[Spellyans] Ian Jackson: introduction

Anthony Hearn a.d.hearn at blueyonder.co.uk
Tue Dec 15 13:34:45 GMT 2015

As a student this both interests and puzzles me.

Nicholas, are you saying that the rhotacising had happened by the late 
16th century but that spelling remained conservative?  Or that it was 
dialectal or idiosyncratic until it became general?  What are you views 
on this development and its timing?

Incidentally, the shift from 'z' to 'r' indicates to my satisfaction 
that the 'r' was a flap - and fairly close to the teeth - and not an 

Tony Hearn

On 15/12/15 11:38, Nicholas Williams wrote:
> The last instance of /ponya/ before the seventeenth century seems to 
> be Tregear ca 1555 who writes /lyas onyn a rug resak ha ponya in 
> stray/ TH 30a. Lhuyd in /Archæologia Britannica/ (1707), however, 
> writes the verbal noun of the verb ‘to run’ as /punnia/ AB: 53b, 
> /punnya/ AB: 61c. In later Cornish therefore one might more accurately 
> spell the stressed vowel as <u> rather than <o>.
> Janice says:
> Yth esof vy ow ponya — shift forward a few hundred years and you get 
> Thero vy ow ponya.
> I am not sure I can agree with her.
> Setting aside the verbal noun for a moment, let us look the rest of 
> the phrase.
> In Sacrament an Alter (ca ?1570) we read:
> /rag ne geran cregy nanyle regardia gerryow Dew/ ‘for we do not 
> believe nor regard the words of God’. Notice both that the -s- of 
> /eson/ has been rhotacised and that the particle /ow/, /o/ has been 
> suppressed/omitted before both /cregy/ ‘believe’ and /regardia/ ‘regard’.
> Look then at the following quotations from the /Creation of the World/ 
> (1611):
> /mere yth esaf ow towtya/ CW 1540
> /yeth esaf ow tremena/ CW 1696
> /yth esaf ow pose gorthys/ CW 2125.
> It seems, therefore, that /neg eran cregy/ from /ca/ 1570 predates 
> /yth esaf ow towtya/ from 1611. Jan’s remark ‘a few hundred years’ is 
> difficult to sustain.
> This is, I believe, an important point. Many of the alleged 
> differences between Middle and Late Cornish are apparent rather than 
> real and it is unwise to emphasise the distance between the two forms 
> of the language.
> Nicholas
>> On 13 Dec 2015, at 17:50, Nicholas Williams <njawilliams at gmail.com 
>> <mailto:njawilliams at gmail.com>> wrote:
>> Me a bon means 'I shall run'. 'I run' is best translated Yth esof ow 
>> ponya.
>> And indeed 'I shall run' is more idiomatically rendered me a vydn 
>> ponya or
>> me a wra ponya.
>> Nicholas
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