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Brittonic dragons.

From:Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Monday, March 11, 2002, 1:56
At 10:27 pm +0000 8/3/02, kam@CARROT.CLARA.NET wrote:
>On Thu, Mar 07, 2002 at 06:22:07AM +0000, Raymond Brown wrote: > >Hello Ray, nice to see you back here, your knowledge is appreciated. > >> Yep - same idea as the English proverb: "Let sleeping dogs lie" (IME a very >> good idea - never had any experience with dragons, but I have no doubt the >> same applies). >> >> In Welsh one has: >> Na deffro 'r ci a fo'n cysgu >> Not wake[IMP.] the dog that is in sleeping >> i.e. Don't wake the sleeping dog. > >Hmm, I'm a bit surprised by the pres. subjunctive, presumably because no >actual dog is referred to despite the definite article.
I guess so. Unfortunately, the only Welsh grammar I have at hand is of the modern colloquial language. But I'd guess the subjunctive is being used here in the same way as the 'generic subjunctive' in Latin: Ne excitaueris canem qui dormiat.
>Mod. Welsh >generally begins negative imperatives with "peidiwch a ..." 'refrain from' >which would be quite appropriate here.
Modern literary Welsh - the spoken dialects generally omit "a".
>Presumably the phrase is proverbial >and thus a bit archaic.
It's certainly proverbial. But I made in the literal translation also. "deffro", of course, is not the imperative, which is either "deffra" (familiar singular) or "deffrwch" (plural & 'polite' singular) - it is the so-called 'verbnoun'. The construction is analagous to the use of negative + infinitive which is commonly used in (western) Romance languages to express prohibition on formal notices etc, e.g. ne pas fumer non fumare etc.
>Conlangs are a bit on the back burner right now, but I'll do it in >Cornish : > >Dragon yn kosk -- bydh war y losk >A dragon asleep -- beware her fire > >(Cornish dragons are apparently female, at least grammatically)
Exactly like Welsh dragons: draig, y ddraig Another Welsh proverb is: Y ddraig goch ddyry cychwyn The dragon red gives a lead = The red dragon leads the way The soft mutation of 'dyry' (>> ddyry) is because of the unexpressed relative "a" which, as I'm sure you know, is required if the subject is shunted to the front before the verb. Over in Brittany, however, the dragon is masculine, whether one says: aerouant (pl. everent) or dragon (pl. dragoned) Ray. ========================================= A mind which thinks at its own expense will always interfere with language. [J.G. Hamann 1760] =========================================