[Spellyans] David Mitchells's views on Cornish and revival of 'ancient languages'.

Ken MacKinnon ken at ferintosh.org
Sun Aug 16 07:37:20 BST 2009

Nicholas and friends,

The Spellyans group may have come across reference to this issue.  I attach downloads herewith and give references below.

Last week's 'Who Do You Think You Are?' programme featured David Mitchell, who traced his ancestry in the 19th century to sheep-farmers in Sutherland (who had supplanted the original population), and to a parish minister in Sleat.   This was accompanied by a blog on the Guardian website which looked as if it had been done at the same time - and maybe also in Sleat.  ( or maybe Loch Ness with monster and what looks like fishing boats added.)

This has caused some offence in Sleat where he was hospitably treated and and considerably assisted with local facilities.  The blog can be accessed on:-


I was unable to locate a transcript of this blog - so have attempted such myself ( + / - ) which may be of interest to colleagues - and please find attached herewith.

If any one feels moved to correct any inaccuracies in the trnascript or fill in gaps please feel free to do so.

The blog attracted 168 comments - which also please find copy herewith attached for info.     These range across the usual points and arguments pro and anti - and may be valuable as a representative sample of these in contemporary discourse.  None however focuses on what are the actual present-day causes of reduction of numbers of Gaelic speakers.     There is some recourse to what is 'natural' and what is 'obvious'. ( It is of course also 'obvious' that the sun rotates around the earth once a day, and that the earth is flat.)   There are some interesting points made about 'natural selection'.

I am not suggesting that any of this actually merits any specific reply.   But it is interesting to note the range of public comment on these issues.   We do need to understand that these ideas are in circulation, and maybe to take them into account in appropriate ways.

I hope that this may be of interest -  an Ken ken
Ken MacKinnon is now on Broadband  with new e-mail addresses:-

ken at ferintosh.org
and also at:-
ken.ferintosh at googlemail.com

My former e-mail addresses are no longer able to be used.

(Prof) Ken MacKinnon
Ivy Cottage, Ferintosh,
The Black Isle, by Dingwall,
Ross-shire  IV 7 8HX
Scotland  UK

Tel: 01349 - 863460

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: nicholas williams 
  To: Standard Cornish discussion list 
  Sent: Saturday, August 15, 2009 12:40 PM
  Subject: [Spellyans] trigys with long or short forms of bos

  Me a drig [My a dryg] for 'I live' is common in the revived language and appears to derive from Nance. It is without warrant in the texts.

  In traditional Cornish  ev a drig means 'he will remain, he will dwell', e.g. ha nena ny a dryg in du ha gans du, ha du a dryg innan ny 'and then we will dwell in God and with God, and God will dwell in us' TH 30
  y vabe cayne in paynes brase ef a dryg bys venytha 'his sone Cain, in great torment he will live for ever' CW 2031-32

  'He lives in that house' is rendered in Cornish as yma va trigys i'n chy-na. Notice that long forms of the verb bos are more common with trigys than are short forms, and this is not confined to Late Cornish:

  vyth na wrella compressa ow tus vs trygys ena OM 1424-25
  punscie y tus mar calas vs trygys agy the’th wlas OM 1482-83
  omma yth ese tregys avel hermyt in guelfos BM 1963-64
  fatell ra eff in tyrmyn ay vicitacyon agan humbrag ny in ban then wlas vgy y vab Jhesus crist inhy tregys TH 11a
  En termen ez passiez thera trigaz en St. Levan dean ha bennen JCH §1

  tregys off lemen heb wov berth in castel an dynas sur in peddre BM 2209-11.

  For 'I live in Cornwall', then, either Yth esoma trigys in Kernow or Trigys ov in Kernow are admissible.



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