Monday, 9 March 2015

Learn Late Cornish Bit by Bit 60 (Bits of the Year)

Bits of the Year
When Cornish was widely spoken, the life of most people was generally governed by the seasons, time of day and tides rather than by clocks and watches (of which, more later).

bledhen (f)                                       a year
seson                                               a season
mis                                                   a month
hanter mis                                       a fortnight
seythen (f)                                       a week
dedh (f)                                            a day

gwenton[1]                                      spring
hav                                                  summer
kydnyadh                                       autumn
gwav  [2]                                         winter

Ma dowdhek mis en bledhen.     There are twelve month(s) in a year.
Ma pajer seson en bledhen.        There are four season(s) in a year.
Üdn vledhen ew dowdhek mis.  One year is twelve month(s).
Üdn vledhen ew dowdhek seythen ha dowgens.
                                            One year is fifty-two week(s) (12 week and 40).
Ma dowdhek seythen ha dowgens en bledhen. 
                                            There are fifty-two week(s) in a year.
Oll an vledhen ew dowdhek seythen ha dowgens.    
                                             A whole year (all the year) is fifty-two week(s).
Qwarten bledhen ew terdhek seythen.
                                             A quarter of a year is thirteen week(s).
Hanter bledhen ew whegh seythen warn ügens.
                                             Half a year is twenty six week(s) (6 week on the 20).

Here are some old sayings:
En hav per co gwav.           In summer remember winter.

Gwav en hav terebo[3] Golowan[4], hav en gwav terebo Nadelik.
Winter in summer until Midsummer, summer in winter until Christmas.

There are several place names which incorporate bits of the year (though earlier recorded names show the elements better), e.g.:

Goonhavern (1290 Goenhavar)  downs of summer fallow
Hewas Water (1370 Hayves)        summer farm stream
Halvosso (1532 Hafossowe)        summer farms
Gwavas                                          winter farm
Trewoofe (1668 Trewofe)             winter farm
Trengwainton                                farm of everlasting spring
Navax Point (Knavocks 1582)      autumn farm headland
Kernewas (Kynyavos 1513)         autumn dwelling

[1]   In RLC this is gwainton, indicating how the first syllable should be pronounced.
[2]   The vowel in hav and gwav should rhyme with that in English [moth]
[3] SWF has trelebba, Lhuyd had  trybo, RLC has tereba
[4] the feast of John the Baptist, 24th June. Pronounced [g’LOO’n]

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