[Spellyans] ha versus hag

Nicholas Williams njawilliams at gmail.com
Thu Jun 30 11:26:41 BST 2016

In spoken revived Cornish the default word for ‘and’ seems to be hag. On Radyo an Gernewegva, for example, speakers seem to use hag to join words and clauses rather than ha irrespective of whether a vowel follows or not. In traditional Cornish, however, ha is commonly used not only before consonants but also before vowels as well. I have listed a few examples from the texts in Geryow Gwir. The examples are found in the earliest texts, e.g. ha ynno PA 233a, ha y ny wozyens PA 254c, ha yn dour OM 2790, ha ene RD 1267, ha a vo lel vygythys RD 1143. Tregear writes Adam ha Eva TH 3, adam ha eve TH 4 and in JCH one finds ha ev a uelaz golou §26 and Ha ev a dhêth a mes arta §41.

ha ow where ow is the preverbal particle is attested 13 times in TH and SA whereas hag ow is attested twice only in TH and not at all in SA.

In Sacrament an Alter ha eva ‘and to drink’ occurs twice. Sacrament an Alter even writes hef for ‘and he’: mas Dew ascendias then neff, hef asas vmma e kig theny ‘God ascended into heaven, and he left his flesh here for us’ SA 60. 

What does this mean? Is the rule that hag precedes a vowel invalid? Are ha and hag before vowels in free variation? Should learners be encouraged to use ha before vowels?


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