[Spellyans] The Cornish for 'cousin'

Clive Baker clive.baker at gmail.com
Wed Jul 30 09:54:31 BST 2014

Well thanks Nicholas,
 this would all make sense to me if I knew what the difference was between
a rising and a falling dipthong. I know what a dipthong is, so its just the
rising and falling bit that fails to make sense... can you give me examples
of words say in English that represent these, so I can follow your and
other peoples arguments here.... by the way, we teach both yu and yw
spelling as alternatives..(never understanding the differences)
oll an gwella

On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 12:16 PM, Nicholas Williams <njawilliams at gmail.com>

> I don't think they were right. The 'you' pronunciation goes back to Jenner
> and derives, I think, in part from analysing the common
> MC spelling <yv> as though for <yu>. Given that <yw> also occurs (though
> not as frequently) the 'you' pronunciation was always
> speculative. The word itself derives from Proto-British *êst > *ê > *ui >
> *iu with metathesis. The Welsh and Breton forms
> yw and eo respectively also point to falling diphthongs. There are two
> further points. As well as <yw>, <yv> one also finds the spelling <ew>,
> which
> occurs as early as Origo Mundi. The spelling <ew> to an English speaker
> suggests new, dew, few, etc. which all have
> a rising diphthong [ju:]. The second point is that [iw] is absent from
> English (apart from Welsh English of course) and so ju: is just easier.
> The pronunciation with a falling diphthong is probably more authentic.
> The 'more clipped' pronunciation for UC was never convincing. In appendix
> VIII in his 1938 dictionary Nance writes a macron (long mark)
> over the u in yu. This implies that he thought of it as long. To be fair
> Nance also gives the spelling <yw> in parentheses after yû.
> I remember in the late 1960s Elowen (Joan Petchey) tackled me when I wrote
> yw for UC yu. She said I no doubt had
> good reason to spell the vowel u as w, but it was confusing for other
> people. I tried to convince her that I wrote yw for yu
> (as I still do) because I believed the second element in yw was a
> semi-vowel/consonant not a vowel. I don't think I ever
> convinced her.
> Nicholas
> Yet funnily enough Ray, I was taught originally by some of those older
> speakers and their instruction was just that...yu is like 'you' but
> shorter, ...'more clipped', were their actual words. Unfortunately they
> have all passed from this world, and no doubt turning in their graves at
> some of the things that have happened to our language
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