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The Daltaí Boards » Archive: 1999-2004 » 2004 (October-December) » Archive through November 11, 2004 » Article re Lisa Simpson and the Cornish language « Previous Next »

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Paul (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 66.152.218.225
Posted on Friday, November 05, 2004 - 02:18 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

A chairde,
Fuair mé an t-alt seo ar an idirlíon inniu.
An-spéisiúil! A thiarcais!

Bainigí sult as... http://app1.chinadaily.com.cn/star/2004/1104/fe23-2.html

Paul

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Natalie
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Username: Natalie

Post Number: 53
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Friday, November 05, 2004 - 04:45 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

In the article it says that the last reputed monoglot speaker of Cornish died in 1777. Now I'm going to ask a stupid question (I like to warn people in advance). Does that mean she is the last speaker of Cornish or the last speaker of ONLY Cornish (as their one language)? If it means that they are the last speaker of Cornish, and they had a revival, than how did these people (of the revival of the language) learn how to speak it again (without anyone being able to correct them)? Because I know there are some incredibly intelligent people in the world, but I don't think by reading a couple of inscriptions in another language, I could very easily learn how to speak that language without anybody telling me how. In fact, when they say a language is dead, then how do people like scientists, relearn about that particular language?

I hope that made sense because it seemed very confusing when I reread it the second time.

Natalie

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Jonas
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Username: Jonas

Post Number: 516
Registered: 08-2004


Posted on Friday, November 05, 2004 - 07:14 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

It makes perfect sense and it's a delicate subject. There are a number of old Cornish texts but no recording of how Cornish sounded. For that reason, there are at present three different forms of revived Cornish. Each attacking the others and claiming they are wrong. Energy that could be put on reviving the language is thrown away at attacking other speakers. One branch argue that the sounds of English dialect of Cornwall holds the key to the Cornish pronunciation. Another branch argue that modern Breton can perform the same function.

I admire the efforts to revive Cornish but, as one expert said, a revived language based on texts from the Middle Ages and the pronunciation of another language is a strange thing.

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Ó_diocháin
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Username: Ó_diocháin

Post Number: 38
Registered: 09-2004
Posted on Saturday, November 06, 2004 - 08:43 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Jonas, a chara,
Not that odd if you think of the example of Modern Hebrew, where the texts involved are even older!
Natalie, a chara,
A monoglot speaker of a language is a person who has that as their only language, and that is what is meant in the article.
The idea of the "last monoglot" speaker of a language is a very difficult thing to tie down, and the use of the word "reputed" here is, I think, trying to get over that inherent difficulty.
Le meas,
Chris

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Jonas
Member
Username: Jonas

Post Number: 518
Registered: 08-2004


Posted on Saturday, November 06, 2004 - 10:44 am:   Edit Post Print Post

A chara!

Not that odd if you think of the example of Modern Hebrew, where the texts involved are even older

True, but there were always people who knew Hebrew. It was the language used in the synagouges and it never fell into disuse. When the revival of Hebrew started, Hebrew already had a pronunciation. Not the same as BC, but a pronunciation none the less.

With Cornish, the situation was different. When the revival started, no-one knew Cornish and that's why there is so many arguments about pronunciation.

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Natalie
Member
Username: Natalie

Post Number: 54
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Saturday, November 06, 2004 - 12:05 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Thank you Jonas and Ó_diocháin! I thought that that was what monoglot must've meant since mono means one (I believe) but when I decided to look it up all the same, it wasn't in any of my dictionaries. Its too bad that the people from the three different forms of the language couldn't just put their knowledge together. Maybe they could try and get closer to what the real language actually sounded like. It seems so hard to believe that a language can just die out but then again my first language is English and about 30 million other people in my own country alone speak it so...

Natalie

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Ó_diocháin
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Username: Ó_diocháin

Post Number: 39
Registered: 09-2004
Posted on Saturday, November 06, 2004 - 03:12 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Jonas, a chara,
I think you have to bear in mind with Hebrew that, although it never fell into disuse as a liturgical language, it did so in all other domains.
Within Jewish liturgical traditions, there was - and indeed still is - marked variation in how certain aspects of the language were/are pronounced, both in daily prayer and in synagogue services.
These differences were resolved relatively arbitrarily for Ivreet (Modern Hebrew), and so I think it is inaccurate to suggest that Hebrew had "a pronunciation".
It would be like saying that Latin has "a pronunciation", because it is still in use as a liturgical language and yet, in my own experience, I have heard the exact same Latin prayers pronounced very differently by speakers whose native languages were English, French, Spanish, Italian, Catalan and Portuguese.
Le meas,
Chris

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Jonas
Member
Username: Jonas

Post Number: 521
Registered: 08-2004


Posted on Sunday, November 07, 2004 - 09:09 am:   Edit Post Print Post

A chara

I think you have to bear in mind with Hebrew that, although it never fell into disuse as a liturgical language, it did so in all other domains.

Absolutely, but that still places it in a different cathegory than Cornish. The Cornish language was dead for about 100 years with no-one being able to speak it. Not only did the last monoglot die, no bilinguals remained either.

Within Jewish liturgical traditions, there was - and indeed still is - marked variation in how certain aspects of the language were/are pronounced, both in daily prayer and in synagogue services. These differences were resolved relatively arbitrarily for Ivreet (Modern Hebrew), and so I think it is inaccurate to suggest that Hebrew had "a pronunciation".

I both agree and disagree. Since Hebrew was used in the synagouges it did have some pronunciation, but of course "pronunciation" was different between different countries.

It would be like saying that Latin has "a pronunciation", because it is still in use as a liturgical language and yet, in my own experience, I have heard the exact same Latin prayers pronounced very differently by speakers whose native languages were English, French, Spanish, Italian, Catalan and Portuguese.

I have the same experience. Still, we know fairly well (not totally, of course) how Latin was pronounced in the Roman empire. I only make this point for the benefit of others reading this discussion, you are the expert by far at the Romance languages. Still, for Cornish we have virtually no knowledge of how it was pronounced.

My basic point is that with languages such as Latin and Hebrew, there have always been people with at least some knowledge of them and their grammar is well known. When the Cornish revival started, no-one could speak Cornish and the pronunciation had to be "invented". The same goes for the grammar, large pieces of fundamental grammar had to be reconstructed.



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