Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Learn Late Cornish Bit by Bit: test your progress 1

Can you find the Bits in the preceding blogs to translate the following from Cornish to English? (Answers will be provided in a later blog.)

Exercise 1a

1.                           Ma Jory e’n gegin.
2.                           Ma hei o moas e’n gegin.
3.                           Eus keus war an bord?                   
4.                           Nag eus üdn venyn reb an mor.
5.                           Ma va o tebry o aval.
6.                           Hager ew Jory
7.                           Ew an daras?
8.                          Thew beister.
9.                          Thew peth ev.
10.                        Nag ew an dhavas.

And can you find the Bits to translate the following from English to Cornish?

Exercise 1b
1.        one man
2.        on a bank
3.        It is a woman.
4.        Kate is lovely.
5.        She is not ugly.
6.        She is on a bed.
7.        He is coming.
8.        There isn’t a dog on the bank.
9.        Is there one apple on the table?
10.      Is it a sheep?

an gewer hedhyw

Nag ew an gewer yeyn hedhyw. 
Comolek ew ha gwenjek. 
Na ellama gweles an mor. 
Glas ew, pecar ha’n ebron. 
Loos avel lüjü ew an mor ha’n keth loos ew an ebron.

Ma lily Corawys solabres ogas dhe’n eglos.
Ma delkyow marow war an dar, bes ma'n eythin o bleujyowa.

Learn Late Cornish Bit by Bit 8 (Possessive adjectives 1)

Possessive adjectives I

You may spot in another guise. Used before the noun it also means my. Unfortunately you have to remember some more mutations! So, you may prefer to use the personal pronoun after the noun, e.g.

kei                                         a dog
hei                                     my dog
an[1] kei vy[2]                       my dog
hota                                    my coat

[1] some people may omit the definite article <an> if it is obvious that there is only one dog in question
[2] This <vy> does  not rhyme with English “pie”. In old texts it was often written <vee>, so this is the pronunciation.

Learn Late Cornish Bit by Bit 7 (Verbal particles 2)

Verbal particles 2

The locative form of boas is used with secondary verbs (as in English “He is buying”.). An additional verbal particle is used with this locative form of boas. In English we form the present participle by adding “-ing”  to the end of the verb. In Late Cornish we put o[1] in front of it. e.g.

perna                                       buy
o perna[2]                                buying
Ma va o perna.                        He is buying.
kelly                                         lose
o kelly                                      losing
Ma hei o kelly.                         She is losing.
moas[3]                                    go
o moas                                     going
Ma hei o moas.                       She is going.

Middle Cornish biased SWF uses owth in front of vowels, to make pronunciation smoother[4], e.g.

eva                                           drink
owth eva                                 drinking
Ma va owth eva.                     He is drinking.

The presence of the verbal particle causes the initial letter of some following verbs to mutate. Instead of the softening we have seen before, this time they harden, so different letters are involved. A full list will be given later, but here are some examples:

doas                                         come
o toas                                       coming
Ma hei o toas.                         She is coming.
Ma hei o toas tre.                    She is coming home.

debry                                       eat
o tebry                                     eating
Ma va o tebry tesen.               He is eating a cake.

[1] RMC <ow>.  In RLC, if used at all, this was spelt <a>. Pronunciation is schwa - in other words just an unformed, neutral vowel. Don’t make it rhyme with [cow].  In conversation it is frequently omitted anyway.
[2] However, the <o> is not needed if you use the present participle as a verbal noun (gerund in English), as in “I like buying shoes.”
[3] Single syllable without pronouncing the <a> component separately. Middle Cornish <mos>. Pronounced /mozz/ rather broadly. The same vowel combination is seen in only a few other words.
[4] RLC can get round the problem by leaving it out, especially when speaking! e.g.  Mava eva.  

Learn Late Cornish Bit by Bit 6 (Pronouns 1)

Pronouns 1

These can be used as the subjects of a verb, or as possessive adjectives. Still with the 3rd person singular, ew and ma can be made more personal and precise.

he, his                                                  ev[1] (after a consonant)
                                                                 va (after a vowel)
she, her                                                hei

e.g. Descriptive form:

Jory ew ev.                                           He  is George.
Kettern ew hei.                                     She is Kate.
Teg ew hei .[2]                                      She is lovely.
Hager ew ev.                                         He is ugly.

As before, if you start the sentence with Ew it is a question, but a more precise one with the inclusion of a personal pronoun, e.g.

Ew e’[3] Jory?                                       Is he George?
Ew hei Kettern?                                    Is she Kate?
Ew hei teg?                                           Is she lovely?
Ew ev hager                                          Is he ugly?

The verbal particle Th stops it being a question, e.g.

Thewa Jory.                                            He is George.
Thew hei Kettern.                                   She is Kate.
Thew hei teg.                                          She is lovely.
Thew ev hager                                        He is ugly.

And, again, Th can be replaced by Nag to make a negative sentence e.g.

Nag ew e’ Jory.                                       He is not George.
Nag ew hei Kettern.                                She is not Kate.
Nag ew hei teg.                                       She is not lovely.
Nag ew ev hager.                                    He is not ugly.

Using the pronouns as possessive adjectives, after a noun[4]:

Thew an kei ev.                                       It is his dog.
Thew an peth hei.                                   It is her thing. It is hers.

e.g. Locative form:

Ma va[5] war an ladn.                              He is on the bank.
Ma hei e’n wedhen.                                 She is in the tree.
Ma va et an gwely.                                   He is in the bed.
Ma hei reb tan.                                         She is by a fire.
Ma hei e’n gegin.                                     She is in the kitchen.

[1] Before a consonant this can be abbreviated to <e’>.
[2] The weather is always feminine, so this can apply to a nice day.
[3] This could even be further contracted to Ewa Jory?
[4] See later for possessive adjectives to use before the noun.
[5] In RLC we may write <mava> as one word.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Te ha Tesednow blog

There is more interesting stuff to read in Cornish, written by various members of the Cussel an Tavas Kernowek (The Cornish Language Council) on a parallel blog:

An gewer hedhyw

Yeyn o an nos. En mettin thera rew war agan to gweder.

Ha thera rew war an gwels ha niwl en dadn Caer Dane.

Pur pur las o an mor.

Monday, 29 December 2014

Frost not snow on the grass

Ew hedna ergh war an gwels? 
Nag ew. Nag ew ergh. 
Rew ew. Dedh pur yeyn o hedhyw.

Drolla Rag Flehes 1


Radn 1. Dalleth Pub Tra Oll
The Start of Everything

“Ma odhom dhebm a olifans gwydn.”
Hodna a veu Jana, hor vy.
“Gwra gofen orth dha dhama wydn.”
Hodna a veu agan dama. Thera hei bes hanter orth hy gosowes. Hanter aral hy attendyans a veu res dhe galetter broas: fatel alja hei gwitha agan broder dhort towla brudnyon tû ha’n gath? Ma dhodho gallos marthys rag nebonan ew bes dew vloodh.
“Rag fra ma fowt dhis olifans gwydn, poran?”
Hedna a veu agan sira, pub pres den für.
“Rag an gwerth olifanjes gwydn en fer scol, en tei. Rag fra ken?”
“Drog ew genam, chil vian, dhe egery dha lagajow, bes nag ew gwerthow olifanjes gwydn rag gwertha olifanjes gwydn.”
Mir trûedhek era dhe Jana.
“Nag ero vy convedhes.”
“Thew olifanjes gwydn taclow nag eus fowt dhe düs, na fella.”
“An taclow henwys atal gen Mabm?”
“Nantei. Jei ’ell boas da lowr, bes na ell tüs cawas ûs veth ragt’anjei.”
“Me ’alja ûsya olifans gwydn.”
“Ma taclow üjy et agan bes eus dhe voas olifanjes gwydn. Thens pernys ha nena boas res dhe ves rag boas gwerthys arta. Thens radn an economy.”
“Bettegens, penag oll a vo anjei, ma odhom dhebm onan anedhans.”
Lebmyn, thera geryow an Tas o seny pecar ha’n re Mabm.

“Gwra gofen orth dha dhama wydn!”

Learn Late Cornish Bit by Bit 5 (Verbal particles 1)

Verbal particles 1

These look like fragments of words. By themselves they don’t really have a meaning. In the descriptive form of boas, Th before ew at the start of a sentence prevents it from being a question, e.g.  

Ew kei?[1]                                Is it a dog?
but Th[2]ew kei.                       It is a dog.
Ew teg?                                   Is it lovely?
Thew teg.                                It is lovely.
Ew Jory?                                Is it George?
Thew Jory.                             It is George.

In the case of boas, the negative is produced by replacing Th with Nag, e.g.

Nag ew kei.                             It is not a dog.
Nag ew teg.                            It is not lovely.

Nag is also used with the locative, though the negative and question forms do not use ma.
The indefinite[3] equivalent of ma for use with the negative and interrogative is eus[4].

Eus keus?                              Is there (any) cheese?
Eus mel?                                Is there (any) honey?
Eus?                                       Is there (any)?

The negative puts Nag in front of eus.

Nag eus keus war an bord.            There isn’t any cheese on the table.
Nag eus mel e’n pot.                       There isn’t any honey in the pot.
Nag eus prev e’n aval.                    There isn’t a worm in the apple.
Nag eus kei reb an tan.                   There isn’t a dog by the fire.

Or as a negative question:

Nag eus keus?                                  Isn’t  there (any) cheese?
Nag eus?                                           Isn’t  there (any)?

[1] If you just wanted to give a positive answer to this you could just say Ew. or Ea, ew.
[2] Traditional Late Cornish joins this verbal particle to the verb, e.g. Thew kei. Middle Cornish and KS may use <yth> instead of <th> and it is not joined, so <Yth yw> instead of <Thew>.
[3] eus is NEVER used with the definite article or with names.
[4] Modern Cornish spells this <ez>, and the pronunciation is [ezz] not [ooz].

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Learn Late Cornish Bit by Bit 4 (Verbs 1)

Verbs I

The verb to be, boas (SWFM bos), is ubiquitous. Cornish uses two main forms, the descriptive (with names, nouns and adjectives) and the locative (used with positions and actions). It is very useful to know the third person singular, is, of both of them.

i)   Descriptive form:

ew[1] when used alone after the description means it is or it’s.
Two short words can form a sentence, e.g.

Jory ew.                                  It’s George.
Kettern ew.                             It’s Kate.

These might be the answer to a question, e.g.
 Piwa[2] hedna?                     Who’s that?

In response to the question

Pandr’ew hedna?   What’s that?

you might say one of the following:

Aval ew.                                  It[3] is an apple.
Tan ew.                                   It is a fire.
Kei ew.                                    It’s a dog.
An gath ew.                            It’s the cat.
An tas ew.                              It’s the father.

Or, in response to the question

Pehen ew hedna?                What’s that like?

you might say one of the following:

Teg ew[4].                               It’s lovely.
Hager ew.                               It’s ugly./ It is horrid.
Hir[5] ew.                                It’s long./ It is tall.

With an appropriate past participle, ew can be used to form the passive voice.
The past participle acts as an adjective. e.g.:

Debrys[6] ew.                        It’s eaten.

This might be in answer to a question, e.g.

Pe le[7] ma an desen?          Where is the cake?

Gwelys ew.                            It’s seen.

This might be expanded, e.g.

Gwelys ew en termyn nos.   It’s seen in the night time.

If you start the sentence with Ew it is automatically a question, e.g.

Ew teg?                                   Is it lovely?
Ew kei?                                   Is it a dog?

ii)         Locative form:

Ma[8] when used alone, without a subject, means there is. This is the indefinite form.
Again, just two short words can form a sentence, e.g.

Ma keus.[9]                             There is (some) cheese.
Ma mel.                                   There is honey.

The sentences can obviously be elongated by adding a location, e.g.

Ma keus war an bord.           There is (some) cheese on the table.
Ma mel e’n pot.                      There is honey in the pot.
Ma prev e’n aval.                   There is a worm in the apple.
Ma kei reb tan.                       There is a dog by a fire.

[1] Middle Cornish spelling is <yw>. Pronunciation of ew/yw varies, e.g. [e-oo] or [i-oo]. Try to avoid putting a very English [y] sound on the beginning!
[2] This is a contraction of Piw ew…?
[3] If not closely defined by a personal pronoun it can actually mean he/she/it is ….
[4] This might be describing the weather.
[5] A standing stone or men hir is tall when it is upright but long when it has fallen over!
[6] In Late Cornish the past participle ends in <ez>. In SWF it ends in <ys>. Pronunciation is [ez].
[7] Middle Cornish contraction to <ple> or <pleth>
[8] Middle Cornish uses  <yma>. Late Cornish can use <ema>.
[9] Another umbrella vowel (Middle Cornish and Late Cornish have different pronunciations). Approximate LC pronunciation rhymes with “gaze”