[Spellyans] 2013 SWF Review

Daniel Prohaska daniel at ryan-prohaska.com
Thu Apr 18 20:00:38 BST 2013


This is a bit of a problematic word and the attestations as follows: 

Cornish: min (OC), myn (Lh), min (Lh), †min (Pr); (pl.) menas (Gw, Pr), mennyz (Lh); 

A traditional Anglo-Cornish survival is the call to sheep "minny-minny". 

Breton: ‹menn›
Welsh: ‹myn›

Old/Middle Irish: ‹menn›
Irish: ‹mion›
Gaelic: ‹meann›
Manx: ‹myn›

These forms point to a possible Common Celtic *menn-o- or *mend-o-, though Deshayes' Breton Etymological ductionary gives *min-o-; 

Pre-occlusion would be expected in the forms deriving from *menn-o- and *mend-o-, but not from *min-o-, though the W and B (also the Goidelic) forms point towards the former.  It is possible that:

a) ‹min› in its Cornish form is attested only in the Old Cornish Vocabulary and that Lhuyd and Pryce took it from there never having heard the word spoken by native speakers; 

b) Pre-occlusion never occurred in this word, either for unknown reasons, or because Desjayes' etymology *min-o- is correct, which is doubtful because of the attestations in the other Celtic languages as well as pronunciations in the modern traditional Celtic languages. 

c) Pryce and Lhuyd's heard speakers who didn't pre-occlude (for whatever reason, e.g. dialect); 

The forms used in Gendall's Modern Cornish dictionaries vary between ‹mynan› and ‹minan› (based on Lhuyd's mynnan, mynan, which I suspect to be Welsh) and ‹mîn›, taken from the OC, but given a vowel length marker, though I see no evidence for a long vowel. Neil has ‹minan› and ‹minnan› in his dictionary. 

I should say the SWF does as best it can by giving ‹mynn› only, i.e. with a short vowel and no pre-occluded SWF/L variant **mydn. Of course KS has the advantage of a diacritical mark to indicate shortness of the vowel by writing ‹mìn›.   

I know, not much help, but to be on the safe side, I would not recommend pre-occluding ‹nn› in this word, even if the cognates in the other Celtic languages would suggest a development of PO in Cornish likely.

On Apr 18, 2013, at 6:29 PM, Janice Lobb wrote:

> I just came across the problem of goat kid(s) mynnen/mynn in the SWF dictionary where I would want to preocclude but presume I shouldn't
> Jan
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