Sunday, 8 February 2015

Mettin da dhe whei

William Gwavas
Most of the greetings and farewells we use in Cornish today come from the later writers and those who recorded the language as it was disappearing in the 18th century. This example from William Gwavas provides us with:

dedh da dhe whei: Good day to you; Nos da dhe whei: Good night to you; and Fatel era whei o kil? How do you do?, How are you doing?
Spot SWF/L <dhe whei> instead of SWF/M <dhewgh whi> <dhewgh hwi> and the form lawle 'say, saying' which needs to be spelt <loal> or (if we may) <laul> in the SWF. It has the same vowel as in broas and moas. Take note of the similarity between the word for "sir" which has a short vowel(<syrra> or <serra> in the SWF but <sarra> in Gwavas' text) and the word for father (<sira> in the SWF.) which has a long vowel.
Gwavas' original:
Metten porew why sevall why rez lawle thagoz taaze ha goz daamah wor agoz pedndowlen bednath deew ha an Bednath wor a Vee me a bedge tha Deew.Tha lebba ez drestawhy Meten dah tha why, sarra! Po deeth dah tha why, Sarra, po nooze dah tha why, Sarra! po fatelaro why o keel, Sirra?

Mettin, pa wrewgh whei sevel, whei res laul dhe gas tas ha gas dama, war agas pedn dowlin, bednath Duw ha an Bednath wara vy, me a bej dhe Duw. Dhe leb a eus dresta whei, Mettin da dhe whei, sarra! po dedh da dhe whei, Sarra, po nos da dhe whei, Sarra! po fatel era whei o kil, Syrra?

In the morning when you rise; you must say to your father and mother, upon your knees, the blessing of God and the blessing upon me, I pray to God. To your superiors, Good morning to you Sir, or a Good day to you Sir; or a Good Night to you Sir – or How do you do Sir?
Bilbao MSS, see OC Vol. VIII, No 10, Hav 1978.

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