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Re: Cornish mutations (was: Plural Problems)
At 12:40 12/11/97, Padraic Brown wrote:
>On Wed, 12 Nov 1997, Andrew Smith wrote:
>> Interesting. Some limited examples of hardening exists in Brithenig
>> (ffelig, but ffelictad). I've come across references to hardening in
>This looks like 2nd state vs. 1st state (rather than 4th), to me. ffelig
>comes form felice(m) (with a hard -c-). I believe the -c- softens to -g-;
>the ending drops off leaving ffelig. ffelictad comes from felicitas (with
>a hard -c-); I should think the -i- dropped away before the shift of -c-
>to -s-. It would seem to me that since both words coexisted before Proto
>Insular Romance, that ffelictad represents the retention of the -c- rather
>than the hardening of -g-. Corrections and emendations welcome.
I agree entirely with Padraic's arguments here.
>> Brythonic languages, but have found no major place for it unlike other
>> mutations. What triggers it?
>i second the question. Ray very kindly supplied the mutational charts,
>(in Cornish and Breton) but not the associated triggers.
The 4th state or hard mutation occurs in Cornish after the preverbal
partical ow- and with verbs following 'mar' and 'a'.
ow- is prefixed to the verb-noun to turn it into the present participle.
If the verb begins with a vowel, the prefix is owth-.
'mar' means "if" and before vowels in the forms of the irregular verbs
'bo:s' ("to be") and 'mo:s' ("to come") only it is 'mars'.
'a' also means "if" but may be used as an alternative to 'mar' only before
the imperfect subjunctive in conditions which are either impossible or
Cornish also has the 'a' as a relative particle & as an interrogative
particle as in literary Welsh. But these use of 'a' trigger the soft
mutation (2nd state) asin Welsh.
Note o: means 'long o' & is shown with a macron in Unified Cornish. These
are respelt in Kemmyn; but I don't know the Kemmyn spelling off hand.
In Breton the hard mutation occurs after 'az', 'ez' and 'ho' only.
'az' = thee; you (familiar sing.) - preverbal object, e.g. me az kwel = I
see you. (gweled = to see).
'ez' = in thy - it is a contraction of 'e' (in) + 'da' (thy), presumably
via *eD. 'da' triggers the soft mutation!
'ho' = your (in the sense of 'votre', not 'ton').
I'm afraid I don't know the reason why these few words should trigger this
unusual mutation; but it's not difficult to see why the Welsh never