Some help with lesson 7 please

Another one that had me scratching my head whilst the pause button was in use: @10:07 we are asked to say, “Why don’t you try it?” The response was obvious once I heard it: “Why aren’t you going to try it? Only the “it” part did not sound like the “y” in for example “y wul”. Then I remembered something from way back at the very start of lesson one. When “y” was introduced, the way it was said did not sound like how it was pronounced thereafter. Going back to lesson one, and listening again, it sounds just like the word before “assaya”. What is happening here?

This is as far as I have reached in lesson seven. It’s a bit late, and I always have to creep up on a new lesson. I’m guessing it will be @Courtenay who comes to the rescue. She’s invaluable. I’ll have to think of some way of sending her a box of chocs at Christmas.


Hi Steve,

I just had a listen and it’s definitely “Prag na wre’ta y assaya?” Bit unfair to reintroduce “y” when we hadn’t heard it since the first lesson, I agree.

You’re right, too, that the pronunciation seems to vary between lessons sometimes — and I’ll warn you right now, it gets even worse in the lessons after this, especially when Pol doesn’t seem to know whether he’s saying “My re beu” (“I have been”) or “My re bia” (“I had been”). In fact, since I haven’t yet covered those properly in my own Cornish studies and SSi doesn’t make them any clearer, I tend to forget which one’s which too and I get totally mixed up, so I’m not going to be much help at all when you get to that part!! :dizzy_face:

To be fair about Cornish pronunciation, though, it’s often a bit debatable. This is a language that’s been revived from having no living speakers for over 100 years — it had to be reconstructed from written records, of which there aren’t a huge number, and pronunciation has mostly had to be worked out from the spelling. Unfortunately, there was never a standardised written form of Cornish historically, any more than there was for English before dictionaries were invented. So the historical spellings vary sometimes between texts even from the same time period (and I gather occasionally even within the same document!!), let alone between texts from the Middle Cornish and Late Cornish periods when there were some obvious shifts in pronunciation and the language itself was deteriorating from having fewer and fewer fluent speakers. And as the last speakers died long before audio recording technology was invented, we just don’t know what they actually sounded like when they spoke it.

So pronunciation comes down to a combination of analysing the texts we have and making some educated guesses from the Cornish-English accent as it exists today (Pol has a very strong one; Julia has a standard southern English accent, which is another thing that makes the pronunciations in SSi a bit confusing, when the two presenters themselves don’t always sound the same). Theories about “correct” pronunciation in Cornish have varied over the past century of the revival, too, so you’ll hear different pronunciations depending on where and when each speaker learned the language and from which teacher. Some people are passionate about trying to standardise the pronunciation, others don’t much care as long as we can still all understand one another! :crazy_face:

In short… yeah, it can all get a bit confusing, but don’t worry about it too much. Most of the variations you hear aren’t any greater than the differences between, say, an English accent and an American accent — once you know what the words are, you can understand them anyway.

And thank you for the very kind offer, but I get far too many chocolates over Christmas as it is — let alone Easter, which is only a week away — so I’ll pass, thanks! :yum:


Indeed. In lesson 9 there are two cases where “I was trying to say…” changes into “I was saying…” I would have been confused if you hadn’t explained ow/owth to me.