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Multilingualism and the Vocabularium Cornicum

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The Vocabularium Cornicum is a learned glossary, dating from the second half of the twelfth century. As the Vocabularium is the most extensive and important text for Old Cornish, it has mainly been studied from a lexicographic point of view. However, in this paper I shall focus on the multilingual nature of the text instead. The Vocabulary is a copy (with occasional misreadings) of an older text which is no longer extant, and was probably written by a Welsh scribe using a text from Cornwall. This scribe frequently either substituted or added Welsh equivalents for the Cornish words he was copying. In this paper I will explore the relationship between the different items in Latin, Cornish, and Welsh, focusing especially on the mutual comprehensibility between Cornish and Welsh in this period, and the purpose as well as the intended audience(s) of the text.

This talk is part of the ASNC Research Seminar series.

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