[Spellyans] Normalization of words in -ak and -ek

Michael Everson everson at evertype.com
Sat May 23 19:22:50 BST 2009

A persistent problem in Revived Cornish is the spelling of unstressed  
final syllables, particularly where those syllables are strengthened  
when a derivational suffix is added. In the case of words in -ak and - 
ek, the syllable typically changes to -og- or remains -eg-. An  
investigation of these forms shows a rather haphazard variety of  
configurations -- doubtless (without disrespecting Nance) due to  
imprecise normalization in the 1930s. Such a variety adds nothing but  
confusion to what learners have to learn.

What is proposed is that:

words in -ak should alternate with -og-
words in -ek should alternate with -eg- (two exceptions where -ek > - 
yg- (but none > -og-)

Here is a list of words in -ak > -og-

anserhak 'independent', cf anserhogneth 'independence'
marhak 'knight', marhogyon
pedrak 'square', pedrogyon
pluvak 'cushion', pluvogow
tevysak 'adult', tevysogyon
teythyak 'native', teythyogyon
tiak 'farmer', tiogow

Here is a list of words in ek > -eg-

blejyowek 'flower bed', blejyowegow
bohek 'hamster' bohegyon
crestennek (crestednek) 'crustacean', crestenegyon
dorek 'geology, cf doregor 'geologist'*
gwlanek 'jumper', gwlanegyon
gwlasek 'political' cf gwlasegeth 'politics'
keherek 'muscleman', keheregyon
Kernowek 'Cornish', cf. kernoweger 'Cornish speaker'
kessedhek 'committee', kessedhegow
manek 'glove', manegow
naturek 'natural' cf natureger 'naturist', naturegoryon
peswarcornek 'rectangle' peswarcornegyon
poblek 'public', cf poblegyans 'publicity'
savonek 'standard' cf savonegy 'standardize'
scantek 'reptile' scantegyon

Here is a list of "exceptional" words in ek > -yg-

medhek 'doctor' medhygyon
gowek 'liar', gowygyon

There is no need to list the regular words in yk > -yg- but perhaos  
'Christmas' should be added to this list (rather than being  
exceptional like medhek):

Nadelyk 'Christmas', Nadelygyon

This brings us to some words where we should re-spell them, where the  
alternation differs from what is more common.

Here is a list of words in where the vowel in the singular should be  

dowrak 'watery place', dowregow -- recte dowrek
gwarak 'bow' gwaregow, cf gwareger 'archer' -- recte gwarek

Here is a list of words in where the vowel in the plural should be  

lavrak 'trousers' lavregow -- recte lavrogow (plural not attested, but  
the singular is lavrak; cf OC lafroc)
othomek 'needy people', othomogyon -- recte othomegyon (PC 2636)

Here is a list of words in -ek > -og- -- recte -ak

bardhonek 'poem', bardhonogow -- recte bardhonak
bohosek (bohojek) 'poor', bohosogyon (bohojogyon) -- recte bohosak (BK  
cronek 'toad', cronogow -- recte cronak (BK 3256)
culyek 'cock', culyogas -- recte culyak
perhennek (perhednek) 'owner', perhenogyon (perhednogyon) - recte  
scovarnek 'hare' scovarnogyon -- recte scovarnak
tavasek 'nagging', tavasogyon -- recte tavasak

Michael Everson * http://www.evertype.com/

*leaving aside for the moment the question of 'doregor' pl doregoryon;  
should the simplex be doreger -oryon as with so many words? (the  
question is the -er/-or pl -ers/-oryon words. For further study.)

More information about the Spellyans mailing list