[Spellyans] "to swear"

nicholas williams njawilliams at gmail.com
Sun Nov 2 13:32:16 GMT 2008


Under Juro 'I swear' AB: 74b Lhuyd gives Dho Tíah.
This is the same form as is found in:

Ti na ras Tiah Gou erbyn de Kyntrevak Gwavas MS 106r
Na raz Tiah Gou, warbidn de Contrevack Gwavas MS 111r
Na raz tiah gow warbidn de contrevak Pryce.

Tregear writes ow tyas y kyscristian TH 30, but this is the verb tias  
'call somebody 'thou', tutoyer' — a sign of overfamiliarity or  
disrespect. It is not
relevant here.

Nance in his 1938 dictionary suggests that Lhuyd's tiah is a  
misreading of the monosyllabic
form heb y dye at CW 1629. The Late Cornish attestations, however,  
indicate that
tia, tya was a genuine form.

Middle Cornish has a verb ty, with present-future te and preterite 3sg  
tos:

ha war an greyz my an te 'and by the faith I swear it' CF
rag henna thy's my a de gorthye iovyn beneges 'therefore I swear to  
the to worship blessed Jovin' OM 181-12
ef a doys a zesempys maga town ty del wozye 'he swore immediately as  
strong an oath as he could' PA 85c
rak henna me a sorras hag a tos na wren neffre 'therefore I lost my  
temper and swore that I never would' PC 1421-22
(notice the two inflected verbs in this last quotation).

Cornish therefore had two verbs for 'to swear': the earlier ty,  
present-future te, preterite tos; and the analogically reshaped tia.  
The preterite
of this latter verb is unattested, but it would have been *tias, *tiaz.

Nicholas
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