[Spellyans] Cornish words, or Foreign ones?

ajtrim at msn.com ajtrim at msn.com
Sun Oct 19 22:36:43 BST 2008

I think that the "doublets" were for emphasis, and perhaps they indicate that you could emphasise Cornish words by adding the equivalent English word. Presumably, English was, even then, seen to be the stronger language. It also seems to indicate that the audience was expected to be bilingual. If the English words had been fully assimilated, there would have been no need for the Cornish words to have been used as well.

Again, "out" would have been more emphatic than the (normal) yn mes, simply because "out" belonged to the stronger language.


Andrew J. Trim

From: Eddie Climo 
Sent: Sunday, October 19, 2008 5:56 PM
To: Standard Cornish discussion list 
Subject: [Spellyans] Cornish words, or Foreign ones?

While I accept the importance of attestation in our Revived Cornish lexicon, there is a fundamental problem which leaves me deeply puzzled and uneasy. It is, in short, that the source texts do not mark a word or passage as being (a)Cornish, (b)unassimilated non-Cornish, (c)non-Cornish with some degree of assimilation. We can only arrive at these conclusions, I assume, by deduction, by assumption, or perhaps by guesswork. 

For instance, in 'Bewnans Ke' (Thomas/Williams), we find many such lines as this
  16. A, out warnas, traytor puer!

We notice that Teutharus is exceedingly fond of 'out!', and often utters a whole string of them. Both Nance and Williams offer us K. 'owt' as an interjection, but I imagine no-one would recommend the use of this word in modern sentences like:
  *My a vyn mos owt dhe'n dre. (I will go out to the town).
But what about 'traytor'? Both Nance and Williams give these entries:
  traitor. traytour, fals-gwas, brasyer
So K. owt can only be used in a very limited sense, while K. traytour presumably) is different. Puzzling.

Then, if we look at Tregear, we find another pattern that's just as puzzling. From Keith Syed's revision of Christopher Bice's transcription at 


we find 'doublets' like this which occur quite frequently, such as these from the 1st Homily:

'... preysse the du neb o y gwrer ha creator ...
... eff a alsa creatya ha gull mab den .... 
... Gesow ny the wull den the gan similitud ha hevelep ny ....

>From these, we can see that 
  gwrer = creator
  creatya = gull
  similitud = hevelep.
Is it fair to say that these form a rhetorical device of [Cornish word + English synonym], or must we assume that it's actually [Cornish word + assimiliated English word]?

Tregear doesn't tell us, but I'd be uneasy at using freely the likes of 'creator', 'creatya' and 'similitud' in everyday Cornish.

Equally, what about this phrase from the same Homily:
  an tas a vsias solempnyty bras, ha lowre notabyll sircumstans.
What do we assume about 'solempnyty' and (with its English lexicon and syntax) 'notabyll sircumstans'?

Eddie Foirbeis Climo
- -- - -- - -- - -- - -- - -- - -- - -- - -- - -- - -- - -- -
Dres ethom akennow byner re bons lyeshes
Accenti non multiplicanda praeter necessitatem


Spellyans mailing list
Spellyans at kernowek.net
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://kernowek.net/pipermail/spellyans_kernowek.net/attachments/20081019/b86dca01/attachment-0001.html>

More information about the Spellyans mailing list