[Spellyans] loan words

Michael Everson everson at evertype.com
Sun Feb 20 11:00:34 GMT 2011

On 20 Feb 2011, at 10:04, Craig Weatherhill wrote:

> 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 don't think that using the word "ryver" is "over the top". It is the common word that was used to describe rivers in Cornish, the word "awon" being used in one place-name, and "dowr" being used mostly in place-names. That's how Cornish speakers appear to have distributed the words. What is wrong with doing what Cornish speakers did? 

Of course it is easy to go and give a list of loanwords to someone out of context and ask them what they prefer. You'll probably get the answer you got. 

In my article "'An event of great signicance' [sic]: Review of George's Gerlyver Kres", I wrote:

>> Why is remembra omitted [from GKK] in favour of "perthi kov" ‘bear in mind’ when it is found frequently in Beunans Meriasek, John Tregear’s Homilies, Sacrament an Altar, and Creation of the World? "Perthi kov" cannot be used in a phrase such as "remember vy dhe’th whor" ‘remember me to your sister’

> 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 agree with Nicholas that he was in places using English for a "more learned" effect. He does say things that one would not recommend. One would not say "pascal ôn"... because "ôn pascal" is more Cornish. 

> 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).

The word would be "potamonym"; cf "potamography" 'The branch of geography that deals with rivers; the geographical description of rivers.'

Michael Everson * http://www.evertype.com/

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