[Spellyans] Final -dh, final -th, final -v, final -f

Nicholas Williams njawilliams at gmail.com
Sat Aug 11 10:55:16 BST 2012

As far as final unstressed g and b is concerned we have a number of further 

dyag TH
nownsag TH
methag TH
bothorag BK
golag BK (alongside golak)
yddrag, eddrag CW
kronag Lh

rowndenab BK.

Most of these are probably not significant statistically. Marreg and gorthyb certainly are.
I dealt with gorryb in CT. One expects marhek and gorthyp and indeed marrek is commoner than marreg.

There is a possible explanation for the apparent anomalous phonology of marreg and gorryb.

Both marreg and gorryb have indeed got a voiced final, but they are preceded in the same syllable by a devoiced r (it might be in the preceding syllable, depending how one syllabifies). I assume that in these two words the devoicing in the medial rh caused a dissimilation to a voiceless segment in final position. Schematically marxegh > marhegh > marheg where gh is a voiceless g i.e. k.
The same would also hold for gorthyb: gorTyph > gorhybh  > gorhyb (where T = the voiceless interdental fricative and bh is a voiceless b i.e. p).

Alongside eddrag, yddrag one finds edrack in CW. 
There is in the texts also a form edrege from edregeth. 
I have always assumed yddrag of CW to be a contamination of edrek and edrege.

If unstressed -eg, -ag, -yg were allophonic variants of -ek, -ak, -yk,
we would expect occasional examples of *bohosag, *colonneg, *dewtheg, *Frynkeg, *galoseg, *hiretheg, *kentrevag, *Kernowag, *lagasag, *lowenek, *Meryaseg, *moretheg, *metheg 'ashamed', *Nadelag, *othommeg, *Sowsnag, *uthyg, etc. None occurs. 
'Sweet' is either whek, wheg, wheag or wheage. 'Harsh' is always anwhek or anwek. Notice that the scribe of BK writes: Anwek lowan ove suer BK 1508, where the final segment in the verb ove is [v] not [f]. He could just have well written *anweg, but he didn't. And anwek occurs in the previous line. There are no examples of wheg in BK, but TH is contemporaneous with the manuscript of BK.

We thus have

wheg TH 2, 27a x 2, 28
anwek BK 1506, 1507.

Similarly in BK we have

mab BK 5, 170, 226, 233, 236, 240, 264, 308, 718, 781, 789, 824, 1056, etc.
katap BK 2018, 2572, 2833.

There is further evidence that the opposition stressed vowel + voiced obstruent ~ unstressed vowel + voiceless obstruent operates right across the system. The name David has a final d, because it is a medieval borrowing from English. There is also an earlier variant Davith (cf. W Dafydd). 
Twice the scribe of OM writes Davit for David, as though he found it difficult to voice the final d after an unstressed vowel. Similarly Tregear writes an profet Dauit TH 1.

On the other hand the English borrowing bad is always spelt bad, or badd. The only exception is at RD 1885 where badt is made to give an eye-rhyme with pilat.


On 11 Aug 2012, at 01:50, Daniel Prohaska wrote:

> OM ‹wortheb› (1x)
> BM ‹gorthyb› (2x), BK (7x)
> BK ‹worthyb› (7x) 
> TH ‹gurryb› (1x), CW (3x)
> TH ‹gorrub› (1x)
> SA ‹orybe› (1x)
> SA ‹worryb› (1x)
> CW ‹gorthib› (1x)
> CW ‹worthib› (1x)
> Pryce ‹gorib› (2x)
> Pryce ‹wotheb› (2x)
> Pryce ‹wortheb› (1x)
> as opposed to:
> PA ‹worȝyp› (1x)
> PC ‹gorthyp› (2x), Pryce (2x)
> PC ‹worthyp› (4x), RD (2x)
> BK ‹gorthyp› (1x)
> Th ‹gurryp› (1x)

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