[Spellyans] 'Last, latest' in Cornish

Nicholas Williams njawilliams at gmail.com
Wed Apr 7 14:42:05 BST 2021

The word dewetha in Cornish is a superlative adjective meaning ‘last, latest.’ It is not found as a comparative adjective with the sense ‘later.’ It is never used as an adverb. In Cornish if one wishes, for exmple, to say ‘he came later’, one says ev a dheuth warlergh hedna. 
	These are the attestations of the word dewetha in the traditional texts: 

in dewetha Sermon ha Homelye ‘in the last sermon and homily’ TH 35a 
in dew[e]tha blethan a reign an cruell Emperour Nero ‘in the last year of the reign of the cruel emperor Nero’ TH 47
eff a wethas y stall pemp blethan warnegans bys in dewetha bletha(n) honna o an xiiii-as a reign Nero ‘he retained his position twenty five years until the last year, that was the fourteenth of Nero’s reign’ TH 47
Evyn an dewetha nois a rug eff bos in company gans y aposteleth ‘Even the last night that he was in company with his apostles’ TH 51a-52
the signifia thynny fatell o an bois na defferis bys in dewetha deth a ve agan Sovyour conuersaunt gans y appostlis ‘to indicate to us that that food was deferred until the last day that our Saviour was present with his apostles’ TH 52
an kynsa part why a clowas in dewetha homelie ‘the first part you heard in the last homily’ TH 55
pan vo an dewetha gyrryow clowis a onen a vo in y gwely marnance ‘when the last words have been heard of someone who is on his deathbed’ SA 59
me a vedn gweel Duath an Skreef ma durth an dewetha reem ’vez a’n Kensa Caon Horace ‘I will end this essay from the first stanza from the first ode of Horace’ BF: 31.

Of all our sources Lhuyd, because he uses his own semi-phonetic orthography, is furthest from the spelling of traditional Cornish; s.v. Ultimus [‘last’], however, he gives dyuetha AB: 175c, a spelling which is very close to that of Tregear, SA and Nicholas Boson.
	The online Akademi dictionary gives *diwettha ‘last, later, latest’.*Diwettha is an inauthentic spelling for which there is no warrant. It is clear from all the examples that the traditional spelling in the Cornish texts is dewetha and the word should be so spelt in any revived orthography.

Nicholas Williams
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