Sunday, 8 March 2015

Learn Late Cornish Bit by Bit 59 (A Bit About Things)

A Bit About Things

We have already met two words that mean thing (even if the English translations did not include the word “thing”). The first of these was peth (SWFM pyth), e.g:

Thew an peth hei.                           It is her thing. It is hers.
Ven’ta che boas peth vy?              Wilt thou be mine (my thing)?
Ma sagh genam, bes nag ew peth vy.  
                                                         I have a bag, but it is not mine (my thing).  
Po nag eus keus, dro peth eus.    
                                         If there isn’t any cheese, bring what (thing) there is.

Its meaning can be extended by combining it with other words, such as neb some or any:

neppeth                                                   something, anything
Ma fowt a neppeth  .                              Something is missing.
Eus fowt dhe whei a neppeth?             Do you lack something? 
                                                                Do you need anything?
Ero’whei o perna neppeth?                  Are you buying anything?
Thero’vy o perna neppeth.                   I am buying something.
Me a bernas neppeth rag Nadelik.       I bought something for Christmas.

The other thing word we have met is tra, and in combined and mutated form dra, e.g.:

tra veth[1]                                               nothing, not a thing
Na (w)ora’vy[2] tra veth oll.                  I don’t know anything at all.
Nag eus dhe hei tra e’n bes.                She has nothing in the world.
tra vroas                                                something important
Nag ew tra vroas.                                 It’s nothing important.
lies tra[3]                                                many things

pandra[4]                                               what (thing)
Pandr’ew hedna?                                 What (thing) is that?
Pandr’ew hebma?                                What (thing) is this?
Pandr’ero’whei o cül?                         What (thing) are you doing?
Na ’orama pandra dhe leverel.           I don’t know what (thing) to say.
Oro’whei pandra dhe wül?                 Do you know what (thing) to do?

Occasionally we may associate our two thing words in the same idiomatic sentence:

Neb peth ew neb tra!                           That’s something at least!

This little word nebmeaning variously some or any, crops up all over the place, either separately or combined. We have already met neppeth and nebes, e.g. :

Ero’whei o cül neppeth?                     Are you doing anything?
Nag era bes nebes.                              There was only a little.
Other examples. of which more later, are:

nebonen                                                somebody, anyone, etc.
Eus nebonen en chei?                         Is there anyone at home?
neb pres                                                never, at no time
neb tü                                                    anywhere, nowhere
nebun[5]                                                a certain
po nebes[6]                                           almost

[1]    the negative version of neppeth
[2]   the initial w in wora is silent, and in Late Cornish can be omitted
[3]   notice that lies behaves like a number and is followed by singular tra
[4]  a contraction of pe an dra what the thing – pronounced with the stress on dra
[5]   This is neb combined with üdn, as such it causes the same soft mutation as üdn and an
[6]   we will meet this when we come to talk about time

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