[Spellyans] 'birth' in Cornish

Nicholas Williams njawilliams at gmail.com
Thu Jun 26 13:41:39 IST 2014


There seems to be a tendency among Cornish users to use the noun denethyans (UC denythyans) to mean ‘birth’. This is presumably because Nance in 1938 gives the two meanings ‘generation’ and ‘birth’ for the word and cites John Keigwin as his source. Similarly Gendall in his Students’ Dictionary of Modern Cornish s.v. ‘birth’ gives denithians and again he cites Keigwin. It appears, however, that denethyans in Keigwin means ‘generation’, not birth:

ha vyn towle pehosow an tasow war an ffledgiow bys an tresa; han peswera denythyans mes vyn disquethas kerense the millyow an neb es ow cara, ha es gwithe ow germynadow ‘and will visit the sins of the fathers upon the children until the third and fourth generation but will show love to thousands who love and keep my commands’ Keigwin in Gwavas MS

This is copied in Pryce:

ha vyn towle pehosow an tasow war an ffledgiow bys an tresa; han peswera denythyans mes vyn disquethas kerense the millyow an neb es ow cara, ha es gwithe ow germynadow ‘and will visit the sins of the fathers upon the children until the third and fourth generation but will show love to thousands who love and keep my commands’  ACB: E e 2 r and v.

Compare also 

denythyans ‘a generation ACB: N; Denythyans ‘a Generation’ Borlase. 

I have been unable to find evidence for denethyans ‘birth’. 

The word for ‘birth’ in Cornish is genesygeth, genejygeth:

Eff o purguir den worthy ay genesygeth defry del wothen ol in breten ‘He was indeed a worthy man by birth indeed as we all know in Brittany’ BM 4386-88
yma an lyver a skyantoleth ow remembra thyn may teffan ha tenna then dore an pryde vs ow raynya ynnan, ha remembra agan mortall genesegeth a russyn kemeras theworth Adam an kynsa den a ve gwrys ‘the book of Wisdom reminds us that we should pull down the pride that reigns in us, and remember our mortal birth which we inherited from Adam, the first man who was created’ TH 6a
colynwys dryn spuris sans thea genesegath, gylwys an preparar an forthow a crist ‘filled by the Holy Spirit from birth, called the preparer of the ways of Christ’ TH 8
so, pub vr cara an person, kepar han creatur a a thu, ionys thynny dre genesegeth ‘but always to love the persons, as creature of God, joined to us by birth’ TH 26
Na esyn vsya Argumentys, mas vsya exampels Christ, ha enegegath ‘Let us not use arguments but use the examples of Christ and his birth’ SA 61a.

When ‘birth’ refers to the place one can use genesygva, genejygva:

Nyns esos ov attendya an laha del vya reys omma an genegygva a ihesus crist war an beys ‘You do not consider the law, as it would have been given here of the birth of Jesus Christ in the world’ BM 848-51.

In the interests of authenticity it might be preferable to use genesygeth and genesygva for ‘birth’ and to confine the use of denethyans to mean ‘generation’.

Nicholas
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