Thursday, 23 April 2015

Learn Late Cornish Bit by Bit 70 (More About Plurals)

A Bit More About Plurals

We have already seen a variety of methods of forming plurals. Don’t forget you can often avoid using plurals by putting a number in front of the noun! Unfortunately it is easier to spot a plural than it is to remember which words use which method. Here is a reminder of some plurals, plus a few extras useful ones (obviously not an exhaustive list):

addition of –ow or –yow[1]:

bes (m) > besow                             world(s)
dama (f) damyow                         mother(s)
for’ (f) > for’ow                                road(s), way(s)
gwel (m) > gwelyow                        field(s)
lost (m) > lostow[2]                         tail(s)
oy (m) > oyow                                  egg(s)
pedn (m) > pednow                         head(s)
pel (f) > pelyow                                ball(s)
tas (m) > tasow                                father(s)

addition of –s, -es  or –ies:

benyn (f) > benenes                         woman(women)
bes (m) > besies                               finger(s)
bugh (f) > buhes                               cow(s)
chambour (m) > chambours           bedroom(s)
hordh, hor’ (m) > hordhes, hor’es  ram(s)
cath (f) > cathes                               cat(s)
conin (m) > conines                         rabbit(s)
cota (m) > cotys                               coat(s)
cothman (m) > cothmans                friend(s)
pesk (m) > puskes                            fish(es)

addition of  a vowel –a or –y (in SWFM)

coweth (m) > cowetha                      friend(s)
gast (f) > gesty                                  bitch(es)
tarow (m) > terewy                            bull(s)
mantel (f) > mentylly                         cloak(s), overcoat(s)
mowes, mos (f) > mowysy, mosy    girl(s), maid(s)
porhel (m) > porhelly                         pig(s)

addition of  –yon (These are usually male people, and mutation occurs after an)

gevel (m) > gevellyon                         twin(s)
gwerther (m) > gwerthoryon              salesman(salesmen)
caner (m) > canoryon                          singer(s)
Kernoweger (m) > Kernowegoryon   Cornish speaker(s)
mab (m) > mebyon                               son(s)
souder (m) > soudoryon                     soldier(s)
tyek (m) > tiogyon                                farmer(s)

changes of internal vowels (you will already have spotted some – highlighted in green - in the examples above)

broder (m) > breder                              brother(s)
dans (m)  > dens                                   tooth (teeth)
davas (f) > deves                                   ewe(s), sheep
gavar (f) > gever                                    goat(s)
lowarn (m) lewern                                 fox(es)
margh (m) > mergh[3]                           horse(s)
on (m) > eyn                                           lamb(s)
troos  (m) > treys                                   foot(feet)

An open vowel at the end of a noun may be dropped or altered before adding a plural ending, e.g.:

dama (f) > damyow                               mother(s)
sira (m) > sirys                                      father(s)

Some consonants and consonant clusters are modified before adding a plural ending, e.g.:

flogh (m) > flehes                                  child(ren)
golo(f) > gologow                               sight(s), view(s)
hogh (m) > hohes                                  pig(s), hog(s)
hogh (m) > mogh                                   pig(s), hog(s)
laga(m) > lagajow                               eye(s)
logh (f) > lohow                                      inlet(s)
mergh (f) > merhes                                daughter(s)
olifan(m) > olifanjes                            elephant(s)
pellwolo(f) > pellwologow                   television(s)
pluve(f) > pluvogow                             pillow(s)
seythen (f) > seythednow                       week(s)
stevel  (m) > stevellow                            room(s)
tese(f) > tesednow                                cake(s)
tigen (f) > tigednow                                  wallet(s)

Some body parts go in pairs, e.g.:

leuv[4] (f) > diwleuv, dowla                     hand(s)
lagas (m) > dewlagas, dowlagas            eye(s)

Some plurals are just plain irregular!

chei (m) > treven                                     house(s), building(s)
den (m) > tus                                           man(men)
kei (m) > keun                                         dog(s)
maw (m) > mebyon                                 boy(s)
tra (f) > taclow                                         thing(s)
whor (f) > wheredh                                 sister(s)

Here are a few place names which incorporate plurals:

Mawla (Mola 960)                                      pigs’ place
Tremough (Tremogh 1366-1590)             pigs’ farm
Ventonveth (Vyntonvergh 1370)              horses’ spring
Kilmarth (Kylmergh 1329)                        horses’ ridge
Millewarne (Maenlewern 1289)                foxes’ stone

Here’s a rhyme[5] (also a riddle[6]) containing some of what we have learnt recently:

Ha me o moas en goon las                  As I went on a green plain (sea)    
Me a glowas tros an buskes münys   I heard the sound of little fishes
Mes me a drouvias üdn pesk broas, naw y lostyow;
                                               But I found one great fish, with nine tails;
Oll an bobel en Porthia ha Marhas Yow           
                                                        All the people in St Ives and Marazion
Nevra na wor dh’y gensenjy.               Could (not) never get hold of it.

[1]  in pronunciation, <yow> counts as a single syllable whereas <iow> counts as two
[2]  or <losyow> because sometimes the final <t> was dropped
[3]  an vergh : Unusually, mergh mutates after an – perhaps because riders thought of their horses as people!
[4] Using leuv for hand is very archaic usage, rare even in Middle Cornish. The usual singular hand is dorn, even though the plural is dowla or diwla
[5] Originally collected in 1698 by Thomas Tonkin of Trevaunance
[6] an octopus

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