Devysow Kernowek
Cornish Ideas
an Kernowek/Kernewk

Neb a ra clappya eyth vncoth a wore inta na yll gyrryow pub prys bos styrrys ewn pan deffa den ha styrrya gyrryow ha leveransow theworth an neyll eyth thy gela. Sompell da ew an gyrryow Kernowek bys, nore ha norvys. An rema ew mennowgh styrrys then ger Sowsnek world mas nyns ew an ger ma pub prys ewn rag yma the bup onyn an try ger Kernowek ma ken devyse.

An bys ew an teller a ra mabden bewa. Inweth y thew kysvewas mabden. In weth an nore ew an teller a ra mab den bewa mas y thew an tyr a ra gwels ha gwyth tevy inna ha neb a ra den sevall warnotha. In weth y thew an corffe a ra trelya adro then howl.

An ger norvys ew gwrys theworth an thew ger nore ha bys ha yma norvys ow menya an bys brytyll warbyn an bys a neff. Inweth y ma ow menya an bownans brytyll a vabden in bys warbyn an bys han bownans an er in neff. Mennowgh y thew an deffrans in vsyow ha in devysow an gyrryow ma nebas an neyll thy gela. In delma an gyrryow Kernowek ma ew styrrys po da po drog the lyas ken ger Sowsnek.

Den a yll gwellas pysell an gothfas an devysow in gyrryow res the then mennowgh cafus rag convethas an pith ew leverys. Rag sompell an ger norvys ew truvys in telyth worth an deweth an daralla Chei a Horr. Kynsa y thew calys the gonvethas an devyse an telyth ma ha eff a yll bos only gwellys pan thew an devysow in ger ma norvys convethys inta.

Jooan a ve a les worth an chy an tyak teyr blethan and lymyn y thew devethys tre ha yma gans y wreg arta. Aga dew a druvyas an naw pens a rug an tyak hay wreg gorra in desan ha lymyn y mowns ow kull gol bras. Nena an daralla ew dowethys gans an leverans ma, ha na ve edn frowth na meekan na traweth en nor vez. An daralla ma Chei a Horr ew scryffys in dialek, in della an ger norvys ew scryffys nor vez.

An leverans ma ew styrrys in forth compys then leverans Sowsnek, and there was not one angry word nor spitefulness nor sadness in the world. Mas in gwryoneth yma an den Kernowek ow leverall gans an leverans ma they lived happily ever after. In della an lell devyse in ger norvys in telyth ma ew, lived ever after, dre reson y bos an leverans en nor vez ow menya in bys brytyll hag in bownans brytyll.

In gwryoneth yma an leverans ow leverall rag aga holl bownans brytyll a Jooan hay wreg in nore warbyn aga bownans in neff awosa henna. Dre reson an devysow an bys brytyll ha bownans brytyll, an ger ma norvys ew mennowgh truvys inweth in gwaryow an egglos scryffys in oodg crys neb ew neff han norvys desquethys warbarth.

An kythsam kynde a deffrans ew truvys in dew ger Kernowek erall gwlas ha gwlascore an pith ew styrrys dre vn ger in Sowsnek. An gyrryow ma ew truvys in leveransow gwlas neff ha gwlascore neff. An thew leverans ma ew styrrys then leverans Sowsnek the kingdom of heaven mas in Kernowek yma deffrans bras intre an leveransow an neyll thy gela.

Yma an leverans gwlas neff ow menya an wlas a thu in neff ha yma gwlascore neff ow menya an wlas a thu in nore, an egglos han corffe a Cristonyan vs ow bewa in bys a vabden dre reson y bos gwlascore ow menya pobyll an pow, in Sowsnek, 'community' po 'the people of the realm'. In delma den a yll gwellas y bos an gyrryow an kynsa eyth res bos styrrys then second eyth an neyll thy gyla in forthow per ken ha na yll gyrryow ha leveransow mennowgh bos styrrys inta.


A person who is used to speaking a foreign language knows well that many words in the one language can not be translated properly by the words of another language. A good example of this is the Cornish words bys, nore and norvys. These are often translated by the English word 'world', but this word is not always correct because each one of these three particular Cornish words has a different meaning.

Bys is the place where mankind lives. It is also the society of mankind. Nore is also the place where mankind lives but it is the land in which plants and trees grow and which one stands on. It is also the planet which revolves around the sun.

The word norvys is constructed from the two words nore and bys, and norvys means the mortal world in contrast to the world of heaven. It also means the mortal life of mankind on earth as opposed to the world and life of the spirit in heaven. Often the distinction in usages and ideas between these words is slight. As a result, these Cornish words are translated sometimes well sometimes poorly by many different English words.

One can see how thorough an understanding of the ideas in the words one must often have in order to understand what is being said. For example, the word norvys is found in a passage at the end of the story Chei a Horr, 'The house of the Ram'. At first it is difficult to understand the meaning of this passage and it can be seen only when the ideas in this word norvys are understood properly.

Jooan has been away at the farmer's house for three years and now he is home again and together again with his wife. The two of them have found the nine pounds which the farmer and his wife had put in the cake and now they are having a great celebration. Then the story comes to an end with this sentence: ha na ve edn frowth na meekan na traweth en nor vez. The story Chei a Horr is of course written in dialect so the word norvys in written nor vez.

This sentence is translated literally into English as 'there was not one angry word nor spitefulness nor sadness in the world'. But what the Cornish person is saying with this sentence is actually 'and they lived happily ever after', because the phrase en nor vez means 'in the mortal world' and 'in mortal life'.

In effect, the phrase says 'for all of the mortal life on earth' of Jooan and his wife in contrast to their life in heaven afterwards. Because of the ideas of the mortal world and mortal life, this word norvys is often also found in the Medieval miracle plays where heaven (neff) and the mortal world (norvys) are juxtaposed.

The very same sort of distinction is found in two other Cornish words, gwlas and gwlascore, which are translated by one word in English. These words are found in the phrases gwlas neff and gwlascore neff. The two phrases are translated into English as 'the kingdom of heaven', but there is a great difference between these phrases in Cornish.

The phrase gwlas neff means 'the kingdom of God in heaven' and gwlascore neff means 'the kingdom of God on earth', that is, the church and the body of Christians who live on earth. The reason for this is that gwlascore means 'community' or 'the people of the realm'. So one can see that the words of one language have to be translated into the other language in quite different ways and at times words can not be translated properly at all.

Return to Story List

For questions concerning Cornish, contact: infoatkernowekdotcom

Introduction Literature 1350-1611 Literature in Dialect Stories Site Coordinator History English Home   :   Links

in Kernowek/Kernewek en francais auf Deutsch in italiano Home

The Cornish Language: an Kernowek or an Kernewek.

Web design, search engine optimisation and marketing by Broadband Media   ·   Web hosting by Netramp
©1997-2015 All rights reserved. The individual site contents are the property of