[Spellyans] Gordhuwher

Michael Everson everson at evertype.com
Sun Nov 14 17:53:36 GMT 2010

On 14 Nov 2010, at 15:36, nicholas williams wrote:

> The SWF writes <gorthuher> with voiceless <th> but Lhuyd writes this word:
> gydhihuar AB: 52b
> gydhihuar AB: 65b
> gydhihuar AB: 172c
> gydhihuar AB: 244c
> godhihuar AB: 249a
> i.e. in all cases with a voiced <dh>. The SWF ought to write <gordhuher>.

Attested forms (I don't know of this is exhaustive) are:

gurthuƿer OCV 459
gorthuer RD 1304
gorȝewar BM 103
gurthvhar BK 827
gvrthvherow BK 2744
Gẏdhihụar AB 52b
Gẏdhihụar AB 65b
ᵹẏdhihuar AB 172c
gụrχûwer AB 172c
ᵹydhihụar AB 244c
Godhihụar AB 249a
gothihuar JB Genesis 1:31 
gethihuer JB Genesis 1:8, 13, 23
gethiuar JB Genesis 1:19 
gethihuar JB Genesis 1:31 

Of the OCV's gurthuƿer (= gurthuwer), Calvete says:

> This word should be emended to Old Cornish "*gorthuher" which would stand for [gurθyχer]. This word is attested in Middle Cornish spelt "gorthuhar" in CW 190, "gorthewhar" in CW 199.

This is evidently false; I do find this word in CW.

> Then we find it in Late Cornish spelt as "gudhihuar" by Lhuyd, then "goethewhar" and "gathewer". It is now spelt "gorthugher" (evening) in Kernewek Kemmyn. This word is composed of two elements. The first one is "gurth-" (now spelt "gorth-" in Kernewek Kemmyn) which means "opposed", "contrary" but it could also be the preposition "gurth" (now spelt "orth" in Kernewek Kemmyn) which means "against". The second element is "-uher" (evening) cognate with Welsh "ucher" (evening) though given now as obsolete in Welsh but which is not attested in Breton.

Norris had this to say about OCV gurthuƿer:

> GURTHUǷER, 455, 8b. vespera, evening. [ucher, m. W.] The Welsh has also hwyr, m. echwydd, m. and godechwydd. I am inclined to derive gurthuwer from gurth, allied to the Welsh gordd or gwrdd, 'intense,' or gorddu, 'dark,' and hwyr or ucher. I do not find the word in the Ordinalia, but it occurs in the two versions we have of the first chapter of Genesis: in one of them it varies from gurthuher to gorthewhar and gathewer; and in the other from gothuar to godhihuar. The dh is significant, shewing the connection with the Welsh dd. Printed by Pryce gurchwer. 

I do think that [ɡɔɹθ] has become [ɡɔɹð], as we see in Lhuyd's "dh" and in BM's "ȝ". As far as the second element goes we have:

uƿer [ywer] (or uher [yxer] if Calvete's correction is accepted)
uer [yer]
ewar [ɪʊər]
vhar [yhər], [ɪʊhər]~[ɪʍər]
ihụar [iʍər]
ihuer [iʍər]
iuar [iwər]

I see the shift of the stressed syllable from /y/ to /iu/ here, with affection from the inherited /x/~/h/ devoicing a glide to /ʍ/. Accordingly I think the best spelling is gordhuwher; in SWF/K this would be gordhuhwer, which answers well enough to Lhuyd given the SWF/K's conventions. Recommended pronunciation: [ɡɔɹˈðɪʍəɹ].

Michael Everson * http://www.evertype.com/

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