[Spellyans] Final 'dh' and the yogh

nicholas williams njawilliams at gmail.com
Tue Oct 21 08:52:44 BST 2008

Final th/dh is not simple. Nance opted for final <th> in all cases,  
but it is clear from Lhuyd that after a stressed syllable
Brythonic -d was in fact dh; e.g. ladh, gwedh, vedh. The expressionha  
uelkym tî a vêdh occurs three times in JCH. Amedh 'said' with
a stressed second syllable occurs 8 times.
Lhuyd also writes diuadh 'end', but it is likely that this is by  
analogy with W diwedd; he almost certainly heard dewa'; cf. An Duah an  
dridga Chaptra a Genisis Rowe; Menja e buz gweel dua; Buz lebben preze  
ewe rag gweel dua Tonkin; and also Tregear's hen ew bugula devas for  
buguleth devas.

My own view is that we have an alternation between stressed voiced and  
unstressed unvoiced: ladh/bedh/scoodh but deweth/dewscoth and that  
this is also found in genef/esof but hav, ov. The same thing is also  
seen in carrek, galosek, mab, morrap but gleb but gwag, wheg, gleb.

Both dh and th are lost finally after r, but when dh disappears is  
goes entirely fordh > for', but when th is lost it leaves behind the  
thus porth < Latin portus is Por' with a voiceless r (rh). Porth  
always had a voiceless th, not dh.

Final f also had a tendency to be lost leaving behind a residual h  
perhaps. In Middle Cornish we find genef, gene vy and genama. In Late  
Cornish these appear as gena vee and gennam.
Genef doesn't occur in BM, it is always either gena or gena vy.

I will not write *genev or *gwragedh and no-one should have to. The  
SWF writes diuedh but nowyth (Welsh diwedd and newydd)! Why nowyth is  
different from other words with unstressed vowel + dh we are not told.


On 21 Oct 2008, at 07:56, Ray Chubb wrote:

> Changing from 'th' to 'dh' can cause problems;  final 'th' stops  
> mutation of t, c/k, p and d, if we substitute 'dh' we should write,  
> for example, 'fordh goth' instead of 'forth coth'.  To me it seems  
> incorrect that an arbitrary decision to use either 'th' or 'dh' can  
> affect the the way in which mutation is applied.

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