[Spellyans] tavas in early Middle Cornish

nicholas williams njawilliams at gmail.com
Wed Jul 13 14:55:01 IST 2011

I am assuming nothing. I am merely pointing out that the earliest recorded Middle Cornish form of 'tongue' is tavas. Tavas, tavaz is the usual form in Middle and Late Cornish.

The three examples of the englyn all come from Lhuyd but are nonetheless slightly different.
They are as follows:

An lavar kôth yu lavar guîr
Bedh dorn rê ver, dhon tavaz rê hîr;
Mez dên heb davaz a gollaz i dîr 
AB: 251c.  

An lavar kôth yu lavar guir,
Bedh dorn rêver , dhon tavaz rê hîr;
Mez dên heb davaz a gollaz i dîr 
Pryce H 3v

An lavar koth yw lavar gwîr,
Na boz nevra dôz vâz an tavaz re hîr;
Bez dên heb davaz a gollaz i dîr.
Pryce G g 2.

The last version of the englyn is recorded by Lhuyd in a letter published by Pryce in ACB.
Lhuyd says in the letter that he heard the englyn from the Clerk of St Just.
It is therefore undoubtedly genuine.
I cannot see any Cymricism in any of the versions.

Since we do not know how the word for 'tonge' developed from OC tauot, 
I prefer to spell the unstressed vowel as our sources do.


On 2011 Gor 13, at 13:15, Daniel Prohaska wrote:

> As for the unstressed <a> in <tavas> (BK, SA, Hawke, N.Boson, J.Boson, Pryce), we have the OC form <tauot> (VC) which I take to mean */ˈtavɔd/ or */ˈtavœd/. The expected development would be */ˈtavɛz/ > */ˈtavəz/ > LC */ˈtævɐz/. Are you proposing that <taves> (OM) */ˈtavɛz/ passed through a development stage */ˈtavaz/ at the time of composition of the englyn before going on to */ˈtavəz/ and */ˈtævɐz/ after the prosodic shift?

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