[Spellyans] Multiple adjectives after feminine nouns
eddie_climo at yahoo.co.uk
Mon Mar 16 18:36:35 GMT 2009
On 14 Mer 2009, at 14:42, Michael Everson wrote:
> Caradar sets a rule that only the first of several adjectives
> following a feminine noun is [lenited]
It is worth bearing in mind that, when Caradar wrote Kernewek
Sempelhes, he was very careful to stick to the historical texts for
all (or almost all?) of his specimen sentences.
This was a strategy deliberately chosen to counter the charge from a
few of the more conservative academic celticists of his day that
Revived (Unified) Cornish was 'not really Cornish' -- in modern
parlance, that it was a bit of a 'conlang'.
That he was prudent to do so is shown by the fact that, to this day,
he and Mordon and Talek et al still face precisely this sort of ill-
informed denigration from those petty-minded 'scholars' who seek to
enhance their own prestige by belittling that of these fathers of the
So, it would be reasonable to assume that Caradar observed precisely
this pattern of lenition in the historical corpus. If we haven't yet
managed to find his sources perhaps that says more about our own
scholarly limitations than about his. After all, Caradar had to rely
on his (and his colleagues') detailed knowledge of the corpus; not for
them the facile siren song of the database search engine, with all its
illusions of omniscience!
Perhaps a personal anecdote will clarify this last observation. I was
told a while ago by someone whose Cornish is far better than mine (not
a difficult achievement, mind!) that I absolutely could not start a
sentence with 'Yn meth ...' because it was 'not attested in the
historical corpus'. Someone else suggested that it was in fact
attested, and in the best-known piece of Cornish prose there is: Jowan
Chy an Horth. I checked, and that is so.
I suspect that this (nameless) someone had been relying too heavily on
his/her computer searches to provide the answers: "My computer says
so, therefore it must be true."
Let's remember that KK is the fruit of precisely this sort of naiveté!
Eddie Foirbeis Climo
- -- - -- - -- - -- - -- - -- - -- - -- - -- - -- - -- - -- -
Dres ethom akennow byner re bons lyeshes
Accenti non multiplicandi praeter necessitatem
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