Sunday, 21 June 2015

Personal Descriptions 5 (age and gender)

At some point age and gender come into the conversation:
den                                   man
benyn                               woman
flogh                                child
yonk                                 young (Middle Cornish yowynk)
coth                                  old      
tevesik/tevesiges              adult (grownup)
Benyn yonk o vy.             I’m a young woman.
Tevesiges yonk o vy.        I’m a young adult (female).

In English I might say “I’m a woman with grey hair.” In Cornish we say the equivalent of “I’m a woman, grey my hair.” We do not translate the “with”, so:
Benyn o vy loos o blew.             I’m a woman with grey hair.
Den coth o vy gwydn o barv.     I’m an old man with a white beard.
Flogh yonk o vy crüllys o blew. I’m a young child with curly hair.
Pedn rous o vy gwer o lagajow.  I’m a redhead with green eyes.

When talking to some Cornish speakers you may find that instead of starting a sentence with “Tho vy…” for “I am …” they start a sentence with “My yw …” (RMC spelling) e.g.
My yw benyn goth.                    I am an old woman.

My yw tevesik.                           I am a grownup (m).

Personal Descriptions 4 (type of hair)

Other  hairy features you might need to describe:

abranjow (abransow in Middle Cornish). eyebrows
blew lagas                                              eyelashes
minvlew                                                 moustache

bar      (barv in Middle Cornish)               beard

Here are some other descriptions that might apply to hairy parts:

berr                                      short
compes                                straight
crüllys                                  curly (pronounced /krillez/)
hes cres                                mid-length
hir                                        long
tanow                                   thin/sparse
tew                                       thick
todnek                                  wavy

If you have no hair, of course, you may need the following:
mool                                   bald
pedn pilys                           a bald person
heb blew                             hairless (without hair)
Pedn pilys o vy.                   I’m a bald person.
Ma dhebm blew hir ha compes.             
                                            I have long and straight hair.

Personal descriptions 3 (hair and eyes)

Now for physical attributes. Translations between Cornish and English are not word for word.
To say “I have …,” you use the equivalent of  “There is to me …," 
i.e. Ma dhebm
Pe liw ew agas blew?                   What colour is your hair?
The word for hair is blew. The word for head is pedn. The adjective comes after the noun. Instead of saying I have coloured hair it may be simpler to say I am a coloured head.
Ma dhebm blew dû.                  I have black hair.
Pedn dû o vy.                            I am a brunette. 
                                                 (lit. I’m a blackhead)
Ma dhebm blew gwydn.           I have white hair.
Pedn gwydn o vy.                     I have white hair. 
                                                   (lit. I’m a whitehead)
Ma dhebm blew melyn.             I have yellow/fair/blonde hair.
Pedn melyn o vy.                       I’m a blonde. 
                                                   (lit. I’m a yellowhead)
Ma dhebm blew rous (or rüdh).  I have red hair. 
                                                   (rous is more ginger)
Pedn rous (or rüdh) o vy.           I’m a redhead.

The word for eyes is lagajow (lagasow in Middle Cornish). 
There are two ways of describing your eyes; either using <Ma dhebm … > or using <ew> the third person “is/are”.
Pe liw ew agas lagajow?               What colour are your eyes?
Blou ew o lagajow.                        My eyes are blue.
Ma dhebm lagajow blou.                I have blue eyes.
Here are some more possible hair colours and eye colours (some more natural than others).
arhans                                         silver
gell                                              light brown
glas[1]                                         blue/green/grey
gorm                                            dark brown
gwadnliwek                                 pale (weak coloured)
gwer                                             green
gwerwyn                                      light green
loos                                              grey
owryek                                         golden
tewal/tewl                                   dark/brown[2]

[1]  often used for describing the sea or natural vegetation, found in Cornish place names
[2]  Gendall also has donak for brown

Personal descriptions 2 (occupations)

When asked about what I do:
Pandr’ew agas soodh?                What is your occupation?
I might answer:
Descadores o vy.                         I’m a teacher
Here are some more occupations with which to start your answer. Where there are two options for a word,< -es> is the feminine ending.
artydh/artydhes                           artist
clavjior/clavjiores                       nurse
den whel                                     workman
gwicor/gwicores                          trader
gwrety                                         housewife/housekeeper
leveryas/leveryades                     librarian
lowarther/lowarthores                 gardener
lymner/lymnores                         painter (art)
magores                                       nanny (originally wet nurse)
mammeth                                     foster mother (wet nurse)
medhek dens/medhoges dhens    dentist
medhek/medhoges                       doctor
payntyer/payntyores                    painter (house)
scrifa/scrifores                             writer
scrifednyas/scrifenyades              secretary
studhyer/studhyores                     student

tiek/tioges                                    farmer

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Personal Descriptions 1 (who you are and what you do)

Now we are going to concentrate for a while on talking about ourselves and answering questions about ourselves.

Personal Descriptions 1
In a new situation, meeting new people, you need to introduce yourself. If you are not meeting face to face you may need to describe yourself as well. You may want to respond to a number of questions. (Of course you can ask them too.) The part of the verb “to be” that you need is <o vy>; or <Tho vy> if it starts the sentence. Remember that whatever starts a sentence is the most important thing (it saves stressing it vocally).
Piw o whei?                                  Who are you?
In speaking to a child you may use the more familiar question:
Piw os ta?                                     Who are you?
Ellama presentya o honen?         May I introduce myself?
Jan Lobb o vy.                              I’m Jan Lobb.
You, of course, substitute your own name.
Someone may be looking for me in a crowd. Notice the difference in word order:
Piw ew Jan Lobb?                        Who is Jan Lobb?
Tho vy Jan Lobb. (or Me ew Jan Lobb.)   I am Jan Lobb.         
A slightly more complicated question about identity (what name) involves a slightly longer answer (I’m called):
Pe hanow o whei?                         What name are you?
Jan Lobb henwys o vy.                  I’m named/called Jan Lobb.
Obviously, I might be asked about what I do:
Pandr’ew agas soodh?                  What is your occupation?
I might answer:
Descadores/Descajores o vy.        I’m a teacher. (m. descador/ descajor))
Omdednys/Aneylys o vy.               I’m retired.
Descadores omdednys o vy.          I’m a retired teacher.

Descores o vy.                               I’m a learner. (m. desker)