'a' suffix

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Carbilly
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'a' suffix

Post by Carbilly » Mon Feb 07, 2011 9:10 pm

Another one for the board experts - what's the origin of the 'a' suffix on so many Cornish place names, e.g Tawna, Resugga, Scredda etc? Does it correspond to the 'o' suffix in names like Trago? Or is there a different derivation?
Cheers in advance! 8-)

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Marhak
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Re: 'a' suffix

Post by Marhak » Tue Feb 08, 2011 10:43 am

It stems from pronunciation of a final vowel, as they're all different. Tawna (Tavena c.1260), from Middle Eng. "at fenne", 'at the marsh', fenne being pronounced 'fenna'. Resugga (there are three places of that name) is pure Cornish, and all three derive from "ros ogo", 'cave roughland/hillspur'. (I haven't any material about Scredda, I confess to my shame). Then there are suffixes like "-la" and "-va", both meaning 'place' (although Morvah is "mor-vedh", 'sea-grave'). Trago is "tre", 'farm,settlement' + a person's name, in this case Iago (Treiagu 1277). Keep 'em coming - I love answering these.

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Marhak
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Re: 'a' suffix

Post by Marhak » Tue Feb 08, 2011 1:05 pm

By the way, watch out for some of the Tre- names in East Cornwall, as they may be English. Some of the places called Treven, for example, are actually English "Atfen", 'at the marsh', becoming "Tafen", then "Treven".

Morvil
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Re: 'a' suffix

Post by Morvil » Tue Feb 08, 2011 3:23 pm

Marhak, me 'oya che dhe vos an gwella den rag an whel ma!!! Gwres y'ta, sos!!!

Carbilly
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Re: 'a' suffix

Post by Carbilly » Tue Feb 08, 2011 4:52 pm

'' By the way, watch out for some of the Tre- names in East Cornwall, as they may be English. Some of the places called Treven, for example, are actually English "Atfen", 'at the marsh', becoming "Tafen", then "Treven".''
Cheers for the reply Marhak. R.e the above, if English place names in the east of Cornwall have been 'Cornicised' from their original, surely this proves that the vast majority of the populace in that area still spoke Cornish for quite a considerable time after these places were originally named?
If you want another, this one has always got me pondering - does the place name 'Godolphin' have any connection at all with the events portrayed in the c.13 Welsh poem 'y Gododdin' (Arthur, battle of Cattraeth, etc etc..), or is it purely coincidental that they both sound alike, and wishful thinking on my part! :oops:

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Marhak
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Re: 'a' suffix

Post by Marhak » Wed Feb 09, 2011 10:00 am

Godolphin is one of those names that have been pulled about over the centuries and it's a difficult one to unravel. Nance proposed a word '*godolgh', with a diminutive '*godolghyn', apparently meaning 'slight rise of ground, tump', but cited no sources for it. I agree with Oliver Padel that there was no such word in Cornish. This place-name intrigued me, so I set out to find as many historical refrences for it as I can, and ended up with 30 of them, all different, mostly badly corrupted and not a lot of help. Then I found - Godholkan c.1210. A rare example of <dh> in recorded Cornish (there are a few in place-name records long before Lhuyd), and the clearest spelling yet. I believe this to be "godh" (now "goodh"), 'stream' + "olcan" - 'mineral, tin'. In other words: 'tin-stream', which is wonderfully apt as the site is in the middle of an intensive mining area with a long history of its own. The family took its name from the site (and probably made their wealth from mining) and they also held Scilly for a while. Dolphin Town on Tresco is an abbreviation of Godolphin Town.

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Marhak
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Re: 'a' suffix

Post by Marhak » Wed Feb 09, 2011 10:17 am

While people still believed in Nance's invented word '*godolghyn', some thought that Condolden, near Tintagel, was derived from the same word (I even wrote that rubbish in the original 'Cornovia', not then knowing any better, but put it right in the new version of the book). In fact, it was originally Gondolvaen 1298; Goyndolvan 1302 - 'goon' (downs) + either 'dolven' (dolmen), or 'dollven' (holed stone). This might have had something to do with the big Bronze Age barrow (80ft across and 9ft high) on the hill's 1000ft summit.

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Marhak
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Re: 'a' suffix

Post by Marhak » Wed Feb 09, 2011 2:01 pm

Nice to be able to offer something constructive on here, Mike, especially as we're free from the idiots for a while.

Karesk
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Re: 'a' suffix

Post by Karesk » Wed Feb 09, 2011 3:07 pm

Marhak wrote:Godholkan c.1210. A rare example of <dh> in recorded Cornish (there are a few in place-name records long before Lhuyd)
If this interpretation is correct, also an example of <k> in a position that is usually said not to be traditional.

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Marhak
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Re: 'a' suffix

Post by Marhak » Wed Feb 09, 2011 4:40 pm

Yes, quite a few of those are to be found in place-name records, although rarely in the texts. Some were so spelt by people from outside Cornwall (and that would include Lhuyd, as well as Norden) but by no means all.

CJenkin
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Re: 'a' suffix

Post by CJenkin » Fri Feb 11, 2011 2:12 pm

Karesk wrote:
Marhak wrote:Godholkan c.1210. A rare example of <dh> in recorded Cornish (there are a few in place-name records long before Lhuyd)
If this interpretation is correct, also an example of <k> in a position that is usually said not to be traditional.
I like Marhak's suggestion but I suspect that it maybe more illusory than godolghynn, k certainly stands out to me as being unusual here and dh also looks odd. I would be interested to know more about the sources and whether the writer was a native english or cornish speaker?

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