[Spellyans] Blejyow or Flowrys?

Craig Weatherhill craig at agantavas.org
Sun May 30 16:45:48 BST 2010

A balance has to be considered here.  If a word is attested in the  
OCV, then, in my view, it is permissable now.  Similarly if a word is  
attested as a place-name element, then it must be permissible.   
Somebody had to be using those words for them to become part of a  
place-name in the first instance.  Lowen and lowena are, for example,  
recorded Cornish place name elements and, therefore, attested  
Cornish.  Avon is not attested Cornish in texts, but awan/awen "river'  
IS attested in place-names (as is 'ryver': see Riviere, Hayle), so  
both must be permissable.

Available Cornish texts represent just a fraction of what must once  
have been available.  I have tried to convince people that Cornish  
place-name elements must be included as 'textual evidence' because: 1)  
they exist, and therefore: 2) they must have been used in spoken and  
written Cornish.

When it comes to orthography, I will use Ken George's unilaterally  
declared <hw> when hell decides to freeze over, and not before.  The  
graph is <wh>.


On 30 Me 2010, at 09:23, nicholas williams wrote:

> It is better to use attested words, even when they are borrowings,  
> rather than coin "Celtic" words, or use words that were in Old  
> Cornish but appear to have gone out of use in Middle Cornish.
> Nance preferred stevel 'room' from Old Cornish to rom 'room' of  
> Middle Cornish, and tron 'nose' from OC trein, to the attested  
> dewfrik or frigow. He also used *avon 'river', though the word in  
> Middle Cornish is ryver, and enep 'face', though the word is not  
> once attested in Middle Cornish, being replaced by fas. Nance taught  
> that myl [mil] was the Cornish for 'animal', but the regular word is  
> best, bestas. Similarly 'cloud' was *comolen, whereas the only  
> attested word in the texts is cloud, cloudys. Some people for  
> 'purse' now say *yalgh, a borrowing from Breton, but the word pors  
> is attested four times in Beunans Meriasek. I could point to a  
> discussion in print about the relative frequencies of lowena 'joy'  
> and lowender 'happiness, joy'. In fact by far the commonest word in  
> the texts is joy.
> The question is not one of preference, but of remaining faithful to  
> Cornish as actually spoken and written by Cornish people. Or one  
> might put it another way: revivalists have no right to reshape the  
> language in their own image. Cornish is as we find it, and purism is  
> artificial and inauthentic.
> This is true of morphology as well. So the unattested *dywscovarn is  
> not to preferred over the attested scovornow, or the unattested  
> *dywarr 'legs' over the attested garrow.
> The same principle can also be invoked with orthography. There is no  
> need to write hweg, when the attested form is wheg, or *orthiv when  
> the attested spellings are orthyf and orthaf.
> Nicholas
> On 29 Me 2010, at 22:06, ewan wilson wrote:
>> Personally, I find that many of the items taken over from  the  
>> English and Norman French lend Cornish its own peculiar  
>> expressiveness that the 'purer' Celtic languages perhaps lack.  
>> However I am aware that fears for the language being swamped by  
>> forgein lexical items can understandably lead to a preferance for a  
>> purer lexical base.
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Craig Weatherhill

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