[Spellyans] gawas 'to get'

nicholas williams njawilliams at gmail.com
Mon Sep 5 16:07:30 BST 2011

Middle Breton has two variant forms of the verbal noun of ‘to get’, caffout and cavout.  Cornish resembles Breton in having both cafos/cafus and cavos. The later Cornish form cawas seems to be a variant of cavos. The attestations in the texts are as follows (for this list I ignore initial mutation):

cafos x 13
cafes x 2
cafus x 59
kafus x 12
cafys x 1
kafas x 1
caffos x 1
caffus x 3

cavos x 1
cawas x 19
cowas x 3
couas x 4
cowis x 1.

The verbal noun cafos/cavos/cawas is so often used after y ‘his, its’ and dhe ‘to’ which cause initial lenition that in Late Cornish it appears with permanent lenition, for example:

Na ra chee gawas whanz warlyrgh chy de contrevak Pryce
Gwag ove, rave gawas haunsell? Pryce
Pew vedna why gawas rag seera rag guz flo Chygwyn
tuz a drok thens y ha ny buz gawas bongath da Keigwin
Hag et eye ollaz hye dalveath gowas tane JJenkins
Why dalveya gowas an brossa mine JJenkins
Na Re’au gouas koler, rag screfa vaze JBoson

It would appear, however, that permanent lenition was already a feature of TH:
Ny yll henna gafus du thy das  TH 39a
han speciall purposse o, crist the vynnas gafus aucthorite an parna in vn den TH 46.

This is another feature of Late Cornish which can be considered a Middle Cornish one.

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