[Spellyans] 'beside the point'

Eddie Climo eddie_climo at yahoo.co.uk
Sat Jul 26 15:38:57 BST 2014

In NJAW 2006 'English-Cornish Dictionary', one finds this entry:
	POINT. … That's beside the point. nyns yw henna naneyl omma nag ena.

There are some features of this entry which seem dubious:
	1. The use of the short form 'yw' is ungrammatical with positional adverbs 'omma' and 'ena', even though they be metaphorical rather than positinal The long-form present of 'bos' should have been used, so as to read: 
		"nyns usy henna naneyl omma nag ena."

	2. The phrase does not sound very Cornish; in fact, it sounds like a direct calque of the rather nonsensical English idiom, "That's neither here nor there." Of course, one can only guess as to it being a calque: Williams has declined to follow common best practice amongst modern Cornish lexicographers (M. Nance, R. Gendall, N. Kennedy, and even K. George) and provide us with the provenance of his entries.
	However, it should be a simple matter to settle the question of whether this is authentic traditional Cornish or merely an invented 'Nicholism' — Prof. Williams need only cite the source of his entry.

	3. If it is indeed a calque, there seems to be little or no need for it in Cornish. After all, Morton Nance, in his various dictionaries, offers us an ample range of properly Cornish-sounding options, including:
	• beside … beside the point. 	a-drûs
	• a-drûs … cows a-drûs. 		to talk beside the point

And looking to near synonyms, he suggests:
	• immaterial … it is immaterial. 		ny-vern
	• importance … it is of no importance. 	na fors
	• wide … to be wide of the mark. 		sawthanas yn-mes a bup for'

And the antonyms that he includes might simply be put in a negative sentence:
	• applicable. 	a-dheseth		(nyns yu henna a-dheseth.)
	• relevant. 	a-dheseth, a-long	(nyns yu henna a-long.)

So, ungrammatical? a 'Nicholistic' invention? unnecessary?

Pyth yua, orth agas brus why, a Geskernewegoryon whek?

Eddie Climo

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