[Spellyans] telling the time

nicholas williams njawilliams at gmail.com
Mon Mar 1 11:31:40 GMT 2010

In his gerlevran Neil says Lhuyd uses ar glôh for o'clock but adds ear  
(ur) is usual in UC.
This latter remark is certainly true. In Cornish Simplified Caradar has:

pyth yu an ur? un ur yu.

And in his afterword to Trystan hag Ysolt Talek writes:

Wosa cona y whrussa sevel orth mos dhe'n gwely bys yn un ur vyttyn.

I can find no example of clock time in traditional Cornish. Nor can I  
find Lhuyd's ar glôh.

We can avoid the use of any word for 'hour' in expressions like hanter  
wosa seyth 'half past seven', qwarter dhe naw 'quarter to nine', ugans  
mynysen wosa dew 'twenty minutes past two' (though mynysen is  
unattested in traditional Cornish). This seems to have been Caradar's  
practice when possible. In a letter dated 4th September 1939 he writes:

An bresel a dhallathas dhe unnek ur De Sul vyttyn. Dhe gwarter wosa  
unnek y teth gwarnyans bos an escar owth omsettya warnan!

In PC the ascended Christ says:

rag dry adam a yfarn me a thuk curyn a spern nep try our adro thu'm  
pen ' To bring Adam from hell I bore a crown of thorns some three  
hours around my head' PC 2553-55.

And in CW Noah says:

vnpossyble nyngew tra tha wrear all an bys ma awos destrowy an beyse  
agy tha ower 'Nothing is impossible to the Creator of all this world  
on account of destroying the world within an hour' CW 2386-39

Is the use of eur/ur justified in clock time, given that ur/eur means  
'time' rather than 'hour?' Indeed ur (vr, eare) is used almost  
exclusively in the expressions pub ur 'always' and yn ur na  
'then' (later nena). Py ur 'when?' is attested twice. In all cases the  
sense of ur (vr, eare) is 'time, occasion, moment' rather than 'hour'.  
In telling the time, however, we need a word that means 'hour'. That  
would seem to suggest our, owre rather than ur, vr, eare.

  If we want to say 'six o'clock, seven o'clock' should we not use our  
'hour' rather than eur 'time' or imitate Lhuyd's ar glôh (if indeed he  
cites such a form):

whegh our, seyth our or possibly whegh ar glogh, seyth ar glogh ?


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