[Spellyans] gawas 'to get'

Daniel Prohaska daniel at ryan-prohaska.com
Thu Sep 8 19:54:53 BST 2011


From: spellyans-bounces at kernowek.net [mailto:spellyans-bounces at kernowek.net]

On Behalf Of nicholas williams
Sent: Thursday, September 08, 2011 6:56 PM
To: Standard Cornish discussion list
Subject: Re: [Spellyans] gawas 'to get'
“I was amused last Saturday in Helston to see some of the temporary notices
directing us to GORSEDH KERNOW and others to GORSETH KERNOW.”
Yes, I can imagine you were tickled, I certainly would have been …
“We have, Dan, as you know, been round and round this question many times
and tempers have frayed and intemperate language has been used.”
Yes, unfortunately.
“One last point. We cannot tell the exact nature of final th/dh because
native Middle Cornish and indeed Late Cornish had only one graph for writing
both, i.e. <th>.”
Which is exactly what I have been saying all along… This is why I think it’s
problematic to codify a specific theory. 
The word-final <dh> can be pronounced /?/ by rule, whereas if you write <th>
in this position, those who want to pronounce /ð/ cannot predict where to do
so, whether it’s correct or not. That’s all I’m saying. I’m not even arguing
in favour of one of these theories, I would just like to give the
learner/teacher/speaker an option to decide.    
“In this respect Lhuyd's dh ~ th was and remains useful and indeed was
adopted by Gwavas and others.
The problem of dh ~ th is closely related to that of v ~ f, but v ~ f is a
different question, since Middle Cornish to some degree and Late Cornish to
a much greater  degree had two graphs: <v> and <f>.”
Yes, and as you mentioned before, /v/ ~ /f/ had a tendency to be dropped in
this position, which is also true of /?/ and /ð/ occasionally.
“The fact is that there are no examples at all of genev, uarnav, orthiv,
ezhov 'I am' from any native writer of Cornish. They *all* come from Lhuyd.”
In MC there was no orthographic option to show the difference as <v> ~ <u>
meant something else and <f> ~ <ff> were used inconsistently. By the LC
times most instances of word final /f/ (or /v/) had become silent. There was
probably still a sense that the sound would have been voiced as gena ve and
warnavy etc. were frequent.
“Genev is nowhere attested in native Cornish but genevy is not uncommon,
being attested six times in BM. Similarly wortha ve, ortha ve(e) is attested
7 times in CW and later texts.”
“Warnavy occurs once in BM. Tregear writes wortha ve, wartha ve and Mar
petha ve.
This all makes me think that Lhuyd did indeed hear warnav, orthav and genev
but as warna vy, ortha vy and gene vy but he syllabified wrongly, quite
simply because of his own native Welsh speech habits.”
“There is further evidence (we have been through all this before!): 
In CW we find genaffa 'with me' CW 271 and ny sewenaffa 'I shall not
succeed' CW 1285.”
Are we certain that <ff> always meant /f/? There are instances of <ff> where
we would expect voiced sounds and a preceding long vowel, and yes, we have
gone through this, and I’m not satisfied with the answers … which isn’t your
fault, but lies in the frustrating spelling of the texts and lack of native
speakers :-(
“These look to me like genef+ve and sewenaf+ve progressively assimilated.
Such assimilation could not have occurred unless the final segment in genef
and sewenaf had been voiceless.”
Not necessarily, in Brythonic two clashing voiced sounds may yield a
voiceless sound. 
“If we allow that genef and sewenaf contained a voiceless final continuant,
it would be reasonable from a systematic point of view to allow that nowyth,
dyweth, meneth had voiceless finals. Of course in all cases of both -ef and
-eth we have a further problem, namely that the final segment is frequently
lost and not just in LC. Tregear writes ran sheppardys, hen ew bugula devas
at 33a, for example.
For 'mountain' Lhuyd gives menedh, which is what he expected to hear, but
also mener, where the final consonant is r not th or dh. Moreover Lhuyd
explicitly tells us that the plural used to end in -edh as in Welsh, e.g. in
brederedh, abesteledh, eledh, but is currently in Cornish written -es and
pronounced -ez (AB: 243a). Lhuyd is saying that final -edh did exist in
Cornish once but no longer, since it has been changed to <es> [ez]. One of
the etyma he cites is eledh 'angels'. We know from Rowe that in West Penwith
the plural of this word was indeed elez:
Mero, Elez Neeue a desquethaz
mero Elez Neue theath tha Joseph
E ra ry tha e Eelez an Pohar an hanesta
ha mere Elez neve theth, ha droze thotha (all from Rowe)
This suggests that evidence from Lhuyd for eledh and therefore abesteledh,
etc. is not what it seems.”
So, you are saying he’s etymologising?
“All in all it seems simpler to me to posit k, p, th and f after unstressed
vowels and g, b, dh and v after stressed ones.
s ~ z is a slightly different question and need not be settled here
immediately, since many of the examples of final <s> are English plurals
with voiced [z].
Arguments about sandhi and what happens in Breton don't really convince me I
am afraid. Breton is closely related to Cornish, but its history is utterly
different. Beside Breton does not retain -af having nasalised it to -añ,
something which is unknown in Cornish. 
I believe Cornish has lost the nasal quality of /v~/ rather than the other
way around.
On 2011 Gwn 8, at 15:37, Daniel Prohaska wrote:

If we look at the evidence it is as likely as it is unlikely. We don’t know.
There is evidence that points towards Cornish having retained the
distinction and some that indicates it may not have. I
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