[Spellyans] <y>, <i>, etc

Eddie Climo eddie_climo at yahoo.co.uk
Sat Jul 26 19:14:26 IST 2008

On 26 Jul 2008, at 16:42, nicholas williams wrote:
> . . . I avoid nans 'valley' for the same reason that I avoid enep  
> 'face', stevel 'room', kenedhel 'nation', etc.
> i.e. because we have no evidence for any of them in either Middle  
> or Late Cornish.

The corpus of historical Cornish is so small and fragmentary that in  
revived Cornish we are forced to use words from all periods of the  
language, both within the historical corpus and the revived one,  
regardless of how anachronistic this might sound to an historic speaker.

(It's worth bearing in mind that, if some of those olden characters  
were around to complain to us about just how anachronistic our RC  
appeared to them, then we'd be able to pick their authentic,  
traditionalist brains to find out just how we really OUGHT to be  
doing it!)

If a word only occurs once in the OCV, if an idiom is only seen once  
in, perhaps, the Ordinalia, then it's acceptable. If the present  
tense of a particular verb is fully attested except for, say, the 2nd  
pers. pl., then we are perfectly justified **in the Revived  
Language** in interpolating the missing form.

As has often been quoted, we must 'gather the fragments that are left  
that nothing be lost!' We ***must*** be extremely parsimonious with  
what we have, and we must be equally creative with it as well.

In a similar way, part of the historical corpus comprises the  
toponyms of Cornwall, and the lexemes they attest should not be  
excluded just on the basis of possible archaism.
-- 'nans' is widely attested as a noun in Cornish toponyms,
-- it is attested as a noun in adverbial phrases within the  
historical texts,
-- it is attested as a freely usable noun in the Revived corpus.
-- it has cognates in both modern Breton (?) and Welsh which are used  
freely (I presume) in both literary and colloquial contexts.
-- therefore, 'nans' is an acceptable word in RC.

This is what I understand by the mantra of 'Tota Cornicitas': all  
periods, all sources (albeit that items should not be accepted  
uncritically, of course -- especially from KK!). I notice, in  
passing, that, as part of the RC corpus, your 2006 dictionary  
contains precisely the 'enep', 'stevel', and 'kenedhel' entries that  
you now deprecate. Sorry, Nicholas, but you've 'opened Pandora's box'!

One of the arguments the Kemynites have used is this:
-- the MC corpus only contains poetry,
-- poetical usage is not the same as that of prose or conversation  
(why, some of it will be archaic!)
-- therefore, some lexemes and syntactical structures should be  
expunged from KK (flexible word order, infixed pronouns etc.)

They have an analogous, spurious argument about Late Cornish (and a  
similar one concerning MC, as well):
-- the LC corpus does contain prose, but
-- it's corrupt,
-- it's anglicised,
-- therefore, it can be largely disregarded.

If we can create new words in Cornish for new technology, then we can  
equally well resuscitate archaice words, and either restore their old  
meanings or add new ones to them. If we lack a word, we can borrow it  
from another language, especially a closely related Brythonic or  
Goidelic one. These are all, of course,  part of the normal process  
of neologism in every language I've ever studied, and there's no  
reason Cornish should be the exception.

yn lel,


Per TOTAM Cornicitas lingua nostra resurgebit.
Dre Gernewek OLL y te dasserghyans agan yeth.
Through ALL of Cornish our language will rise again.
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