[Spellyans] definite and indefinite

Craig Weatherhill craig at agantavas.org
Fri Mar 28 16:12:08 GMT 2014

<Pyran> is never found historically.  In place-name history, by far the commonest spelling is <Peran> and, as a result, all the current place-name spellings containing the name is <Perran>


On 2014 Mer 28, at 15:57, Nicholas Williams wrote:

> I should have put Gorseth Kernow at the head of phrase and would have said:  Gorseth Kernow a bew an lyver-ma.
> That is unambiguous, grammatical and has a verb. 
> Pyth Gorseth Kernow even when the syntax is corrected, looks like a direct translation from Property of the Gorsedd of Cornwall.
> Nicholas
> On 28 Mar 2014, at 15:09, Ken MacKinnon wrote:
>> I have a copy of Lyver Hymnys ha Salmow (gifted to me by Richard Jenkin).    The flyleaf is rubber-stamped: ‘Pyth An Orseth Kernow’.
>> I have wondered about this, whether it should more properly have been ‘Pyth Gorseth a Gernow’.
>> What do you think, Nicholas?
>> -        An ken Ken
>> From: Spellyans [mailto:spellyans-bounces at kernowek.net] On Behalf Of Nicholas Williams
>> Sent: 28 March 2014 14:12
>> To: Standard Cornish discussion list
>> Subject: [Spellyans] definite and indefinite
>> I have mentioned this before but it is perhaps worth repeating.
>> When I was recently at the Kescùssulyans I noticed a little book for
>> children on the stall of the Cowethas/Kowethas.
>> The title was
>> I think that this title was meant to be understood as 
>> 'Sterenn the Cornish Puppy'. Unfortunately it cannot bear that sense.
>> If it means anything it could possibly mean 'The star of the puppy of Cornwall', but the syntax is still wrong.
>> The problem arises from the difficulty in the Celtic languages of having indefinite
>> nouns dependent on definite ones. 
>> In Irish for example to say 'a king of France' one has to say rí de ríthe na Fraince i.e. a king of the kings of France,
>> and for 'a city bus' (as distinct from a country bus) one has to say bus de chuid na cathrach
>> i.e. 'a bus of the share of the city'.
>> The same rule applies in Cornish, though Nance did not seem to have understood it properly
>> so he writes *an Yeth Kernow for Yeth Kernow 'the language of Cornwall'
>> and Lyver *an Pymp Marthus Seleven for Lyver Pymp Marthus Seleven.
>> Since Kernow and Seleven are both definite, the nouns dependent upon them are all definite. 
>> If one wants to say 'Sterenn, a Cornish puppy'
>> one would need to write (and I am using the orthography of the author) one of the following:
>> If one wants to say 'Sterenn, the Cornish puppy' one would need to write:
>> though neither is very happy since either could mean 'the Star of the puppy of Cornwall'.
>> Perhaps 
>> AN KOLIN A GERNOW, STERENN Y HANOW would be the best rendering.
>> The expression Yeth an Weryn is objectionable for the same reason.
>> It can only mean 'the Lanuage of the People' and is ipso facto definite.
>> It is of doubtful validity anywhere since gweryn has been borrowed from Welsh
>> and is unattested in Cornish. In more authentic Cornish the phrase would be
>> Tavas an Bobel or possible Yêth an Bobel.
>> i have recently heard AN GOOL PYRAN. This is also incorrect.
>> Pyran is a proper noun and is definite. The article is not merely unnecessary, it is incorrect.
>> On Youtube there is a video from 1964 of the first wedding ever in Cornish, which took place in the parish church of St Piran, Perranaworthal.
>> The commentary begins with a shot of the church, the flag of St Piran fluttering in front of it and the spoken words:
>> AN EGLOS SEN PYRAN. This is incorrect; the narrator should have said EGLOS SEN PYRAN 'the church of St Piran' or better still
>> EGLOS PYRAN 'the church of St Piran'.
>> Pyran is a proper name, it is therefore definite; any noun governed by it is therefore also definite; the definite artice is not required and indeed is incorrect.
>> Nicholas
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