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Re: Brithenig. (fwd)
Hello Peter, Hello Padraic,
I have been considering the value of starting an informal list for people
who wish to discuss and cultivate Brithenig language and culture. So with
that in mind I have created an address list that includes the three of us.
If you think it is a good idea/an imposition then you may wish to contact
privately before we continue any further correspondence through this
venue. If you think this is a good idea then I would like to invite other
correspondents to join. If you do not think it is a good idea then I will
remove you name from the Sessiwn List.
Either way you may want to make some contribution to the posting forwarded
below which concerns a suggestion about the marking of plurals, an issue
that is causing some debate between correspondents.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
>Thank you for your reply. I should be forwarding it to Padraic Brown as a
>matter of course.
By all means.
BTW does Padraic subscribe to CONLANG?
>> At the moment I see no strong case for your changing the plurals.
>For the most part this works. In most cases the plural can be marked by
>articles and initial mutation. The exception to this is a plural in the
>construct case of a possessive phrase. For an example a correspondant
>this week asked me to translate a Morning Invocation into Brithenig which
>begins: I greet you, Powers of Air..., which I translate as Eo w salyd,
>Cofath lla Aer... Looking at this I wish there was some way to indicate
>that Cofath, 'power', is a plural noun. The pronoun (g)w, 'you', 'vous',
>only partially does this.
Yes, I think this is a valid point. There may well have been presure from
within the language to make the plural more marked. I think the change of
final -s to -H or spirant mutation is correct for articles & other
determinants. The nouns, however, might well have developed a different
ending. One possibility, of course, is that the final -h (<-- -s) became
strengthened to -ch [x]; another possibility is -th. In medieval Welsh, as
in modern Welsh, final -f [v] was often dropped. There are instances where
the sound was restored as -dd; the most famous case is the capital city of
Wales which was once Caerdyf (hence Eng. Cardiff), but is now Caerdydd.
I'm not, however, over-enthusiastic about this.
One idea come to mind. In Gallo-Romance the pattern -O -ONE(M) [legio,
legione(m) ] was extended to the 2nd decl. - U(S), -ONE(M) and the 1st -A,
-ANE(M), especially for proper names cf. Hüe, Hüon ; Otes, Oton; Eve,
Evain; but one finds it also in some common nouns, e.g. none, nonain,
nonains. One could imagine a similar development in BritoRomance for
incorporating Celtic names & words. If BritoRomance retain a two case
system like Old French, then when phonetic attrition was causing the plural
-s to go, the original oblique form would come more & more to represent the
plural. When the case system finally collapsed, it is not unlikely that
the nom.sing. would survive as the singular & the oblique as the plural.
Indeed this DID clearly happen to some extent in Welsh, cf. Sais, Saeson -
where the modern plural 'ending' is from the -ON- in earlier *saxo,
If there was felt to be a need to mark the plural, those plurals marked by
the surviving -ON- and -AN- could well have set the pattern and been
extended by analogy to other nouns as, e.g. -(e)s was similarly extended in
English. The move could also have been strengthened by borrowings from Old
English with plurals in -N.
Just an idea.