[Spellyans] chair

Michael Everson everson at evertype.com
Sun Jul 19 10:01:36 IST 2009

Your logic is assailable, Eddie.

Are you saying that the word which Cornish speakers commonly and  
usually used for chair (namely, "chair") has no place in Revived  

Since it is by far the most common word for the object in the texts,  
why not use it as the most common word in the revival?

If Gendall restricts the use of "cadar" to a position and the person  
who holds it, he does so because he recognizes that the usual word for  
chair is "chair".

Seems to me that this is an excellent "usage register" for "cadar".

I think your suggestion that "chair" is frequently attested because  
the corpus is slanted towards medieval religious plays to be very  
strange indeed.

me a's ordyn though wharre cheyrys ha formys plente
'I will order them for you immediately, plenty of chairs and benches'   
PC 2228-29

Ecclesiastical chair, is it?

dus oma ese yth cheer
'come here, sit in your chair' BM 3002

By thunder, it sounds pretty much like an ordinary chair to me.

> "This word is historically attested X times, while that word only Y  
> times. Therefore, we must use the 'commoner' word."

It depends on the count, now, doesn't it.

> "This word is only found in place-names, so it can't be adopted into  
> general use."

Consider English place-names. Many contain archaic elements which are  
now unknown in normal speech. We don't talk about tuns or wiches or  
even burgs and chesters much any more. They are important evidence for  
the language. They're not adopted into general use.

And it begs the question as to why one would need to adopt "cadar"  
into general use, because to do so doesn't fill a gap. The anti- 
English fetishism of some Revivalists eschews "chair" on principle.  
Should we do likewise?

> "This word is only found in the OCV, so it would be anachronistic to  
> include it in RC."

That isn't the argument. Some words are found in the OCV and also  
elsewhere. Some words are found in the OCV but are found to have been  
replaced in MC by a borrowing. It's likely that Cornish speakers no  
longer knew the words that were replaced

Few English speakers use "stead" in a generic sense, preferring the  
borrowing "place". It's found in a few forms "homestead" (but who  
would gloss it 'home-place'?) and placenames (my favourite is Bost in  
north Lewis, borrowed via Gaelic from Norse bóstaður 'living place'  
where bó is cognate with the element in "neighbour" the "nigh-bo-er"  
or "near liver"). The word "frith" is lost to us; we now use the word  

> "This noun is never found lenited, so we must avoid using it where  
> it would require lenition."

This is not analogous to the others. It is a different argument about  
a different topic.

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

More information about the Spellyans mailing list