[Spellyans] final -y in verbal nouns

Janice Lobb janicelobb at gmail.com
Wed Apr 7 12:17:09 BST 2021


Thank you, Nicholas. I shall continue to write kelly, desky, etc.
Jan

On Wed, Apr 7, 2021 at 11:51 AM Nicholas Williams <njawilliams at gmail.com>
wrote:

>
> Late Cornish users often write the final segment of verbal nouns in -y
> with <i>. Similarly the SWF and therefore the online dictionary of the
> Akademic Kernewek write the final segment in verbal nouns as <i>, eg.,
> *dybri* ‘to eat’, *dyski* ‘to learn, to teach’, *kregi* ‘to hang’, *leski*
> ‘to burn’, *pedri* ‘to rot’, etc. There is no legitimate reason to use
> <i> in such cases in either Middle Cornish or Late Cornish registers.
> In the later language historic final -*y* is usually written as <-e>, for
> example in the following:
>
> *browe* ‘to wound’ Rowe; *creege* ‘to believe’ BF: 31; *crege* ‘to
> believe’ BF: 41; *debre* ‘to eat’ Rowe 14 x 6, 16 X 4, 18 x 3, LAM 226; *dibre
> *AB: 244c, Pryce: E e 4 verso, : 242; *deske* ‘to learn, to teach’ Gwavas
> MS x 4, Rowe 36; *gwarre* ‘play’ LAM 224; *do gware* ‘to play’ BF: 12; *do
> guare *‘to play’ BF: 12; *gwille *‘bed’ Gwavas MS x 4; *guille* ‘bed’
> Gwavas MS; *tha **kelme* ‘to bind’ Pryce: F f 2; *leske* ‘to burn’ BF:
> 10, 12; *tha **medge* ‘to reap’ Pryce: F f 2; *peege* ‘to pray’ LAM: 224,
> 226; *pedeere* ‘to think’ BF: 27, 31; *perthe* ‘to tolerate’ BF: 41; *tha
> **trehe* ‘to cut’ Pryce: F f 2 x 3.
> (LAM = *Looking at the Mermaid*; BF = *Cornish Writings of the Boson
> Family*)
>
> It seems likely that -*e* in these items was a way of writing final
> schwa. Rowe writes *tha gorthe thotha* ‘to worship him’ but *ha gortha
> thotha* ‘and worship him’, where *gorthe* and *gortha* are variant
> spellings of the same word. The final segment there is undoubtedly schwa.
> Similarly ‘to learn’ is *deske* in Rowe and in the Gwavas manuscripts,
> but Lhuyd cites the same etymon in *Dho **desga* AB: 55a. Further verbs
> whose verbal nouns ended in -*y* in Middle Cornish but are attested in
> the later language with -*a* include:
>
> *Molletha* ‘to curse’ AB: 84b (*y voleythy* PA 18b); *Dho **preva* ‘to
> prove’ AB: 128c (*prevy* TH 34a. 36); *Dho **pidzha* ‘to pray’ AB: 127c (
> *pygy* RD 444); *Dho **teva* ‘to grow’ AB: 52b (*tevy* OM 275); *Dho *
> *sendzha* ‘to catch’ AB: 3a, *Dho **sindzha* AB: 50a, 162a; *senzhia* BF:
> 60 (*sengy* TH 19a, *syngy* TH 33; BK 2503).
>
> It seems therefore that by the later Cornish period, if not before, final -
> *y* was in some cases pronounced as [ǝ]. This would also explain a
> further phenomenon noticeable in Late Cornish.
> The reduction of final -y > schwa is not astonishing. After all the
> Cornish for ‘Wales’ was almost certainly **Kembry* (cf. Welsh *Cymru* < *
> *Kombrogi*), yet is attested in Lhuyd and already in BK as *Kembra*. The
> final segment in Middle Cornish verbal nouns ending in -*y* was schwa by
> the later period.
> The only reason for spelling final -y as <i> in the Middle Cornish
> register is in imitation of Lhuyd. It is far from certain, however, that
> Lhuyd should be imitated in this matter. He writes:
>
> *The Letter* y *differing* *so very little from* i, *especially in the
> Termination of words of more than one Syllable, may be in this Infinitive
> spar’d; and such words written constantly with an* i: *As* Deski (*not*
> desky) *To learn*; Ageri, *To open*; Sinzhi, *To hold*; Gysenzhi, *to buy*;
> Gulhi, *To wash*; Leski, *To burn*; Terhi, *To break*; Huari, *To play*;
> Kelli, *To loose*, Prediri, *To meditate or think upon*; Tebri *and*
> Dibri, *To eat*; Gorthybi [*and* Gorthebi] *To answer*; Strihui, *To
> sneez*; Kylyui, *To lighten* (AB: 245b).
>
> Lhuyd is admitting here that the traditional spellings with -*y* can be
> replaced by spellings in -*i *because there isn’t really much difference.
> He may also be thinking of the spelling of comparable words in Welsh.
> Neither reason is sufficient, in my view, to repudiate the practice of the
> scribes of traditional Cornish. *Leski*, *Kelli*, *Gorthebi*, etc. are
> arbitrary spellings by Lhuyd, as he himself admits, they are not
> traditional. Here are a selection of verbal nouns in -y as they are found
> in texts written by Cornishmen:
>
> *crysy*, *cresy *‘to believe’
> *crysy* OM 1435, 1508, PC 2883, TH 38, 54a; *crygy* PC 1482, 1597, 1771,
> 2963, RD 8, 284, 482, 990, 1016, 1057, 1068, 1078, 1088, 1106, 1114, 1126,
> 1275, 1345, 1423, 1456, 1462, 1468, 1507, 1514, 1529, 1566, 1709, 2469;
> *cresy* OM 233, 241, 1759, 1761, 1784, 2018, BM 834, 971, 4117, 4125, TH
> 1a, 9a, 19a, 20, 21, 34, 37a, 50, 53, 53a, 54a x2, 55, 57, 58 x2.
>
> There are no instances of either **crysi* or *cresi.*
>
> *dybry* ‘to eat’
> *dybry* OM 171, 231, 248, 264, 283, 386, 994, 2048, 2706, PC 625, 635,
> 671, 719, 812, 2632, TH 52a; *dybbry* PA 43c, 87c, 173a, OM 168, 183, PC
> 47, BM 134, TH 3a, 4, 4a, 5, 51a, 52a, BK 343, 365; *dibbry* TH 55,
> 55note, SA 64a, 66; *debry* TH 4a; *debbry* CW 1813
>
> There are no instances of either **dybri* or **debri*
>
> *dysky *‘to learn, to teach’
> *dysky* PA 176c, OM 1554, PC 36, 256, 1250, BM 13, 33, 60, 97, 381, 3300,
> TH 8a, 9, 14a x2, 18a, 19 x2, 20, 24, 27, 34a x2, 35a, 38 x3, 39, 42;
> *disky* RD 1959, TH 10, 20 x2, 21a, 31, 31a, 32;  *desky *BM 49, 367,
> 651, 3752, 4020*.*
>
> There are no instances of either **dyski* or **deski*
>
> *egery* ‘to open’
> *ygery* RD 317; *egery* OM 382, TH 18, 23, 31, 53 x2
>
> There are no instances of either **ygeri* or **egeri*
>
>
> *golhy **‘to wash’*
> *golhy *PC 518, 845, 862, 875, BM 744, 1600, 1716; *ȝ**e wolhy* PA 46a; *the
> wolhy* RD 22o2
>
> There are no instances of **golhi*
>
>
> *gorthyby* ‘to answer’
> *gorthyby* OM 301, PC 181, 821, 1317, 1484, 1660, 1674, 1739, 1820, 2273,
> BK 556; *gortheby* BM 3532, TH 23, BK 2293; *gurryby* TH 44; *gweryby* CW
> 1145
>
> There are no instances of **gorthybi*, **gorthebi*
>
>
> *kelly* ‘to lose’
> *kylly* PA 241a, BM 3341, TH 17a; *the gylly* RD 354; *kelly* CW 840, 2029
>
> There are no instances of **kylli*, **kelli*
>
>
> *pysy*, *pesy* ‘to pray’
> *pysy* OM 1607, 2140, 2197, PC 37; *pygy* PC 1013, 1044, 1162, 2090, RD
> 285, 444, 448, 1338, 1575, 1649, 1932; *pesy* PA 53c, 54d, 62a, 65a, 72d,
> BM 404, 520, 537, 613, 707, 1470, 2138, 2141, 2174, 2339, 2420, 2506, 2556,
> 2725, 2998, 3186, 3359, 3440, 3475, 3638, 3800, 3845, 4128, 4276, 4288,
> 4425, 4461, 4554, 4561, TH 9a; *pegy* BK 133, 426, 2335, CW 2207.
>
> There are no instances of either **pysi* or **pesi*.
>
> *synsy*, *sensy* ‘to hold’
> *synsy* PA 62c, 82c, 154a, 159d, 207c, OM 23, 1444, TH 40; *syngy* TH 33,
> BK 2503, 2613; sensy PA 75b, 105d, 156d, 166b, 206d, PC 1176, BM 1074,
> 2279, 2291, 2315, 2588, TH 49, SA 61; *sengy* TH 19a, BK 65.
>
> There are no instances of either **synsi* or **sensi*.
>
>
> *tyby* ‘to think’
> *teby* OM 3250.
>
> There is no instance of either **tybi* or **tebi*.
>
> All the above verbal nouns should in any authentic spelling be written
> with final -*y*.
>
>
> Nicholas Williams
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> Spellyans at kernowek.net
> http://kernowek.net/mailman/listinfo/spellyans_kernowek.net
>
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