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Reconstructive Phonology and Contrastive Lexicology: Problems with the Gerlyver Kernewek Kemmyn

Mills, Jon (1999) Reconstructive Phonology and Contrastive Lexicology: Problems with the Gerlyver Kernewek Kemmyn. In: Cornish Studies. University of Exeter Press, Exeter, pp. 193-218. ISBN 0-85989-644-7. (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:8292)

Language: English

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In July 1988 the Cornish Language Board adopted the orthography known as Kernewek Kemmyn. This shift in orthography brought about a need for new pedagogical materials including a new dictionary. In 1993 The Cornish Language Board published the Gerlyver Kernewek Kemmyn1. Does this dictionary really provide a suitable pedagogical basis for the revival of Cornish today? Since its publication, there has been a great deal of controversy concerning the new orthography2. Some people might argue that, on the one hand, Kernewek Kemmyn is to be preferred since its phonemic nature makes it pedagogically advantageous; and that, on the other hand, the reconstructed phonology on which Kernewek Kemmyn is based has a sound scholarly foundation grounded in the study of the traditional historic corpus of Cornish literature. However it is clear that neither of these claims stands up to scrutiny. Not only is George's reconstructed phonology academically unsound but the phonemic nature of Kernewek Kemmyn together with the respelling of place names according to their putative etymologies actually entails certain disadvantages.

Furthermore the English translation equivalents and neologisms given in the Gerlyver Kernewek Kemmyn entail a contrastive lexicology that is at odds with traditional

practice as attested in the historical corpus of Cornish. It is clear that the prescribed canon encoded in the Gerlyver Kernewek Kemmyn is linguistically naïve and is,

therefore, not a suitable pedagogical basis for Revived Cornish.

Item Type: Book section
Additional information: Cited in Bruch, B., 2011. Review: George, Ken (Hrsg.): An Gerlyver Meur: Kernewek-Sowsnek. Cornish-English Dictionary. Second edition. Bosvenegh: Kesvan an Taves Kernewek/Bodmin: The Cornish Language Board, 2009. 940 s., ISBN 978-1-902917-84-9. Zeitschrift fur Celtische Philologie, pp.228–238. Cited in Deacon, B. 2006. Cornish or Klingon? The standardisation of the Cornish language. Cornish Studies, 14.
Subjects: P Language and Literature
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Culture and Languages
Depositing User: Francis Mills
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2009 11:13 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 09:46 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Mills, Jon.

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