A Description of the Middle Cornish Tregear Manuscript

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Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Economics and Social Studies

Original languageEnglish
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Award date2001
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Abstract

A description of the Middle Cornish manuscript found amongst the Puleston Papers by John Mackechnie in 1949, now Add. MS. 46397 in the British Library. The manuscript is a sixteenth-century translation into Cornish of thirteen homilies published by Edmund Bonner, Bishop of London in 1555 forming the latter part of his A profitable and necessary doctrine, with certayne homelyes adioyned therevnto. (Only one of these originals was his own, the majority by John Harpesfeld, Archdeacon of London and two by Oliver Pendilton.)
An analysis is made of the historical context in which the translation was made, the likely provenance and dating of the manuscript and the extent of collaboration by co-translators with the principal translator John Tregear. The replacement of the expected thirteenth homily by a translation of an unknown English original on the same subject is also discussed.
The quality of the translation and the effects of this upon the syntax and vocabulary of the Cornish homilies is described, including a discussion of the extent to which the macaronic character of the text is deliberate.
The manuscript is examined as evidence for linguistic change in Middle Cornish, addressing two major areas: the morphology of personal pronouns, verb forms and conjugated prepositions; the major phonological features of the Cornish in the manuscript, principally the loss of vowel quality in unstressed syllables and the incidence of the sound-change s/j as an effect of palatalisation