[Spellyans] war gamm

Nicholas Williams njawilliams at gmail.com
Wed Jan 9 14:00:57 GMT 2013

It has been suggested on this forum (corpus planning) that Ke wàr dha gamm does not mean 'steady on' but rather 'return to whence you came'.
Such a suggestion is unlikely to be correct. 
The expression wàr gamm without the possessive adjective is attested with imperatives other than ke:

ty a whyth auel caugh guas whyth war gam vyngeans y’th glas ‘you blow like a careless fellow; blow steadily, vengeance in your guts!’ PC 2715-16
ty uyl losel guask war gam ha compys yfl mot thow the ‘you vile scoundrel, strike steadily and evenly, ill may you thrive!’ PC 2735-36

Clearly whyth war gam cannot mean 'blow upon the way'
Nor can gwask war gam mean 'strike upon the way'.

The two are more likely to mean 'blow steadily' and 'strike steadily' respectively.
In which case ke wàr dha gamm is likely to mean 'go steadily' i.e. 'steady on, not so fast'
Nance was, I believe, correct in this matter.

With wàr gamm cf. Welsh ar gam, ar y cam 'at a walking pace' (both with and without the article).

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