[Spellyans] rounding before /l/

Craig Weatherhill craig at agantavas.org
Tue Mar 27 15:32:57 BST 2018

SWF writes:  <gorthugher>, "evening" and <nyhewer>, "last evening", but isn't the final element the same in both words?  What is the justification for -gh- in the first one?


On 2018 Mer 27, at 13:04, Nicholas Williams wrote:

> It seems that the sonant /l/ in Old Cornish had a strong tendency to round a preceding vowel, particularly if the vowel in question was at the time unstressed. Thus the congener of W calon ‘heart’, B kalon ‘heart’ in Cornish is colon where the original vowel has been rounded to /o/. Further examples of this rounding can be seen in the toponym Wheal Olcan containing olcan ‘metal’, but W alcan ‘metal’; W halen ‘salt’ but Cornish holan. Similarly the originally unstressed first syllable in the word for ‘late’ has been rounded from /e > o/ in holergh. The only example in Cornish of this word is: Pan o pur holergh an gyth PA 244. The adverbs solabrys and solatheth show the same development. OC /ö/ to /o/ can be seen in sollabreys PC 746, BM 1845; solabrys BK 381, 445; solathyth OM 2612, solatheth RD 1929, sollathyth RD 2380, solladeth BM 2940. There is no evidence for /e/ or /eu/ in either of these. The spellings helergh ‘late’, seulabrys ‘already’ and seuladhedh ‘long since’ in the SWF are unjustified.
> Nicholas
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