[Spellyans] Spelling and linguistics - Yes

ewan wilson butlerdunnit at ntlworld.com
Fri Jun 18 21:45:44 BST 2010

Thanks, Nicholas, for claryfying these distinctions.
Maybe it's just I'm not paying close enough attention to the traditional grammars I have, but a gripe of mine is that in the matter of interrogative pronouns/adjectives and relatives, they do not pay sufficient attention to the the fact that words like 'what' 'which' in English can be either pronominal or adjectival in use and that this can potentially affect the choice of word ( or phrase) used in the target language. 
Equally we can distinguish 'who' and 'whom' in English but handling these case differences are all but ignored in the grammars- even if it is only to observe that Cornish doesn't distinguish them! We are just left to work that out which is a shade unsatisfactory.
On the question of 'lyw' v 'color/colorys' ( which like many Cornish words from English borrowings is strangely euphonic !) is your own guiding principle usually to prefer the Late borrowed item, or only if the 'purer' term has dropped away? 

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: nicholas williams 
  To: Standard Cornish discussion list 
  Sent: Friday, June 18, 2010 11:36 AM
  Subject: Re: [Spellyans] Spelling and linguistics - Yes

  I am not sure that py lyw is the right way to translate 'what colour?'. The word for 'which?' is more usually pana < py ehen a than py. Moreover by the Tudor period the default word for 'colour' seems to be color, colorys rather than lyw. The only example of lyw 'colour' in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that I can find is

  ha frutes teke aga lew 'and fruits fair of colour' CW 1051.

  On the other hand colour is seen in:

   yma S paul worth agan payntia ny in mes in colors in leas tellars in scriptur 'St Paul paints us out in colours in many places in scripture' TH 7a
  Colorys cler, lun a whekter 'clear colours, full of sweetness' BK 1712-13
  Rag kueth, pan i’n canfethis, me re jangyas ow holor 'For grief when I noticed him, I have changed my colour' BK 3129-30.

  Color also occurs in a line in English in the Ordinalia:

  fayr an suyt bryte of colour 'fair and sweet, bright of colour' PC 1684.

  These matters, however, are secondary to Ewan's question: should the verb after py lyw/pana golour be definite or indefinite?
  The texts appear to be uncertain. One finds both eus and usy used in such cases:

  A eus
  ha pan a commodite vs thynny drethy 'and what advantage there is for us through her' TH 31
  Pan aray us genas, Ke, ha pan wyry? 'What array have you, Ke, and what game?' BK 904-05
  me a vyn cowse ha desquethas thewgh pan a commodite ha profet vs thynny cristonnyan dre an Catholik egglos ma a crist 'I will speak and demonstrate to you what advantage and profit we Christians have through this Catholic church of Christ' TH 39
  pana nowethis es genas 'what news have you?' CW 1886

  B usy
  May thill pub den heb error aswon y honyn, pan a stat ha condicion vsa ynna ow sevall 'So that everyone may without error recognise himself and in what state and condition he stands' TH 23
  Why a glowas pan a kerensa pan a perfect charite vsy agan saviour ow requiria the vos ynnan ny 'You heard what love, what perfect charity our Saviour requires should be in us' TH 30
  Alas, pan a cas vsy an rena inna 'Alas, what plight are those people in!' TH 32a.

  With the expression 'what colour?' one would use yw rather than eus/usy, so the question of definite ~ indefinite would not arise.
  The Cornish for 'What colour is her hair?', 'What colour is your car?', for example, would be Pana golour yw hy blew hy? and Pana golour yw agas carr?


  On 17 Efn 2010, at 23:41, ewan wilson wrote:

    Am I right therefore in gathering that 'py lyw' is considered definite, the verb should be interrogative and so we should use 'usy'? I'm still not entirely clear!


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