Help with Cornish inscription

My partner’s father sent me a couple of photos of a public inscription in Cornish & asked if I could make anything of them. I can’t - I’ve been doing SSiW, but the languages have been diverging since the Romans left, and while I’m sure learning Kernewek knowing Cymraeg might be fairly straightforward, they’re certainly too dissimilar for mere guesswork! Part of the inscription reads “An pe gons den kevder an mor…” Can anyone help?


Tagging @polhodge-1 and @miketresidder (and @miketresidder-1 too, just in case!) - on the off-chance the system pings them properly… :slight_smile:

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On the first one, I can only make out the beginning:

Na borth own an … = Don’t be afraid of the …

The second one starts:

A pe gans den krevder an mor y fia ev …

I’m not sure of the beginning – something about “a man has the strength of the sea, he would be …”?

Apparently, a can also mean “if” (which I know as mar, though I vaguely remembered having seen a mentioned as a synonym), so a pe would be “if … is”, and then a pe gans den “if there is … with a man = if a man has …”, so that would be “If a man has the strength of the sea, he would be …”, I think.

Putting those chunks into Google finds this as the first hit:

It gives the inscription as:

The Cornish words carved into the links read: “Na borth own a’n mor, gwra y enora. A pe gans den krevder an mor, y fia ev den krev.”

This translates as: “Don’t be afraid of the sea, respect it. If a man could have the strength of the sea, he’d be a strong man.”

(Ah right; be would be subjunctive, wouldn’t it, so a pe would be “if … were” rather than “if … is”, and so if there were … with a man = if a man had ….)


Thanks++ :smile:


Wow, that’s fascinating and I love the proverb — well done, Phillip, for figuring it out and thanks to Richard for sharing it! Lovely to see Kernewek being used as part of a public monument. The article suggests there are other inscriptions nearby as well. I’ll have to go there some time if I’m in the area. (I visit Kernow as often as I can but I’ve only once been to Bude so far.) :slight_smile: