[Spellyans] dictionnaire de l'Académie française

nicholas williams njawilliams at gmail.com
Sun Jan 30 17:14:51 GMT 2011

I believe the spoken language to be more important than questions of orthography. That is why I have been contributing recently to Nowodhow an Seythen, though Matthew Clarke writes Kemyn. He, like everybody else, uses KU with minor adjustments.
Rather than give one's opinion about how Cornish should or should not be written, interested parties should first, I believe, learn to speak Cornish and indeed to speak it well. The spelling can come later.

Whatever orthography one uses one's first concern should perhaps be that the Cornish is accurate.
Certainly we always ensure as far as possible that our published Cornish is correct.

Eddie himself is not without fault here. Let me cite some examples at random from Whedhlow Dama Goodh FSS/T-C:

Page 27: *Ple'th esons i? This should of course be Ple'mons i and is curious, given that the preceding sentence is Ple'ma an deves?

Page 51: My *esa esedhys war scavel. This is not, I believe, correct. Esa is used in relative clauses. In initial position in simple declarative sentences one writes Yth esen. The sentence should have been Yth esen owth esedha or Yth en vy esedhys.

Page 56: Ev a leverys *may fia y warthek ha'y dheves ow tos tre gans an keun. May means 'where' or 'so that'.  It cannot be used to introduce indirect statement. Moreover the sentence in English contains the periphrastic conditional 'that his cattle and sheep would be coming home.' In Cornish one does not use the conditional in indirect speech but the imperfect/potential. Cf. Eve's statement: taw an el a bregewthy a'n wethen hag a'y vertv a'y frut a wrello dybry y fethe kepar ha dev 'silence, the angel kept on claiming that whoever should eat of the tree and of its virtue, of its fruit, would be like a god' OM 229-232.  It would have been more correct to have written: Ev a leverys y warthek ha'y dheves dhe vos ow tos tre… or Ev a leverys fatell vedha y warthek ha'y dheves ow tos tre… or Ev a leverys y fedha y warthek ha'y dheves ow tos tre… as in the example from OM. 
The same two mistakes occur on page 75: Meppik Glas a leverys *may fynsa oll anedha y wul. The first part of the sentence should be Meppik Glas a leverys y fynna… There is another error here unfortunately. *Oll anedha is a calque on English 'all of them'. In Cornish oll is an adjective, not a pronoun. 'All of them, they all' in Cornish is y oll: ha kyn fons y ol sclandrys 'though they all be offended' PC 899.

Page 63: ha … a *wort an ki nownek. The 3rd singular of gortos is always gorta; cf. ha ny worta vn tam in vn stat 'and does not any while in one state' TH 7. The text should have read ha gwag a worta an ki nownek. 

There are numerous further errors in the book, which unfortunately is intended for children .

Cornish morphology and syntax are not without pitfalls for Anglophones.
Let us not waste time arguing about diacritics. Let's learn to speak and write Cornish properly.


On 2011 Gen 29, at 21:24, Eddie Climo wrote:

> I propose that we discuss the precise wording of the role of diacritics that will go into the formal submission we make on behalf of KS to the Partnership in due course. At present, I feel that there is little or no attempt to reach consensus in this forum, but that the decisions are being taken rather capriciously by Nicholas and Michael.

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