[Spellyans] 'swords'

Nicholas Williams njawilliams at gmail.com
Fri Jul 4 18:59:56 BST 2014

Nance taught that 'to become' was either *mos ha bos or *dos ha bos. Neither is attested.
If one wants to say He became a doctor in Cornish one says Ev a veu medhek or Ev a veu gwrës medhek.
It is a pity that this idiom was not taught, because it might have helped learners understand the difference between ev o and ev a veu.
Another of Nance's serious failings, in my view, was that he did not notice the use of dos 'to come' in conditional sentences. This is found at all periods:

mar te venions ha cothe war agan flehys yn fras ha warnan bezans neffre 'if vengeance falls upon our children and upon us let it be forever' PA 149cd
myrugh mar te drehevell ay beynys zy delyffre 'look if he arise to deliver him from his torments' PA 203c
mar tue nep guas ha laddre en gueel theworthyn pryve meth vyth ol d'agen ehen 'if some fellow steel the rods from us surreptitiously all our kindred will be put to shame' OM 2064-66
mar tufe ha datherghy mur a tus a wra crygy ynno y vos dev a nef 'if he rises from the dead many men will believe in him that he is God of heaven' RC 7-9
mara tuen ha debatya mas an nyyl party omma ov teberth purguir ny warth 'if we debate only one side here will laugh on departure' BM 3467-78
Mara tof ha trewelas, ny vyth mab den ou gwelas 'If I get angry, no man will dare look at me' BK 1402-03
Mar teffa den vith ha pregoth thyn kythsame barbarus nacions ma in aga eyth y aga honyn... 'If anyone had preached to these same barbarous nations in their own language' TH 19
pan drevynnough leverall mar tema disquethas theugh certyn tacclow arall mere moy agis helma 'what will you say if I show you certain other things much greater than this?' SA 60
[Buz] mar te wonen ha leverol dr’ olga tavaz an Brittez cooth tose th[o an] ewhelder ma aweeth '[But] if somebody says that the language of the ancient Britains could come to this high point also...' NBoson.

I agree great damage was done to the revival after Nance, but in my view Nance was guilty of two things:
1 he edited out what he didn't like in traditional Cornish
2 he failed to notice what was actually there, and this involves not only *dos ha bos and conditionals, for example, but also his failure to 
realise that the vowel in tus 'men' and deus 'come!' were different. To say nothing of his failure to explain the alternation in say gwag but carrek, mab but morrep, and dëdh but meneth. Because Nance could not or at least did not explain this alternation, it was left to others to explain it — with unhappy results, in my view, i.e. Gorsedh, nowydh, etc. 
Criticising Nance does not undue his huge achievements, but failing to notice his shortcomings means that we persist with thing in Cornish which are unjustified. 


On 4 Jul 2014, at 16:59, Ray Chubb <ray at spyrys.org> wrote:

>  I think that the enormous damage that you speak of was done long after Nance.

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