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An Beybel Sans: The Holy Bible in Cornish

An Beybel Sans

Translated by Nicholas Williams

First edition, 2011. Editor: Michael Everson. Cathair na Mart: Evertype. ISBN 978-1-904808-70-1. Price: €56.95, £49.95.

Click on the book cover on the right to order this book from Amazon.co.uk!

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The New Testament is also available in Cornish and the whole Bible is available in Middle English.

Listen to a BBC Cornwall Faith Programme interview with the translator Nicholas Williams and distributor Ray Chubb!

This is the first time that the entire Bible has been published in Cornish. The single most important factor in the establishment of written vernaculars in Europe has been the publication of the Bible, for example, the Welsh Bible of 1588, O’Donnell’s Irish New Testament of 1603 and Bedell’s Irish Old Testament of 1685. The appearance of a translation of the Holy Bible has always been of crucial importance, since it is manifest proof that the language is worthy to express the word of God. Luther’s German Bible (1534), for example, and the English King James Version of the Bible (1611), have both left an indelible mark on their respective languages.  Yma an Beybel Sans dyllys in Kernowek obma rag an kensa prës. Yth o pùblycacyon an Beybel inhans an wharvedhyans moyha a bris pùpprës rag fastya tavosow côwsys Ewrop avell yêthow screfys—rag ensampel, Beybel Kembrek an vledhen1588, Testament Nowyth Godhalek an vledhen 1603 ha Testament Coth Godhalek William Bedell an vledhen 1685. Scant ny yllyr posleva re pana vater brâs yw dyllans an Scryptour Sans rag an kensa prës in tavas vëth, rag yma an trailyans ow prevy bos an tavas-na wordhy dhe dherivas geryow Duw. Beybel Martin Luther (1534), rag ensampel, ha Beybel Mytern Jamys (1611) re asas merk bys vycken wàr an dhyw yêth, Almaynek ha Sowsnek.
Bybel (Bîbel) as the word for ‘Bible’ is a borrowing of Breton Bibl which is itself a borrowing from French Bible. If the word ‘Bible’ had been taken into Cornish from Middle English, however, it would have appeared as *Bybla, *Bibla (pronounced [ˈbiːblə]. In the Middle Cornish texts the scriptures are exclusively described as an scryptour(s) or an lyvrow ‘the books’. It is not very likely that the word ‘Bible’ was used widely in Cornish before the Reformation, when many vernacular translations of the Bible were first made. The word ‘Bible’ is not likely therefore to have been borrowed from English into Cornish until the sixteenth century, by which time the stressed vowel in English ‘Bible’ had become a diphthong (Early Modern English [ˈbəɪbəl]). It is for this reason that the present work is not called An *Bîbel Sans, but rather An Beybel Sans; cf. Welsh Y Beibl Sanctaidd (though Bibl is also well attested in Welsh). An ger Bybel (Bîbel) in Kernowek yw benthygys dhyworth Bibl an Bretonek; ha’n ger Bibl y honen re beu benthygys dhyworth Bible an Frynkek. A pe an term ‘Bible’ benthygys gans an Gernowyon dhyworth Sowsnek Cres, an ger a wrussa omdhysqwedhes avell *Bybla, *Bibla (leverys [ˈbiːblə]). I’n textow Kernowek nyns yw an scryptours campollys marnas der an henwyn an scryptour(s)an lyvrow. Dre lycklod ny vedha an ger ‘Bible’ ûsys yn fenowgh in Kernowek kyns ès termyn an Reformacyon, pàn veu trailys an scryptours dhe lies yêthow teythyak rag an kensa prës. Yth hevel ytho na veu an ger rag ‘Bible’ kemerys dhyworth an Sowsnek aberth in Kernowek bys i’n whêtegves cansvledhen, ha warbydn an termyn-na an vogalen boslevys i’n ger Sowsnek o dywvogalen solabrës ([ˈbəɪbəl] in Sowsnek Arnowyth Avarr). Rag hedna tîtel an lyver-ma yw An Beybel Sans, adar An *Bîbel Sans; comparyowgh Y Beibl Sanctaidd in Kembrek (kynth yw an form Bibl aswonys yn tâ in Kembrek inwedh).
Throughout this translation attested borrowings have been preferred to unattested coinages, thus the word pùrgacyon is used in preference to the coinage *purheans, and the attested cyrcùmcîsys to the invented *enwosys. Unified Cornish luyth and Common Cornish loeth, both respellings of Old Cornish luid ‘battle array, army’ are sometimes used for ‘tribe’ in revived Cornish. In the present translation, however, Tregear’s trib (cf. oll an x tryb a Israell ‘all the ten tribes of Israel’ TH 50a) has been preferred. I’n trailyans-ma, mar peu ger kefys i’n textow, kyn fe va benthygys dhyworth an Sowsnek, an ger-na re beu ûsys kyns ès ger desmygys gans scolers a’n Dasserhyans. Indelma gwell yw genen pùrgacyon, rag ensampel, ès an ger nowyth-desmygys *purheans. Cyrcùmcîsys yw kefys i’n textow ha hedna re beu preferrys dhe *enwosys, desmygyans a’gan dedhyow ny. Yma luyth ûsys traweythyow in Kernowek Unys ha loeth in Kernowek Kebmyn rag ‘tribe’. An geryow-na aga dew yw daspellyans a’n ger luid ‘lu, arayans lu’ in Gerva an Kernowek Coth. I’n trailyans-ma awoles, bytegyns, y fëdh ûsys an ger trib (comparyowgh oll an x tryb a Israell TH50a).
The word profus ‘prophet’ is not attested in Cornish later than the Ordinalia and the plural occurs once only. Profet on the other hand occurs over 20 times in TH, SA and Rowe. The plural profettys is attested 10 times; and the abstract profecy ‘prophecy’ is attested twice. Profet, profettys, profecy are used below. Nyns yw an ger profus ‘prophet’ kefys in text vëth wosa an Ordinalia ha nyns yw an plûral nùmber kefys marnas unweyth. Wàr an tenewen aral, yma an ger profet kefys moy ès ugans treveth in TH, SA ha Wella Kereve. Yma an plûral profettys kefys degweyth, ha’n hanow abstract profecy a welyr dywweyth. Profet, profettys ha profecy re beu ûsys awoles.
It has been customary in revived Cornish to use either *brusyas or brusyth for ‘judge’. *Brusyas was coined by Nance; brusyth is a Middle Cornish respelling of Old Cornish brodit. The ordinary word for ‘judge’ in Middle Cornish is jùj (spelt iug, iudg, judge), and the plural is jùjys (spelt iudges). Jùj, jùjys is used below. Dell yw ûsys yma lies huny a gôwsoryon an Dasserghyans ow leverel *brusyasbrusyth rag ‘judge’. Y feu an ger *brusyas desmygys gans Mordon; brusyth yw daspellyans in Kernowek Cres a brodit an Kernowek Coth. An ger kebmyn rag ‘judge’ in Kernowek Cres yw jùj (spellys iug, iudg, judge) ha’n form liesek yw jùjys (screfys iudges). Jùj ha jùjys re beu ûsys awoles.
For ‘priest’ the word offeryas is often used in revived Cornish. Offeryas is not actually attested, being a respelling of offeriat in the Old Cornish Vocabulary; the plural is not recorded. The ordinary word for ‘priest, cleric’ in Cornish is pronter (spelt pronter, prounter, prownter, proanter) which is attested in Old, Middle and Late Cornish at least 20 times altogether. The plural prontyryon occurs seven times; pronter, prontyryon have been used below. Y fëdh an ger offeryas devnydhys yn fenowgh in Kernowek Dasserhys rag ‘priest’. Nyns yw offeryas kefys i’n tavas bytegyns; daspellyans ywa a offeriat in Gerva an Kernowek Coth. Nyns yw kefys form liesek vëth. An ger kebmyn in Kernowek rag ‘priest, cleric’ yw pronter (screfys pronter, prounter, prownter, proanter) hag yth yw hedna kefys in Kernowek Coth, Cres hag Adhewedhes moy ès ugans treveth warbarth. Y hyll an plûral prontyryon bos redys seyth gweyth i’n textow; pronter, prontyryon re beu ûsys awoles.
The Old Testament in this translation is based on the English Standard Version of 2001, though the original Hebrew text was consulted in all places of difficulty. The New Testament portion is a revised version of Testament Noweth (Spyrys a Gernow, 2002), which was based on the original Greek text. There are many passages and quotations from the Bible in the remains of traditional Cornish. All such identified passages have been respelt in the present orthography and incorporated into in the translation below. Furthermore every attempt has been made in An Beybel Sans to produce a translation that was readable, idiomatic and internally consistent. The orthography used is Standard Cornish (Kernowek Standard) which is intended to be both authentic and unambiguous from the phonetic point of view.  Grôndys yw an Testament Coth i’n trailyans-ma wàr English Standard Version an vledhen 2001, kyn feu an text Ebrow ûsys pàn dheuthon ny warbydn galetter vëth. Versyon amendys yw an Testament Nowyth awoles a Testament Noweth (Spyrys a Gernow, 2002), neb a veu grôndys wàr an text Grêk y honen. Yma lies tyller i’n textow Kernowek may ma trailys dhe Gernowek geryow pò lavarow mes a’n Beybel. Pùb darn a’n par-na, wosa bos aswonys, re beu daspellys i’n lytherednans an lyver-ma ha settys i’n y dyller ewn i’n trailyans. Pella ny re whelas provia trailyans neb o êsy dhe redya, in Kernowek naturek hag pùb radn anodho kesson dhe bùb part aral. Lytherednans an trailyans yw Kernowek Standard (Standard Cornish), spellyans neb yw ervirys dhe vos lel dhe’n tavas tradycyonal ha dyblans ow tùchya sonieth.
Although every attempt has been made to render this translation free of inconsistencies and of typographical errors, many imperfections are likely to remain. Readers are therefore kindly requested to report any errors or misprints to beybel @ kernowek.net.  Kyn whrussyn ny assaya dhe ryddya an trailyans-ma a bùb dygessenyans hag a bùb errour, dre lycklod y fëdh lies nàm ow remainya ino. Rag hedna yth eson ny ow pesy agan redyoryon dhe reportya errours ha cambryntyansow dhe beybel @ kernowek.net.

Also available from:

Spyrys a Gernow, Gordon Villa, Sunnyvale Road, Portreath, Redruth TR16 4NE, Kernow, UK.

A set of errata is now available.

HTML Michael Everson, Evertype, 73 Woodgrove, Portlaoise, R32 ENP6, Ireland, 2011-08-01

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