[Spellyans] 'swords'

Nicholas Williams njawilliams at gmail.com
Fri Jul 4 13:22:42 BST 2014

The attested plural of cledha sword is always either clethythyow, clethethyow or clethyow:

gans boclers ha clezyzyow thom kemeres zom syndye PA 74bc
duen drethe gans clethethyov BM 1266
peswar myghtern curunys gans clethythyow a owr per BK 2024-25
crownkyowhe y gans clethythyow CW 325
gans clethyow, arghans, dafyr lathva ha kenyver ehan a booz daber JKeigwin.

Nance, however, in his 1938 dictionary gives the plural *cledhevyow and says that the attested plural
is "always incorrectly -dhedhyow". 
If the attested form is always clethythyow, clethethyow, how can it possibly be described as incorrect?
Clethythyow has, of course, arisen quite naturally by analogy. The expected form *clethef has been
reduced to clethe, cletha, which was then understood to be for cletheth (cf. lowena for *loweneth, gormola for *gormoleth, etc.)
This then gives the plural clethethyow, clethythyow, which cannot possibly be described as incorrect.
The only incorrect matter here is Nance's purism - which, in my view, has done enormous damage.  From the rewriting the inflection of Cornish it is only
a short step to rewriting the phonology and spelling.

We are attempting to revitalise a language, not devise a conlang. 

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