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Re: USAGE: Yet another few questions about Welsh.

From:Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Sunday, July 11, 2004, 18:15
On Saturday, July 10, 2004, at 09:48 , Joe wrote:

> Ray Brown wrote:
>> The orthographies of Breton & Cornish, however, are much more recent >> developments; both were influenced to some extent by the dominant L1 of >> their neighbors and both were developed well after the establishment >> of 'u' and 'v' as separate letters. The orthographies of Breton go back >> to the >> 19th cent, and those of Cornish were developed during the revival in the >> last century. > > > Well, Cornish still doesn't have a standard orthography, I suppose.
Probably about as standard as Breton.
> I'd > call Revived Cornish two dialects and three/four(straight Unified isn't > really used much anymore) orthographies, judging by what I've read.
Yep - the main revival is based on Middle Cornish of the 16th cent because (a) there are many literary remains from that period, and (b) according to the revivalists later forms of Cornish are poorly attested and become more & more corrupted by English. This revived form has three orthographies and (I think) three systems of pronunciation: (a) Unified - the system developed by R. Morton Nance in the 1920s based on the spellings of medieval texts but purged of inconsistencies and variant forms. Not even Nance claimed it was faultless, but it was used for most publications for many years and, I believe, there are still some who regard it as the most 'authentic' form of revived Cornish; (b) Kemmyn (i,e, 'common') - between 1981 and 1984 Dr Ken George undertook a study of the phonology of traditional Cornish and its application to the revival. He published his ideas in 1986 in "The Pronunciation and spelling of Revived Cornish". In 1987, the Cornish Language Board decided to change from Unified Cornish to Dr George's form which it called 'Kernewek Kemmyn' . The change was meant to be phased in over five years, but i fact support for Kemmyn was rapid and it's now, I undertand, by far the most common form of revived Cornish; (c) Nicholas Wiiliams was highly critical of both Kemmyn and revived 'Modern Cornish' (see below); he claimed that pronunciation & spelling should have been based on the period 1506-1611, the latest period (he claims) when the language was a full vernacular. What in fact he produced was essentially a revision of Unified Cornish and, I understand, his ideas have generally been accepted by those who adhered to 'Unified Cornish'. But about the same time as Dr George was doing his work, another revivalist, Richard Gendall, returned to the work of Henry Jenner in the early years of the 20th cent who based his work on surviving Cornish of the later periods of the 17th, 18th & 19th centuries. Gendall found that there were more texts that many supposed and, indeed, according to him the corpus of Modern or Late Cornish was greater than that of medieval texts. His ideas gained acceptance by many in the 1980s and gave rise to Cornoack or "Modern Cornish". So, yes, I guess your two dialects and three/four orthographies just about sums it up. The situation with Breton is different. There are, in fact, at least four dialects. But these are not the result of different forms of "revived Breton" because Breton never died out. They are just four living dialects, those of the regions known as: Kernev (Cornouaille); Leon (Léon); Tregor (Tregor); Gwened (Vannes). The most ancient Breton texts date from the 8th cent - but for most of its history Breton was written in French based spelling. However in the 1830s a modern, phonetic orthography known as Gonidec was developed. In the later 19th cent. writers of the Kernev, Leon & Tregor dialects continued to develop Gonidec to allow mutual comprehension between the three dialects and an orthography known as KTL was established in 1908. During the 1920s & 1930s proposals were made to modify KTL in order to include the dialect of Gwened. One result of this was the creation of the graphy |zh| to denote the modern development of earlier /T/ and /D/, which had fallen together as /z/ in KTL and /h/ in Gwened. These efforts led to the establishment in 1941 of KTLG or, as it became known, 'peurunvan' ("super-unified"). In 1955 a group known as Emgleo Breiz developed a system that was closer to French conventions (to help 'neo-Bretons') and based on the Breton of Leon. It was approved on 16th June 1955 in a letter from the French Minister of National Education sent to the Rector of the University of Rennes. It is known as the 'Skolveurieg' ("Univesitaire") orthography. But the official recognition by the French minister has not helped the popularity of this system! In the 1970s there were attempts to bring the two competing systems, Peurunvan and Skolveurieg, together and a system called Etrerannyezhel ('inter-dialectal') was proposed. It was used at the time in the Assimil language teaching books. So there are three orthographies, but I understand that the bulk of Breton publications - some 80% or so - is in the Peurunvan orthography.
> But Celtic orthographies are always quite interesting. Celtic languages > generally. Are there any other languages that small that have as great > a literary heritage?
Basque? Ray =============================================== (home) (work) =============================================== "A mind which thinks at its own expense will always interfere with language." J.G. Hamann, 1760