[Spellyans] Cornish for 'Ireland'

Nicholas Williams njawilliams at gmail.com
Mon Jul 4 15:03:06 BST 2016

I have been criticised for calling Ireland Wordhen in Cornish, since Nance’s 1952 gives *Ywerdhon only.
The only attested forms are Worthen in Tonkin and Uordhyn in Lhuyd.

Under Ireland in his 1938 Cornish-English dictionary Nance gives Ywerdhon, Wordhen and he says ’the y is obscure but need not be lost’. What exactly does that mean? Nance had no evidence at all for initial y in this name in Cornish at any period. The rounding of the stressed e > o suggests that the Cornish name was phonetically not as close to Welsh Iwerddon as Nance wished.

In his first English-Cornish dictionary, however, under Ireland Nance gives Wordhen only.  

It seems that between I934 and 1952 Nance’s Celtic purism increased.


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