[Spellyans] adjectival suffixes -ek, -yl, *-el and -us

Nicholas Williams njawilliams at gmail.com
Fri Mar 3 11:53:12 GMT 2017

In defence of the suffix -el Dr George has drawn attention to
bretholl ‘sleeve’ in OCV and hudol ‘magician’ in OCV.
One could also add ebol, ebal ‘colt’.
All three words are substantives and they are constructed with the
OC suffix -ol which became -el or -al in Middle Cornish.
One should however, note that in all three cases the -ol, -el, -al is a bound morpheme.
It is part of the word and although historically a suffix, it is no longer felt to be such.
The fact remains that there is no attested example of a productive suffix -el or -al
anywhere in traditional Cornish.
It is therefore legitimate to reject any neologism in the revived language which
uses such a suffix. 
The productive adjectival suffixes in traditonal Cornish are 1. -ek, -ak; 2 -us, -ys.
Any newly constructed word containing adjectival -el must, I believe, be considered
spurious and should be rejected.

As footnote I should like to point out that there was a good reason for Cornish to
discontinue -ol, -el as a productive suffix.
The -l- in the suffix (which until the eleventh century bore the stress in disyllables)
had the effect of strengthening a lenis stop (d or g) for example to a fortis.
It is for this reason that we have skyans but skentyl and drog but drockoleth < *drockyl.
The same strengthening function can be seen in Cornish dialect fackle ‘inflammation’,
where Welsh has ffagl < Latin facula. It may also account for such forms as
capel ‘cable’, tropel ‘trouble’ and popel ‘people’. This strengthening did not occur in either
Welsh or Breton.
Since the suffix -ol appears to have had a distorting effect on the relationship
between the simplex and the derived adjective, it is not astonishing that Cornish 
discontinued -ol, -el as a productive suffix.

It should also be noted in this context that the word scrisel ‘poster’, a calque on 
Breton skritell is wrongly formed. If the word had existed in Cornish, the -l of the suffix
would have prevented assibilation of the previous stop and the word would have
appeared as *scridel. 

That l in the next syllable blocked assibilation of -d- can clearly be seen, inter alia,
from Nadelek, scudell and padell.


> On 2 Mar 2017, at 18:55, Clive Baker <clive.baker at gmail.com> wrote:
> thanks for that enlightening list Nicholas...and Ray....this very much  reinforces your booklet of errors
> kemereugh wyth
> Clive
> On Thu, Mar 2, 2017 at 9:29 AM, Nicholas Williams <njawilliams at gmail.com <mailto:njawilliams at gmail.com>> wrote:
> There is some debate at the moment concerning these suffixes. The adventitious suffix *-el is wholly unattested in traditional Cornish
> and in my view is better avoided. 
> I recently sent the following to the Panel Whythrans (Research Panel). I am sure the list could enlarged with further examples. Nonetheless
> it may be of general interest.
> Nicholas Williams
> The suffixes -ek and -el in the Cornish texts
> 	Briefly speaking the suffix -ek is well attested in the texts, where it has several functions. The adjectival suffix -yl is attested in one word. The suffix -el for instruments occurs once, where it is written -al. An adjectival suffix -el is wholly absent from traditional Cornish of all periods. I cite one attestation for each form below, though there may in many cases be further attestations.
> -ek
> The suffix -ek, (Later -ak) is used to create adjectives, mostly from nouns. Examples include:
> 	anhethek, anhethak ‘chronic’ BM 1853, BK 1013; cf. hethy ‘to cease’
> 	awherak ‘anxious’ BK 778, 2336 < awher ‘anxiety’
> 	barthusek, marthojak ‘miraculous’ PC 1177, BK 250 < marthus ‘wonder’
> 	bohosek, bohosak ‘poor’ BM 438, BK 773 < bohes ‘little amount’
> 	cafalek for *cavylek ‘tendentious’ OM 2784 < *cavyl
> 	clamderak ‘faint’ BK 2333 < clamder ‘fainting’ 
> 	clovorak ‘leprous’ BK 179 < *clavor ‘leprosy’
> 	colonnek, colodnak (kylednak) ‘courageous, hearty, sincere’ BM 32, AB: 150c < colon ‘heart’
> 	galarak ‘sorrowful’ BK 721 < galar ‘sorrow’
> 	gallosek, gallogek, gallosak ‘powerful’ OM 1494, PC 2376, BK 248 < gallos ‘power’ 
> 	gowek, gowak ‘deceitful, mendacious’ PC 55, TH 8 < gow 
> 	grajak ‘thankful, grateful’ BK 368 < gras ‘thanks’
> 	guyryak ‘privileged’ BK 2237 < gwyr, gwir ‘right’
> 	hyrethek, hyrethak ‘wistful’ BM 4526, BK 2751 < hyreth ‘longing’
> 	kabmlagadzhak ‘crosseyed’ AB: 155b < cabm+lagas
> 	kabmsgudhak ‘round-shouldered’ AB: 63b < cabm+scoodh
> 	kerengeak ‘loving’ TH 2a < kerenge ‘love’
> 	kevrennek, kevrannak, keverennak ‘paricipating’ TH 35, TH 51a, TH 12a < kevran ‘share’
> 	lyastrosak ‘having many feet’ BK 1829 < lyas ‘many’ + troos ‘foot’
> 	methek ‘ashamed’ TH 8a < meth ‘shame’
> 	molothek, mollothak ‘accursed’ PA 47c, BK 3258 < mollath ‘curse’
> 	morethek ‘sorrowful’ PA 66d < moreth ‘sorrow’
> 	morthelek ‘hammered, dinted’ PC 2731 < morthol ‘hammer’
> 	mosek ‘stinking, fetid’ BM 2131; cf. mosegy ‘to stink’ 
> 	othomek, othommek ‘needy’ BK 2307, RD 2377 < othem ‘need’ 
> 	ownek ‘fearful’ TH 52a < own ‘fear’
> 	peswartrosek, peswartrosak ‘four-footed’ TH 2, BK 1398 < peswar+troos ‘foot’
> 	podrek ‘rotten’ BM 3048; cf. poder ‘rottenness’
> 	podrethek ‘rotten, corrupt’ BM 541; cf. podrethes ‘corruption’
> 	prederak ‘full of care’ BK 779 < preder ‘thought, care’
> 	rajak ‘gracious’ BK 362 < ras ‘grace’
> 	sevyllyake ‘standing, fixed’ CW 458 < sevel ‘to stand’
> 	skiansek ‘intelligent’ BM 377 < skians ‘knowlege’ 
> 	truethek ‘pitiful’ BM 2152 < trueth ‘pity’
> 	tyllak ‘ragged’ BK 2289 < tell ‘holes’
> 	whansek, whansack ‘desirous’ PC 37, CW 1794 < whans ‘desire’
> 	ydnlagadzhak ‘one-eyed’ AB: 93c < udn+lagas
> -ek, -ak is sometimes used to reinforce a previously existing adjective:
> 	bewek ‘lively TH 41 < bew ‘alive’
> 	bothorak ‘deaf’ BK 177 < bothar ‘deaf’
> 	cosolak ‘peaceful, at rest’ BK 2471 < cosel ‘peaceful’
> 	evrethek ‘cripple’ PC 2009 < evreth ‘cripple’
> 	lowenek, lowenake ‘joyful’ PA 245d, CW 546< lowen ‘happy’ 
> Formations in -ek are frequently nouns or adjectives used as substantives:
> 	cronek ‘toad’ PA 47d < crohen ‘skin’
> 	crothak ‘cripple’ BK 3254 < croth ‘crutch’
> 	gowek ‘liar’, pl. gowygyon RD 1510 (cf. gowek ‘mendacious’ above)
> 	guarthek OM 1065 (cf. Welsh gwartheg ‘cattle’)
> 	govenek ‘hope’ OM 453 < govyn ‘to ask, to wish’
> 	lagasek, lagajak ‘sharp-eyed person’ BM 1018, BK 367 < lagas ‘eye’
> 	ownek ‘coward’ PA 77d (cf. ownek ‘fearful’ above)
> 	kentrevek, kentrevak ‘neighbour’ OM 2231, TH 29 < ken+trev+ek
> 	lostek ‘fox’ AB: 298b < lost ‘tail’
> 	marhek, marrak ‘knight, horseman’, pl. marregyon, marrogyon PA 190b, BK 1514 < margh 		‘horse’
> 	perhennak ‘owner’ BM 16 < perhen ‘owner’
> 	plosek ‘dirty person’ PC 451 < plos ‘dirt’
> 	poddrak ‘rotten fellow’ NBoson < poder ‘rot’
> 	sethek ‘tribunal’ PA 77c < esetha ‘to sit’
> 	tasek, tasak ‘patron’ BM 2852, BK 1972 < tas ‘father’
> 	tellek ‘ragged person’ BM 3492, < tell ‘holes’ (cf. tyllak above).
> -ek (-ak, -ok) is also used to form the names of languages:
> 	Cornowok, Carnoack, Kernuak ‘Cornish’ Exeter Consistory Court, NBoson, JBoson
> 	Frenkock ‘French’ NBoson
> 	Kembrack ‘Welsh’ Oliver Pender
> 	Sousenak ‘English’ NBoson
> The suffix -yl is found once only in traditional Cornish, namely in the adjective:
> 	skentyll PA 8a. 
> Notice that the formation skentyl < skiant+yl is old and that the l of the suffix blocked assibilation in the root; thus skyans, skyansek but skentyll, skyantoleth. In the same way the l in the suffix -oleth fortified a lenis g to k in drocoleth, drockoleth ‘wickedness’ < drog ‘evil’. The suffix -oleth, -olath is also seen in sansolath ‘sanctity’ BM 137, but *sansyl is unattested. Similarly flogholeth ‘childhood, children’ OM 2838 is attested but *floghyl is not. The words *marwyl ‘mortal’ was invented by Nance. 
> The nominal suffix -al < -el for tools and pieces of equipment is attested only in:
> 	Guinzal ‘Flabellum’ [winnowing fan] AB: 60a.
> The adjectival suffix -us is fairly common though it is frequently written as -ys, -es or -as:
> 	ongrassyas, ongrassyes ‘graceless’ BM 1282, 1596
> 	gloryus, gloryes ‘glorious’ BK 2523, CW 27
> 	grassyes ‘gracious’ BM 4196
> 	gwyus ‘winding, devious’, in comparative the weusa TH 17a
> 	prederys ‘anxious’ TH 54.
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