[Spellyans] A breakdown of Cornish vocabulary.

Ken MacKinnon ken at ferintosh.org
Sat Aug 25 16:21:58 BST 2018


A gowetha,
I imagine the research is based upon a dictionary count and etymology of the
words.  I would imagine that if actual speech were recorded and analysed the
actual usage of Germanic-origin words would be much more than 26%.

I was actually involved in such a study before I left fulltime work, and I
had students who attempted this as a final year dissertation research study.
Recording actual naturalistic speech had its difficulties (mainly time taken
by students who were doing this as one subject out of their final year
undergrad studies).    One answer was to record Alf Garnett on TV and
compare with middle and upper class speech from other TV sources.   It was
felt justifiable to entitle the results: 'Anglo-Saxon is alive and well and
living in Wapping'.

As a pilot study this could have made a good Ph.D. proposal.

- an ken Ken

-----Original Message-----
From: Spellyans [mailto:spellyans-bounces at kernowek.net] On Behalf Of Michael
Everson
Sent: 25 August 2018 12:56
To: Spellyans discussion list
Subject: Re: [Spellyans] A breakdown of Cornish vocabulary.

Every loanword in Cornish is still Cornish. 

No insular Celtic language is free from loanwords from Latin, from French,
and from English. 

> On 25 Aug 2018, at 10:33, Craig Weatherhill <craig at agantavas.org> wrote:
> 
> Has anyone ever carried out a breakdown of the vocabulary of Cornish to
determine the origins of each word?
> 
> I ask this after seeing the results of a study of English with concludes
that the current language consists of:
> 
> 26% Germanic
> 29% French
> 29% Latin
> 6% Greek
> 10% Others
> 
> Or, as someone remarked:  "English is not as English as the English think
it is!"
> 
> Although Cornish undeniably contains many loan words from other languages,
I fancy that its Brythonic content will be rather higher than the
surprisingly low Germanic content of modern English (I'd have estimated 40%
Germanic), and might be a very good answer to those many people who persist
in claiming that Cornish is "made up".
> 
> Craig


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