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Testament Noweth

Testament Noweth

Translated by Nicholas Williams

Editor: Michael Everson. First edition, 2002. Redruth: Spyrys a Gernow. ISBN 1-953975-4-7. Price: GBP 15.95 + GBP 3.00 (EU), GBP 5.00 (elsewhere).

Although the bulk of Cornish literature has been lost, it seems unlikely that the whole New Testament was ever translated into the language. There is evidence, however, that portions of it had been rendered into Cornish by the middle of the sixteenth century. The speakers of Middle Cornish were in any case no strangers to the Bible. The surviving Middle Cornish texts deal almost exclusively with biblical and religious themes and there are passages in the Passion Poem and the Ordinalia that are almost verbatim quotations from the gospels. John Tregear’s Cornish translations (ca. 1560) of Edmund Bonner’s Homilies are also full of short passages in Cornish translated from the Vulgate text of the New Testament. The Late Cornish writers were also fond of the New Testament. Two chapters of St Matthew, for example, survive from the hand of William Rowe of Sancreed (. 1650-1690). Kynth yw kellys an vrassa a ran lyen Kernow, yth hevel na vue oll an Testament Noweth bythqueth treylys dhe Gernowek. Yma dustuny genen, bytegens, fatel o nebes darnow anodho kefys y’n tavas warbyn cres an whetegves cansvledhen. Nyns o cowsoryon deythyak an tavas alyons dhe’n Bybel naneyl. Scant nyns usy an textow Kernowek owth handla tra vyth ma’s crejyans bo mater mes a’n Bybel hag yma tylleryow yn Pascon agan Arluth hag y’n Ordinalia yw treylyansow ger warlergh ger ogatty mes a’n aweylow. An treylyans Kernowek gwres gans Jowan Tregear (ca. 1560) a brogowthow Sawsnek Edmund Bonner yw luen ynwedh a dharnow cot treylys dhe Gernowek mes a’n versyon Latyn a’n Testament Noweth. Yth esa an screforyon a Gernowek Dewedhes ow cara an Testament Noweth kefrys. Yma genen treylyans Kernowek, rag ensompel, a dhew japtra mes a Awayl Sen Mathew, gwres gans Wella Kerew a Sancras (. 1650-1690).
Since the beginning of the Cornish revival parts of the New Testament have been rendered into Cornish. Henry Jenner translated John 5:1-14 as early as 1918 and 1936 A. S. D. Smith produced his own translation of St Mark’s gospel, a revised edition being published by Talek (E. G. R. Hooper) in 1960. A translation of St Matthew by Gwas Cadoc (D. R. Evans) appeared in 1975 and a version of St John by Gwas Kevardhu (John Page) in 1984. Ray Edwards published his translation of Revelation and of a number of epistles in 1986, and the translation by Talek of St Luke appeared in 1989. Furthermore the Cornish version of the order for Evensong contains a translation of I Corinthians 13 by R. M. Nance. Dhya ban dhallathas an Dasserghyans, rannow a’n Testament Noweth re bue treylys dhe Gernowek. Gwas Myghal a dreylyas Jowan 5:1-14 mar avar avel an vledhen 1918 hag yn 1936 Caradar a dhros yn mes y dreylyans a Sen Mark, may fue versyon amendys anodho dyllys gans Talek (E. G. R. Hooper) yn 1960. Treylyans a Sen Mathew gans Gwas Cadok (D. R. Evans) a welas golow an jedh y’n vledhen 1975 ha versyon a Sen Jowan gans Gwas Kevardhu (John Page) y’n vledhen 1985. Yn 1986 Ray Edwards a dhyllas y dreylyans a Revelacyon warbarth gans nomber a’n epystlys, ha treylyans Talek a Awayl Sen Luk a welas golow an jedh y’n vledhen 1989. Dres henna, yma kefys yn Ordenal rag Gwesperow treylyans a 1 Corinthianas 13 gans Mordon.
This is the first time, however, that the entire New Testament has appeared in Cornish. The translator has attempted wherever feasible to incorporate into his text any part of the New Testament that survives in traditional Cornish. Translations of the revival period have also been used, albeit in some cases with very heavy editing. Bytegens hem yw an kensa prys a wrug oll an Testament Noweth omdhysquedhes yn Kernowek. An treylyer a usyas, mar vuer del ylly ef, pynag oll ran a’n Testament Noweth o kefys yn Kernowek tradycyonal. Defnyth re bue gwres kefrys a’n treylyansow screfys yn termyn an Dasserghyans, kynth o res yn cas ran anedhans amendya an text yn fras.
The orthography, accidence and syntax throughout is Unified Cornish Revised, an emended form of revived Cornish that attempts as far as possible to imitate the Cornish of the sixteenth century and in particular the language of John Tregear, the writer of our longest prose text. No attempt has been made to “purify” the language of English borrowings, since the translator believes that the Cornish we use should reflect the language as it was actually spoken as an everyday language by Cornish people. An lytherennans, gramasek ha kestrowen gwelys y’n present treylyans ma yw Kernowek Unys Amendys, versyon a Gernowek dasvewys yw yntendys dhe vos mar ogas avel possybyl dhe Gernowek an whetegves cansvledhen ha spesly dhe davas Jowan Treger, an screfer a’n text hyrra pros yw gesys yn Kernowek. Ny whelas an treylyer yn tyller vyth “purjya” an yeth ha defendya mes anedhy geryow Sawsnek, rag yma va ow cresy fatel godh dh’agan tavas dasvewys ny bos yn pub poynt kepar ha’n yeth a vedha cowsys kenyver jorna gans Kernowyon.

Available from:

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

Read a report of the book launch in Cornish. Celtic Cornwall also has a report in English of the launch and Easter Sunday church service with photos.

Read the Christmas story from Luke chapter 2.

Read reviews of the book.

A set of errata is now available.

HTML Michael Everson, Evertype, 73 Woodgrove, Portlaoise, R32 ENP6, Ireland, 2007-01-03

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