The suggestion that Cumbric syncopated syllables which remain in Welsh is based entirely on the example galnes or galnys from the Leges inter Brettos et Scottos, which is the equivalent of W. galanas. There is some further evidence, however:
- the name Calder (and Kielder, according to Ekwall), derived from Br. *caleto-dubro- ‘hard water’, which gives W. caletwr via an earlier *Caled’duβr. All the early examples of this name in the Cumbric region are recorded with ld.
- possibly Catterick (North Yorkshire), which is from L. cataracta ‘waterfall’. It is recorded in OE as Cetreht and in the Domesday Book as Catrice and is presumed to be the Catraeth of Aneirin’s Y Gododdin. Both English and Welsh forms show that the name was syncopated to *Cad’raχt in British, which also accounts for the provection of internal d.
- perhaps Balornock (Glasgow) if it contains a name equivalent to W. Llywernog, OB. Louuernoc (< Br. *Luwernācos, though this is far from certain.
Evidence against the theory is equally as rare and even more uncertain:
- Drumpellier is recorded as Dunpeleder in 1203 and may contain W. pelydr ‘spear(s)’ < Br. *palatrī, but even if this connection is correct this is really a di- not a tri-syllabic word.
- If Lauder (Louueder, Lawedir, Loweder in 13th century records) is from Mills’ Br. *lowV-dubro- then it suggests that normal British syncope of the connecting vowel did not occur – this can be seen in personal names such as W. Dinogad < Br. *Dūnocatus. However, if the name is from PC. *lowatro- (which is more likely), then syncope would not have occurred in any case.
It is impossible to make a strong case for syncope being a regular sound law on such a poor evidence base, though there is no compelling reason to deny it as a possibility. The case for galnes, galnys seems self-evident. Syncope in this case must have occurred whilst the accent was still on the ultima, before the 11th century according to Jackson’s chronology for WCB, since stress was subsequently moved to the first syllable judging by the reduction of the second vowel. It is interesting that Cumbric apparently followed WCB in restoring the penultimate stress, even in the later stages of the language.