[Spellyans] th/dh

Daniel Prohaska daniel at ryan-prohaska.com
Fri Nov 19 01:09:16 GMT 2010


From: nicholas williams
Sent: Thursday, November 18, 2010 11:57 PM
”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>. “


Why can it not write <bolonjedh> [bɔˈlʊnʤəθ] and <bolonjedhek> [ˌbɔlənˈʤɛðək]? It’s just like spelling schwa in the unstressed syllable with the vowel graph of the phoneme that “resurfaces” when a suffix is added and the stress shifted to the former post-tonic syllable. I don’t get why your so adamant about showing unvoicing when the voiced consonant pops up again in derivatives. Why the double standard?


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.




No, Nicholas, it doesn’t. You’re interpreting with your phonological model in the back of your mind. You’re not willing to let go of that – you needn’t, not if it were even shown in a Revived Cornish orthography, as this ca be done by a simple rule. As I said, I’m not even arguing against the possible unvoicing in this position – in fact I show it in my dictionary, but I also accept that the voiced sound can re-appear before vowels and in derivatives. What’s so difficult to understand about that? 


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