[Spellyans] Two monosyllabic words ending st

iacobianus at googlemail.com iacobianus at googlemail.com
Mon Aug 20 17:18:09 BST 2018

Dear All,


Thank you, Daniel, Michael, very much for your help with KS mesk, dèsk and dysk (etymologically, the latter two with the same ultimate origin). Another 5000 Cornish words / phrases and 300 idioms are due to be published by Agan Tavas in my Kescows Nebes Moy within the next couple of months, and I’m concerned to keep my KS spellings up to date. A follow-up question about two words ending st.


Most recently brèst ‘chest’ has appeared with a grave accent (Dracùla), and I’ve followed that in Gerlyver Kescows 2nd impression and my Andersen translation An Corn Tan (An Gowsva Trogh 61). But the vowel in English breast was originally long (Anglo-Saxon brēost) and evidence for shortening only begins to appear from the 16th century (Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology). In Cornish the word occurs already in Origo Mundi. Is it the chronology of borrowing that leads to recommend the vowel be short in Cornish? Or influence from modern English?


I’m also curious about brest ‘brass’ which, so far as I can see in my Revived Cornish reading, is still spelled without a grave accent in KS, indicating a long vowel (e.g. An Beybel Sans, 1 Cor 13 1); though the vowel of English brass was originally short (Anglo-Saxon bræs) and seems to be long only in modern British RP. If long vowel is correct for brest ‘brass’, is this likely from influence of British RP or a native development before st in a monosyllable?


It is certainly useful to have KS brèst ‘chest’ orthographically distinguished from KS brest ‘brass’, so long as a spelling pronunciation of both words can be authentic.


Best regards,


Ian Jackson


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