[Spellyans] chair

A. J. Trim ajtrim at msn.com
Sun Jul 19 13:29:08 BST 2009

I agree with Craig, '...that place-names should be viewed as "textual" 
evidence, as well.'

They must contain a lot of very useful evidence that we should not ignore.

Of course, it is more difficult to extract that evidence as:
1)    The words will probably have been corrupted by English.
2)    The words may be much older than the date they were written (i.e. not 
the then current Cornish).

Point (2) is very important:

We write Penzance now in English.
Someone (possibly non-English speaking) from the future may think that 
"penzance" was a perfectly acceptable English word in 2009.
If they can deduce a meaning for it (correctly or not), they may add it to 
their dictionary of what to them will be old English normalised to 2009.

I think that this is what we are doing here with 1580 "skanow".
We think it means "benches" as, possibly coincidentally, the local rocks 
look like benches for Giants.
Perhaps it means "fish scales" -- who knows!

Yes, if the evidence can be extracted correctly, it is of great value. Place 
names must be regarded as a major part of our source material.


Andrew J. Trim

From: "Craig Weatherhill" <craig at agantavas.org>
Sent: Sunday, July 19, 2009 7:22 AM
To: "Standard Cornish discussion list" <spellyans at kernowek.net>
Subject: Re: [Spellyans] chair

> What I'm trying to say, Michael, is that, although chayr is used the  word 
> used in the texts, it has to be emphasised that these are the  texts that 
> we are lucky enough to have.  We are drawing on an  incomplete source. 
> So, it's my case that place-names should be viewed  as "textual" evidence, 
> as well.  Chayr appears in some of those, too,  such as Carn Cheer, Chair 
> Ladder, so this alternative was also good  enough for place-names.
> We also have 'tuttyn', "stool" ('Tutton Harry an Lader', N. Boson.   This 
> is now Chair Ladder); scavel, "stool"; scaun, "bench".  What is  now Irish 
> Lady Zawn, between Sennen Cove and Land's End was Savyn an  Skanow 1580 - 
> I think this is 'scaunyow', "benches".  The foot of the  cliff on either 
> side, under Pedn'men-du to the north and Carn-men- ellas to the south, 
> takes the shape of massive benches.
> I expect there are other words but that's what I can think of right now.
> Craig

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