[Spellyans] Goat

Michael Everson everson at evertype.com
Mon Apr 6 18:44:27 IST 2009

On 6 Apr 2009, at 14:56, Daniel Prohaska wrote:

> There are two attestations of gaver in the Middle Cornish texts. No  
> others. That’s overwhelming.

No, it's not. It's **paucity**.

And gavar is attested in OC and LC, so it is improbable that that form  
could be considered *proscribed* by MC orthography.

> What motivation is there to change this from UC, UCR, and RLC? Just  
> to be like KK? KK is the odd one out here, and there is little  
> justification for this change.”
> To be like the texts. The texts have gaver.

Is that the way that the SWF decides things? You said it decides  
things on etymology. Now you're saying it sticks to the texts. Do you  
really think George was thinking of the texts when he changed from  
gavar to gaver? He didn't give a hoot for the texts most of the time.  
I bet he was thinking of Latin. Not the texts.

> No, not blindly. I believe we can correct where George is wrong, but  
> it’s silly to differ from him when he’s right, just to be different.  
> In my SWF dictionary I use the forms of the Gerlyver Kres as a base  
> and back-check against UCR, RLC, UC, LHEB, HPB (both Jackson), and  
> SBCHP (Schrijver).

And what do you find in Jackson and Schrijver for this etymon?

> You are trying to be different from KK for the sake of being  
> different.

No I'm not! I've been asking for *plausible* reasons for making this  

KK is the odd man out here. I have been trying to find an actual  
rationale for the change. It is change which is expected of us, to  
align with KK and/or your interpretation of the SWF rules -- and this  
is certainly YOUR interpretation, because the SWF document does not  
specify this word.

> “So WHY is George's change FROM Unified Cornish to be followed here?”
> I don’t know. You will have to ask him. My justification is that it  
> is found as gaver in OM and BM.

Have you looked at an analogous list of words in OM and BM whose  
spellings we do not use?

Have you established your own rule that no form will be acceptable  
unless it is attested? Because that has *never* been the way we do  

> “Moreover the similarity of sg/pl gavar/gever with davas/deves is  
> not without its attraction.”
> So what? The unstressed vowel in davas is not epenthetic and this is  
> thus a different case. Davas is also attested thus in the texts.

So you rule is epenthetic vowels at least before -r must be written -e-?

I don't find a lot of coherence in the several ways you have justified  
this change.

>> What do you mean, change? Is there an established KS spelling of  
>> gaver?
> There is, as it happens. So the question is not irrelevant.”
> Fine, but in that case KS will differ from the SWF.

Or rather, in that case KS and UC and UCR and RLC will differ from the  
choice you made to follow George's choice for this etymon in the SWF.

> And I thought the motivation was for it to be as close as possible  
> to the SWF.

It has been, but so far I have not found your arguments to be  
compelling. In this case it's *you* who are the lexicographer who has  
chosen the form of this word in the SWF.

On 6 Apr 2009, at 17:19, Daniel Prohaska wrote:

> Most forms of Revived Cornish are based on Middle Cornish. The  
> scribal tradition we all hold dear is Middle Cornish. Middle Cornish  
> has gaver.

Yeah, but Dan, the Scribal tradition is poor on this word, isn't it?  
And the scribal tradition offers us many choices for many etyma and  
there are certainly many forms the tradition offers us which we do not  

But when I see:

OCV gauar 1x
Lhuyd gavar 2x
Borlase gavar 1x gavar môr 1x
Williams gavar
Jago gaver, gavar (both)
Jenner gavar
Hal Wyn gavar môr, gaver (both)
Nance gavar
Williams gavar
Gendall gavar
Kennedy gavar

BM gaver 1x
OM gaver 1x
George gaver

I simply don't believe for a minute that George was here bowing to the  
authority of the two Cornish texts. Rather, he was doubtless re- 
shaping Cornish because of the -e- in Latin "caper". And I am really  
not very impressed by the SWF "rule" that this sort of reconstructed  
etymology is how we should decide things for Cornish.

I think it is probably accidental that only "gaver" is attested 2x in  
MC and that we simply don't have an attestation for "gavar".

I am sure there are other examples of final unstressed -e- in BM and  
OM for which we nevertheless prefer to write -a-. OM writes "taves"  
for instance, and we do not.

I'm afraid you haven't made a strong enough case for your choice. Do  
you really think that OC gavar > MC gaver > LC gavar?

Michael Everson * http://www.evertype.com/

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