A playlet for use with Skeul an Tavas Lesson 18


© 2019 Ray Chubb and Ian Jackson

With grateful acknowledgments to John Parker and his original conversation Dhe’n lytherva

2nd edition July 2020

Mrs Treloar wants stamps. Jacket is on duty at the counter in the post office. Mrs Treloar knows her quite well.


Myttyn dâ, Mêstres Treloar.


Myttyn dâ, Jacket. Fatla genes hedhyw?


In poynt dâ, meur ras. Ha why inwedh?


Ogh, nyns yw ow heyn pòr dhâ i’n eur-ma, saw ny dal dhybm croffolas, dell dyba’.


Drog yw genef clôwes hedna. Pandra alla’vy gwil ragowgh hedhyw?


Wèl, gas vy dhe weles. Soweth, gasa ow rol prenassa i’n chy my re wrug. Eâ, me a garsa prena whegh stamp kensa class, mar pleg. Usy an re teg genowgh, stampow specyal?


Usons, ottensy ha lywans palores warnedha. Whegh stamp – peswar pens whêtek dynar ha dew ugans, mar pleg.


Â, ro dhybm inwedh whegh stamp secùnd class.


Whegh stamp hag ëdhyn warnedha kefrës? Hèn yw eth pens, whegh ha dew ugans in cowl-sùm.


Ot obma deg pens, Jacket. Drog yw genef nag eus tra vëth le genef.


Ny vern, yma lowr a vona munys genef. Eth pens, whegh ha dew ugans – eth ha dew ugans, hanter-cans, naw pens, deg pens. Eus whans dhywgh a neppyth ken?


Ogh, eus, namna wrug vy ankevy. Pëth yw an lytherdoll airbost rag danvon lyther dhe Jermany? Ev a vëdh lyther ha carten pedn bloodh ino. Y fëdh pedn bloodh ow whor in Coloyn an seythen a dheu.


Â, ny wodhyen vy bos whor dhywgh. Pes bloodh yw hy?


Dew ugans hy a vëdh. Heb dowt, polta cotha agesof vy.


Otham vëth a’y leverel, Mêstres Treloar. An lyther yw moy ès ugans gràm. Ytho an pris yw udn pens, eth dynar ha try ugans, mar nyns yw an lyther moy ès cans gràm.


A worowgh pes termyn erna dheffa an lyther dy?


Ogh, treddeth, dell gresa’.


Gromercy dhis, Jacket, me a vydn gorra an lyther dhe’n post hedhyw dohajëdh.


Dâ lowr. Ha me’yll glusa tôkyn airbost dhe’n mailyor ragowgh.


Meur ras, Jacket. Now, py eur yw? Ogh, qwartron dhe hanter-dëdh. Y coodh dhybm fystena ha kerhes ow meppyk in mes a’n bagas gwary. Duw genes, da weles.


Duw genowgh, Mêstres Treloar, gàs gweles.

Jacket is the Cornish form of Jacqueline. A ‘jacket’ is jerkyn. Note how Mrs Treloar mixes informal ty-forms and more formal why-forms in her conversation with Jacket. Such mixing is quite common in traditional Cornish when speaking to someone you know well. But Jacket stays strictly with why-forms, because she is dealing professionally with a customer. Note also the idiomatic alternatives da weles (= dha weles) and gàs gweles (= agas gweles).

Extra vocabulary

sodhva bost (also lytherva) post office

in poynt dâ in good shape, fit, well

i’n eur-ma right now

saw here but

ny dal dhybm I ought not

croffolas grumble, complain

dell dyba’ I think

gas vy dhe let me (do something)

gasa leave

rol list

my re wrug I have (done something)

an re teg the pretty ones

ottensy here they are

warnedha on them

dynar penny

ro (also roy) give – imperative form of ry

kefrës also, too

cowl-sùm total

vëth any (with negative)

le smaller, less

lowr a lots of

mona munys small change

neppyth ken something else

namna wrug vy I almost (did something)

ankevy forget

lytherdoll airbost airmail letter rate

danvon send

lyther letter

Jermany Germany

carten card

pedn bloodh birthday

ino in it

Coloyn Köln, Cologne

an seythen a dheu next week

ny wodhyen vy I did not know

pes bloodh? how many years old?

polta cotha agesof vy quite a bit older than me

otham vëth here no need

moy ès more than

gràm gram

pris price

a worowgh? do you know?

pes termyn how long

erna dheffa an lyther until the letter arrives

treddeth three days

dell gresa’ I believe

hedhyw dohajëdh this afternoon

glusa glue, stick

tôkyn here label, sticker

mailyor envelope

y coodh dhybm I should

meppyk young son

bagas group