Friday, 16 January 2015

Learn Late Cornish Bit by Bit 33 (Definite Article 2)

Definite article 2

So far we have used nouns with ew and ma, e.g.:

Cath dü[1] ew.                              It’s a black cat.
Cath vian ew hobma                   This is a little cat.

Ma cath ena.                                There is a cat there.
Ma cath o toas.                            There is a cat coming. OR A cat is coming.

See what happens if we use a definite article with the noun:

An gath dü ew.                             It’s the black cat.
An gath vian ew hobma              This is the little cat.

Ma’n gath ena.                             The cat is there.
Ma’n gath o toas.                        The cat is coming.[2]

Using nouns without a definite article in questions and negative statements so far we have seen:

Ew cath dü?                                 Is it a black cat?
Nag ew cath dü.                           It is not a black cat.
Ew hobma cath dü?                    Is this a black cat?
Nag ew hobma cath dü.             This is not a black cat.

Eus cath ena?                             Is there a cat there?
Nag eus cath ena.                      There isn’t a cat there.
                                                     There’s no cat there.

Using nouns with the definite article in questions and negative statements we have:

Ew an gath dü?                             Is the cat black?
Nag ew an gath dü.                      The cat is not black.
Ew hobma an gath dü?                Is this the black cat?
Nag ew hobma an gath dü?        This is not the black cat?

But you cannot use eus or nag eus when the noun has a definite article. Instead we use üjy and nag üjy[3]:

Üjy an gath ena?                            Is the cat there?
Nag üjy an gath ena.                     The cat is not there.
Üjy an gath o toas?                        Is the cat coming?   
Nag üjy an gath o toas.                 The cat is not coming.

[1] Although you would expect <dü> to mutate after <cath> which is feminine, <dh> does not follow <th> here. There was also a reluctance to mutate <d> to <dh> after <s>, so a black sheep is <davas dü> rather than <davas dhü>.
[2] Don’t be tempted to translate this as There is the cat coming, which would not be good English.
[3] pronounced like [ij-jee] 

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