[Spellyans] "become" with nouns

nicholas williams njawilliams at gmail.com
Fri Oct 31 12:30:30 GMT 2008

Yes, indeed. Mos is used of involuntary becoming with adjectives; cf.
kynthos gyllys feynt ha guan BM 3672.
And of course bos can also be used with adjectives: peynys bys pan ve  
marow 'and tortured until he died/became dead' PA 2

When the change of state involves volition, neither mos nor codha can  
be used.
One cannot say *ev a godhas epscop 'he became a bishop' or *ev êth  
methek 'he became a doctor',
any more than one can say *'he fell a bishop' or *'he went a doctor'  
in English.

In Cornish in those latter cases the preterite of bos is used. That is  
why Tregear writes: eff a ve den mortall 'he became a mortal man'.
The change of state can be rendered by mos, but the change in nature  

In BK we find: Mab Marya, len a ras a ve the vethak heb mar 'The son  
Mary full of grace was indeed your doctor' 824-5, but we could also
translate 'the son of Mary became your doctor'.

In CW we find: A lucyfer lucyfer te a ve oll lanthorn nef 'O Lucifer,  
Lucifer, you were all the lantern of heaven' 225-56; but we could also  
render it
'you became the whole lantern of heaven.'

The important point for the revival is that 'become' should not be  
rendered *mos/dos ha bos in Cornish.
When the predicate is adjectival (and this includes items like leper)  
the verb mos is used by itself.
If the predicate is a noun, the verb used for 'become' is bos and the  
past is rendered by the preterite.
In revived Cornish we should therefore say:
Ev yw gyllys clâv 'He has become sick' but Hy a veu y wreg 'She became  
his wife', Ev a veu medhek 'He became a doctor'.

Mos/dos ha bos is a Nancean fiction.


On 31 Oct 2008, at 11:33, Jon Mills wrote:

> seems to contradict this. However LEPER was formerly used  
> adjectivally in English. The OED gives "1483 CAXTON G. de la Tour  
> Fvijb, God was wrothe with her and made her to become lepre." So  
> perhaps BM1359 would be better translated 'I have become leprous'.

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