[Spellyans] "Thank you"

j.mills at email.com j.mills at email.com
Wed Aug 25 09:12:57 BST 2010

I suspect that the vast majority will continue to use Meur ras, irrespective of any recomendations that might be made. I think that the difference between these three forms of 'thank you' is one of register. Durdala dewhy was the form commonly used in normal conversation in the 16th century. Gromercy, borrowed from Old Norman French, was the courtly form of the somewhat stylised miracle plays.
Ol an gwella,

Dr. Jon Mills, 
School of European Culture and Languages, 
University of Kent

-----Original Message-----
From: nicholas williams <njawilliams at gmail.com>
To: Standard Cornish discussion list <spellyans at kernowek.net>
Sent: Wed, Aug 25, 2010 7:55 am
Subject: [Spellyans] "Thank you"

Ever since Nance's time revivalists have been saying Meur ras dhywgh for ‘thank you.’ Variants of this expression are certainly attested:

gorthyans ha gras thy’s a das ‘praise and thanks to thee, O father’ OM 1149.
Syr Teuthar, mer gras theso! ‘Sir Teuthar, great thanks to you!’ BK 1081
a das kere mere rase thewhy agis dyskans da pub preyse ‘O dear father, thank you for your instruction always’ CW 1953-54
mear a ras thewhy eall due ‘great thanks to you, o angel of God’ CW 1872
Rag nag ez buz lebban duath dem dro d’an hollan kear, maras tha Dieu ‘For it is only now that I have finished concerning the expensive salt, thanks be to God’ Oliver Pender.

In the Late Cornish texts, however, ‘thank you’ is often Duw re dallo dhywgh why, pronounced Dùrdalla dhywgh why:

Durdala dewhy, syr: I do thanke you, syr Borde
Da, Durdala dewhy, master da: Well, God thanke you, good master Borde
Da durdala tha why: Well, I thank you Carew
Dah, durdala tha why: Well, I thank you Pryce.

It is likely, however that the second sentence quoted there from Borde and Carew and Pryce all have the same source.

In the texts, however, the ordinary way of saying ‘thank you’ is gromercy. I have collected the following examples:

A das a nef gromercy ‘O father of heaven, thank you’ OM 405
gromersy arluth a brys rag the roow prest yv da ‘thank you, worthy lord, for your presents are always good’ OM 2313-14
agas enour gromersy a vynnough the wul thy'mo ‘for your honour you wish to do me thank you’ OM 2384-85
serys gromersy yn weth mara pewaf why a veth ‘sirs, thanks also you will have, if I am spared’ OM 2395-96
ha largys ha gromersy ‘Oh generosity, and thank you!’ OM 2465
Gromersy arloth hep par ‘Thank you, lord without equal’ OM 2595
grant mercy syre iustis ‘thank you, sir magistrate’ PC 3133
grant merci syr iustis bynytha syngys of thy's ‘thank your, sir magistrate, every shall I be grateful to you’ RD 95-6
Gramercy zywy warbarth ‘Thank you all together’ BM 258
Gromercy meryasek wek agis norter yv mar dek maythogh keris gans lues ‘Thank you, Meriasek, your upbringing is so fine, that you are loved by many’ BM 286-88 
Gromercy meryasek wek mar luen oys a corteysy ‘Thank you, Meriasek, you are so full of courtesy’ BM 298-99
Gromercy agen lych da mur gras y wothen nefra thywy agis bolnegeth ‘Thank you, our good liege, we would acknowledge much thanks to you for your goodwill’ BM 308-10
Tewdar gyntel, gromercy a’th veneson ‘Gentle Teudar, thank you for your blessing’ BK 641-42
Gramersy theso, dremas! ‘Thank you, good sir!’ BK 824
Teuthar gentel, gramersy! ‘Gentle Teudar, thank you!’ BK 1093
Gromersy a’n gwelha tas, Arthor rych a ryowta ‘Thank you for the finest father, Arthur rich in majesty’ BK 1154-55 
Gromersy, arluth cortys, flowran ol an arlythy ‘Thank you, courteous lord, flower of all lords’ BK 1594-95
Gramersy, arluth glorius, the peb eth os plegadow ‘Thank you, O glorious lord; to all you are pleasing’ BK 1626-27
Gramercy, ow arluth gay ‘Thank you, my fine lord’ BK 3060
Gramersie, gentyll Howen, ha me this maga lowan a’n tal, mara calla’ ‘Thank you, gentle, Howen, and to you I will repay it as willingly, if I can’ BK 3214-16
myhall sera thewgh gramercy ‘By St Michael, sir, thank you’ CW 599
I thanke you, Gad marshe Richard Symonds
gra massi ‘thank you’ Lhuyd.

Given that gromercy ‘thank you’ is much better attested than any other expression with the sense ‘thank you’, perhaps we should be using it in preference to Meur ras dhis/Meur ras dhywgh why.



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