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

Craig Weatherhill craig at agantavas.org
Sat Aug 11 18:50:09 BST 2012

Place-names in West Cornwall usually give a good indication of what  
Late Cornish did with such words.

<marhek, marhak> occurs in the Cornish name for Zennor Hill:  this  
was:  Karnemorecke 1572; Karmarracke 1653; Carne Marrack 1832.  No  
sign of -g,  and this is particularly significant as there is very  
strong evidence of Cornish sill being a native vernacular in Zennor  
parish c. 1840.

That <ryp, reb> became <reb> is evidenced by the place-name Morrab,  
Penzance.  BUT there is also Zawn Vorrap, St Levan.  As names with  
'Zawn' only date from the 16th century, this seems to indicate that  
<ryp/rep> and <ryb/reb> co-existed in Late Cornish.

<medhek> 'doctor, surgeon' occurs in Tremethick, Madron, and  
Parkenmethek (Colan) (1423).  The former was Tremethek 1284, 1394  
1451;  Tremythek 1334;  Tremethek 1522.  Again, no sign of -g.   
However, Trevithal (paul) seems to contain a related word as  
qualifier.  This was Trevethegal 1315, 1317, 1321;  Trevethygel,  
Trevethall 1389;  Trevithal, Trevergal 1668; Trevithole 1696;  
Trevidall 1725.  I believe this element to be an extension of  
<medhek>, perhaps a word meaning 'surgery', but the earlier references  
show that, in such an extension K softened to G.

Make what you will of that evidence.


On 11 Est 2012, at 14:59, Daniel Prohaska wrote:

> Thanks for these, Nicholas…
> Dan
> On Aug 11, 2012, at 11:55 AM, Nicholas Williams wrote:
>> As far as final unstressed g and b is concerned we have a number of  
>> further
>> examples:
>> 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.
>> Nicholas
>> 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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