[Spellyans] ‘Pound’ in Cornish

nicholas williams njawilliams at gmail.com
Tue Jan 6 12:46:37 GMT 2009

The word for ‘pound’ is well attested:

myl pvns thotho a our da PC 212
cans puns ha henna yv mur PC 3144
Tan at omma thys x puns BM 1464
kyn teseryas punsov cans BM 2579
prest gueles es x puns tyr BM 2592
iiij cans puns gyllyth speyna BM 2820
py lues puns a yl bos anethy grueys BM 2829-30
Awos myl buns ny vynsen the welas, ru’n oferen! BK 1211-12
moy eas myllyow a bynsow CW 740
Ena chei a varginiaz rag trei penz an vlethan Gubber JCH §4 NBoson
e vaster thesguethaz dotha an trei penz JCH § 5 NBoson
e vaster a droaz an trei penz JCH § 7 NBoson
e vaster droaz an trei penz JCH § 9 NBoson
Ha an chei woraz an naw penz en Dezan JCH § 12 NBoson
rag trei penz an vledhan guber JCH § 4 Lhuyd
e vêster a dhisguedhaz dhodho an trei penz JCH § 5 Lhuyd
e vêster a dhrôz an dri penz JCH § 7 Lhuyd
e uaster dhrôz an trei penz JCH § 9 Lhuyd
Ha an dzhei a uyraz an naw penz en dezan JCH § 12 Lhuyd
ha thera nâu penz en dezan JCH §46 Lhuyd
PENZ Pryce.
Ry tha stêner deck pens en blethan Pryce.

The word is spelt either with <u> or <e> or with <y> in the plural  
form <pynsow>. Never in traditional Cornish is it spelt *<peuns> as in  
the SWF. And there is a further problem.
Since English speakers have difficulty with [oe] when short, they tend  
to pronounce <peuns> with a long vowel, yet the vowel is undeniably  
short and [poe:nz] sounds very wrong.
Jenner wrote <pens>. Nance wrote <puns>, plural <punsow> and  
pronounced them [pinz], [pinzow].
In view of the plural form <bynsow> in CW, it seems quite possible  
that this word had two
pronunciations [pinz] and [penz].
In order to avoid *[poe:nz] we shoud write <pens> in KS, with either  
<pensow> or <pynsow> in the plural.

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