Saturday, 10 January 2015

Learn Late Cornish Bit by Bit 23 (Quantities and counting 3)

Quantities and counting 3

We have seen the use of words such as tabm, moy, leun, etc. when dealing with imprecise quantities, including mutation of some nouns after a of, e.g.

tabm tesen                                                          a slice of cake                      
bara moy                                                             more bread
leun a leth                                                           full of milk
gwedren a win                                                    a glass of wine
tesen aral                                                            another cake

However, aral meaning another implies a different one rather than an extra one, e.g. In John of Chyanhor, John thinks he hears another man in his wife’s bed:

Me a venja clowes den aral[1] en gwely

What about the bread before it is divided up? We can use

torth (f)                                                                 a loaf
torthel (f)                                                              a bun
torth a vara                                                          a loaf of bread

We have seen the use of üdn for a single item, including the mutation of some feminine nouns, e.g.

üdn aval                                                           one apple      
üdn wedhen                                                     one tree
üdn dorth a vara                                              one loaf of bread
üdn dorthel                                                      one bun
üdn vildir                                                          one mile

We have seen that numbers above one[2] take a singular noun, e.g.

deg den                                                             ten man         
seyth sagh[3]                                                    seven bag, seven sack
pemp torth a vara                                             five loaf of bread
dew besk[4]                                                       two fish

This is true however high the number, e.g.

cans kei                                                     a hundred dog
hanter cans benyn                                    fifty (literally half a hundred) woman
pemp mil dhen[5]                                      five thousand man
mil vildir                                                    a thousand mile
lies benyn                                                  many woman

What about combining some of these quantities? e.g.

trei sagh leun                                            three bags full           
trei thabm[6] tesen                                    three pieces of cake
dewdhek canstel a vrowyan                     twelve baskets of crumbs

When we have numbers higher than twenty, we have to be careful where we put the noun. It goes after the first component of the number, e.g.

peder[7] mola dhü warn ügens                  four and twenty blackbirds  
cans kei Dalmacyan hag onan                   a hundred and one Dalmations
trei ügens bledhen ha deg                          seventy years[8]

We can build up sentences, e.g.

Ma peder mola dhü warn ügens en hogen.  
                                                               There are 24 blackbirds in a pie.
Ev a gerras/gerdhas[9] pemp mildir.             
                                                              He walked five miles.           
Ma lies benyn pecar ha’n gwenen.[10]          
                                                             There are many women like the bees.     
Ma lies gwreg lacka ’vel seg.                         
                                                           There are many wives worse than draff 
                                                                                                     (i.e. useless)

[1] alternative RLC spelling <orol> , plural <erel>.
[2] See Table D for numbers from 1 to 40
[3]  old RLC spelling <zah> gives you the best pronunciation
[4] pesk fish is masculine, so needs dew for two; but dew causes soft mutation of  pesk to besk.
[5] mil  itself is feminine and causes soft mutation of  some following consonants.
[6] trei causes a spirant mutation  (c/k>h, p>f, t>th), so <thabm> rather than <tabm>
[7] Numbers two, three and four have separate versions for masculine and feminine nouns.  Mola is feminine, so takes peder instead of pajar.
[8] literally three score years and ten
[9] Two possible spellings, only one RLC pronunciation – don’t say the <dh>
[10] Part of the Cornish Rhymes of James Jenkins of Alverton near Penzance, published in the “Old Cornwall” Journal.. 

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