[Spellyans] drog

Nicholas Williams njawilliams at gmail.com
Sat Jan 16 18:10:36 GMT 2010

On the Maga website there is a photograph of a car mechanic who is
saying:*A vyn'ta kavos an nowodhow da po an
nowodhow drog?
I can find no example anywhere in traditional Cornish of *drog* as an
attributive adjective following its noun. *Drog* (*drok*) when used
attributively, as far as I can see, always precedes its noun, e.g. *drog* *
bewnans* 'evil life', *drog* *vomennow* 'evil blows', *drog*
*prederow*'evil thoughts',
*drog-venyn* 'evil woman', *drok pryson *'evil prison'*, drog-chawns* 'evil
chance, misfortune', etc. In fact Tregear uses the expression *drog pobill,
drog pobyll, throg pobill *no fewer than 17 times. **Pobill drog/pobill
throg i*s unattested.

If one wants to say 'Do you want the good news or the bad news?' it is, I
think, more idiomatic to say:

*A vynta cafos an nowodhow da bo an drog nowodhow?*

This differing syntax with 'good' and 'bad' is found elsewhere in the Celtic
languages, e.g. Irish *duine* *maith* 'good person' but *drochdhuine* 'evil
person'. In Welsh *drwg* 'bad' can follow its noun, but this does not appear
to be true for Cornish.

Moreover in Cornish even when the English borrowing *bad* replaces drog-, it
usually precedes its noun, e.g.* pur bad dean* 'a very evil man' CW
1444 or*bad-ober
* 'evil deed, crime', which occurs four times in JCH.

What do other people think?

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