Cornish notes for beginners by Neil Kennedy

Section 4
4.1 Pandríera why a keel ? What are you doing? What do you do?
4.2 Actions and locations with the verb boaz.
4.3 Verbs: Examples of the present participle.
4.4 Peleah? Where? (Also spelt peleha)
4.5 Where things are: Prepositions
4.6 Cowz bear: A short conversation
4.7 Pandríidgeva 'keel?: What is he doing? Pandríidge hy keel?: What is she doing? Pandr'iggans 'keel?: What are they doing?
4.8 Ea ha Na. Yes and No
4.9 Ez? (questions)
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4.1 Pandríera why a keel ? What are you doing? What do you do?

thera ve or theram: I am This is part of the verb BOAZ used for actions and locations.

thera ve 'cones: Iím working (gones: to work; cones: working g > c)

thera ve 'tebry: Iím eating (debry: to eat; tebry: eating d > t )

thera ve 'kazowas: Iím listening (gazowas: to listen; kazowas: listening g > k)

thera ve 'pedhy: Iím drowning (bedhy: to drown; pedhy: drowning b > p)

In the above examples the first letter of the verb changes. This is called hard mutation and only affects a few letters:
b becomes p, d becomes t, g becomes c or k
e.g. downsia: to dance becomes townsia: dancing In practice this change of d to t is often ignored.

Other letters are not affected by hard mutation. Examples of no change:
perna: to buy, thera ve 'perna bara: Iím buying bread

(the sound of p in perna cannot get any harder than it is already, so no hard mutation can take place)

meras: to look, thera ve 'meras ort an moar: Iím looking at the sea
(It is not possible to harden the m of meras)

lavaral: to say, thera ve lavaral nepeth en Kernuak: Iím saying something in Cornish
(It is not possible to harden the l of lavaral)

What causes the hardening?:
Between thera ve and the following 'verb noun' we often write a (e.g. thera ve a predery: Iím thinking). It is this a (known as a verbal particle) which causes the following letter to harden. The a is normally left out but even when it is unseen and unheard the hardening still takes place. This initial harding is like adding -ing in English (singing, talking). It tells us we are using the present-continuous tense.

[ If you've learnt Unified or Kemmyn, note that this a = particle ow and that there are exceptions to the general rule of hard mutation.]

Usage: Remember that this tense in Late Cornish translates two English tenses:
e.g. Thera ve screffa means either I am writing or I write.

Use thera ve (variations theram or therama) to describe what you are doing, where you are or what your permanent occupation is.

Do not use thera to describe how you are (unless you do so with the use of another verb, as in Iím feeling ill). Remember to use tho ve or o ve when describing your self:
e.g. clav o ve: Iím ill.

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4.2 Actions and locations with the verb boaz.

You know how to say I am when saying what you're doing. Now look at the other parts of the verb. These are used for talking about what is happening or where things are but not for describing things with adjectives.

thera ve (or theram): I am thesta: thou art ma e (or mava): he is ma hy: she is
thera ny: we are thera why: you are mowns (or ma angy): they are

Note that parts of the verb start with m. When talking about locations and actions, use ma instead of ew and use mowns instead of thens.

Questions about actions and locations:
In thera the th is the same as we encountered in thew. It stops the statement from being a question. To ask a question just knock the th off. In the case of ma e & ma hy, replace with idgeva & idge hy respectively.
idge is pronounced ijy

era ve / eram: am I esta: art thou idgeva: is he idge hy: is she

era ny: are we era why: are you iggans / iggan'gy: are they

Some Questions: In the case of thera, knock off the th to leave era:

(Here the particle a is represented by an apostrophe but that isn't normal practice. It's just to help you understand how the phrases are constructed.)

era ve 'merwal?: am I dying?
era why 'moaz dha'n drea?: are you going to the town?
era ny 'tesky an tavas?: are we learning the language?
idgeva 'moaz?: is he going?
idge hy 'tebry?: is she eating?

To form negatives use nag (as previously used with ew):
nag era ve 'cara leath: I do not like milk (literally: I am not liking milk)
nag era ve a kerras dho'm wheal: I do not walk to my work (literally: I am not walking...)
nag era ny 'cowz an Sowsnak: we dont speak (literally: We are not speaking) English.
nag era why a cones pecarra ny: you are not working like us (or you do not work like us).
nag era why 'moaz da moar: you are not going to sea.
nag era ny a pallas an looar: we are not digging the garden.

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4.3 Verbs: Examples of the present participle.

Here are some more verbs to use. Hard mutation is shown in brackets where appropriate.

moaz: go; doaz: come (d > t); kerras: walk; punnia/poonia: run; neija: fly; gurtas: wait (g;k); lebmal: jump; sewia: follow; saval: rise, stand, get up; powas: rest; cusca: sleep; eva: drink; gwary: play; debry: eat (d > t) cowz or clappia: speak; lavaral: say; gazowas: listen (g > k); goofen: ask(g > k); clowas: hear, taste, sense; gwellas: see; meras ort: look at; cara: like, love; kelly: lose; whilas: look for; cowas: have, get, find, contain, win; gurra: put(g > c); danen: send(d > t); comeras: take; ry: give; dry: bring (d > t); doan: carry(d > t); vperna: buy; gwerha: sell; marhazno: go shopping; gulhy: wash; glanhe: clean(g > c); gweel or geel: do, make (g > k); gones: work (g > c); gweras: help; screffa: write; redia: read; desky: learn (d > t); nakevy: forget; dallath: begin, start(d > t); dowedha: end, finnish (d > t); tedna: pull, draw; predery/pedery: think; gudhvas: know, understand (g > c); agery: open; keas: close; gweskal: hit; pallas: dig; serry: become angry; parra: prepare; terry or squatchia: break; trehy: cut; owna: repair.

The list above gives you enough verbs to make up sentences using thera and ma. Refer back to it when working on following sections.

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4.4 Peleah? Where? (Also spelt peleha)

We can use peleah / peleha with the forms of boaz in section

peleah era ve? where am I? peleah era ve 'moaz? where am I going?

peleah esta? where art thou? peleah esta 'redia? where art thou reading?

(forms which I translate with thou are for very informal use & prayers. It is best to concentrate on forms translated as you)

peleah ma e? (or peleah mava?) where is he/it? peleah mava 'cones? where is he working?
peleah ma hy? where is she/it? peleah ma hy 'tesky? where is she learning?
peleah era ny? where are we? peleah era ny 'kerras? where are we walking?
peleah era why? where are you? peleah era why 'pesgetsha? where are you fishing
peleah mowns? where are they? peleah mowns 'pallas? where are they digging?

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4.5 Where things are: Prepositions

To answer the above questions we need these words (prepositions):

en: in war: on dadn: under derage: in front of adheller dha: behind en creas: in the middle of reb: beside ogas dha: near treeth / ter: between obma: here enna: there hans: over there bedn: against

Peleah ma an eglos? > Ma an eglos war an vrea
Where is the church? > The church is on the hill

Peleah ma an dean? > Ma an dean dadn a bord
Where is the man? > The man is under the table

Peleah ma an bara? > Ma an bara war a bord
Where is the bread? > The bread is on the table

Peleah ma an gath? > Ma an gath en gistan
Where is the cat? > The cat is in the box

Peleah ma an ky? > Ma an ky derage an tane
Where is the dog? > The dog is in front of the fire

Peleah ma an dyogian? > Ma an dyogian adheller dha'n kea
Where are the farmers? > The farmers are behind the hedge

Peleah ma an poscader? > Ma an poscader en cok
Where is the fisherman? > The fisherman is in the fishing boat

Note: ma an may become ma'n e.g. Ma'n bara en gegen: the bread is in the kitchen. The apostrophe is optional.

Remember that there is no word in Cornish for it. All things are either masculine or feminine and therefore he or she. Cornish for he is either e or ev but sometimes we put va on the end of a verb to mean he, e.g. we can say either peleah ma e? or peleah mava? Cornish for she is hy.

lever (book) is masculine: peleah mava? > mava dadn an gader: itís under the chair

tezan: cake is feminine: peleah ma hy? > ma hy en gistan: itís in the box.

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4.6 Cowz bear: A short conversation

Floh: Taz, Taz! Peleah era why?

Taz: Otta ve Thera ve en chomber.

Floh: Pandr'era why 'keel en chomber, Taz?

Taz: Thera ve 'whilas nepeth.

Floh: Pandríera why 'whilas?....Era why 'whilas goz alwhedhow?

Taz: Na, nag era ve 'whilas hedna, colan. Mowns et a fokkat. Thera ve 'whilas an papar-nawodhow. Oresta nepeth et e gever?

Floh: Ea, ea, Thera ve 'sedha warnodha Taz.

Gerriow: en chomber: in the bedroom; whilas nepeth: looking for something; alwhedhow: keys; et a fokkat: in my pocket; papar-nawodhow: news paper; et e gever: about it; sedha warnodha: sitting on it; Taz: Daddy; floh: child

Note: There are several parts of the verb boaz: to be in the conversation:
thera ve: I am; nag era ve: Iím not; era why: are you;mowns: they are.

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4.7 Pandríidgeva 'keel?: What is he doing? Pandríidge hy keel?: What is she doing? Pandr'iggans 'keel?: What are they doing?

Remember: idge is pronounced ijy

Pandríidgeva 'keel? > mava 'gwary gen an pelle.
What is he doing? > He is playing with the ball.

Pandríidge hy 'keel? > ma hy 'tebry coffan kyge
What is she doing? She is eating a pasty

Pandríiggans 'keel? > mowns 'pesgetsha
What are they doing? > They are fishing

Note: Cornish has four words for is/are. We already know ew and ma. The examples above use idge. Like ma, idge is used in expressions to do with action and location. So, what is the difference?

ma is used for affirmative expressions e.g. the horse in eating; the man is laughing.

idge is used for asking where specified people or things are and for asking what they are doing. It is also used with nag to say what they are not doing and where they are not.

idge hy 'poonia? >na, nag idge hy 'poonia
Is she running? > No, she isnít running

Pandríidge hy 'keel dhan? > ma hy 'redia lever
Whatís she doing then? > Sheís reading a book

idgeva 'palas en looar? > na, nag idgeva 'pallas
Is he digging in the garden? > No, he isnít digging

Pandríidgeva keel dhan? > mava fittia boozv
Whatís he doing then? > Heís preparing food

Iggans 'cones? > na, nag iggans 'cones....Mowns 'cana
Are they working? > No, they are not working...They are singing

idge an bara en chomber? > Na, nag idge an bara en chomber. Mava en gegen
Is the bread in the bedroom? > No, the bread isnít in the bedroom. Itís in the kitchen.

idge an badal en gegen? > ea, ma hy en gegen, war an pedntane.
Is the saucepan in the kitchen > Yes, it is in the kitchen, on the ring.

Note: Instead of saying idgeva you can say idge e or idge ev. Iggans is a special form of idge meaning are they. Compare it with thens & mowns. All three refer to they and have the ending -ns.
You will notice that same ending in other places where the meaning, they, is required.

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4.8 Ea ha Na. Yes and No

In the examples above you will have seen ea: yes & na: no.
Late Cornish makes great use of ea and na but there are other ways to answer. For example, to answer no in the examples above it is sufficent to say nag idge or nag iggans as appropriate.

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4.9 Ez? (questions)

The fourth and final word for is/are is ez. It is used instead of idge when the thing being spoken of is not specified or definite. In other words:

If we talk about the something, or if we name somebody, then we use idge.
If we talk about a something or some of something we use ez.

Like idge, ez is used in questions and negatives with nag.
e.g. idge an gath enna? Is the cat there? i.e. the specific cat, this cat, that cat, Tiddles.
ez cath enna? Is there a cat there? i.e. a cat, any old moggy, not a specific puss.
idge an leath en paddik? Is the milk in the jug? i.e. the specified milk, that particular milk.
ez leath en paddik? Is there any milk in the jug? i.e. any milk, some milk.

Here are some more examples:

ez cor en tavarn? Is there any beer in the pub? Nag ez badna veeth There isnít a drop

ez dowr tubm rag an lisstry? Is there any hot water for the dishes? Nag ez, soweth There isnít unfortunately

ez aval rag an maw? Is there an apple for the boy? Nag ez booz veeth obma. There isnít any food at all here.

Nag ez medhak en drea. There isnít a doctor in the town.

Nag ez dowr en crean. There isnít any water in the reservoir.

Note: from these examples that we do not normally have words for a, any or some. These meanings are simply understood.

Get your tavas(tongue) around this old tongue-twister:

ez keaz, ez po nag ez? Mars ez keaz, dro keaz. Po nag ez keaz, dro peath ez

Is there any cheese, is there or isnít there? If there is some cheese, bring cheese. If there isnít any cheese bring what there is.

Cowz bear:

Jack: Ez muna lowar dha why rag an cinema?

Jill: Nag ez moy vel pager penz dhem. Nag ez dha why goz gubber?

Jack: vNa. Mava en trozor, soweth Ma bes deaw benz ha pemthack dinar dhem.

Jill: Ma hedna 'keel wheeh pens ha pemthack dinar dhan. ny alga moaz dhan tavarn!

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