"Whedhlow Kernowek" dyllys gans Evertype

A new forum dedicated to Kernewek - the Cornish language, Cornish culture and the history of the Duchy of Cornwall
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Marhak
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Post by Marhak » Thu Apr 08, 2010 2:03 pm

I will agree that "Looking at the Mermaid" is immensely valuable, in that it allows us to examine and compare representative extracts of Old, Middle, Tudor and Late Cornish, as well as Revived Cornish.

I'd like to see the complete corpus of textual Cornish brought out as a modern publication, but with original spelling left intact and unaltered.

Place-name evidence is often ignored but it provides a huge amount of additional evidence.  This is far from easy, though.  Oliver Padel is doing more than his bit (especially with checking and correcting the many errors in Gover), and I'm certainly doing what I can in that field.  It would be great if we can eventually bring out the entirety of that historical evidence, too.  If I'm alive for long enough.

Keith - I quoted from "The Celtic Revolution' in Post 251, P.26, and it didn't quote something Tim said about 10 years later - he was predicting the next 10 years.

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Evertype
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Post by Evertype » Thu Apr 08, 2010 2:22 pm

“PieterCharles” said:
OK.  I don't consider "an X a'n Y" to be grammatical, but that is maybe just my idiosyncratic Cornish.When X is longer it does make more sense: an trailyans-ma a'n lyver 'this translation of the book'.

pietercharles
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Post by pietercharles » Thu Apr 08, 2010 3:09 pm

I agree to an extent.  That is grammatical, even in my Cornish.  But it's not 'an X a'n Y'.

To define a noun with 'an...ma' or 'an...na' the only option is 'an X ma/na a'n Y'.  But that's not because of the length of X, but because the first noun has  to be preceded by 'an', thus defining it, and that forces the use of 'a' so that it is not defined twice.

I'm not sure whether the length of X is relevant or not.  I am quite comfortable with 'treylyans nowydh hag awenek an lyver', and I don't think that anything much longer than that would work whichever construction were used.

Karesk
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Post by Karesk » Thu Apr 08, 2010 6:29 pm

Could one, alternatively, say "treylyans nowydh an lyver hag awenek"?

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Post by Karesk » Thu Apr 08, 2010 6:47 pm

Presumably you'd also have to say "ow threylyans a'n lyver"?

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Evertype
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Post by Evertype » Thu Apr 08, 2010 7:15 pm

Palores said:
Evertype said: Nearly two years ago on the Spellyans list, Nicholas said the following

Since no speaker of revived Cornish has half-length or long consonants (I do not include either bm, dn or lh here),
This is untrue; Nicholas is in no position to monitor the speech of all Cornish speakers. I know that some Cornish speakers have half-length and long consonants, because I have heard them.It might be “debatable” but that is a lot different from “untrue”. I for my part have never heard anyone but Ben Bruch manage half-length and long consonants, and I know that at least two of his students have been shocked to come to Cornwall and find that no one speaks Cornish that way, not even users of KK. You may say that “some” Cornish speakers have half-length and long consonants. I may say that I don’t really believe you. But even if there are, they are not having much of an influence. Ken George doesn’t speak with KK phonology. Nor does Loveday Jenkin, nor Mick Paynter, nor Polin Pris, who (I am told by two different eye-witnesses) didn’t even know what half-length was when it was discussed in the Linguistic Working Group meetings. Nor Jory Ansell, though he is very good at rolling his r’s. So, Palores, whoever these mythical speakers may be, they have certainly not been visible to me, or to Nicholas, or to the people I know in Cornwall who also meet KK users and former KK users and can speak with them.

Thus the a in tas is long and the a in tasow is short.

Only if one subscribes to Nicholas’ hypothesis of the prosodic shift.That’s incorrect, Palores. One need simply use one’s ears to observe that tas is [tæːz] and tasow is [ˈtæzoʊ] for most speakers of Revived Cornish. I have heard speakers who write KK, RLC, UC, and UCR, too. Nicholas’ hypothesis of the prosodic shift is irrelevant. The phoneme /a/ is realized as long [æː] and short [æ] in words of that kind because that is the recommended pronunciation of Lhuyd and Jenner and Nance and Smith and Gendall and Williams. As Nicholas pointed out, the odd man out is George, who believes the sounds are [aː] and [aˑ]—but even he speaks the Cornish that Jenner taught Nance.

There is moreover no difference between the [final consonants] in [the words for] ’engine’ and ’head’ (if not pre-occluded). This is not what Nicholas said, and your edits here are a bit dishonest. Nicholas said:

”There is moreover no difference between the n in jyn ’engine’ and penn ’head’ (if not pre-occluded).”

Here I agree; I believe that they were both pronounced [nn], and that therefore the words should be spelled jynn and penn.You can believe what you like. I am sure that you do believe that they “were” both pronounced [nː]. But they are not pronounced differently in Revived Cornish. UC and UCR users say [dʒɪn] and [pɛn]. RLC users say [dʒɪn] and [pɛᵈn]. NOBODY says *[dʒɪᵈn]. This is why we suggest that pre-occluders spell jyn/pedn and non-pre-occluders spell jyn/penn.

Revived Cornish (whatever orthography it uses) when spoken has no half-length and no long consonants. Again this untruth is repeated.I do not believe you. Apart from Ben Bruch who is a trained linguist who learnt by applying phonetics to what he learnt from books, few if any speakers of Revived Cornish actually do use half-length and long consonants. The burden is now upon you to provide proof that half-length and long consonants are spoken by people. I have heard many people speak Cornish and have never heard these sounds. Prove your case with recordings, or admit that you cannot, and you are just making it up.

In which case the following ”phonemes” mentioned in the Specification are merely “aspirational” and should be removed: /l: m: n: r: k: p: t: x: s: θ:/ Now we see whence comes the oft-repeated word “aspirational”. To aspire to a better pronunciation is laudable.We use the word “aspirational” because it is what the KK members of the AHG used to explain why they insist on distinguishing iw and yw in writing when not one of them could in speech. “We can’t and don’t distinguish them, but we aspire to.”

To aspire to better pronunciation is laudable. The worst thing about Revived Cornish pronunciation is “English” diphthongized vowel quality. That should be improved.

The introduction of geminate consonants into Revived Cornish was tried and failed. People did not take it up. Had they done so (in the last 20+ years), it would be a fact of Revived Cornish now. But it’s not. Nobody says [ˈkɛmːɪn]. Nobody. Everybody says either [ˈkɛmɪn] or [ˈkɛᵇmɪn].

It is a pity that you chase the pipe-dream of George’s phonology, but that phonology isn’t a reality in the revived language, isn’t part of the SWF (or of RLC or UC or UCR or KS), isn’t going to be, and would be better let go of by now.

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Post by pietercharles » Thu Apr 08, 2010 7:20 pm

Karesk said:

Could one, alternatively, say "treylyans nowydh an lyver hag awenek"?



 

But what if it were 'the old book'?  Then you'd get

'treylyans nowydh an lyver koth hag awenek'

!

I think we're pushing the boundaries here...

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Post by pietercharles » Thu Apr 08, 2010 7:24 pm

Karesk said:

Presumably you'd also have to say "ow threylyans a'n lyver"?



 

Well, I certainly would.  The use of 'a' to break the chain of definition is quite standard...I just don't use it, and am a bit uncertain about whether anyone does, in phrases of the 'an ost a'n chi' type.

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Post by Karesk » Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:35 pm

In JCH Lhuyd writes "an ost an tshei" 3 times, never "a'n". Agreed that neither is "good" modern Cornish, what should an editor do when transcribing the story into a modern orthography? Nance and Richards both have "a'n", Gendall has "an ost an chei". I think Gendall is right. What would you do?

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Post by pietercharles » Thu Apr 08, 2010 9:13 pm

Given that I don't feel comfortable with either option, I think I'd stick with what Lhuyd wrote, but add a long, boring, footnote explaining why I was uncomfortable and offering 'ost an chi' as an alternative that modern readers might find more acceptable.

I'd expect my stance to be torn to pieces on C24 and then again years later in some yet to be published assessment of the state of Cornish today.

Yndella yw an bys.  

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Anselm
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Post by Anselm » Thu Apr 08, 2010 9:21 pm

factotum said:

Tim, your piece was from the Celtic League Annual, 1972, pp114-5. If you Google 'scubyon' about halfway down the first page you'll see a Google Books extract where PBE refers to it, and if you open that page, he also quotes from something you wrote about 10 years later. Hwyl!

 



 

Thanks - I'll check it. We need, I think, to include more material - especially in Cornish - about attitudes to the language and its literature in the period between the Second World War and the orthographical reforms.
Anselm

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Rod Coward
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Anselm
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Post by Anselm » Thu Apr 08, 2010 9:29 pm

Palores said:

Evertype said:

 

Nearly two years ago on the Spellyans list, Nicholas said the following

Since no speaker of revived Cornish has half-length or long consonants (I do not include either bm, dn or lh here),

This is untrue;  Nicholas is in no position to monitor the speech of all Cornish speakers.  I know that some Cornish speakers have half-length and long consonants, because I have heard them.

Thus the a in tas is long and the a in tasow is short.  

Only if one subscribes to Nicholas’ hypothesis of the prosodic shift.

 

There is moreover no difference between the [final consonants] in [the words for] ’engine’ and ’head’ (if not pre-occluded).

Here I agree;  I believe that they were both pronounced [nn], and that therefore the words should be spelled jynn and penn.

Revived Cornish (whatever orthography it uses) when spoken has no half-length and no long consonants.

Again this untruth is repeated.

In which case the following ”phonemes” mentioned in the Specification are merely “aspirational” and should be removed:  /l: m: n: r: k: p: t: x: s: T:/

Now we see whence comes the oft-repeated word “aspirational”.  To aspire to a better pronunciation is laudable.



 

N's stance is, as you observe, strange - but far from rare. Unlike many academic commentators on Cornish, he has an active written command of Cornish, and has met some of the Cornish-speakers. In his work on Irish, he's always at pains to advance evidence for all his propositions, and a book of his advocating changes to grammatical prescriptions in that language referred constantly to contemporary usage. What's interesting here is the contradiction between his approaches to the two languages.
Anselm

'Against a promontory my ship' Rump L. Stiltz-Kinn

'With regret I feel that unless you have a serious change of heart your presence at the Mennaye on Cornish Pirates match days is no longer desired.'
Rod Coward
CEO
Cornish Pirates

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Evertype
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Post by Evertype » Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:07 pm

Tim said:
N’s stance is, as you observe, strange – but far from rare.It isn’t “strange”. It’s mainstream. Since before Jenner, it has been recognized that Cornish has phonemic long vowels and phonemic short vowels, and no one has suggested phonemic long consonants since there is no evidence for them in Middle Cornish. (Now we get to the Prosodic Shift—a term which Williams introduced—but as far as I can see the only genuine evidence for long consonants is in Old Cornish. Despite the incomplete and undocumented blatherings Keith makes on the subject, along with his untenable suggestions about Middle English orthography and orthography in general.)

Unlike many academic commentators on Cornish, he has an active written command of Cornish, and has met some of the Cornish-speakers.Many of them, of course. He has been a part of the Revival for some forty years, Tim. You’re using rhetoric to belittle him. He speaks Cornish. At the last Maga event in 2009 he spoke NOTHING but Cornish and a bit of Irish all day. He spoke more Cornish than almost anyone in the room.

In fact I have seen In his work on Irish, I doubt it. he’s always at pains to advance evidence for all his propositions, and a book of his advocating changes to grammatical prescriptions in that language referred constantly to contemporary usage. What’s interesting here is the contradiction between his approaches to the two languages.I doubt you’ve read his work in Irish. If you had, you’d understand that “contemporary usage” in terms of Irish means “native Irish” and that much of what he says about Cornish is based on the texts (written by “native Cornish”), not on the mistakes of twentieth-century learners.

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