[Spellyans] A few questions about mixed mutation of words beginning with G

Nicholas Williams njawilliams at gmail.com
Tue Aug 25 21:45:24 BST 2015

We apply the mixed mutation after th with ga, gy because other items clearly cause mixed mutation with ga, gy, eg. y and may for example.
The early revivalists schematised things so students could learn them, but it is clear that the mutations are much less systematic than we have been
led to believe.
It is obvious for example that mutation is avoided if the mutation would distort the word too greatly.
So we have pur gloryous CW 128 for example and vn wethan gloryes CW 1899. 

I have not been able to find any example of spirantisation after ow 'my' before a verbal noun, for example. On the other hand ow cara ve/vy occurs
at least seven times.
We do, however, find spirantisation after aga before a verbal noun, e.g. in thaga hutha CW 968.
Ow + spirantisation with ordinary nouns is not uncommon. 

As far as the mixed mutation is concerned, I have always had doubts whether it really was a separate mutation.
In the first place Lhuyd tells us initial f in fyth must be pronounced with [v]. He writes in vêw 'alive'.

'and thy wife' is ha'th wrehgty OM 389; ha'th wrek PC 685; hath wreag CW 834. That means
ha'th is followed by lenition. 

By the Late Cornish period even lenition is disappearing in many positions. Lhuyd writes dho kymeraz, dho dereval
but he does write dho glouaz as well as dho klouaz and both dho klouaz and dho glouaz.

At some point somebody will have to examine the practice of initial mutation in Middle and Late Cornish.


On 25 Aug 2015, at 21:02, harry hawkey <bendyfrog at live.com> wrote:

> No, that's pretty much what I found.  I guess my next question would then be, what is the origin of this rule?  If there is no good reason for it, surely we should stop using it?

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