Cornish notes for beginners by Neil Kennedy

Section 6
6.1 Peleah wriga why moaz?
6.2 Come > Came
6.3 rig: did
6.4 Past Events
6.5 Personal Pronouns (I, he, she, we, you, they)
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6.1 Peleah wriga why moaz?

wriga is also spelt riga

eath or geath: went da or dha: to

Peleah riga why moaz? > Me eath da Resruth.
Where did you go? > I went to Redruth

Peleah wriga why moaz de? Where did you go yesterday?
Me eath dha'n gwary treeth Camburn ha Resruth. I went to the game between Camborne and Redruth

Peleah rig e/hy moaz?: Where did he/she go?

Peleah rig hy moaz? > hy eath dha'n gwary
Where did she go? > She went to the game

Pana prez wriga why moaz?: When did you go?

Pana prez wriga why moaz dha'n drea? ....... to the town?
Me eath enna en metten: I went there in the morning

Pana prez rig e moaz da moar?: When did he go to sea?
Ev eath da moar dro dha hanter ouja pemp en metten: He went to sea at about half past five in the morning.

Pana prez rig hy moaz da Loundres?: What time did she go to London?
Hy eath degenzete: She went yesterday.

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6.2 Come > Came

Just as we say moaz: to go and eath: went, so we say doaz: to come and dheath: came

Pana prez rig hy doaz obma?: When did she come here?
Hy dheath obma de Gwenar: She came on Friday.

Fatel wriga why doaz obma?: How did you come here?
Me dheath war an train/ keibal/ ayrplayn
train: train; keibal: ferry; ayrplayn: aeroplane

Fatel rig hy/e doaz obma?: How did she/he/it come here?
hy/e dheath en car/fardel
car: car; fardel: parcel

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6.3 rig: did

In the above examples you will see wriga why: did you/you did and rig hy/e: did she/he / she/he did. These are part of the verb: gweel: to do or make:

wriga ve or wrigam: I did / did I rig hy: she did / did she rig e: he did / did he wriga ny: we did / did we wriga why: you did / did you rig angy: they did / did they

You can use the forms above in questions:

wriga why gwellas an telly nehuer?: Did you see the telly last night?
rig angy doaz avare?: Did they come early?
rig an gath eva an leath?: Did thecat drink the milk?
rig e perna keaz?: Did he buy any cheese?
wriga ve danen foto dha why?: Did I send you a photo?

You can use them after na to say did not:

Na wriga why debry goz bara: You havn't eaten your bread
Na rig an car dallath: The car didn't start
Na rig angy moaz hedhow: They didn't go today
Na rig hy redia an papar-nawodhow: She didn't read the news paper
Na rig e kerras dha'n cooz: He didn't walk to the wood
Na rig hy gwellas an ladern, soweth: She didn't see the theives, unfortunately
Na wriga ve squatchia an hanath: I didn't break the mug.

All of the negative statements above can be turned into questions by changing the intonation of your voice:

Na wriga why gwellas an zart en for?: Didn't you see the hedgehog in the road?
Na wriga why owna an veisder?: Havn't you mended the window?
Na rig an jyn dallath?: Didn't the engine start?
Na wriga why gones an tettes whath?: Haven't you planted the potatoes yet?
Na rig goz daama fonia dhewh?: Didn't your mother phone you?
Na rig angy perna leath?: Didn't they buy any milk?
Na wriga ve ry an muna dha why?: Didn't I give the money to you?
Na wriga why perna tay?!: Didnít you buy any tea?!
Na! Na wriga ve perna traveeth: No I didnít buy anything

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6.4 Past Events

We know how to say did (rig), went (eath) and came (dheath).Here are a few more:

wraz: made
ev a wraz tezan hedhow: He made a cake today

roze: gave
hy a roze an muna dhem: She gave the money to me

dhroze/droze: brought
angy a dhroze booz: they brought some food

[The final e of wraze, roze and dhroze is silent and serves to show that the vowel is long.]

oya: knew/knew how to Me oya hedna kens: I knew that before

wonedhas: worked Me wonedhas en looar: I worked in the garden

All of the above examples are irregular, i.e. they do not follow the usual pattern for forming the past tense. Most verbs, however, are regular. They follow the rules to a greater extent than English verbs.

To form the past tense of most verbs, follow these steps:

Step 1.

Knock off the ending of the verb to leave the "stem "

There are various types of verb ending:

-ia (occasionally spelt -ya) endings: sewia: follow; redia: read; revia: row; clappia: speak; squatchia: break

-a endings: cana: sing; screffa: write; leua: lead, gweska: dress; eva: drink

-as endings: gwellas: see; clowas: hear; kerras: walk; meras: look

-y endings: debry: eat; desky: learn; predery: think; gully / gulhy: wash

-al endings: lavaral: say; saval: get up, rise; derheval: raise, build, gweskal: hit, strike

Step 2.

Replace the ending with -as. This is just like adding -ed to a verb in English (walked, talked etc.).

lavaral > lavaras, screffa > screffas, saval > savas

Note: Some -ia verbs may keep the i of the ending: redia > redias

Note: Some verbs do not have an ending e.g. dallath: start. In these cases, simply add the -as to the whole verb:
dallath > + as > dallathas

In some cases this requires an internal spelling change: cowz +as > cowsas

Step 3

The first letter of some verbs undergoes soft mutation i.e. those that start with: b, c, d, gw, k, m, p, t

These are the rules for soft mutation ( > means becomes):

b & m > v, c & k > g (often ignored when words start with co-), d > dh, g > nothing gw > w or nothing (nothing means that the g simply disappears.) p > b, t > d or dh

gwellas > (stem) gwell- > (add -as) gwellas > (soft mutation) wellas
debry > (stem) debr- > (add -as) debras > (soft mutation) dhebras
crejy > (stem) crej- > (add -as) crejas > (soft mutation) grejas


an venen a redias lever: The woman read a book
an dean a redias papar-nawodhow: The man read a news-paper.
redia >redias

an flehas a screffas war an fose: The children wrote on the wall.
screffa > screffas

angy a wellas train: They saw a train
gwellas > wellas

an sim a dhebras banana: The monkey ate a banana
debry > dhebras

an vampire a evas gooj: The vampire drank some blood
eva > evas

ny bernas chy war an treath: We bought a house on the sand
perna > bernas

an scath aras an por: The boat left the harbour
gara > aras

angy ganas en eglos: They sang in church
cana > ganas

ny a dheskas lias tra enna: We learnt lots of things there
desky > dheskas

ev a vrowas e bedn: He hurt his head
browy > vrowas

hy brederas dro dha'n calatter: She thought about the problem
predery > brederas

An marth a dednas an kert: The horse pulled the cart
tedna > dednas

Note 1: In the above examples some verbs have an a in front of them. This a is more often left out in speech, as well as in writing but it is the cause of the soft mutation described at Step 3 above. Even when it isn't said or written its assumed presence still causes the softening.

Note 2: If you have a sentence with two verbs in it, such as:
The man went to the town and bought some apples, you only need to put the first verb into the past tense. Once the tense has been established by the first verb the second verb can remain unchanged (infinitive):

An dean eath dha'n drea ha perna lavallow.

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6.5 Personal Pronouns (I, he, she, we, you, they)

By now you will have seen all of the following:

me: I che: thou ev or e: he, him hy: she, her
ny: we, us why: you angy or gy: they, them

che (translated by thou in this book) is a way of saying you which is reserved for very intimate or informal conversation so it is best to concentrate on ways of saying things with why. You can use che as an informal or intimate form of address if you wish but why can be used in most circumstances, even close friends. Speakers of Unified and Kemmyn use che more often and they pronounce it like tee.

me becomes ve after verbs, after dha (to) and in other circumstances which you will encounter.

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