[Spellyans] ha versus hag

Janice Lobb janicelobb at gmail.com
Fri Jul 1 09:19:08 BST 2016

What's wrong with using <ha> for everything?


On Fri, Jul 1, 2016 at 3:13 AM, Mike R <mremic01 at gmail.com> wrote:

> Strachan describes it as '*ac* before vowels and the negative particles
> *ny*, *na*, and sometimes before other consonants.'
> Here are a few examples from the Four Branches:
> 'Ac ual y byd yn ymwarandaw a llef yr erchwys...'
> Would we treat the u in *ual* as a vowel here? I imagine that it would
> have been more of a bilabial at the time, unlike the modern f. *Ac ual*
> seems consistent, but it's often just *a* before other words that begin
> with u/v.
> 'Y march a gymerth, ac racdaw yd aeth.'
> 'Ac rac diruawr wres, y kyrchwys y bleit a'e yscwyd a'y tharaw gantaw
> allan, ac yn y ol ynteu y wreic.'
> But then:
> '...a rac guelet gwr kyuurd a thi yn diuetha pryf mor dielw a hwnnw.'
> 'A Riannon' is used fairly consistently.
> 'Ac nachaf y liw a'y wed a'y ansawd yn atueilaw o'y charyat, hyt nat oed
> hawd y adnabot.'
> Is *nachaf* being treating like a negative particle here? I thought it
> meant something like 'behold', but maybe it has some obscure origin in a
> negative construction.
> So Strachan gives us more information than Evans, but even he doesn't give
> us the specifics. It seems that Middle Welsh scribes usually abided by the
> rule of using *ac* before a vowel, a negative particle (and by extension,
> sometimes *n*), and even sometimes r. We might find even more examples
> digging into other texts. Over time, I hope to narrow in on details like
> this, but it's a daunting task.
> There is also an instance of the phrase 'a'n kynnadyl yna yn y lle hon' in
> the White Book version of PPD, where the Red Book has 'ac an kynnadyl yna
> yn y lle hon.' Thomson's edition seems to take *a'n* as the conjunction
> *a* with an infixed possessive *'n* (from *an)*, but I suppose it could
> just as easily be 'an kynnadyl' with no conjunction. If we accept Thomson's
> interpretation, we see two different ways to deal with *a/ac* in this
> situation, each taken by a different scribe in order to write the same
> sentence.
> Sorry to spend so much time on Welsh matters. I suppose my point is that
> the rules for *a(c)* aren't as clear cut as we'd like them to be. But
> that's okay. There's enough inconsistency that it's difficult to say that
> one way or the other is 'wrong', but we can certainly look to the
> tendencies of the texts and try to imitate them. I think you've got the
> right idea, Nicholas. I have much more confidence in the Cornish described
> in Desky Kernowek than what I see in other books due to the attestations,
> and my own preference would be to proscribe rules for revived Cornish based
> on the texts. At the same time, if everyone else finds *hag* acceptable
> in all environments, I would be willing to go along with that, provided
> future grammars make note of the fact that this was not the case prior to
> the revival.
> Does vowel length have any influence on the frequency of *ha *vs. *hag*?
> Perhaps a diphthong at the beginning of the following word?
> ​.
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