[Spellyans] Vowel length in monosyllables before sk

iacobianus at googlemail.com iacobianus at googlemail.com
Tue Aug 14 11:40:06 BST 2018

Dear All,


I wonder if anyone can help me with spelling several monosyllables ending sk
in Kernowek Standard (KS).


Desky Kernowek gives KS mesk (of the prepositional phrase in mesk)
suggesting a long vowel. But Nance 1938 does not mark the vowel long.
Unified Cornish permits spelling with either y or e. Kernewek Kemmyn (KK)
accepts only y; and An Gerlyver Meur says it is long. If KS mesk does indeed
indicate a long vowel, why is the spelling not with diaeresis: mësk in
alternation with mÿsk? If on the other hand a short vowel is accepted, why
is the spelling not with grave accent: mèsk? (There does not seem to be
justification for a long vowel outside Cornish now the old idea of
compensatory lengthening on simplification of proto-cluster *k-sk > sk has
been generally abandoned.)


Williams 2006 gives Unified Cornish Revised (UCR) desk ‘desk’ without a
macron, suggesting a short vowel. The first two impressions of my Gerlyver
Kescows give KS desk without a diacritical mark, but perhaps this should be
corrected to dèsk (grave accent) in the third impression. As with mesk, I
cannot see any justification for a long vowel unless it arises in Cornish
itself. But Cornish lengthening of all vowels in monosyllables before sk
would be far-reaching: UCR dysk ‘disc’ (Williams 2006) would then become KS
disk, pronounced ‘deesk’, which seems too much like Mr McGregor to be


Williams 2006 gives UCR Pask ‘Easter’ without a macron, suggesting a short
vowel. Desky Kernowek gives KS Pask without a diacritical mark, suggesting a
long vowel. An Gerlyver Meur says the vowel of KK Pask is long. Gerlyver
Kescows also has KS Pask. I am not currently proposing to amend it.


Best regards,


Ian Jackson

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