[Spellyans] Blejyow or Flowrys?
butlerdunnit at ntlworld.com
Mon May 31 23:37:08 IST 2010
Thanks for the welcome- in good, tangy Cornish, be it Late or UC!
Prof Glanville Price's research CV sounds fascinating. He sounds to be more
of a linguist than a literary buff. Is he still based in Aberystwyth?
Does the Centre for Advanced Celtic Studies not provide any courses,
research etc on Cornish, either Traditional or Revived ( or even both!)?
If not it's surely a great dereliction! After all, was it not the late Rev
Prof Caerwyn Williams who had Beunans Ke in his possession? What a treasure!
Neil's 'Nebbaz Gerriow an Moar' sounds very intriguing, especially when
comparisons to Nance's work is made. I sincerely hope you can persuade him
to publish it!! Which reminds me to say how much I appreciate your own
'Cornish Place Names & Language' so beautifully produced by Sigma. I think I
got mine back in the late 90s when visiting a late friend in Truro. I got it
in the rather splendid Royal Cornwall Museum shop along with a lovely
Cornish Language 'slip set' of material produced by Richard Gendall and
perfect for schools.
The pen drawing of Glasney in your book - perfect setting for whodunnit!!
At the minute I'm rereading Nicholas' excellent 'Clappya Kernowek' which is
a very clever fusion of step-by-step grammar and reference work, with lots
of interesting excerpts from the 'corpus', etc. Reading it lends a real
sense of that 'Cornish Tang' which marks the tongue out from Welsh.
However I do hope to thereafter get into Tavas A Ragadazow again too as the
Late version has its own flavour and the grammar's slightly different.
Hopefully it won't get too confusing! After all, if Norwegian can have
Bokmal, Nynorsk, Landsmal and Welsh its distinctive Literary and Colloquial
versions, why not Cornish?!
----- Original Message -----
From: "Craig Weatherhill" <craig at agantavas.org>
To: "Standard Cornish discussion list" <spellyans at kernowek.net>
Sent: Monday, May 31, 2010 8:26 AM
Subject: Re: [Spellyans] Blejyow or Flowrys?
> I've been remiss in not welcoming you to the Spellyans list, so let me
> put that right. Wolcum os ta!
> Prof. Glanville Price's research interests are listed as: Historical
> French Grammar; Romance linguistics; Channel Isles French; Celtic
> Sociolinguistics; Cornish. Does that make him a professional Celticist?
> Neil Kennedy is still active. Not as much as he was because he's been
> teaching in Brittany for several years, but is soon returning (I believe
> to study for a Doctorate). Some of us met up with him recently and he's
> still keen. I've been encouraging him to get his 'Nebbaz Gerriow an
> Moar' published. If Nance's 'Sea Words' was good, then this is
> outstanding (I have a photocopy which is greatly treasured).
> On 30 Me 2010, at 23:10, ewan wilson wrote:
>> You mention your work on lexical stuff and I wonder if that means you
>> are intending eventually to produce a new dictionary. I ask mainly
>> because I'm thinking of investing in Nicholas' most recent (UCR)
>> dictionary to help me with his New Testament which I'm also hoping to
>> acquire. If the latter's going to end up in SWF or KS then perhaps I
>> should hold off.
>> My own ultimate aim is to attempt a translation of the Westminster
>> Confession of Faith and Shorter Catechism into Cornish. I've made a
>> start to the Catechism but it's halting work!! Is the Book of Common
>> Prayer available in Cornish?
>> Gorhemmynadow a'n gwella,
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Michael Everson"
>> <everson at evertype.com
>> To: "Standard Cornish discussion list" <spellyans at kernowek.net>
>> Sent: Sunday, May 30, 2010 9:35 PM
>> Subject: Re: [Spellyans] Blejyow or Flowrys?
>>> On 30 May 2010, at 18:11, janicelobb at tiscali.co.uk wrote:
>>>> Will somebody please explain to my limited intelligence why, if two
>>>> words are known to have existed for something, we have to ration
>>>> ourselves to one.
>>> It's a good question, Jan. What Nicholas has been saying that he
>>> believes that the context of word usage is important. In Old Cornish --
>>> a different language from Middle/Late Cornish (which are two ends of
>>> the spectrum of registers of a single language) -- the word "enep" is
>>> attested with the meaning 'page' (of a book). A good word. It's not
>>> attested in Old Cornish as meaning "a person's face", though. The word
>>> that we know Cornish speakers did use for that is the very widely
>>> attested [fæːs] (in KS spelling fâss).
>>> Nance, for some reason (Nicholas suggests that it was purism or
>>> archaism), decided he didn't want to recommend "fâss" for 'face', but
>>> rather "enep". Nance didn't suppress the word "fâss", but he and some
>>> other early revivalists tended not to use it.
>>> Nichola doesn't suggest we suppress "enep". He just thinks that Revived
>>> Cornish should be as like the traditional language as possible -- and
>>> that means he prefers in his own translations, and prefers to recommend
>>> to others, that the word "fâss" be used for a person's face, and "enep"
>>> for flat surfaces of other kinds.
>>> To my mind, that's all to the good. "Enep" has a place. "Fâss" has a
>>> place. Our Cornish is more accurate if we use words the way the native
>>> speakers did.
>>> Sometimes this means that someone like Nicholas, now, after studying
>>> new texts which have come to light and studying the works of earlier
>>> Revivalists, finds that the usage of the earlier Revivalists isn't as
>>> close to the way that native speakers of Cornish used the language. In
>>> my opinion, it's perfectly fine to criticize the earlier Revivalists
>>> when they are found to have erred. Caradar criticized a number of
>>> features of Nance's Unified Cornish, and Nicholas and I, at least,
>>> agree with Caradar's criticisms. Why shouldn't we? Nance wasn't
>>> perfect. Neither was Caradar. Neither was Talek. Neither is Nicholas.
>>> Neither am I. But what we in the present generation can do is to try to
>>> do better than those in previous generations did. That sometimes means
>>> saying, boldly, "This feature in UC is mistaken, and shouldn't be
>>> perpetuated, since we now know that in Traditional Cornish they did
>>> something else." Or it might mean saying "This feature in UCR is
>>> mistaken, and shouldn't be perpetuated". And one day, certainly, there
>>> will be grounds to say "This feature in KS is mistaken, and shouldn't
>>> be perpetuated".
>>> There's nothing wrong with criticizing mistakes in Nance. There's
>>> nothing wrong with criticizing mistakes I make. I for my part just
>>> don't understand why Eddie gets all upset about it. Nance did a lot of
>>> very good things. He was a fine lexicographer. Linguistically, however,
>>> his orthographic system has a number of features in it which it is
>>> quite legitimate to criticize.
>>> (1) Unlike Jenner, Nance did not recognize a phonemic distinction
>>> between /y/ and /ø/. We know from the history of sound changes that
>>> Middle Cornish words in /y/ unround to /i/ in Late Cornish, and that
>>> Middle Cornish words in /ø/ unround to /e/ in Late Cornish. So it was a
>>> mistake for him not to recognize this distinction. I believe it was
>>> Caradar who first pointed this out -- this criticism is not new. UCR,
>>> and KK, and KS1, and KD, and SWF, and KS all distinguish the two
>>> phonemes. UC is the odd man out.
>>> (2) Nance tended to write voiceless consonants (k, t, p) after long
>>> vowels in stressed monosyllables. This feature of writing is found in
>>> the Ordinalia, but elsewhere it is quite common to find voiceless
>>> consonants (b, d, g) written in those words, and voiceless ones after
>>> short vowels in final unstressed position. Nance writes "fōk" 'hearth'
>>> pl. "fogow" and "crȳk" 'crack' pl. "crygow"; he actually writes
>>> "fōk(g)" and "crȳk(g)", so it's clear that he knew that both forms were
>>> there. But he recommended the wrong ones! It's now generally accepted
>>> that in these words the consonant was voiceless, so "fōg" and "crȳg"
>>> are the better spellings. In my opinion it's particularly important
>>> because learners of Cornish tend to shorten vowels before voiceless
>>> consonants and lengthen them before voiced ones -- like in English
>>> "back" vs "bag", where the first vowel is a bit shorter than the
>>> second. Nance's spellings of these words tend to encourage wrong
>>> pronunciation. UCR, and the SWF, and KS all use the voiced consonant.
>>> (3) Nance in some cases used unattested reconstructed words instead of
>>> the attested loanwords which native speakers of Cornish used. OK, you
>>> might say, what does it matter? Well, first, if we use words as the
>>> native speakers used them, we're not making any mistakes and our
>>> Cornish is authentic. That just speaks to what it is someone as a
>>> learner wants to do. I don't think it's wrong for Nicholas to encourage
>>> learners to imitate the native speakers rather than to imitate the
>>> early Revivalists. Like him, I recommend that people use "in gwir"
>>> since that's attested, instead of "yn whir" which is not. They mean
>>> exactly the same thing. Why would you prefer a Revivalist's mistake (no
>>> matter how well intentioned or logical) to something that a native
>>> speaker used? For my money, the latter is more authentic. But -- and
>>> here is where Nicholas suggests that Nance's choice did some harm to
>>> the Revival -- when people decide not to want to use attested words,
>>> but instead to use "pure" Celtic words, then they are changing the
>>> Nicholas didn't say that everything Nance did was harmful to the
>>> Revival. Eddie seemed to me to portray it that way, and it's just not
>>> what Nicholas intended, I believe. But look at what Ken George does. He
>>> regularly suppresses attested loanwords in favour of his own
>>> concoctions. But where did he learn that habit of purism? Oh, it's much
>>> worse than what Nance ever did... but this "puristic" aspect of Nance's
>>> work seems to have had later, negative ramifications. And that is
>>> exactly what Nicholas said:
>>>> Nance didn't [use the attested words for the attested meanings, and
>>>> leave the archaisms for poetry and elevated writing] because of his
>>>> idées fixes about what constituted "correct" Cornish.
>>> I think the record shows that Nance *did* have strong ideas about what
>>> constituted "correct" Cornish. Unfortunately, in some cases we can see
>>> that what Nance recommended goes against what we find commonly in the
>>> corpus. Why shouldn't it be all right to point this out?
>>>> Nance's purism nourished later less scholarly purism and has, in my
>>>> view, done the revival immense damage.
>>> Of course Nance was not a villain. He could not have forseen what
>>> "later less scholarly purism" would do. But at least some of the purism
>>> which Nance did embrace had very unfortunate ramifications for the
>>> Revival later on. And that later purism, building on Nance's has been
>>> very harmful, as we all know from the last two decades.
>>> So what does Nicholas recommend? He recommends that we try to use
>>> whatever words we have attested in the same way that the native
>>> speakers did. That's not "purism". It's authenticity.
>>> There is plenty of room for other neologisms and Celtic and non- Celtic
>>> borrowings. But the words we have attested are precious. Shouldn't we
>>> use those as much and as well as we can? It's great that we have "awen"
>>> and "dowr" in place-names. It's great that we have "ryver" as a
>>> general-use word. I can't think of reasons (apart from rhyme in poetry)
>>> to want to use "awen" and "dowr" as general- use equivalents of 'river'.
>>> The closer to the native speakers we strive to be, the richer and the
>>> more authentic the Revival will be. If that means saying "Whoops!
>>> Williams/George/Bailey/Everson/Climo/WHOEVER got it wrong! Let's follow
>>> the texts instead!" then so be it!
>>> And Eddie: Criticism is not slander. To recognize errors in the work of
>>> earlier Revivalists is, in fact, to do their work *honour*. Much,
>>> indeed most, of what all of them did was rock-solid and the best they
>>> could offer. But that doesn't mean that it was any of it holy writ.
>>> When an element of the work of a scientist is proved wrong, a good
>>> scientist says "Thanks for that correction! Now we are closer to
>>> getting it right!" Someone who just digs his heels in and says "What
>>> I've done should not be criticized or changed!" is not a good
>>> To praise Nance: I have been doing A LOT of lexical work and I can say
>>> that Nance's indications of anomalous stress, and of vowel length in
>>> polysyllables (especially multisyllables), is simply amazing. We don't
>>> talk about it, because we take it for granted. His is the standard. But
>>> that does not mean he got right items (1), (2), and (3) above. It's
>>> appropriate for those items to be criticized, and it honours his work
>>> when we do it.
>>> Michael Everson * http://www.evertype.com/
>>> Spellyans mailing list
>>> Spellyans at kernowek.net
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> Craig Weatherhill
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