[Spellyans] eCornish practise

Nicholas Williams njawilliams at gmail.com
Sun Jan 24 15:40:33 GMT 2016

Re lenejow ‘nuns’: why do users of Late Cornish spell the plural of feminine words in -es with -ejow? The feminine ending in such words as myternes ‘queen’, arlodhes ‘lady’, is presumably a reflex of Latin -issa, and does not contain s < d. There seems therefore to be no etymological justification for the spelling -ejow. Surely -esow or -ezow would be preferable. I can find no examples of an -esow plural of a feminine in -es in Late Cornish, but compare:

Ha Jesus geth oll a dro der Alale, deske et ago Eglezow Kerew, where the plural is of egles ‘church’ < Latin ecclesia. 
ha gwrens gi bos rag signezou, rag termen, ha rag dethiou ha blethaniou JBoson, where signezou is a double plural of sin ‘sign’. 

The latest -esow plurals I can find are gwerhesow ‘virgins’ BK 1308, 1717 and arluthesow ‘ladies’ BK 3304.

There are late Cornish plurals in -ajow <-agow> but these are reflexes of OC *-adou, e.g. lagagow ‘eyes’ Kerew, OC singular lagat; canhagowe ‘mesengers’ CW 67 < OC *canat ‘messenger’. 
Is there any evidence for -ejow <-egow> as the plural ending of a feminine in -es? If there is not, shouldn’t the plural of lenes, lenas ‘nun’ be lenesow?


> On 24 Jan 2016, at 13:18, Janice Lobb <janicelobb at gmail.com> wrote:
> and lenejow for nuns (women of the cloth).

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