[Spellyans] chair

Craig Weatherhill craig at agantavas.org
Sat Jul 18 21:12:49 BST 2009

As you know, I regard toponymic evidence to be as valuable and valid  
as textual, for the reason that our texts are limited in both number  
and scope.

We have: The Gaider (St Keverne, no historical forms); then Garder-  
Wartha/Garder Wollas on St Agnes Beacon; Cathebedron (Caderbaderan  
1286 is one historical form of this); Chapel Engarder, which Nicholas  
mentions; Meane Cadworth (Gwithian 1613); Pen a Gader and Pengadoer  
(Mevagissey 1302).

In my opinion, cadar is as valid as chayr.


On 18 Gor 2009, at 14:51, nicholas williams wrote:

> In a review of Alys in Pow an Anethow I was criticised for using  
> chair [tSe:r] rather than cadar for 'chair'.
> The word cadar occurs in toponyms; cf. chapel an gadar in  
> Perranzabuloe cited by Pryce. This is presumably modern Chapel  
> Engarder. Cadar is not attested in OCV, however, or in any Middle  
> Cornish or Late Cornish text, as far as I have been able to ascertain.
> Lhuyd s.v. Cathedra 'chair' gives skaval and he glosses it 'stool'  
> AB: 46c. He also gives Cornish skaval s.v. Sella 'a seat, a chair, a  
> bench' AB: 148a.
> The word chair, variously spelt, is the attested Cornish word for  
> 'chair'.
> I have collected the following examples:
> me a's ordyn though wharre cheyrys ha formys plente 'I will order  
> them for you immediately, plenty of chairs and benches'  PC 2228-29
> dus oma ese yth cheer 'come here, sit in your chair' BM 3002
> fatell ra scribes ha pharises setha in chare moyses 'that the  
> scribes and pharisees will sit in the chair of Moses' TH 34
> inivry ha cam an parna then stall po cheare an scribys han phariseis  
> 'hostility and wrong of that kind to the stall or the chair of the  
> scribes and pharisees' TH 48a
> Mar pith den vith ioynys the chear pedyr 'If any man is joined to  
> the chair of Peter' TH 49.
> Interestingly chair is also attested in place-names, for example,  
> Chair Ladder (St Levan) and  Carn Cheer (Sennen).
> The reviewer who queried the use of chair for *cadar was right to do  
> so. He, like the rest of us, learned cadar [kador in KK] as the  
> default word for
> 'chair'. The culprit here is Nance, with his customary purism and  
> suppression of well-attested borrowings from English. In his English- 
> Cornish dictionary of 1952 Nance gives cadar as the first Cornish  
> equivalent of 'chair', and chayr as the second. Chayr (KS chair) is  
> the ordinary word for 'chair' in Cornish.
> Nicholas
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Craig Weatherhill

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