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Posted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 6:34 pm
We need all the books in Cornish we can get. Original writing would be great but it doesn't grow on trees and it's not every day something gets written of the quality of the Mabinogion, Trystan hag Ysolt, or even Lewis Carroll.
I welcome all this stuff, wherever it comes from, and it's better that people write happily in a spelling they like than that they don't write at all.
Posted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 9:48 pm
Karesk wrote, "I welcome all this stuff, wherever it comes from, and it's better that people write happily in a spelling they like than that they don't write at all."
I largely agree with what you say. Moreover, it's noticeable that those who complain most about the publications of others have been those who themselves produce nothing at all.
Step forward Keith 'facnihil' Bailey and Steven 'Goky of-vy' Reeves to receive your Lifetime Under-Achieving Whinger Awards!
Posted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 11:43 pm
Di tzung iz nit in goles ... Ny vydh an yeth yn divrohedh ... tybyans a vri, preder down!
Posted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 1:44 am
Unfortunately most of the stuff published in An Gannas is unavailable to newcomers to the language. Unless you have hours to spend browsing through back issues from someone's loft or in whatever library has kept them. I suspect though that local libraries mostly treat them as ephemera.
It would be worthwhile going through back issues and pulling out and republishing in book form all the really good, lasting stuff. Stories, verse, translations etc. I'm surprised this hasn't been done, every five years, say. Especially since for years now articles have been submitted as computer files. Otoh, there might be tricky issues if anyone started making a fuss about copyright. Not surprisingly no-one signs any formal agreement when they send a piece in to Graham. Authors (if living!) should probably be given the chance to revise their stuff prior to republication if they wish.
The original of the Mabinogi is very good, but the art is all in the telling, not the tales themselves, which to be honest are all a bit rambling and mixed up. Unfortunately, the Jowann Richards version (is that what's being republished) does not do justice to the original by a long way. It seems to have been based on an English synopsis and/or a shortened Modern Welsh version for beginners. Please do not judge this work by the JR version. (Even Lady Guest did better, she only censored the naughty bits).
A quick example, from near the very end of Math uab Mathonwy :
Ha Gronw a wovynnas orth y dus: ``Eus nebonyn a vynno degemmeres an voemmenn y'm le?''
``Nyndj eus, Arludh.''
``Ytho, '' yn-medh ev, ``my a's kemmer.''
Original Text (Ifor Williams, PKM):
Hynny a uenegit y Gronw Bebyr. ``Ie,'' heb ynteu, ``dir yw ymi gwneuthur hynny. Wy gwyrda kywir, a'm teulu, a'm brodyr maeth, a oes ohonawch chwi, a gymero yr ergyt drossof i ?'' ``Nac oes, dioer,'' heb wynt. Ac o achaws gomed ohonunt wy diodef kymryt un ergyt dros eu harglwyd, y gelwir wynteu, yr hynny hyt hediw, trydyd Anniweir Deulu.
``Ie,'' heb ef, ``mi a'e kymeraf''.
The bits in bold are, as near as possible, the bits represented in the Cornish `translation' -- i.e. the work has been gutted.
OK, it goes something like this :
Yndella y fenegis Gronow Beber. ``Sur,'' yn-medh eve, ``y tal dhymm gwruthyl henna. Hwi duz vaz ewn, ha'm koskordh, ha'm breder-veth, eus denvyth ahanowgh hwi, a gemmerro an strokaz a-barth ha my ?'' ``Nynz eus, Duw-a-woer," yn-medhons i. Ha dre aga anvodh i, dhe wodhevel kemmerez unn strokaz a-barth aga arloedh, gylwyz yns i, alena byz y'n jydh hedhyw, an Tryze Koskordh Dislen. [Ref. to a triad]
"Ytho,'' yn-medh ev, ``my a wra y gemmerez.''
Posted: Sun Oct 04, 2009 7:09 pm
Caradar translated the first two branches of the Mabinogi and stayed closer to the original as far as I can tell by comparing with English translations.
I can't agree with you at all about the quality of the stories. But then I'm a rambling and mixed up person.
Posted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 12:54 am
Yes, I've just been looking at the ASD Smith version. It's pretty close to the original, sentence for sentence. Small improvements could be made in the light of continueing scholarship on both the Welsh and the Cornish sides, but nothing that would matter very much to the general reader.
Why isn't this being republished?
No my objection to the JR travesty is that he writes, "I … have shortened the text to about three quarters of the Welsh version, without, I believe, omitting anything of real importance." Whereas I would maintain that he has lost almost everything of importance, the whole ethos and style of the thing. It's like reducing "to be or not to be …" to something like "Shall I kill myself? No, too scary".
The line after the bit I used above, reads in the original, "And then they came, the two of them, up to the bank of Afon Gynfael". So our view point is from the river bank. And we see the two protagonists approaching, side by side, no doubt grimly committed to go through with their dual/trial by battle/execution/ritual. The whole thing is very visual like this, when it isn't dialogue. It remainds me of nothing so much as a screenplay. JR loses that feel totally. The line above he turns into, "Then they went to the bank of Afon Gynfael". 'Went' not 'came', so we see them disappear from view over the hills, the viewpoint is all wrong, and nothing to translate "ill dau", they could have gone there a week apart. Details, I know, but it's the details that make this work what it is.
The last edition of JR's Mabinogi that I can trace on the internet (as 'out of print' at Amazon) was for something like £5. My copy from KDL was 50p. The ASD Smith version was 75p. These are obviously 'cheap and cheerful' publications to get the text out to Cornish readers. At those prices you can't complain if it's just photocopied typescript, at least it's readable. But if they're now charging £££'s we've a right to expect a properly produced book. Well we'll see if and when it appears.
While I was looking around the net, I found that Amazon and other online booksellers list Wella Brown's course books, Skeul an Yeth as uniformly 'out of print' (maybe the odd overpriced second hand copy), whereas not many months ago I saw quite literally piles of copies in a stockroom. OTOH the recent confusingly titled Skeul an Tavas [sic], is available everywhere it seems. I sometimes wonder what world the Kesva think they're living in. What's the point of `publishing' books if people can't get hold of them — isn't that what publication is all about?
Dar a dyv yntre dew lynn
Gordhuvrygh ebren ha glynn
A ny lavarav vy gow
A vleuzyow Low, galar tynn
Dar a dyv erbynn ardhves
Ny's gwlygh glaw, 'teudh podrethes
Ugens ro synzyz avann
Teythi splann Low Leuv Gompes
Dar a dyv yndann goskez
Rag arloedh splann y nevez
A ny lavarav vy gow
Y teu Low, byz y'm hedhez
Posted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 5:26 pm
Posted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 5:36 pm
To tell the truth, I've hardly ever seen Cornish language books on the shelves of 'normal' bookshops. The odd Gerlyver Kres or Gerlyvrik, maybe a stray copy of Caradar's "Cornish Simplified", coverage seems to be pretty random and patchy. Even shops that have extensive language sections rarely have any Cornish language books.
I'd be interested to know where people have seen stuff for sale.
Posted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 6:26 pm
This looks like a good site if you know the ISBN (will accept both old-style and new-style ISBN's)
Posted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 6:31 pm
A wrug nebonen treylya Culhwch ac Olwen po Geraint fab Erbyn whath? Y fyth pell kyns bos ow Hernewek da lowr rag y wul ow honen, ha ny wrug vy dalleyh dyski Kembrek.
Y prederav my dhe brena lyvrow Kernewek traweythyow y'n lyverji Books Plus dhe Bensans ha Waterstones yn Truru; yth esa gansa lyver bardhonek gans Tony Snell, my a grys.
Posted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 9:17 pm
Yes, one of several excellent Cornish books from this publisher which are easy to get by post and I've sometimes seen them in shops in Cornwall.