternet.com
Sat May 18 11:00:56 BST 2013

Thanks for your detailed reply. However, I think you are mistaken in saying that the changes you make are merely a question of orthography. In changing the orthography, I would want to say that you are also often making small but significant grammatical changes on the morphological level. Also, as I've said before, the normal sequence of learning a modern foreign language is to start with the spoken form. Therefore you need an orthography to reflect that in the early stages of learning at least. You wouldn't dream of telling young learners that  'that is the way we spell it but you pronounce it like this!'  RLC users - (I'll stick with that for now!) very much want to share an orthography with all Cornish speakers and writers, past and present. We don't want a separate system. But we need a system with more flexibility than KS offers at the moment. Publishers in Welsh are quite happy to spell according to the demands of the text, with colloquial contractions, and other features of spoken language where necessary, and standard forms at other times. Regional variations might be included. We wish you would give consideration to this. But in any case, I hope I have shown that that there is indeed an informal spoken form to Cornish which you chose not to reflect in your orthography for the sake of standardisation. Mistakenly, which I for one regret. Chris 

-----Original Message-----
From: Spellyans [mailto:spellyans-bounces at kernowek.net] On Behalf Of Michael Everson
Sent: 18 May 2013 10:25
To: Standard Cornish discussion list
Subject: Re: [Spellyans] tavas

On 18 May 2013, at 09:19, Chris Parkinson <brynbow at btinternet.com> wrote:

> But to see the difference, there is no need to just rely on impressions. The differences can be observed and are quantifiable. In continuous informal speech, speakers are likely to do the following things:
> Reduce diphthongs  e. g. ‘ow’ to ‘a’ or ‘o’

Yes, but it's not at all necessary to write -a or -o instead of -ow. The word "pillow" in English dialects can be pronounced as though it were "pilla" or even "piller", but the standard spelling suffices. 

> Drop final fricatives e.g. from ev, cov, margh,  the ending ‘-owgh’ etc.

Again, there's no reason to routinely delete the -v or -gh in spelling for these words. 

> Drop unstressed syllables e.g. from adro, alebma, ames, avel etc.

And there's no compelling reason to drop these in writing -- with the exception of poetry (in which case an apostrophe may be helpful) or in the dialogue of characters explicitly speaking that dialect (as in Enys Tresour).

> Omit particles such as the ‘a’ in ‘my a vedn’, the interrogative particle ‘a’ and ‘ow’ when it is not just reduced to schwa.

And there's no reason not to write these. Irish has this kind of particle all over the place. Everybody learns to write them. When reading or speaking, they are often elied. 

> Use colloquial contractions such as ‘Thera vy,’ ‘Theram’, ‘N’orave’ etc.

These are fine, though they should be spelt "th'erof vy" and "th'eram" or "th'erama". I don't recognize your last example. 

> It is the choice of the speakers, dependent on the situation, how much they use these and similar devices to enable them to produce speech more efficiently.

How one pronounces is often a different thing from what one writes. "Th'erof vy ow tesky" can easily be pronounced [ˈθɛɾə ˈviː ˈtɛski]. I don't think anyone would pronounce the -f in that phrase, it would just blend with the v-, and the ow is easily omitted because it's mutated the desky anyway.

> In Desky Kernowek’ as Michael pointed out, there is a very useful chapter of idioms taken from all stages of Cornish. There are over 170 from Late sources, (not including CW) But in putting these into KS orthography, about 80 changes have been made, it seems in order to standardise LC to a more formal style.

No, more to normalize the text to a standard orthography. 

> I am talking about the restoring of the particle ‘ow’,  and of dropped unstressed syllables. Missing final fricatives  have been put back and the particle ‘a’ reappears where it wasn’t used in the original.

Yes, because all of these are features of the orthography. They are not binding on the pronunciation.  

> Plus there are various other small changes. I am sure the author must have some rationale for doing this and I would very much like to know what it is.

We'd have to know what they are to respond to this (and if you'd like to make a list we can). I can think of an example (AB: 245a) where Lhuyd writes "neitho" 'to nest' and this was normalized to "neithyow":

Me a wrug gweles an carnow ujy an gùllys ha’n ÿdhyn mor aral ow qwil aga neithyow

Mi ’rig gụelaz an Karnou idzha an gụllez ha’n idhen môr aral kîl ẏᵹe neitho 

I saw the rocks where the gulls and other sea birds make their nests.

> But having , as it were, airbrushed out so many of the characteristics of Late, informal, spoken Cornish, he can hardly argue that therefore they don’t exist! 

Again: we recommend an orthography which writes particles like "a" and "ow" and final consonants like -f and -v and -gh regularly (omitting them for special purposes like poetry and distinctive dialogue) because this helps to unify the Revival. There's never anything wrong with pronouncing these segments, and there's nothing wrong with omitting them in speech either. The point is that ALL learners of Cornish should be familiar with both the "yth esof vy"-type forms as well as the "th'erof vy" forms. And everyone should be comfortable using both appropriately. 

Nicholas has shown that there are five features of Late Cornish which are entirely unique and should be given standardized forms in a unified orthography… And KS does recognize them. 

Michael Everson * http://www.evertype.com/ _______________________________________________
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