[Spellyans] Multiple adjectives after feminine nouns

Michael Everson everson at evertype.com
Mon Mar 16 18:47:12 GMT 2009

On 16 Mar 2009, at 18:36, Eddie Climo wrote:

> 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.

That may be, but the example he gives (būgh wyn tēk) does not seem to  
appear in the corpus.

> 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.

First, I'm not disrespectful of Caradar. Nevertheless, my question  
remains: is there any textual evidence that this rule is correct, and  
that Cornish differs in its treatment of multiple adjectives from the  
other Celtic languages?

> So, it would be reasonable to assume that Caradar observed precisely  
> this pattern of lenition in the historical corpus.

If he did then the pattern should be well-attested.

> 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.

It starts a *clause* in Jowan Chy an Horth. It does not stand in  
absolute initial position. There is a difference.

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

If there is a rule that only the first of two or more adjectives  
lenites in Traditional Cornish, then there should be at least one  
example in the corpus. If it is really a rule

I don't believe that Jenner, or Nance, or Caradar, or Pool, or  
Williams is 100% right all the time. In this case, there is a genuine  
question as to whether Caradar's rule -- which makes Cornish different  
from the other Celtic languages -- is a valid one. Admiring Caradar  
doesn't make him right about this. Only the corpus can prove or  
disprove the rule.

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

More information about the Spellyans mailing list