[Spellyans] Multiple adjectives after feminine nouns

Eddie Climo eddie_climo at yahoo.co.uk
Mon Mar 16 18:36:35 GMT 2009


On 14 Mer 2009, at 14:42, Michael Everson wrote:
> Caradar sets a rule that only the first of several adjectives  
> following a feminine noun is [lenited]

It is worth bearing in mind that, when Caradar wrote Kernewek  
Sempelhes, he was very careful to stick to the historical texts for  
all (or almost all?) of his specimen sentences.

This was a strategy deliberately chosen to counter the charge from a  
few of the more conservative academic celticists of his day that  
Revived (Unified) Cornish  was 'not really Cornish' -- in modern  
parlance, that it was a bit of a 'conlang'.

That he was prudent to do so is shown by the fact that, to this day,  
he and Mordon and Talek et al still face precisely this sort of ill- 
informed denigration from those petty-minded 'scholars' who seek to  
enhance their own prestige by belittling that of these fathers of the  
Revival.

So, it would be reasonable to assume that Caradar observed precisely  
this pattern of lenition in the historical corpus. If we haven't yet  
managed to find his sources perhaps that says more about our own  
scholarly limitations than about his. After all, Caradar had to rely  
on his (and his colleagues') detailed knowledge of the corpus; not for  
them the facile siren song of the database search engine, with all its  
illusions of omniscience!

Perhaps a personal anecdote will clarify this last observation. I was  
told a while ago by someone whose Cornish is far better than mine (not  
a difficult achievement, mind!) that I absolutely could not start a  
sentence with 'Yn meth ...' because it was 'not attested in the  
historical corpus'. Someone else suggested that it was in fact  
attested, and in the best-known piece of Cornish prose there is: Jowan  
Chy an Horth. I checked, and that is so.

I suspect that this (nameless) someone had been relying too heavily on  
his/her computer searches to provide the answers: "My computer says  
so, therefore it must be true."

Let's remember that KK is the fruit of precisely this sort of naiveté!

Rant over.


Eddie Foirbeis Climo
- -- - -- - -- - -- - -- - -- - -- - -- - -- - -- - -- - -- -
Dres ethom akennow byner re bons lyeshes
Accenti non multiplicandi praeter necessitatem

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