[Spellyans] th/dh

nicholas williams njawilliams at gmail.com
Thu Nov 18 22:57:08 GMT 2010

Lhuyd writes  davadzheth AB: 223,  tavadzheth AB: 223 on the basis of Welsh tafodiaeth. But he also writes
volyndzheth AB: 224. But the adjective is volondzhedhek AB: 223,  volyndzhedhek AB: 223 x 2.
This seems to imply final Welsh th is final th in Cornish,
and that final etymological dh is devoiced after an unstressed vowel but is voiced intervocalically.
Or to put it another way: revived Cornish should write bolunjeth but bolunjedhek.
The SWF writes <bolonjedh>. 

Lhuyd also cites the plurals of broder, el and abostol as ending in -edh.  But he says
"The Fourth Plural Termination formerly (as still in Welsh) in edh; as Brederedh, Brothers; Eledh, Angels;
Abesteledh, Apostles. Which pronunciation was more anciently expressed by t; as Guraget, Wives for Guragedh. 
It's at present changed into es arccording to their writing; but into ez, according to their Pronunciation. So that it seems but a sort of French or modern English Plural; as Bestez, Beasts; Koles, Coles; Romes, Rooms, gulles, Guls; Pysgez , Fish; Panez, Parsnips; Zillies, eels or Congers;
Lahez, Laws; Benenez, Women,† Flexez, Children"† AB: 243a.

Lhuyd is thus saying that once upon a time there was a Cornish plural in -et (pronounced -edh as in Welsh [modern W -edd]) but this ending is no longer used, and the Cornish now use an English/French plural in -es (pronounced -ez).
This is quite clear. Lhuyd didn't hear the plural -edh in brederedh, eledh, abesteledh, but it was, he says, found in Cornish. This must be on the basis of his reading only. The ending, he says, is now replaced by -es.
He was quite right in this, since in his day the plural of el 'angel' was indeed elez:

Mero, Elez Neeue a desquethaz ha Joseph a ve hendrez 'Behold, angels from heaven appeared to Joseph who was dreaming' Kerew
mero Elez Neue theath tha Joseph en cuska en Egyp 'Behold, angels from heaven came to Joseph asleep in Egypt' Kerew
ha mere Elez neve theth, ha droze thotha 'and behold angels of heaven came and brought [food] to him' Kerew.

So Lhuyd didn't actually hear eleth, bredereth, abesteleth. He assumed them by analogy with his native Welsh. And the same is true for other plurals ending in unstressed -edh. So Lhuyd's evidence for final -edh in such items is not to be trusted.
He also says that 'wives' was written guraget with a plural ending -et,  but this is not so; the plural ending is -ath i.e. with <th>: gwregath TH 31; gwregath CW 2437. Lhuyd is clearly an unreliable source.
Lhuyd also says menedh is now mener and he writes volyndzheth for bolùnjeth; he also writes noweth/noweT and guironeth.

The Lhuydian evidence for unstressed final -edh is beginning to look pretty thin.

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