[Spellyans] chi v chy

Craig Weatherhill craig at agantavas.org
Thu May 6 13:41:15 BST 2010

Isn't that a contradiction, Nicholas?  Surely fass, rom, ryver and  
nacyon are borrowed words.  Of the four examples, 'ryver' appears to  
have been borrowed at an much earlier date (place name Riviere,  
Phillack, traceable to c.1000).


On 6 Me 2010, at 12:16, nicholas williams wrote:

> And SWF has ki and chi because KK has. KK has them because Breton  
> has. So much of what is mistaken in the phonology of KK comes from  
> the assumption that Breton and Cornish were much closer than they  
> were. This view is nowhere discussed, let alone proved, it is merely  
> accepted.  This is also the reason for the absence of vocalic  
> alternation in KK. VA is absent from Breton.
> The Bretonising of KK is not just in the matter of phonology, but  
> also of course, in spelling. K and Hw are calques on Breton K and  
> C'hw.
> The same unjustified rush to Bretonise Cornish is visible in the  
> vocabulary of the SWF recently circulated.
> If one looks under "purse" one finds the word yalgh f., a borrowing  
> from Breton.
> The Cornish for "purse" is actually pors, porsys:
> aspyen gvas gans pors poys 'let us look for a fellow with a heavy  
> purse' BM 1877
> ha the borse mes ath ascra 'and your purse out of your bosom' BM 1888
> me a vyn changya porses 'I will change purses'  BM 1906
> gedyogh dym quik y pors 'hand me over his purse quick' BM 2089.
> Pors is not in the Partnership's vocabulary.
> Nance himself often preferred poorly attested words or borrowed  
> words to items in the traditional language (enep rather than fâss,  
> auan rather than ryver, stevel rather than rom, kenedhel rather than  
> nacyon, etc.)
> KK goes further still by assuming that Middle Cornish phonology was  
> virtually identical with Breton
> and spelling the language accordingly. And then by adopting lexical  
> items holus bolus from Breton, e.g. cudyn 'problem', oberen 'job',  
> etc.
> The SWF maintains these non-traditional aspects of KK.
> The Bretonisation of the lexicon is in my view wholly unacceptable.
> KK uses (and indeed encourages) huni (trad. huny) to mean 'one', as  
> though it were similar in use to Breton hini.
> It is not. Huny in Cornish is used after lies and pùb but one cannot  
> say *an huny brâs 'the big one', for example. This solecism is very  
> noticeable in parts of the Kesva's New Testament.
> KK users also insist, apparently, on *traow "things" as well as  
> taclow. It is true that traou is attested twice in Lhuyd, but Lhuyd  
> was not a native speaker of the language. There can be no doubt that  
> *traow persists because traou is the usual plural of tra in Breton.
> Similarly the plural of chy is treven. *Chiow is again a  
> Bretonisation. It cannot be Welsh, since the Welsh plural of ty  
> "house" is tai (< *tigesa).
> The point is this. Cornish is not Breton, neither is it Welsh. It is  
> a distinct language with its own history, scribal tradition and  
> literature. Our chief source for the revived language must be the  
> remains of Cornish literature. We should also try to spell as far as  
> is consonant with a phonetic orthography as the language was spelt  
> by its native speakers.
> Our idiom and vocabulary should derive from the texts, not from some  
> Geriadur Bras ar Yezh Brezhoneg. It is one thing to borrow from  
> Welsh and Breton when no word exists. It is another to prefer the  
> unattested borrowing to the attested item.
> We now have six long texts: PA, Ordinalia, BM, Tregear, BK and CW  
> and some shorter ones, notably JCH, Nebbaz Gerriau and Kerew's  
> portions of the bible. To say nothing of the many words listed by  
> Lhuyd and in other places. We have quite enough to reconstruct the  
> language of say 1550-1680, which is what KS seeks to do.
> Spellings like chi, ki, hwi seem to me to smack of a conlang. I  
> won't use them.
> Nicholas
> On 5 Me 2010, at 18:56, Michael Everson wrote:
>> This is not "good" evidence; it is *poor* evidence. This does not  
>> lead one to say "oh, hey, -i is perfectly traditional and should be  
>> considered suitable". This is a flaw in the SWF/T. The SWF/T was  
>> given to us to allow us to write according to our preferences --  
>> but forces us to use non-Traditional forms. I am sure it was  
>> designed by our cynical KK colleagues precisely to keep us from  
>> using it. This feature of the SWF/T is not acceptable to us.
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Craig Weatherhill

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