[Spellyans] Lhuyd's Cornish

Craig Weatherhill craig at agantavas.org
Wed Jul 15 20:16:19 BST 2009

Sometimes it's hard to define what is evolutionary, and what is not.   
As regards the language, development that took place during its active  
life (e.g. assibilation and pre-occlusion) is evolutionary because  
they took place in the tongues and pens of native speakers and  
writers, but can we apply this to the revival?

If historically incorrect phrases are commonly used in revived  
Cornish, perhaps stemming from a mistake decades ago, are they now  
incorrect or not?  I suppose you can equate this with words in common  
modern English usage, such as 'gay' or 'wicked', neither of which mean  
what they did 50 years ago, but are now in the dictionary with their  
contemporary meanings.  Some see this as evolutionary, but is it?

When you bear in mind that the revival is now 105 years old, an  
argument for 'evolution' can, I think, have some justification.  What  
isn't evolutionary, to my mind, is the drafting and imposition of  
highly non-traditional graphs, such as those brought in by Ken  
George.  That was revolutionary and markedly so, not evolutionary.

The answer to this conundrum isn't cut and dried.


On 15 Gor 2009, at 19:54, Michael Everson wrote:

> On 15 Jul 2009, at 19:16, Eddie Climo wrote:
>> Moreover, 'yn kever' + noun is frequently found in the works of  
>> such fluent writers as Caradar Smith, Talek Hooper, Myghal Palmer  
>> and Nance himself, to name but a few. Frankly, if it was good  
>> enough for them, it's good enough for the rest of us.
> I don't believe you. I believe that if Caradar, Talek, Palmer, and  
> even Nance had had this pointed out to them, all but possibly the  
> last would have improved their Cornish by giving up the unnecessary  
> "in kever + noun", favouring attested forms like "ow tùchya" and  
> "adro dhe".
> The fact that we can search the corpus now, and they could not, is a  
> reason for them not to have noticed the distribution. But to suggest  
> that Caradar would thumb his nose at traditional Cornish by saying  
> "well, I've been using it" is to make, in my view, an untenable  
> suggestion.
>> English has evolved beyond its roots in the Classical world, and  
>> Cornish has (in its Revived forms) done likewise.
> "In kever + noun" is not "evolution".
> Michael Everson * http://www.evertype.com/
> _______________________________________________
> Spellyans mailing list
> Spellyans at kernowek.net
> http://kernowek.net/mailman/listinfo/spellyans_kernowek.net

Craig Weatherhill

More information about the Spellyans mailing list