A Bit More About the Past 2
We have looked at the simple past tense (the preterite) which is usually recognised by the verbal particle a in front and an –as ending, e.g.
a dhebras ate
a welas saw
a sedhas sat
Though a few are irregular, e.g.:
a dheuth came
If you can’t remember the simple preterite (because some are irregular or involve soft mutation), the compound preterite is easily produced by using a wrüg did plus the verbal noun. It should, however be used sparingly – it is an emphatic form, best used in reply to a contrary suggestion or as confirmation, in much the same way as we use did in English, e.g.
me a wrüg doas I did come, I came
me a wrüg debry I did eat, I ate
me a wrüg gweles I did see, I saw
me a wrüg sedha I did sit, I sat
These sentences from previous lessons can be used to show the difference between the preterite and the compound preterite. Notice that the verbal noun shows no mutation:
Ev a dhebras tesen. He ate (a) cake.
Ev a wrüg debry tesen.
Hei a dheuth tre. She came home.
Hei a wrüg doas tre.
An den a welas cok. The man saw a fishing boat.
An den a wrüg gweles cok.
Ev a egoras beister. He opened a window.
Ev a wrüg egery beister.
Me eth dhe’n shoppys De’ Sadorn. I went to the shops on Saturday.
Me a wrüg moas dhe’n shoppys De’ Sadorn.
Me a bernas boos rag kidnyow Nadelik. I bought food for Christmas dinner.
Ma a wrüg perna boos rag kidnyow Nadelik.
An venyn yonk na a gerdhas war an treth.
That young woman walked on the beach.
An venyn yonk na a wrüg kerdhes war an treth.
You need to know the use of wrüg so that you can ask questions or make negative statements (with an appropriate change of particle), e.g.:
(a) wrüga vy doas did I come?
(a) wrüga vy debry did I eat?
(a) wrüga vy gweles did I see?
(a) wrüga vy sedha did I sit?
na wrüga vy doas I didn’t come
na wrüga vy debry I didn’t eat
na wrüga vy gweles I didn’t see
na wrüga vy sedha I didn’t sit
Edrek! ’Wrüga vy sedha en agas chayr?
Sorry! Did I sit in your chair?
Na wrüga vy agas gweles whei. I didn’t see you.
Here is the full affirmative version (we will look at the full interrogative and negative later, as they are less regular):
I did me a wrüg
you did (familiar = thou didst) che a wrüg
he did ev a wrüg
she did hei a wrüg
we did nei a wrüg
you did (formal or plural) whei a wrüg
they did anjei a wrüg
Here are some examples from Matthew II:
… e wrüg doas tüs für adhor an est dhe Jerusalem …
there came (did come) wise men from the east to Jerusalem
wrüg is often combined with pa’ (RMC pan) meaning when or as soon as:
Ha pa’wrüg Herod an mytern klowes hedma, e’ veu troblys …
as soon as Herod the king heard (did hear) this, he was troubled
Nena Herod, pa’wrüg e’ privedh creia an düs für adenewen,…
Then Herod, when he called (did call) the wise men aside privately,
Ha pa’wrüg anjei gweles an steren, jei wrüg rejoyssya gen meur a lowender.
And as soon as they saw (did see) the star they rejoiced (did rejoice) with much joy
Ha jei wrüg doas abera dhe’n chei, ha wrüg gweles an flogh yonk ...
And they came (did come) into the house, and saw (did see) the young child
And here are some examples from Jowan Chei a Horr
Ha pa’wrüg anjei doas dhe’n chei
And when they came (did come) to the house
Ha pa’wrüg e’ doas dhe’n gegin
And when he came (did come) to the kitchen
Ha pa’wrüg e’ doas dhe’n darras
And when he came (did come) to the door
Ha pa’wrüg Jowan doas chei And when John came (did come) home
… pa’wrügo’whei moas ker … when you went (did go) away
 this is pronounced short [rigg] when combined with another verbal noun (as in the examples), but if used on its own meaning made, did it is long [reeg]
 pronounced [kerrez]
 The “question particle” is used in Middle Cornish but has been dropped in Late Cornish (though the mutation gwrüg>wrüg remains).
 In conversation the verbal particle is often left out
 In RLC tüs für is pronounced [teez feer]
 unusually the stress is on the final syllable