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A Handbook of the Cornish Language chiefly in its latest stages with some account of its history and literature   By: (1848-1934)

Book cover

First Page:

LANGUAGE

Transcribed from the 1904 David Nutt edition by David Price, email ccx074@coventry.ac.uk

A HANDBOOK OF THE CORNISH LANGUAGE CHIEFLY IN ITS LATEST STAGES WITH SOME ACCOUNT OF ITS HISTORY AND LITERATURE

BY HENRY JENNER

MEMBER OF THE GORSEDD OF THE BARDS OF BRITTANY FELLOW OF THE SOCIETY OF ANTIQUARIES

“Never credit me but I will spowt some Cornish at him. Peden bras , vidne whee bis cregas .”

The Northern Lass , by RICH BROME, 1632.

LONDON DAVID NUTT, AT THE SIGN OF THE PHŒNIX 57 59 LONG ACRE MCMIV

Printed by BALLANTYNE, HANSON & CO. At the Ballantyne Press

DHÔ ’ M GWRÊG GERNÛAK

H. L. J.

Kerra ow Holon ! Beniges re vo Gans bennath Dew an dêdh a ’th ros dhemmo , Dhô whelas gerryow gwan pan dhetha vî , Tavas dha dassow , ha dhô ’th drovya dî . En cov an dêdh splan na es pel passyes ; En cov idn dêdh lowenek , gwin ’gan bês , War Garrak Loys en Côs , es en dan skês Askelly Myhal El , o ’gan gwithes ; En cov lîas dêdh wheg en Kernow da , Ha nŷ mar younk — na whekkah vel êr ma Dhemmo a dhîg genev an gwella tra , Pan dhetha vî en kerh , en ol bro na ; Dheso mî re levar dha davas teg , Flogh ow empinyon vî , dhô ’m kerra Gwrêg .

GWAS MYHAL .

Scrîfes en agan Chŷ nŷ , Dawthegves dêdh Mîs Gorefan En Bledhan agan Arledh , 1904.

PREFACE

This book is principally intended for those persons of Cornish nationality who wish to acquire some knowledge of their ancient tongue, and to read, write, and perhaps even to speak it. Its aim is to represent in an intelligible form the Cornish of the later period, and since it is addressed to the general Cornish public rather than to the skilled philologist, much has been left unsaid that might have been of interest to the latter, old fashioned phonological and grammatical terms have been used, a uniform system of spelling has been adopted, little notice has been taken of casual variations, and the arguments upon which the choice of forms has been based have not often been given.

The spelling has been adapted for the occasion. All writers of Cornish used to spell according to their own taste and fancy, and would sometimes represent the same word in different ways even in the same page, though certain general principles were observed in each period. There was a special uncertainty about the vowels, which will be easily appreciated by those who are familiar with Cornish English. Modern writers of all languages prefer consistent spelling, and to modern learners, whose object is linguistic rather than philological, a fairly regular system of orthography is almost a necessity. The present system is not the phonetic ideal of “one sound to each symbol, and one symbol for each sound,” but it aims at being fairly consistent with itself, not too difficult to understand, not too much encumbered with diacritical signs, and not too startlingly different from the spellings of earlier times, especially from that of Lhuyd, whose system was constructed from living Cornish speakers. The writer has arrived at his conclusions by a comparison of the various existing spellings with one another, with the traditional fragments collected and recorded by himself in 1875, with the modern pronunciation of Cornish names, with the changes which English has undergone in the mouths of the less educated of Cornishmen, and to some extent with Breton. The author suggests that this form of spelling should be generally adopted by Cornish students of their old speech. The system cannot in the nature of things be strictly accurate, but it is near enough for practical purposes... Continue reading book >>




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