[Spellyans] loan words

nicholas williams njawilliams at gmail.com
Thu Feb 24 10:05:10 GMT 2011

Exactly. I tend to  prefer the attested word, even if it is an obvious borrowing from Middle English or Modern English, to the unattested word borrowed from Welsh or Breton.
If there is a choice between two attested words, one native and one borrowed from English, I will use both. 
One has to choose judiciously. Too many English borrowings and one's prose appears overloaded. Too few borrowings and it becomes unintelligible.

This is quite a different matter from the use unattested words borrowed from Welsh and Breton when an attested Anglicism is available. 
Or the use of a word from Old Cornish or preserved only in toponyms, when there is a well-attested English word in the texts.
This is where the disagreements occur. I prefer fâss to enep, ryver to awan, chair to cador, rom to stevel.

Then there is the question of unattested inflected forms. Tra has the suppletive plural taclow, taclenow. Traow is unattested except for two examples in Lhuyd. Chy has the suppletive plural treven; *chiow is unattested and is not, I believe, to be recommended.

We also have to consider inauthentic idiom. In kever with nouns to mean 'about', for example, or the use of a vry to mean 'of note, of worth'.  Nefra is often used to mean 'never' in the past, when bythqweth, byscath is the authentic usage. Or the use of dywscovarn, dewdros and dywarrow when the attested forms are scovornow, treys and garrow. Another very common inauthentic idiom is the use of yth o + verbal adjective to make the past passive, when y feu is the more authentic usage. Yth o va ledhys means 'he had been killed'; y feu va ledhys 'he was killed'.

Since we have no native speakers, I believe that the texts should always be our guide when attempting to write and speak Cornish. 


On 2011 Whe 24, at 09:21, Dr Jon Mills wrote:

> I don't think anybody in this discussion is recommending that ceratin lexical items be proscribed. Within the Cornish language community as a whole, there will inevitably be variation in lexical choice.

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