[Spellyans] vocabulary

Owen Cook owen.e.cook at gmail.com
Tue Jun 22 21:05:46 IST 2010

This is not an either/or issue, however. You can accept the principle
of tota Cornicitas AND try, as Nicholas does, to use words the way
native Cornish speakers did. (Now if we started following around Ray's
sons and Gwenno Saunders and the other handful of native speakers of
the revival, recording how they use vocabulary, that would be another
good kind of attestation -- but their numbers are small, and everybody
else is a second language user, whose linguistic choices are fallible,
to say the least.)

To recommend, for example, that we use 'rom' for everyday purposes,
but 'stevel' in place-names and perhaps in poetry (as when rhyme and
metre militate in its favour) is not to throw either word out of the
lexicon. It's to use them more nearly as native Cornish speakers did.
English works the same. Is isle not an English word? But would you
ever say that New Caledonia is one of the larger isles in the Pacific?
Of course not -- you would say islands. Isle of Man, yes; Robben Isle,

I teach English as a Second Language in Turkey, and I can tell you
that students often just fixate on the oddest word, decide that it's
their favourite, and use it in the most outlandish of ways. (One
student of mine declared that he was a fan of Jennifer Lopez, said she
was quite attractive, and then mentioned that she was a "mixed-breed".
"You wouldn't use that word," I told him, wincing. "Hmm," he answers;
"half-caste?") Conversely, when I (and my students) discover that
Turkish and English share a word that's substantially the same (kebab,
naïve, nuance, hajj, sociology, etc), it's invariably greeted with a
frisson of relief. One less item to memorize.

The Tregear Homilies, for example, have heaps of English loanwords.
But the grammar is purely Cornish. They reflect authentic Cornish
prose. And if you take the texts as a whole, they are still
incomprehensible to English monoglots. If they're not good Cornish,
what are they?


On 22/06/2010, ewan wilson <butlerdunnit at ntlworld.com> wrote:
> Craig,
>  It's interesting to see the thinking behind your adoption of 'tota
> Cornicitus' especially from someone very favourable to LC which I had
> assumed'd be more skewed towards borrowings which by their nature are more
> likely to be Late ( though not necessarily so!)
>  As Jennifer said here some time back, if the language has incorporated both
> Celtic and borrowed lexical items why not use both? I agree 'stevel' is a
> good word not to thrown over lightly!
>  On the pronunciation of '-ow' I've been following the UC stipulations. Are
> these now totally discredited?
>  The plural -au suffix in Welsh is pronounced differently in North Welsh,
> more as an 'a' sound than the South 'eye' if I recall my old Welsh
> lecturer's ideas ( he was South Wales) I've heard South Waleans say North
> Welsh sounds like it's being pronounced with a Liverpudlean accent!!
>  Vowels must be the worst things to master, the beggars!
>  Ewan.
>  ----- Original Message ----- From: "Craig Weatherhill"
> <craig at agantavas.org>
>  To: <spellyans at kernowek.net>
>  Sent: Tuesday, June 22, 2010 6:56 PM
>  Subject: [Spellyans] vocabulary
> > I'm concerned over one or two views that have been expressed re.
> vocabulary.  On one hand I'm hearing support for tota Cornicitas, and  on
> the other, I'm hearing that a word only attested in OCV and not in  the
> MC/Tudor texts shouldn't be used (stevel being an example that immediately
> springs to mind; use rom instead is the advice).  I don't agree with this.
> Here's an example to illustrate why I think this way.
> >
> > Dyek (SWF: diek), 'lazy' occurs on OCV as 'dioc', and not in MC at  all.
> Until the 80s, when Dick Gendall was the first to look at Late  Cornish in
> depth, it was being assumed that the word didn't survive  into MC.  In fact,
> it must have survived into Late Cornish because it  turns up in dialect as
> 'jack'.  So, if the word made it to Late  Cornish and dialect, it follows
> that it must have existed in MC.  We  just don't have a text that features
> it and, let's face it, we only  have a fraction of the texts that must once
> have existed.  Attestation  in MC texts supports the use of a word; absence
> from what survives of  the MC texts is not a reason for rejection.  It only
> tells us that the  word isn't found in those few texts; not that it didn't
> exist.
> >
> > For me, tota Cornicitas is essential.
> >
> > I'm afraid that some words being put forward will never find use with  me.
> I don't see the point of 'valy' for "valley", when so many  Cornish words
> for different types of valley already exist. Nor am I  minded to reject
> lyw/liw (or however we're spelling it) in favour of  'color'.  I want to
> write Cornish.  I already know English.
> > --
> > Craig
> >
> >
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