[Spellyans] Yn...wir?

Nicholas Williams njawilliams at gmail.com
Thu Mar 23 20:10:54 GMT 2017

The particle yn when used to make an adverb is followed by mixed mutation.
This can be seen from yn fen ‘eagerly’, yn ta ‘well’, for example.
There seem to be no examples of yn wh- from an adjective beginning with
gw- nor of yn h- from an adjective with radical g-.
Lhuyd’s en uîr is so well attested as not to be a mistake. Indeed it is the 
prevalence of en uîr that probably led Nance to conclude that yn gwyr in Middle
Cornish was really *yn whyr. 

Lhuyd’s use of lenition after en is best explained as the extension of lenition probably by Lhuyd at the
expense of the mixed mutation. 
It is common in Late Cornish to use lenition where mixed mutation would have been expected
in Middle Cornish. Here are some randon examples.

buz peea dua e veea gwel ‘but were there an end it would be better’ JTonkin
mèz e vendzha mos dre dho e urêg ‘but he wanted to go home to his wife’ Lhuyd
ha’g e reege debre ‘and he did eat’ Rowe
E ve troublez ‘He was troubled’ Rowe
Nena a ve composez a ve cousez gen Jerman an Prophet ‘Then was fulfilled what had been spoken by Jeremiah the prophet’ Rowe
Nena ave Jesus humbregez abera tha Wilderness ‘Then Jesus was driven into the wilderness’ Rowe.

In some of those examples e ve might be for ‘ev a ve’ but this would merely serve to reinforce the syntactic
change from y5 > e2. 
Frequently in LC, however, ev a ve is actually written ev a ve.

I believe that the Lhuyd’s en uîr is related to the above shift.
Outside Lhuyd there are no examples of en uîr. 
Late Cornish for ‘truly’ uses gwir by itself.
This starts with CW:

me a wore gwyer CW 1134
me a wore gwyre CW 2130
nena me a wore gwyer CW 2430

and continues with JTonkin:

ni veea plaises, me ore guir ‘would not be pleased, I know well’.

It is possible, though not probable, that gwir in all these cases is an aphetic form of yn gwyr.

At all events it seems that inherited yn gwir looked like the particle yn + gwir 
to Lhuyd, and in consequence he mutated with lenition.

He has further ahistorical mutations, e.g. gen hloh ‘with child’, seith mbledhan ‘seven years’,
ni hlew ‘does not hear’, yn whedhan ‘our tree’, etc.


> On 23 Mar 2017, at 19:02, Harry Hawkey <bendyfrog at live.com> wrote:
> En ụîr (AB 47b) 'Certè' 'Surely, verily, for certain, without doubt'
> En ụîr (AB 134c) ('Quidem')
> en ụîr (AB 223, line 1)
> Enụîr, (AB 248c) 'truly'
> en ụîr (AB 248c) 'truly'

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