[Spellyans] drog

j.mills at email.com j.mills at email.com
Mon Jan 18 09:29:56 GMT 2010

Yes, drog precedes its noun. Hen (old) is another example of an adjective that premodifies its noun. Hen is not very well attested in the literature and we have to look to place names to see hen used attributively.
Ol an gwella

Dr. Jon Mills, 
School of European Culture and Languages, 
University of Kent

-----Original Message-----
From: Nicholas Williams <njawilliams at gmail.com>
To: Standard Cornish discussion list <spellyans at kernowek.net>
Cc: Stewart Elizabeth (CE) <elstewart at cornwall.gov.uk>
Sent: Sat, Jan 16, 2010 6:10 pm
Subject: [Spellyans] drog

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 is 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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