[Spellyans] the suffix -el

Nicholas Williams njawilliams at gmail.com
Sat Mar 4 17:35:27 GMT 2017

In further defence of the suffix -el Dr George has mentioned, albeit without citing any examples,
that -el, -yel appears as a suffix in place-names. This is certainly true, and one thinks immediately
of Lostiwithiel. It must be admitted that in such cases the suffix is by the MC period a bound morpheme
which is not productive in the language as a whole.
Dr George believes that the presence of -el or -yel in such toponyms “has given the green light” to the extension
of -el as a productive suffix in the revived language. It could be argued against such a view
that the use as a productive suffix of a formant that is fossilised by the MC period and therefore no longer seen as a suffix is at best unwise.
Moreover one might suggest that the promiscuous use of -*el in the revived language distances it still further
from traditional Cornish.
Perhaps one might class *-el alongside other doubtful features that have been recommended for the language in the past.
As random examples one might cite:

1. Ywerdhon, Iwerdhon ‘Ireland'
2. *kerentja ‘love’, *gantjo ‘with him’, *gallodjek ‘powerful’, etc.
3. bywnans ‘life’ and klywes ‘to hear’
4. spellings like *hwyja, *hweg, *hwans, etc.
5. unattested spellings like *piw, *gwiw
6. the use of huni in such expressions as an huni bras ‘the big one’, etc.
7. *gos ‘is known’
8. *yalgh ‘purse’.

Indeed the following paragraph from the website of the Akademi Kernewek is good example of how
far some forms of the revived language deviate from anything in the traditional language:

Akademi Kernewek yw aswonys gans Konsel Kernow avel an korf diambosel omgemeryek  
rag towlennans an korpus a Gernewek, desedha savonow rag an yeth, displegya an gerlyver 
ha komposa hwithrans. Akademi Kernewek a'n jeves Bord ha peswar panel, gans kettep panel lown arbennek

Given that some people criticise revived Cornish on the grounds that it is a concocted language,
it could be argued that anything which takes the revived language further from its sources in the texts is to be
avoided, less revived Cornish be increasingly seen as a conlang.

When I was recently in Penzance this point was several times put to me, namely that revived
Cornish was artificial, made up or concocted. Anything which might add to this criticism
is probably best avoided. 

What do others think?


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