[Spellyans] Blejyow or Flowrys?

nicholas williams njawilliams at gmail.com
Sun May 30 19:49:30 BST 2010

Whoever said anything about rejecting anything? I was merely pointing  
out that some words favoured by Nance do not occur in the texts  
(though they do occur in OCV and in toponyms) and therefore we should  
possibly not use them for everyday use. The English word 'twain' means  
'two' but we don't say 'I want to book a flight to Paris for twain',  
do we?  We don't say "Has ought happed?" but "Has anything happened".  
We don't say "I hied me to the leech" but "I went to the doctor".
As for blejyow, it probably was originally the word for 'flowers', but  
'flowers' in all our texts from the Ordinalia to CW is invariably  
flourys, the plural of flour.
We should use the attested words for the attested meanings, and leave  
the archaisms for poetry and elevated writing.
Nance didn't do that because of his idees fixes about what constituted  
"correct" Cornish. Nance's purism nourished later less scholarly  
purism and has, in my view, done the revival immense damage.


On 30 Me 2010, at 18:12, Craig Weatherhill wrote:

> Indeed, dowr is used in river names, i.e. English would say 'River  
> Fal' but Cornish would say 'Dowr Fala'.  Also names such as 'Chy an  
> Dour' probably translate as 'house at the stream'.
> If a word occurs in a Cornish (or Irish) tononym, then where did  
> that word come from, if not the language itself?  We have so little  
> of historical written Cornish that one simply can't reject a word  
> because,in what does survive, there is only one attestation.   
> Blegyow 'flowers', from the Passion Poem, is one such example.  We  
> can't just reject it because it only occurs once (as far as we  
> know).  That it occurs at all is the essential point.  <Flourys>  
> appears to be the 'ordinary word' in the few texts that survive but  
> was it so in the total? We'll never know but I think it's dangerous  
> to draw conclusions from insufficient evidence survival.  Which is  
> where toponymic elements come in very useful.  They, too, are there  
> because Cornish speakers and writers used those words and for no  
> other reason.  All must be included in tota Cornicitas.
> I am happy to use <awan> or <ryver>; flowr> or <blejen>.  Their  
> existence in traditional Cornish is beyond doubt, and the choice  
> gives the advantage of allowing extensions of vocabulary, so useful  
> in written Cornish especially, where one doesn't want to keep using  
> one word where alternatives are available..
> Craig

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