Saturday, 27 December 2014

Learn Late Cornish Bit by Bit 3 (Prepositions 1)


 Prepositions 1

These are used before nouns, in association with the "locative" form of boas, the verb “be, being”, to indicate position (location). Some of them are short words.

i)   The examples in the previous posts use en[1] in.

Examples without a definite article:

en tan                                      in a fire
en gwely                                 in a bed
en padel                                  in a pan
en tesen                                  in a cake

Before the definite article or a few other words (mainly possessive adjectives) beginning with a vowel you may find the final n is hardened to t. (You never say en an.) So, alternatives for “in the apple”, etc. could be

et an aval                                in the apple
et an wedhen                         in the tree

(though it is more usual to use <e’n> for “in the”)

but:

en üdn wedhen[2]               in a certain tree, in one tree

Other short prepositions include:

ii)   war  on[3] (this causes a soft mutation of some immediate following nouns, whether male or female, singular or plural), e.g.

daras (m)                             a door
war dharas                          on a door, as a door
but:
war an daras                       on the door

gladn (f)                               a bank (of river, etc.)
war ladn                               on a bank
war an ladn                          on the bank

See Table C later for more examples.

In numbers, the definite article is abbreviated after war, so

warn[4]                                   on the, e.g.  
deg warn ügens[5]                thirty (literally ten on the twenty)
dew warn ügens                    twenty two (literally two on the twenty)

iii)         reb[6] by, beside (does not itself cause mutation), e.g.

reb gwedhen                        by a tree
reb an wedhen                     by the tree (mutation is caused by an not by reb)
reb daras                              by a door
reb an daras                         by the door
reb an mor                            beside the sea
reb tan                                   beside a fire

iv)   dhe[7]  to, at, for (another preposition that causes soft mutation), e.g.

dhe dharas                             to a door
dhe veister                             to a window
dhe düs[8]                              to people

In some contexts dhe is also used in front of verbs (but not necessarily where we would use to in English), and these similarly soften[9], e.g.


boas[10]                                  be
dhe voas                                 to be
debry[11]                                eat
dhe dhebry                             to eat
doan[12]                                  carry
dhe dhoan                              to carry






[1] In Middle Cornish the spelling is <yn>. KS uses in.
[2] People might, of course, have said “et üdn” but there are no attested examples in the old texts.
[3] Gendall says war can also mean  upon, about, at, against, by, by way of, as a, for use as
[4] This abbreviation is only used in numbers
[5] pronounced approx. [dayg war’n igg’nz]  with the stress on the [igg]. According to Gendall, the vowel in deg or den  is a pure vowel like French é as in été.
[6] Middle Cornish spelling is <ryb>
[7] This is also variously spelt as dha, dho, da, do
[8] pronounced [deez]: Gendall spells this dîz
[9] If you want to look up the meaning of a word following dhe undo the mutation first
[10] Middle Cornish equivalent <boas> mutates to <voas>
[11] Middle Cornish equivalent <dybry> mutates to <dhybry>
[12] Middle Cornish equivalent <don> mutates to <dhon>

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