[Spellyans] loan words

Craig Weatherhill craig at agantavas.org
Sun Feb 20 10:04:30 GMT 2011

I haven't gone that far, Ray.  Cornish has loan words from several  
other languages.  I'm not on a "stamp it out" purge, or anywhere near  
it.  Just: let's not go over the top with loan word use.  I've never  
been able to make my mind up about Tregear.  His unique use of so many  
English words suggests a lack in his knowledge of Cornish vocabulary,  
but that notion doesn't sit easily with his grasp of the grammar.  I'm  
more inclined to be wary of using words that seem to have been  
introduced by one person.  A few of the KK purists went way over the  
top, seeming to ignore the fact that every minority language has been  
influenced in some way by the neighbouring majority tongue.

English itself is hardly a pure language, having adopted and absorbed  
words from any number of languages.  In fact, I wonder why anyone  
bothered to invent Esperanto.  As an amalgam of languages, English got  
there first, and English speakers contribute to this without  
thinking.  Recently, the question arose - if 'toponym' is the word for  
place-names, is there one for river-names?  We couldn't think of one,  
so we started to make suggestions.  One person suggested  
'hydronym' (going for Greek); I suggested 'flumenym' (looking to Latin).


On 20 Whe 2011, at 09:24, Ray Chubb wrote:

> Well said Owen.  I think it's about time some of us grew up.  In  
> other words the revival is mature enough to give us the ability,  
> safely, to tell it as it is.
> The whole unfortunate Common Cornish debacle was of course an "anti- 
> English" gesture for which the SWF and KS have had, necessarily, to  
> be marred.  I have heard Common Cornish promoters openly say; 'why  
> would we want to spell Cornish in a way that reflects the influence  
> of our English oppressors'.  Piffle !
> On 20 Whe 2011, at 05:17, Owen Cook wrote:
>> I see our preoccupation with lexical purism as a function of (1) the
>> political use of Cornish as an anti-English gesture, and (2) the
>> insecurities of a community of people who're learning Cornish as a
>> second language and are not really confident about it as an  
>> autonomous
>> language (in the sense of parole not langue). There's nothing
>> necessarily wrong with attaching a political dimension to the Cornish
>> revival, and it's certainly understandable that a community of
>> learners should feel to some extent insecure; however, I don't think
>> either factor should be allowed to dictate the linguistic corpus. I
>> note that Nicholas, on the other hand, who has done so much over the
>> years to combat inauthenticity in usage and idiom in revived Cornish,
>> has far fewer hang-ups about using borrowed lexemes. And it's no
>> coincidence that he knows Cornish inside and out.
> Ray Chubb
> Portreth
> Kernow
>  Agan Tavas web site:  www.agantavas.com
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Craig Weatherhill

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