[Spellyans] 'who' in Cornish

Craig Weatherhill craig at agantavas.org
Mon Jul 18 10:06:56 IST 2011

Is this word not a compound of pe/py + yw?  If so, then it must surely  
be pyw, as SWF writes yw, 'is', not iw.


On 18 Gor 2011, at 09:37, nicholas williams wrote:

> The word for 'who' is attested six times in  Bewnans Ke and it is  
> always spelt pew.
> Tregear spells 'who' pew eight times.
> pew occurs twice in SA.
> pew occurs x 4 in CW
> In the song Delkiow Sevi 'who' is pew
> Lhuyd writes peu a ryg an bad-ober JCH §32
> Elsewhere in the texts:
> pyv occurs 33 times
> pyw occurs 11 times
> pu is attested three times in PA and Rowe writes pu Reg laule  
> theese; Lhuyd writes Pu 'who' and Piu AB: 229c
> Lhuyd writes piu in JCH x 3.
> Lhuyd's piu has a dot under the u. The diphthong is thus identical  
> with that in Lhuyd's diu 'black', which we spell <du>.
> For us therefore Lhuyd's piu could equally well be pu.
> The form pywa 'who, what?' in incredulous questions is written
> Peua by Lhuyd x 1 and Piua x 2. The same word is written pewa twice  
> in CW.
> The SWF writes *piw, a spelling which is not found anywhere in  
> Cornish.
> *Piw is not based on Welsh, which uses the metathesised form pwy.
> *Piw is based on Breton piv and is defended by reference to Lhuyd's  
> piu (which could equally well be understood as pu).
> There is no difference in actual pronunciation between pew, pyw and  
> *piw (whatever may be claimed)
> Given that pyw and pew are the forms actually attested in  
> traditional Cornish,
> would it not be sensible for the SWF to write pyw, pew or at least  
> to allow pew alongside *piw?
> Nicholas
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Craig Weatherhill

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