[Spellyans] loan words

Eddie Climo eddie_climo at yahoo.co.uk
Sun Feb 20 11:14:37 GMT 2011


On 2011 Whe 20, at 10:04, Craig Weatherhill wrote:
> .., 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).

According to the AOED, 'toponym' is based on 2 Greek words. Unfortunately for the coiner of *hydronym,  that would mean 'water name' (<Gk. hudor. water). As I suggested in C24, rather than mixing Latin flumen with the Greek-based -onym suffix, a better coining might be *potamonym (Gk. potami. river)—the same Gk. stem found in E. hippopotamus, Mesopotamia.

As regards the matter of loan words, I don't accept Owen's 'coffee-table- phychoanalysis. I'm not advocating any 'political anti'English gestures', nor am I filled with 'insecurity' or 'lack of confidence' at Cornish being a learnt language rather than my L1.

Nor do I advocate the wholesale 'ethnic cleansing' of Cornish pursued by some in the Revival. The KK extremists go too far in that direction. By the same token, some people go too far in the other direction of rejecting Cornishisms in favour of 'Kernglish', as my  citation from NJAW's Clappya Kernewek tried to show.

Instead, I call for moderation in the use of 'Kernglish', and suggest it might best follow the usage of Wenglish in being used more in informal, casual registers and less in formal. literary ones.

As for usya, I use both that and gul defnyth a and dyghtya depending on context and the shade of meaning needed.

Unfortunately, the historical texts contain no metatextual information to tell us about the register of the words used; that is something we must interpret, which makes our answers somewhat subjective. My interpretation of Tregear's word choice is that he used English and Latinate words as part of his rhetorical style, in order to impress his congregation.

Of course, it might also be true (as has been suggested) that his Cornish wasn't fluent enough for him to avoid sticking in Englishisms to plug the gaps in his Cornish lexicon. Most of us will have done the same thing, like enough: try to express an idea, lack the word for some concept, and resort to borrowing a word from another language—certainly, we hear people doing it even in L1 English!

Eddie Climo
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