[Spellyans] borrowing ~ purism

nicholas williams njawilliams at gmail.com
Fri Jul 29 15:57:49 IST 2011

Some people dislike excessive use of borrowings and they have a point. Nobody likes an excessive use of anything.
Tregear is our longest text and our only significant MC text in prose and he uses a very large number of borrowed words.
I am always struck, however, by how universal borrowings are in all the MC texts, not just in Tregear.
It may be that Tregear used an English word because he couldn't think of the correct Cornish word at the time.
In the other texts it is likely that borrowings were used because they weren't felt to be borrowings. When the authors of
PA and BM wrote <payment>, <pemont> they almost certainly weren't aware that they were using an English borrowing.
They thought the word was a Cornish word just like the others. It is for this reason that I am unhappy about purism.
The MC authors and scribes were educated men and they spoke Cornish every day. They knew the language far better
than we, and they almost certainly knew English and Latin as well. Leave aside Tregear for a moment. If the other writers use
a word in Cornish, we can be sure that such an item form part of their native lexicon. Who then are we to condemn it?
That is why I will use pêmont in preference to the invented talas.

Here are some verbs in Origo Mundi (I spell them in KS):

amendya 'to emend'
amowntya 'to amount, count'
aspia 'to spy'
avauncya 'to advance, promote'
blâmya 'to blame, condemn'
cachya 'to catch'
châcya 'to chase, pursue'
comfortya 'to comfort'
comondya 'to command'
compressa 'to oppress'
conqwerrya 'to conquer'
cria 'to cry'
delyvra 'to deliver'
desirya 'to desire'
encressya 'to increase'
exilya 'to exile, banish'
formya 'to create, fashion'
governya 'to govern'
grauntya 'to grant' 
grêvya 'to grieve, afflict'
growndya 'to found, base'
gwandra 'to wander'
gwarnya 'to warn'
hackya 'to hack'
jùnya 'to join'
knoukya 'to knock, hit'
lêdya 'to lead'
lettya 'to hinder, prevent'
lordya 'to lord it, swagger'
mentêna 'to maintain, uphold'
merkya 'to mark, notice'
myshevya 'to damage, do mischief to'
obeya 'to obey'
offendya 'to offend'
onora 'to honour'
ordena 'to ordain, decree'
plainya 'to plane'
plêsya 'to please'
posnya 'to poison'
pùnyshya 'to punish'
pyt 'pit'
recêva 'to receive'
remuvya 'to remove'
repreva 'to reprove'
rewardya 'to reward'
sacryfia 'to sacrifice'
scappya 'to escape'
servya 'to serve'
sêsya 'to seize'
settya 'to set, place'
shâpya 'to shape'
shyndya 'to damage, shend'
sostena 'to sustain, feed'
sparya 'to spare'
strechya 'to stretch, delay'
talkya 'to talk'
tastya 'to taste'
temptya 'to tempt'
tormentya 'to torment, torture'
trestya 'to trust'
venemya 'to poison'
wolcùmma 'to welcome'.

Here are some borrowed nouns in Origo Mundi:

acord 'accord, agreement' 
adla 'outlaw'
amendys 'amends'
aray 'array'
baner 'banner, flag'
blojon 'bludgeon'
botler 'butler'
branch, branchys 'branch'
brest 'breast'
carpentor, carpentoryon 'carpenter'
castel 'castle'
chambour 'bedroom, chamber'
chartour 'charter'
chatel 'chattels'
cheryta 'charity'
chyften 'chieftain'
company 'company'
consler 'councellor'
conternôt 'counternote'
copel 'couple'
courser 'courser'
coward 'coward'
cowardy 'cowardice'
creft 'craft'
cymbal, cymbalys 'cymbal'
cyta 'city'
draght 'draught'
dynyta 'dignity'
dyscant 'descant'
dysês 'disease, unease'
emperour 'emperor'
erber 'herb garden'
ertach 'heritage'
fardel 'burden'
fâss 'face'
fesont 'pheasant'
flour, flourys 'flower'
flynt 'flint'
frût 'fruit'
garlont, garlontow 'garland'
governour 'governor'
harlot 'scoundrel'
harp, harpys 'harp'
hôra 'whore'
jentylys 'kindness, gentillesse'
jist 'joist'
joy 'joy'
kynda 'kind, sort'
latha, lathys 'lath'
mallart 'mallard'
maner 'manner'
mason, masons 'mason'
menstrel 'minstrel'
mercy 'mercy'
merkyl 'miracle'
messejer 'messenger'
myshyf 'mischief, harm'
mytour 'mitre'
nùmber 'number'
offens 'offence, attack'
olyf 'olive'
onour 'honour'
organ 'organ'
ost 'host'
ostel 'hostel'
oyl 'oil'
pain 'pain'
palfray 'palfry'
paradîs 'paradise'
passyon 'passion'
person 'person'
pervers 'overthrow, reverse'
peryl 'peril'
porpùs 'porpoise'
pyta 'pity'
record 'record'
reouta 'royalty, splendour'
rom, rômys 'room'
sacryfîs 'sacrifice'
serpont 'serpent, snake'
servont 'servant'
servys 'service'
sheft 'shaft'
sovran 'sovereign'
smyllyng 'smell, smelling'
sôdon 'sultan'
sowmen 'salmon'
sqwier, sqwieryon 'squire'
strem, strêmys 'stream'
swàn 'swan'
tabour 'tabour, tambourine'
templa 'temple'
tôkyn, tôknys 'token, sign'
torment 'torment'
tron 'throne'
trynyta 'trinity'
tùmbyr 'timber'
venjons 'vengeance'
voys 'voice'
yet 'gate'.

Is there anybody who would proscribe any of the above? And that's just Origo Mundi. 


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