[Spellyans] Adjectives that premodify their noun

j.mills at email.com j.mills at email.com
Mon Jan 18 10:32:43 GMT 2010

Ber (short) premodifies its noun in phrases such as a fur termyn (promptly)

"arluth costentyn pup preys the volnogeth a veth grueys genevy a fur termyn"
'Lord Constantine, your will shall always be done promptly by me.'
[Ton 1504: 1739-41]

and a ver spys (soon)

"yn certan hag a ver spys"
'certainly and soon'
[Origo Mundi: 1540]

However, ber sometimes postmodifies its noun, as in

"mar ny fyn dre y rasow ow gweres a termyn ver"
'If he will not, by his grace, help me soon'
[Resurrexio Domini: 706]

Boghes is found both before and after its noun:

"the vyterneth schumunys theth gueres bohes a veth"
'Your accursed kings will be of little help to you.'
[Ton 1504: 2430-1]

"yma bohes tus the pee"
'There are few people to pay.'
[Ton 1504: 3329]

Chyf premodifies its noun:

"epscop worthy me ath ra chyff reuler oll an pou ma"
'I will make you an honourable bishop, the principal authority of this entire country.'
[Ton 1504: 896-7]

"me yu chyff arluth rohan yurl worthy nangeves par"
'I am Lord Paramount of Rohan, a distinguished earl without equal.'
[Ton 1504: 1936-7]

Disawer premodifies its noun:

"desawer vest yu honna"
'That is a noxious beast!'
[Ton 1504: 4135]

Divers premodifies its noun:

"lues den guan in bys ma purguir eff a confortyas dal ha bother evrethyon palgy ha dyvers clevyon"
'He assisted many a weak man on this earth, indeed: blind and deaf, cripples, paralytics and various invalids'
[Ton 1504: 4480-3]

Hager premodifies its noun in phrase such as hager awel (Lhuyd 1707: 161c) and hager breeve (Rowe).

Kot sometimes premodifies its noun:
"an moar brase yn cutt termyn adro thom tyre a vyth dreys"
'the great sea will be brought around my land soon'
[Jordan 1611: 88-9]


"ha wosa an tyrmyn cut a vethyn ny omma"
'and soon we will be here'
[Tregear Homilies: 26]

Perfect premodifies its noun in

"yma zym perfect dyskans grac the crist pen an eleth"
'I have a complete education, thanks to Christ, chief of angels.'
[Ton 1504: 214-5]

Truedhek premodifies it noun in

"trewethek syght yu helma gueles den yonk tek certan cheynys in keth vaner ma"
'This is a pitiful sight, to see a handsome young man actually chained like this.'
[Ton 1504: 3823-5]

Vyl premodifies its noun in

"ty vyl penpyst na gampol crist theragovy"
'You wretched fool, don't mention Christ in front of me.'
[Ton 1504: 2438-40]

Yeyn sometimes premodifies its noun:
"hemma ew yeyne nawothowe | ow holan ythew terrys"
'This is terrible news; my heart is broken.'
[Jordan 1611: 1262]

Do we have three classes of adjective: those like drog that always premodify their noun, those that always postmodify their noun, and those that may either premodify or postmodify their noun? Or is there some sort of rule that governs when a noun is premodified and when it is postmodified?

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

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