[Spellyans] Philip Newton's points today

iacobianus at googlemail.com iacobianus at googlemail.com
Sun Dec 13 19:25:08 GMT 2015

(1) Philip Newton’s point about a comprehensive verb book (13 December 2015):

(a) For consideration in designing the new dictionary: Could the ‘Latin’ approach of specifying certain key parts of every verb in what is a lexicon, not a grammar, be usefully adopted? There is a high degree of predictability in the case of most verbs, so a ‘shorthand’ might be developed, rather like ‘1’ for very frequent Latin -o -are -avi -atum.

(b) I agree that the question of when to spell long [o] as <oo> in KS has not yet been ‘bottomed out’, particularly for inflected forms; I understand the position may well be similar for the SWF.

(2) Philip Newton’s point about medhogyon (13 December 2015):

(a) I have seen singular medhek and medhyk. Generally I have found little evidence for a pattern: singular -yk, plural -ogyon; so I think -ogyon, now established, points to singular medhek. The pattern -ek -ogyon is well established (pace Desky Kernowek 1A.2.1)

(b) The knock-on effect for word-building must be considered - and in my opinion this has been an underestimated issue up to now when considering vocalisation (stressed and unstressed) of suffixes, but a very important one for language planning: should, for example, ‘doctor’s surgery’ not now be medhogva? An Gerlyver Meur supports medhogyon, but then gives medhegva. Presumably because it adds -va to its ‘phonemically’ spelt singular medh-ek. In KS should -va not be added to the stem, with unweakened final vowel because it carries the tonic accent? And the Cornish stem when followed by a further morpheme does now appear to be medhog-? On the other hand, we are dealing with an assimilated loanword, ultimately from Latin medic-, and we are used to retaining the <i> in English, so <e> is rather closer to the Latin, and looks more ‘comfortable’ to an English eye. However, a more complex word-building rule would be required in KS to support normatively medhogyon beside medhegva (or even medhygva): along the lines of ‘different stems for different added morphemes’. Personally, I should hope such a complication might be avoided. Anyway, it is clear, following discovery of BK, that straightforward Welsh meddyg - meddygon - meddygfa is now no help: attested medhogyon takes us in a different direction.

Best regards,

Ian Jackson
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