[Spellyans] Nance's purism (again)

nicholas williams njawilliams at gmail.com
Tue Jul 26 10:51:27 IST 2011

Nance preferred the Passion Poem to all other texts in Cornish, possibly because it was the oldest
continuous text and therefore the most archaic in language. It contains the only t-preterite known
in Cornish pan gemert kyg a werhas 'when he took flesh from a Virgin' PA 3b. It is also the only
text in which dothye, gwrusse, etc. are pluperfects rather than conditionals. 
On the other hand PA is full of borrowings, many of which Nance himself avoided. Here is a list
of verbs in -a and -ya borrowed from Middle English (I spell them in UC spelling):

acordya 'agree'
amontya 'calculate, tot up'
attendya 'pay attention to'
batalyas 'fight, do battle'
blamya 'blame'
cachya 'catch'
chacya 'chase, harrow'
chanjya 'change'
chonsya 'chance, venture'
comfortya 'comfort'
convyctya 'convict, vanquish'
crakkya 'crack, break'
dampnya 'damn, condemn'
decevya 'deceive'
delyfrya 'deliver, free'
desyrya 'desire'
dowtya 'doubt, fear'
droppya 'drop, drip'
dyghtya 'dight, treat'
dyscomfortya 'discomfort' 
dyspresya 'dispraise, criticise'
dyssaytya 'deceive'
fastya 'fix'
grevya 'grieve, afflict'
grondya 'found, base'
grontya, growntya 'grant'
gwarnya 'warn'
jujjya 'judge' 
muvya 'move'
notya 'make known, note'
onora 'honour'
ordna 'ordain, command'
paynya 'pain, afflict'
plentya 'make complaint, complain'
praysya 'praise'
prysonya 'imprison'
rebukya 'rebuke'
receva 'receive'
redya 'read'
scorjya 'scourge, whip'
scornya 'scorn, mock'
servya 'serve'
settya 'set, place'
shakya 'shake'
shyndya 'damage, harm' (archaic 'shend')
sopya 'sup, have supper'
spedya 'succeed, hurry'
storvya 'die of cold, starve'
strechya 'stretch, delay'
stryvya 'strive, dispute'
takkya 'nail, tack'
temptya 'tempt'
tormentya 'torment, torture'
tochya 'touch'
usya 'use, wear'.

The adjective specyal 'special' occurs at PA 110d and is not attested again until Tregear.
Venjyans <venions> occurs at least twice, but dyal is not attested in PA.
Servys <seruys> is attested seven times in PA. Gonys occurs twice and is a verb.
Pryns (<prins> 3, <pryncis> 1) is attested. Pensevyk is not.
Contrary occurs at PA 146d. It is not attested again until TH.
Acord 'agreement' occurs at PA 7b; Nance's preferred word is ambos which is unattested in PA.

PA demonstrates that the vocabulary of the earliest Middle Cornish contained many borrowings from Middle English.
Nance imitated some aspects of PA, but other features he preferred to ignore.


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