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Now Welsh has among its suffixes of diminution -yn for the masc. and -en for the fem. These enable us to understand the nature and the origin of the so-called Singulatives.
Bachgenyn, a little boy; from bachgen, a boy.
Miaren, a little bramble; from miar, a bramble.
The suffix -en, which forms feminine nouns, is the feminine form that regularly corresponds to -yn masc., as is seen by the adjectives which admit of internal flexion; e.g., gwyn m., gwen f., white, etc. Cornish and Breton have lost this diminutive suffix.
It is by this suffix that the "Singulative" is most satisfactorily explained. It is easy to see that the "Collectives" are old plurals preserved in the language, while the Singulative is the singular strengthened by the suffix of diminution. The forms of the singular, the endings of which were not so heavy as those of the plural, were found too light, when these very endings had been worn away. The language felt the necessity of giving them ballast, and the example of other languages (compare the French, German, and Latin words quoted above) shows that the diminutive endings are frequently used for this purpose. The hypocoristic tendency, the instinct which leads to the formation of familiar names and terms of endearment, aids greatly in this work of regeneration of the simple substantive. These diminutives once created, the language had a sufficiently clear consciousness of the difference between the singular and the plural to make it necessary, for the most part, to add the new plural ending to these old plurals, which had become, in a manner, petrified as collectives.
An analogous phenomenon, in which the suffix, too, is the same, appears in the Slavonic languages; and of the origin of this, again, the Slavonic grammarians (such of them, at
least, as we have consulted) give no explanation. Thus, in Russian, the nouns which form the fifth paradigm of the declension in the grammar of Reiff, i.e., nouns ending in -ianine, -anine, -iarine, and -arine, and denoting origin or state, "do not take in the plural the suffix -ine".
Grazdane, citizens, etc.
"These words," says M. Reiff, "have two stems, the one sélanine, containing a pronominal suffix -in, the other séliané." A pronominal suffix! That is more easily said than proved. The learned M. Leskien, in his grammar of old Slavonic, confines himself to a statement of the fact without seeking any explanation of it.2
It appears to us certain that this suffix i-n- is a secondary form of the Indo-European suffix NA. It is curious to find it localised, with the same force, at the two extremities of the European branch, in the Slavonic and in the Britannic languages.
1 Grammaire française-russe, par Reiff, 4e ed., revue par M. Leger, Paris, 1878, p. 40.
2 Leskien, Handbuch der alt-bulgarischen Sprache, Weimar, 1871, p. 36.
SIR EDWARD STRADLING AND DR. JOHN DAVID RHYS
PUBLICATION OF THE LATTER'S WELSH GRAMMAR,
From a MS. in the possession of MR. LL. REYNOLDS, B.A., of Merthyr Tydvil.
Of the writer of this Cywydd, Meirig Davydd, not much is recorded. Williams, in his Eminent Welshmen, says he was an eminent poet of Glamorgan, who presided in the Gorsedd Morganwg in the year 1560, and died in 1600". As Dr. Rhys's Grammar, Cambrobrytannicæ Cymraecæve Linguæ Institutiones et Rudimenta, published at the sole expense of Sir Edward Stradling, appeared in 1592, it follows that this composition was written between that year and 1600.
Sir Edward Stradling was born in 1529, and died in his eightieth year, 1609.
LLYMA GYWYDD I SYR EDWAR YSTRADLING AG IR DOCKDOR DAVYDD AM Y GRAMER KYMRAEG.
Y marchog rywiog benn raith,
ef yw'r hydd penn llywydd llwyd
oes Addaf hynaf yw hwnn,
a brav ytiw ir brytwn. nidoes vn brigyn or brig
mawr vwyn hawdd mor vonheddig;
vn vodd yw'r marchog jawnfwyn
ar bymtheg llin teg or llwyn;
llyna lwyn llawn olaini
llawn glod oll nerth yn gwlad ni : roes nerth yn jor grasvwyn hv
rann rag kamran ir kymrv
yn hawen vairdd, na n hen vyd.
orav grym ar y gramer
yn llawn ag yn jawn i gwnaeth:
mewn y Gramer per heb hynn
i doniav vydd y dynion.
kann gwell waithon mewn ton teg
kam ryw a vydd kymraueg;
Sion a roes ym synwyr j
hynt aurnod warant erni;