Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Writing a Diary 22 (counting the minutes)

Counting the minutes
We have a number of ways of talking about short periods of time, but with the benefits of modern technology we can be more accurate in our time telling. Again, some of the words we use have to be borrowed.
qwarter our
(SWFM kwarter our)
a quarter of an hour
en cott termyn
(SWFM yn kott termyn)
in a short time
powes bian
a brief pause (a rest)
pols alebma
a short while ago
a short while
nebes mynysen        
several minutes
teken (f)
a tick
a second

Here they are put into sentences (some obviously more useful in conversation than in your diary)

Me vedn metya genes en qwarter our.
I will meet you in a quarter of an hour.
Me a wra agas gweles en cott termyn.      
I will see you in a short time.
Gwra gòrtos rag teken!
Wait for a tick!
Wait a second!
Me a wrüg debry pols alebma.
I ate a short while ago.
Òja nebes mynysen me a godhas en cosk.
After several minutes I fell asleep.
An pres ew deg mynysen òja deg eur.
The time is ten minutes after 10 o’clock.
Pana bres ew? Qwarter dhe eth.  
What time is it? A quarter to 8.
Me a worfednas an descans pemp mynysen dhe naw er glogh.
I finished the lesson at five minutes to 9 o’clock.
Termyn vy a veu pemp our, eth mynysen warn ügens ha dewgens teken.
My time was 5 hours, 28 minutes and 40 seconds.
Venta che cowsel genam rag speis?
Will you have a chat with me for a short while?
Vedno whei rei dhebm deg mynysen a ‘gas termyn?
Will you give me 10 minutes of your time?
Vedno whei metya genam en ügens mynysen?
Will you meet me in 20 minutes?

Writing a Diary 21 (times of activities)

Times of activities
Many of us have busy lives – we live by the clock, so we need to tell the time in Cornish. There are plenty of words relating to times of day (by the sun) but clocks and watches were in short supply when Cornish was a community language, so we have had to borrow.
There are two words for “hour”.              
The period of 60 minutes is <our> (m) and the hour meaning “time” is <eur> (f) (shortened to <er> or  <ar>.
Me a wòrtas üdn our.         
I waited 1 hour.
Me a wrüg gòrtos dew our.         
I waited 2 hours. I did wait 2 hours.
Me re wòrtas trei our ragos.
I have waited 3 hours for you.
An pres ew pemp eur.
The time is 5 o’clock.
Me vedn metya genes eth eur[1].
I will meet you at 8 o’clock.
Apart from going by the sun, people would have heard a church or clock tower bell <clogh[2]> – so hours “of the clock” are the same as hours “by the bell”.
Seyth er glogh ew.
It is 7 o’clock.
Me a wra agas gweles whegh er glogh.

I’ll see you at 6 o’clock.
In the absence of accurate minutes, you have either side of the hour (just before or just after):
Teyr eur po nebes ew.
It is just before 3 o’clock. (or some)
Hont dhe dhiw er glogh ew.
It’s just after 2 o’clock. (beyond)
And, of course we have middles, halves and quarters:
An kefewy a wrüg gorfedna hanter nos.
The party finished at midnight.
Me a dhabras ly hanter dedh.
I ate lunch at midday.
Me vedn dha weles hanter òja deg.
I will see you at half past 10.
Wra che metya genam qwarter dhe seyth?
Will you meet me at quarter to 7?
Wrüga whei mires ort agas program qwarter òja[3] eth?
Did you watch your program at quarter past 8?

[1] some people translate English “at” with <dhe> but it is not necessary
[2] the final <gh> is silent in Late Cornish, <glogh> sounds like English “glow”
[3]  SWFM <kwarter wosa>

Monday, 26 September 2016

Writing a Diary 20 (have you? and I have not)

We saw in Writing a Diary 16 how to use the compound preterite to ask a question in the past tense, e.g. We could say
A wresta gweles golow?
Did you see a light?
Wrüga whei gweles an golow na?
Did you see that light?
Asking questions in the perfect tense is simple in English but not in Cornish. There do not seem to be any attested examples of the use of the perfect particle in questions[1].
Middle Cornish just uses the compound preterite.
In Late Cornish if you want to ask someone if they have done something you can again use the passive voice (see Writing a Diary 19).
So “Have you seen?” becomes “Is there seen by you?
Eus gwelys genes? (familiar)
Eus gwelys gena whei? (formal or plural).
eus is the question equivalent of ma = is there?
gwelys is the verbal adjective (as before) = seen
gena whei or genes are the contracted forms of gen with/by plus the personal pronouns.
Eus gwelys genes golow?         
Have you seen a light?
Eus gwelys gena whei an golow?
Have you seen the light?
Eus gwelys genes an golow na kens lebmyn?
Have you seen that light before now?
Here are some more examples using other verbs:

Eus clowys gena whei an nowodhow?
Have you heard the news?
Eus redyes genes an lever ma? 
Have you read this book?
Eus dres gena whei agas mòna?     
Have you brought your money?
Eus pernys genes dillas nowedh agensow?
Have you bought (any) new clothes recently?
Eus spendys gena whei cans pens?
Have you spent £100?
Eus res genes ro dhe dha dhama?
Have you given a present to your mother?
Eus kevys gena whei agas alwedhow?
Have you found your keys?
Eus kellys genes dha skians?
Have you lost your wits?
Eus nakevys gena whei agas token?
Have you forgotten your ticket?
And for a negative answer you just put <nag> before <eus>, e.g.

Nag eus remembrys genam o sagh.
I have not remembered my bag.
Nag eus gasowys genam orth an radyo alergh.
I have not listened to the radio lately.

[1]  A rather archaic Middle Cornish negative might be <ny welis vy>

Writing a Diary 19 (perfect tense)

We have looked at several ways of expressing past activities.
There is the simple past tense (preterite), e.g.
Me a welas. (Me welas.) I saw.
There is the compound preterite, e.g.
Me a wrüg gweles. (Me wrüg gweles.) I did see.
In English we can also say “I have seen.” This is the perfect tense. It indicates a completed action. There are two ways of dealing with this in Cornish.
In later Cornish the idiom was to use the passive voice.
So “I have seen” became “There is seen by me”.
Ma gwelys genam. (Ma gwelys gene’vy.)
Ma is the present tense of boas to be, being (impersonal form) = there is
gwelys is the past participle/adjective form of gweles to see, seeing = seen
genam is the contracted form of gen with/by plus the personal pronoun.
Me a welas golow.
I saw a light.
Me a wrüg gweles golow.
(can be emphatic)
I did see a light.
Ma gwelys[1] genam an golow.
I have seen the light.
Ma gwelys gene’vy an golow o honan!
I have seen the light myself!
Ma gwelys gena nei y steren en Est (William Rowe)
We have seen his star in the East

Texts written in Middle Cornish may use an older version of the perfect tense (dropped in later Cornish), replacing the verbal particle a with the “perfect particle” re (not to be confused with re meaning too/too much) plus the preterite. (You will appreciate the simplicity of using <re> with the compound preterite!)
e.g. Me re welas
or Me re wrüg gweles
I have seen
Notice that <re> causes the same soft mutation as <a> did.
me re evas  
or me re wrüg eva…

I have drunk
= ma evys genam
me re gemeras
or me re wrüg kemeres…

I have taken
= ma kemerys genam
me re dhabras
or me re wrüg debry…

I have eaten
= ma debrys genam
me re bernas
or me re wrüg perna …
I have bought
= ma pernys genam

me re spendyas
or me re wrüg spendya…
I have spent
= ma spendys genam

me re ros
or me re wrüg rei…
I have given
= ma res genam

me re dhros
or me re wrüg drei…
I have brought
= ma dres genam

me re gavas     
or me re wrüg cavos…
I have found
= ma kevys genam

me re gollas     
or me re wrüg kelly…
I have lost
= ma kellys genam

me re necovas
or me re wrüg nakevy…
I have forgotten
= ma nakevys genam

[1]  In RLC the past participle ended in –ez, so this is the pronunciation of <ys>

Writing a Diary 18 (when you are going to do things)

We have looked at the time frame for things you did in the past. Now let’s give a time frame to things you are going to do in the future.
the day after tomorrow
e.g  Hedhyw me a vedn pònya üdn mildir, avorow dew vildir, ha trenja trei mildir.                      
I’ll run 1 mile today, 2 miles tomorrow and 3 miles the day after tomorrow.
We can use the days of the week, e.g.
De Sül me a wra gòrtas tre.         
On Sunday I am going to stay home.
De Sadorn me vedn moas dhe gefewy.
On Saturday I will go to a party.

We can precede the days of the week with <nessa> meaning “next”, e.g.
Me wra doas tre nessa (de) Lün.
I’m coming home next Monday.
We can also use <nessa> before other time divisions, e.g.
Me vedn redya dew lever nessa seythen.
I’ll read two books next week.
Me a vedn neyja e’n mor nessa mis.
I’ll swim in the sea next month.
Me wra dendyl showr a vòna nessa bledhen.
I’ll earn a lot of money next year.
Me a wra redya lever moy an seythen nessa.
I’ll read another book the following week.
Me a vedn moas tre an jorna-ma war seythen.
I’ll go home today week.
<nessa> on its own can mean “on a future occasion”, e.g.
Me vedn moas nessa. 
I’ll go on a future occasion.
(I’ll go dreckly!)
There are several other terms you can use for the future, e.g.
e’n termyn a vedn doas
in the time that will come
en termyn a dheu[1]
in a time that is coming
If you are going to do something by a deadline, you can use <kens> meaning “before
or <bedn> meaning “by”, e.g.
Me wra y wül kens pedn seythen.
I’ll do it within a week (before the end of a week).
Me a vedn debry kens moas dhe’n wariva.
I’ll eat before going to the theatre.
Me a wra gwil diwedh bedn hav.                    
I’ll finish by summer.

[1] This is a tense called the “present-future” of <doas> to come. Use it, too, for any time that is  “coming”, e.g. de Yow a dheu Thursday coming. (dheu will come rhymes with de yesterday)