[Spellyans] Cornish for 'animal'

Nicholas Williams njawilliams at gmail.com
Mon Dec 1 10:07:22 GMT 2014

Linus suggests that best 'animal' is unlikely to derive from Latin bêstia, since the long vowel of bêstia would have been expected to give oy or o in Middle Cornish; cf. Welsh bwyst. Linus may well be right and best must therefore be a borrowing from English < Norman French. On the other hand the complete absence of a plural *bestys may possibly be a counter-argument. The attested plurals are bestas x 14 and bestes x 12. Would it be special pleading to suggest that there may have been occasional shortening of vowels before -st in some borrowings from Latin? I have always been perplexed by the spellings trest for trist ‘sad’ and Chrest for Christ ‘Christ’ that one finds on occasion and that might possibly suggest shortening:

ha marya leun a ras ganso trest ha morezek PA 232d
na porth ovn vyth na veth trest OM 1467
bos trest thywhy pendra wher RD 1255
me a'th cusyl dysempys byth na by trest RD 2229-30
Vn ger na campol a gryst ha mar qureth me ath wra trest BM 903-04

en Blooth Creste an Arleuth whege Meele Sithcans ha hanter Deege TBoson
ha en Jesu Chrêst e mab honyn Pryce.


On 30 Nov 2014, at 16:19, Linus Band <linusband at gmail.com> wrote:

> It may be the default word, but wouldn't it make more sense from a phonological point of view if it came from English? If it came from Latin bēstia, then longē should have become *uɪ which then fell together with *oɪ and ultimately MC /o/, LaC /u/ (cf. MC boys 'food' (MoC boos)). We know that Welsh borrowed it from Latin since it appears there as bwyst (and thus retains earlier *uɪ as wy).
> Oll an gwella,
> Linus

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://kernowek.net/pipermail/spellyans_kernowek.net/attachments/20141201/ad6727bb/attachment.html>

More information about the Spellyans mailing list