[Spellyans] Lhuyd's Cornish

nicholas williams njawilliams at gmail.com
Wed Jul 15 10:36:49 BST 2009

You are right about skiansek. I will check predyryans in the edition  
when I next go to the college library.
The problems with Lhuyd are syntactic and morphological, rather than  
He did not understand Cornish syntax and makes many mistakes.

My ny won is negative and the inflected form is necessary. That does  
not justify Mi a uon.
Me a wor is attested 30 times and my a wor occurs x 10. My a won is  
not attested. It is bad Cornish.

Lies tus = many peoples? I don't think so. Lhuyd says (AB: 224) that  
many people, though learned and wise in other matters, are opposed to  
the preservation of these ancient tongues. This clearly implies 'many  
people', not 'many peoples' as you ingeniously suggest. Lhuyd often  
wrongly uses the plural after lîaz:
ha liaz gerrio erel AB: 222 (second line from bottom of the page).

Lhuyd's Cornish is mistaken with lies tus and in mi a uon. It is also  
mistaken when he says Mez an kabmdybianz hedda 'But that mistaken  
opinion' AB: 223 for Mez an kabmdybianz-na.  He wrongly uses hedda for  
-na in other places: Rag ma an Dialek hedda nez dhodho 'For that  
Dialect is near to it'. I don't know about nez here. Cornish would  
surely say ogas dhodho.
Immediately thereafter he writes liaz ger anydha laveryz huath bys an  
dedhma 'many words of them said [he means spoken] until this day. Byz  
an dedhma isn't Cornish. He should have written Byz in dedh hedhou;  
cf. bys in dith hethow TH x 3 or byz in dzhedh hedhou; cf. yn geyth  
hythew RD 1233.

Lhuyd is also mistaken when he says mi a uon nag idzhanz an gerrio-ma  
markyz Lib. Land. 'I know that these words aren't marked Lib. Land.'  
AB: 223 for Mi a uor nag idzhi an gerrio-ma… He is also mistaken when  
he writes adrô an Dialeksho Brethonek erel 'about the other Brythonic  
dialects' AB: 222 for adro dho an Dialeksho Brethonek erel.

Lhuyd's Cornish is defective in many other ways:
Mi a uon pordhâ try kaldzha Trigeriou an dhêau ulâz-ma gurèiz an ober- 
ma pylta guel tro yu gurèiz geno vi 'I know that the inhabitants of  
these two kingdoms could do this work much better than I' AB; 222 for  
Mi a uor pordhâ try aldzha Trigerion an dheau ulaz-ma gîl an ober-ma  
pylta guel vel yu gurèiz geno vi. He uses the first gurèiz as a verbal  
He writes: ha rag hedda liaz termen huei idzhe' a traylya an m ha'n n- 
ma dho b ha d 'and therefore often you turn this m and n to b and d'.  
huei idzhe' is presumably for why erowgh, which is very incorrect  
indeed. It is quite the wrong syntax. He meant Thero huei a traylya.

He writes:
Mêz lemmyn an Lenner 'ragoffen dhebm heb marr, prâg odzho vi en an  
skrefen hemma, a kuitha an raglaveryz legradzho me honan 'But now the  
reader will ask me without doubt, why I am in this text keeping the  
aforementioned corruptions myself'.
Among the errors here one might include 1)  ragoffen dhebm for ra  
goffen ortha vi; 2) prag odzho vi [???] for prag thero vi; 3) a kuitha  
an ragleveryz legradzho for an legradzho [Lhuyds' invention]  
ragleveryz [Lhuyd's invention]; me honan for ow honan.

Lhuyd at the bottom of page 223 writes: Rag ni vev nevra an hevelep  
tremenyans ter Tîz Guenez Kembra ha tîz Lezou traldzha desky dhort i  
gilez 'For there was never the same traffic between the people of SE  
Wales and the people of Brittany that they could learn from one  
Why does he write ni vev for ni ve? Nevra is wrong with past tenses,  
it should be bisgueth. Hevelep is a noun in Cornish, not an adjective,  
which is haval or possibly kepar. Traldzha is bizarre. Late Cornish  
would have written may haljans, malgans. What is dhort i gilez? Where  
does the ?plural form gilez come from? It is always gila, gilla, gela  
in traditional Cornish.

Skientek ought perhaps to have been skiensek. Predirians is not  
Lhuyd's but Keigwin's.
But the errors in Lhuyd's Cornish are many, they are his own and they  
cannot all be explained away.

Lhuyd was aware that his Cornish was not perfect, since he refers at  
the end of the preface an huel bian hanter-gureyzma 'this little half- 
finished work'.


On 15 Gor 2009, at 09:08, Jon Mills wrote:

> 'Pederyans' is found in John Keigwin's Mount Calvary (149). Note the  
> syncope of the -r- in the first syllable. Lhuyd obtained  
> 'prediryanz' from Keigwin. 'Lies den' means 'many men'. 'Lies tus'  
> means 'many peoples'.

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