[Spellyans] Yeth in the Akademi dictionary

Nicholas Williams njawilliams at gmail.com
Thu Apr 1 10:09:39 BST 2021


The official body dealing with the Cornish language in Cornwall calls itself An Akademi Kernewek. Judging by their online dictionary there is nothing academic about the enterprise.

The dictionary uses the superscript letters M and L to distinguish Middle Cornish forms from Late Cornish ones. Thus under ‘language’ the dictionary gives Yeth M and Eth L.

In traditional Cornish the word in question is attested in Tregear only. Here are the only instances:

henna ew the leverall in agan eyth ny TH 1
in aga eyth y aga honyn TH 19
in agan eyth ny, hag im agan comyn talke TH 21
Hemma ew in agan eyth ny TH 40
kyn rellyn ny signifia bara gwrys a eys in agan commyn eyth TH 57a.

There are thus five instances of the word and they are all spelled <eyth>. This is presumably to be understood as representing eth with a long vowel. Initial y is often omitted before a following e. Tregear’s homilies were written ca AD 1555 and must therefore be reckoned as later Middle Cornish.
The only attested forms of the word *yeth therefore are without initial y and are Middle Cornish. The supposed Middle Cornish form *yeth is not attested. There is no known Late Cornish form.

The dictionary neeeds to be emended here.

Nicholas Williams
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