Monday, 29 December 2014

Learn Late Cornish Bit by Bit 5 (Verbal particles 1)

Verbal particles 1

These look like fragments of words. By themselves they don’t really have a meaning. In the descriptive form of boas, Th before ew at the start of a sentence prevents it from being a question, e.g.  

Ew kei?[1]                                Is it a dog?
but Th[2]ew kei.                       It is a dog.
Ew teg?                                   Is it lovely?
Thew teg.                                It is lovely.
Ew Jory?                                Is it George?
Thew Jory.                             It is George.

In the case of boas, the negative is produced by replacing Th with Nag, e.g.

Nag ew kei.                             It is not a dog.
Nag ew teg.                            It is not lovely.

Nag is also used with the locative, though the negative and question forms do not use ma.
The indefinite[3] equivalent of ma for use with the negative and interrogative is eus[4].

Eus keus?                              Is there (any) cheese?
Eus mel?                                Is there (any) honey?
Eus?                                       Is there (any)?

The negative puts Nag in front of eus.

Nag eus keus war an bord.            There isn’t any cheese on the table.
Nag eus mel e’n pot.                       There isn’t any honey in the pot.
Nag eus prev e’n aval.                    There isn’t a worm in the apple.
Nag eus kei reb an tan.                   There isn’t a dog by the fire.

Or as a negative question:

Nag eus keus?                                  Isn’t  there (any) cheese?
Nag eus?                                           Isn’t  there (any)?

[1] If you just wanted to give a positive answer to this you could just say Ew. or Ea, ew.
[2] Traditional Late Cornish joins this verbal particle to the verb, e.g. Thew kei. Middle Cornish and KS may use <yth> instead of <th> and it is not joined, so <Yth yw> instead of <Thew>.
[3] eus is NEVER used with the definite article or with names.
[4] Modern Cornish spells this <ez>, and the pronunciation is [ezz] not [ooz].

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