[Spellyans] *ow qwil

Daniel Prohaska daniel at ryan-prohaska.com
Mon Aug 22 16:24:12 BST 2016

> On 22 Aug 2016, at 14:24, Nicholas Williams <njawilliams at gmail.com> wrote:
> At Desky Kernowek A.7 we admit that the system of initial mutations outlined in the book is rather schematic.
> We also mention the breakdown of initial mutation in the later texts.
> There is great uncertainty with respect to initial provection of initial gw after ow from the late 16 century onwards: 
> ow gwandra ‘wandering’ CW 757
> gwandra ‘wandering’ Rowe 
> ow gwelas ‘seeing’ SA 59 x 2, 62a
> ow gwellas ’seeing’ TH 8a.
> ow gwetha ‘keeping’ TH 49
> guaya ‘moving’ JBoson. 
> alongside
> ow quandra TH
> ow quelas TH 56 x 2
> ow quetha TH 55a n.
> a quayah ‘moving’ JKeigwin.
> In his Student’s Grammar of Modern Cornish (1991)  Richard Gendall gives both geel and gweel for ‘to do’.
> He gives what he calls the ‘present participle’ as geel, gweel and adds 'no mutation generally made’ SCMC page 51.
> In Tavas a Ragadazow (2000) on the other hand he gives the ‘present participle’ as gweel, keel TR page 116.
> The only examples we have of a kîl ‘doing’ are from Lhuyd and may not be authentic. 

William Gwavas has an example of ‹keel› in: 

‹kenefra gear dew ew peer eve ew / 
toor tha ry ma es a trestya etta buz / 
chee not tha e geriou lese tha / 
jeckya ha chee tha voz keuez gooack / 
na ra che frenna tha honnen rag an / 
teez ez keel droage na na raz boaz / 
zerroz worbedn an teball rag na ueth / 
an teball teez podeerez buz go cantell / 
ueth gorez tha varrow›

Lhuyd has ‹kîl› exclusively when provection is shown orthographically. 

I believe */kiːl/ to be authentic. 

> The absence of attestations of ow qwil is probably fortuitous. Given the variation between gw and qu in other verbs
> it can hardly be structural.
> In An Beybel Sans, by the way, ‘to do’ is gul and ‘doing’ is ow cul. 
> Tregear invariably writes ow kull for ‘doing’. Since he also writes du for Duw ‘God’, it is probable that the vowel
> in ow kull was a diphthong. 

TH has: ‹cull›, ‹kull›, ‹kyll›, ‹kvll›; SA has ‹ki› (for *kill) as well as orthographically unmutated ‹gwell›, ‹gwyell›, ‹gwiell›, ‹gweill›; 

Eralier texts have ‹cul› and ‹kul›.

My take on the issue is that Middle Cornish originally had ‹gul› */ɡyːl/ which regularly developed into Late Cornish */ɡiːl/; in the course of the 16th century a variant form */ɡwiːl/ developed by analogy with other cases of /w/ > /ɡw/, thus back-formed unlenited (radical) */ɡwiːl/ from the lenited form MC */wyːl/ > LC */wiːl/. The provected form was always MC */kyːl/ > LC */kiːl/, written ‹keel› (WG) and ‹kîl› (Lhuyd). Andrew Boorde, who wasn’t a Cornish speaker, but recorded in English spelling what he heard, spelt ‹gewel›, which ws either an attempt to write */ɡwiːl/ or even */ɡyːl/, as English at his time had already lost /y/ even in the South-West where it was used the longest, and Middle English /y/, /iw/ and /ew/ had fallen in with each other with frequent spelling mix-ups of ‹u›, ‹yw› and ‹ew›. 


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