[Spellyans] eCornish practise

Nicholas Williams njawilliams at gmail.com
Sun Jan 24 20:30:19 GMT 2016

I would explain matters as follows:

Old Cornish -d- is assibiliated to -dz-; 
This either simplifies to z (written s) or is palatalised to dzh (the sound of English j).
Thus in Middle Cornish one finds both wose, wosa ‘after’ and woge; or gallosek and gallogek.
Such variants forms are dialectal and co-exist.
Late Cornish often has g, j where Middle Cornish has s. This does not mean that -s- has become j, but
rather that LC exhibits the j-form where the s-form is commoner in MC.
It should be noted however that only the reflex of OC -d- can exhibit -j- in Late Cornish.
So lagagow ‘eyes’, the LC plural of lagas < OC lagat is fine.
But words ending in -es like arlodhes, myternes, pehadùres, etc. never contained d. The 
final s is the reflex of OC s, and MC s from the Latin feminine suffix -issa.
It is therefore probably not authentic to spell the plural of such words with *-ejow.
The Late Cornish words maternas ‘queen’ (Ma tha vee treall en cort an Vaternes Bilbao MS), arlodhas (’Ma lever bean rebbam dro tho an
Arlothas Curnow NBoson) and LC *lenes ‘nun’ (not attested in LC but occurs in OC as laines ‘nun’) in my
view should have a plural in -esow rather than -ejow, because the suffix -es in all three derives 
from original s not s < d. 

It is also to be noted that LC often shows -s- in words that had -d- in OC.
The long forms of bos are a case in point.  One does find -j- forms in Middle Cornish,
e.g. Eth egas ow kowsal da ‘You speak well’ BK 626.
Generally speaking however Late Cornish prefers the -s- in the long forms of bos  and these are often rhotacised.
Such rhotacism (i.e. r < s) is attested earlier than LC, in later Middle Cornish in fact:
rag neg eran cregy nanyle regardia gerryow Dew ‘for we do not believe nor regard the words of God’ SA 59.
This example is from ca 1560, i.e. well within the Middle Cornish period. 

Generally speaking it is fair to say that -j- in Late Cornish and in toponyms derives from OC -d-.
Where -s- in Middle Cornish is -s- in Old Cornish, it should probably be -s- in Late Cornish also.
The Late Cornish for ‘nuns’ in my view should therefore be written lenesow.

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