[Spellyans] "next year"

A. J. Trim ajtrim at msn.com
Fri Aug 26 11:49:55 IST 2011


Thank you for this. It is very enlightening, and a move in the right direction towards authentic Cornish.

I hope that you will be compiling these snippets into a new grammar document. Ideally, it needs to be feely available on the Internet. I don’t think that many people will read it now if it is in a book – but it is too good to be hidden amongst the posts of this forum.

By the way, what would “for the last year” be? This has two meanings: “for the year that has just past” and “for the year that will be the final one”, e.g. “I paid my membership fee for the last year”. In English, “the” is optional in the first meaning, and it is clearer when left out. However, in “I have been poorly for the last year” the meaning is subtly different, and you cannot leave out “the”.


Andrew J. Trim

From: nicholas williams 
Sent: Friday, August 26, 2011 10:45 AM
To: Standard Cornish discussion list 
Subject: [Spellyans] "next year"

In Cornish a noun expressing a period of time can have adverbial sense if it the noun is indefinite. Here are some examples: 

tresse gwyth hag ef yn cren y pesys du delyr vy ‘for a third time and he trembling he prayed, “God deliver me”’ PA 57c
En varogyon a guskas myttyn han gyth ow tarze ‘The horsemen slept in the morning as the day was breaking’ PA 243a
ha thy'm y a worthebys y fethons myttyn parys ketep onen ‘and they answered me that they would all be ready in the morning’ OM 2306-08
messyger ke gorhenmyn ol the'n masons yn cyte may tyffons vmma myttyn war beyn cregy ha tenne ‘messenger, go! Command all the masons in the city to come here in the morning on pain of being hanged and drawn’ OM 2277-80
peder ny wolsys yn fas vn prygwyth gynef golyas  ‘Peter you have not watched well to watch for a single time with me’ PC 1054-55
Ha me yv sawys purdek neb a vue sur efrethek lues blethen in bysma ‘And I have been healed very finely who was indeed crippled for many years in this world’ BM 563065

If the indefinite noun used adverbially may be followed by a dheu ‘which is coming’, or a dheffo ‘which will comewhenever’:

ha kekemmys na'n cresso goef termyn a theffo deuones a brys benen ‘and whoever does not believe, woe to him that he came from a woman’s womb at a time which will come’ RD 1348-50
termen a thue crist ihesus interthon a ran an gvyr prederugh helma deth brus pemont thymmo gruegh in suyr ‘at a time which is coming Jesus Christ will allot the right between us; consider that; on the day of judgment you will surely make restitution to me’ BM 1921-24
A war agys cam why pobyl helma yv bevnans nobyl termen a thue ha then ena sur megyans ‘Be circumspect, you people; this is a noble life for future times and indeed nourishment for the soul’ BM 2022-25
Y a’n pren un gyth a the ‘They will pay for it on a day that is coming’ BK 2549.

In order for the noun to be used adverbially in this way, it must be indefinite. If the noun is definite, it is no longer bears adverbial sense, and the verbal form a dhe is no longer relative: 

Na thegough sor yn golon war neb a vyn ow sawye ow thermyn a the yn scon genough me nvm byth trege ‘Do not bear anger in your hearts against her who wishes to salve me. My time will soon come. I will not be able to abide with you’ PA 37ab.

Termyn a dheu means ‘at a time which is coming’; ow thermyn a dheu means ‘my time is coming’.

Nance does not seem to have understood the difference between definite and indefinite in expressions of this kind. In his English-Cornish dictionary (1952) s.v. ‘year’ he gives an vledhen a dhe as a rendering of ‘next year’; an vledhen a dhe is definite as ow thermyn a the in the above quotation is definite. An vledhen a dhe can only mean ‘the year is coming’. It seems to me that Nance’s an vledhen a dhe for ‘next year’ is not good Cornish.  
If we want to say ‘next year’ we can use nessa bledhen; cf. ma owne du vee ma duath do nisau blethan dro d’an Hern ‘I am afraid that there is an end as far as the herrings are concerned until next year’ OPender to WGwavas August 1711. Alternatively we can make ensure that the form of the verb is relative and say an vledhen usy ow tos. 
Nance did not understand Cornish definites and as a result wrote *an Yeth Kernow for Yeth Kernow and *Lyver an Pymp Marthus Seleven for Lyver Pymp Marthus Seleven.
His *an vledhen a dhe is also the result of his failure to grasp the distinction between definite and indefinite. 


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