Thursday, 1 January 2015

Learn Late Cornish Bit by Bit 9 (Bits of things 1)

Bits of things 1

In English we can talk about indefinite quantities, and so we can in Cornish, e.g.:

tabm[1]                                               a bit, a morsel, a piece, a fragment
moy                                                    more
pub                                                     every
tra                                                       thing
veth                                                    any (in negative expressions), not a

tabm bara                                          a bit of bread
tabm moy                                          a bit more
pub tabm                                           every slice
tabm ha tabm                                    bit by bit
tra veth                                              not a thing
tabm veth                                          not a bit
bara moy                                           more bread

We can combine these with some of the last lesson, using the 3rd person of boas to be (indefinite form):

Ma moy.                                             There is more.
Ma tabm moy.                                   There is a bit more.

Eus[2] tabm bara?                             Is there a bit of bread?
Eus bara moy?                                  Is there more bread?

Nag eus tabm bara.                          There isn’t a bit of bread.
Nag eus tabm veth.                           There’s not a bit.      
                                                            There isn’t any.

Tabm moy, mar pleg!                        A bit more, please!

Used in the imperative:
Ro dhebm[3] tabm!                           Give me a bit!

[1]  Middle Cornish equivalent is <tamm>. The change of <mm> to <bm> probably happened in speech before it was written down. It is known as “pre-occlusion” and is a feature of Late Cornish. Another example is the change that occurred from <nn> to <dn>.
[2] The <s> is voiced like /z/. The vowel pronunciation varies. In Late Cornish this is pronounced /ezz/ (you cannot hear the <u> component). In older texts you may see it written as <eze>.
[3] Another example of  a voiced <dh> , sounds like English “them” but with a slight /b/ before the /m/ sound. This <bm> is called “pre-occlusion” and is characteristic of Late Cornish.  Equivalent words in Middle Cornish are written with <mm> (even if some people pronounce them with pre-occlusion).

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