[Spellyans] Ian Jackson: introduction

Philip Newton philip.newton at gmail.com
Sun Dec 13 17:44:34 GMT 2015

On 13 December 2015 at 16:49,  <iacobianus at googlemail.com> wrote:
> I have agreed with Michael Everson to help with the production of a Standard
> Cornish dictionary.

That will be indeed something very useful.

If one could wish upon a star, a reasonably comprehensive book of verb
tables would also be useful at some point. (This is also something
that is sorely lacking in the Standard Written Form.) The dictionary
alone does not let us know whether the present tense of, say, ‘ponya’
is ‘my a bon’ or ‘my a boon’. (The pronunciation guide in the SWF
dictionary implies that it is the latter in the SWF, but I know of no
definitive place confirming it explicitly.)

The verb tables in Appendix C of ‘Desky Kernowek’ are a start for this
in Standard Cornish, but those tables only cover about two dozen
verbs, and the forms cited are not always consistent with forms found
in the body of the book. (I have notified the author and editor of the
inconsistencies I had found but I do not see them reflected in the
official errata yet; perhaps my message got lost or got buried. Feel
free to contact me if you ever work on such a verb book and wish to
receive a copy of the message I had sent.)

> I am currently
> looking closely at the spelling of the adjectival suffix -(y)ak (-ak, -yak,
> -ek, -yk) in different environments, with the related issues of plural forms
> and grammatical gender for words built with the suffix that then function as
> nouns (substantives).

You are probably already aware of this issue, but just in case, I
would like to make the case for a correction of the word for ‘doctors’
(plural). The ‘Desky Kernowek’ English–Cornish and Cornish–English
indices both spell the Cornish word ‘medhek, medhygyon’.

This agrees with Nance’s UC spelling, but according to the ‘Gerlyver
Meur’, the plural is attested in ‘Bewnans Ke’ (which was not available
to Nance, of course) as ‘vethogyan’.

Given the emphasis KS spelling places on historical authenticity, I
expect that the spelling of the plural will be changed in the
dictionary from the guessed ‘medhygyon’ of ‘Desky Kernowek’ to the
form ‘medhogyon’ based on historical texts, thus incidentally also
coming into line with with the Common Cornish and Standard Written
Form spellings of the plural of that noun.

Philip Newton
Philip Newton <philip.newton at gmail.com>

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