[Spellyans] "Late Cornish"

Nicholas Williams njawilliams at gmail.com
Thu Nov 14 12:23:49 GMT 2013

If revivalists paid more attention to what is in the texts, they might realise that the distinction made between Middle and Late Cornish is largely invented.
There are very few features in the seventeenth and eighteenth century texts, that are not already present in the sixteenth and earlier centuries.
The difference in orthography came about because of the loss of Glasney, not because the language had changed.
The proponents of RLC do not seem to have fully understand this and, in my view, unnecessarily divided the revival. 

SA is a Middle Cornish text but it shows features often associated with the 18th century:

The scribe writes, for example:
ha e weth dir faith da ny 'and also through our good faith' i.e. without agan, agen

rag ne geran cregy nanyle regardia gerryow Dew 'for we do not either believe or regard the words of God' where ne geran ny cregy shows nag for nyns, eran for eson and cregy for ow cregy.

blonogath da a thew, disquethis theny, vgy setha in gwlas neff, vgy intyr dowla tvs an beis in tirmyn an sacrifice, the Canevar den gwyrrian a vo desyrius e gowis: Christ ew devethis, not dir subtelnath, bus openly the kenever a whelha ha vo o sevall rebta 'the good will of God shown to us, who sits in the kingdom of heaven, who is in the hands of the men of the world at the time of sacrifice; for every righteous man who may wish to receive him Christ has come not by subtlety, but openly to everybody who sees and is standing by him'. Note vgy setha for vgy ow setha, dowla for dewla, canevar den not pub den, pubonen, kenever for pubonen and bus for 'but'.
SA exhibits loss of i-affection in the pres-fut. me a laver the gee 'I tell you' SA 62
SA also exhibits pecar for kepar;
gosowes for goslowes: Gosoweth pan drvge S. Ambros ow leverall SA 62a
and gwiel for gul.

Pre-occlusion is first attested in BM and Borde (both 16th century).
levar for lyver 'book' is first attested in PA (fifteenth century) and teller 'place' also in PA, where it is the normal form.
genama 'with me' occurs in PA
danon for danvon occurs in PA: Thy gour hy a zanonas 'She sent to her husband' PA 123a (usually 'emended' to danvonas). 
dowthek 'twelve' with ow for ew is first attested in PA and clowes 'to hear' in BM.
for for forth 'way' is attested in the Ordinalia
forms like gansans 'with them' and thethans, thothans first occur in TH (ca 1555)
the suffixed object pronoun is first recorded in PA: arluth prag y hysta vy 'Lord, why hast thou forsaken me?' 
yrth 'snow' is found in TH
the present stem gor- 'to know' (e.g. gorama 'I know') is first attested in TH: ny woryn pyscotter 'we don't know how soon'.

There is no need to continue.

It is clear from the texts, that Middle Cornish and Late Cornish are not different languages. There was, I believe, no reason to spell them in two separate ways.


On 14 Nov 2013, at 10:26, Craig Weatherhill wrote:

> I'm happy to say that, from the point of view of historicity, much more sense is being applied to that subject than would have the case 5 or 6 years ago, and my presence on the Panel, armed with my own researches, is proving to be worthwhile. 

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