[Spellyans] The Cornish for 'cousin'

Ray Chubb ray at spyrys.org
Tue Jul 29 11:15:14 BST 2014

The real value of listening to first language speakers is in hearing  
the overall flow of the language. This makes their speech  
indistinguishable from someone speaking a language that has not  
undergone a revival.

I remember hearing a BBC interview in Welsh the difference in the  
sound of the language between the interviewer and the uneducated  
interviewee was marked.

With regard to pronunciation, we can never be absolutely sure. For  
example a pronunciation 'you' but a tad shorter, for 'yu/yw' could be  
correct. I don't thing the 'yooo', as in ewe a sheep, of older Unified  
speakers can be correct, neither do I think the exaggerated, almost  
guttural, 'eeoo' of some Common Cornish speakers is correct.

On 29 Gor 2014, at 10:28, Ken MacKinnon wrote:

> A gowetha,
> These ideas on grammar, syntax, etc.,  seem to have at basis a  
> concept of 'universal grammar' as developed by Noam Chomsky.    
> Recent theorists have tended to challenge this theory and reject the  
> possibility of a genetic wired-in grammatical system in the human  
> brain.
> - an ken Ken
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Spellyans [mailto:spellyans-bounces at kernowek.net] On Behalf Of  
> Philip Newton
> Sent: 29 July 2014 08:19
> To: Standard Cornish discussion list
> Subject: Re: [Spellyans] The Cornish for 'cousin'
> On 29 July 2014 00:20, ewan wilson <butlerdunnit at ntlworld.com> wrote:
>> I think you both speak common sense and make an unanswerable point
>> about first language speakers. The speech of those few speakers  
>> should
>> be, in my opinion, well and truly recorded. They very probably
>> reproduce in instinctual way the way the old monoglots and fluent
>> bi-lingual speakers spoke and are closer to the pre revived
>> pronunication than all the more sophisticated learners put together!
> I wonder why you think that!
> They can quite possibly be interesting sources for grammar and syntax
> questions: someone using a language natively and regularly will  
> probably have developed a stable system, extrapolating from their  
> input, and this may approximate that of past fluent monoglots.
> But I fail to see how this could happen with pronunciation. From  
> what I know, pronunciation generally comes either from one’s parents  
> or one’s peers (e.g. at school); I doubt that it would spontaneously  
> gravitate to some hypothetical ideal past pronunciation.
> For example, I gather that many people believe that the Cornish word  
> for ‘is’ (yu, yw) was probably pronounced something like ‘eeoo’ (a  
> falling diphthong), much as other diphthong such as ‘aw’ or ‘ew’ or  
> ‘ay’ or ‘ey’ are falling diphthongs, but if a native speaker hears  
> ‘you’ (a rising diphthong), as I believe many people who learned UC  
> speak, then I would imagine that the native speaker will use this  
> rising diphthong (that they constantly heard growing up) rather than  
> the pre-revived falling diphthong.
> Cheers,
> Philip
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Ray Chubb


Agan Tavas web site:  www.agantavas.com

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