[Spellyans] PS re last native speakers

Nicholas Williams njawilliams at gmail.com
Fri Mar 24 18:16:37 GMT 2017


Caradar was the first person to notice that yn gwyr occurred but not yn whyr. 
In Cornish Simplified II page 31 he writes:

YN GWYR - never shows mutation “yn whyr” as if gwyr is taken as a noun not an adjective.

This was first published in 1955. Since Caradar died in 1950 the observation is older than that. 
It didn’t stop Nance’s giving yn whyr in his 1951 English-Cornish Dictionary and again in his 1955 Cornish-English
Dictionary.

Quite probably Nance took Lhuyd’s en uîr to represent *yn whyr. 

I think Lhuyd heard en uîr when in Cornwall. He certainly heard en vew ‘alive’ rather than yn few
because he says:

Aflavar, mute, Yn few alive & Ty a fyth Thou shalt be, must be read Avlavar, in vêu, tî a vŷdh AB: 227c.

This seems to imply that yn few had become yn vew by Lhuyd’s time.
In which case it is possible that yn gwir had been reanalyzed as yn whir and then had been reshaped as yn wir <en uîr>.

Yn few is attested at least once:

me as ornes in fyv dre ‘I ordered them home alive’  BM 1785.

Nicholas


> On 24 Mar 2017, at 12:49, Ken MacKinnon <ken at ferintosh.org> wrote:
> 
> Very insightful and, as usual, Nicholas’s examples help a lot. And indeed this is what RLC speakers have been following, e.g. using ‹gwir› without the particle, dropping mixed mutation in favour of lenition, except common phrases such as ‹et ta›. 

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