Notianjow Kernuak rag Dallathorian

gen Neil Kennedy


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Sections 1 and 2

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Nuts and Bolts



Adjectives after nouns






Getting started: Handy social phrases







8 and 9


1.1 Nuts & Bolts

Here are some basic link words that you will need for your first sentences:

We do not usually use a word for a.  We do not say: ‘a book’, ‘a house’ etc.;  We just say ‘book’ lever, ‘house’ chy.   To say 'a certain' or 'a particular' something, or to emphasize the thing we are talking about, we use edn e.g.   edn venen. 

an: the. Occasionally shortened to a. There is no strict rule about when to use a except that you must use an before a vowel. An can also mean ‘of the’.

ha: and
ha may become hag  before a vowel (a,e,i,o,u,y) but this is often ignored in Late Cornish.

han: and the (i.e. ha + an). You can write this with an apostrophe: ha’n.

dha or da: to.  Dh is pronounced like the soft th of theDa is a common variation but don't confuse it for the word for good which may be written da or daa.

[If you've learn't Unified or Kemmyn be aware that soft mutation is often ignored after dha/da.]

dhan: to the (i.e. dha + an). You can write this with an apostrophe: dha’n.

Look at these place-names :

Pons an ooth: bridge of the stream,  Chy an Chy: house by the house,  Plain an Gwary: the playing place 'plane of the play',  Pedn an drea: end of the town,  Park an Growz: Field of the cross,  Crowz an Wrah: The hag's/witch's cross, Park an Fentan:  field with the spring.

This is a typical way of putting things together in Cornish. In these examples an can be translated in a variety of ways: of the, by the etc..

1.2 Adjectives after nouns.........back

Cornish word order is different.  The adjective (description) follows the noun (name of thing)… so we say: ‘house big’ - chy braoz and ‘dog white’ - kei gwidn  rather than ‘big house’ & ‘white dog’.
If there are two adjectives, as in 'big, white house' we put the important one next to the noun:
chy gwidn braoz

Occasionally we may place one adjective before the noun and another after it - brave ober da (a good, hansome job) - but you don't need to worry about that until you've gone further with your Kernuak. 

Sometimes we put adjectives in front of nouns:  hugeth meneth arall – another huge mountain.
Don't try it until you've heard it or seen it somewhere else.

1.3 Gender.........back

In Cornish everything is feminine or masculine.  The first letter of many feminine words changes when placed after an (the).  This is known as soft mutation.  Do not be alarmed!  It is not necessary to learn the rules at this stage. Just be aware that these letter changes may occur.

There is no easy way to tell whether a word is masculine or feminine (unless it refers to a person).  It's probably easier to tell with baby rabbits, but after a while you will start to remember which words are masculine and feminine and you will recognize patterns.  Dictionaries use m or f to show gender.

2.1 Getting started: Handy social phrases.........back

Durdadha whei! Good day to you!   Dîdh dâ! Good day  
Metten Good morning  (don't use this after about 10 a.m.)
Ha, soas!  Hello mate!  
Darzona ! God bless (on meeting)
Gothewhar dâ Good evening
Lowena dha whei ! Happiness to you!

Fatla gena whei ? How are you?   Fatel era why a kîl ? How are you doing?

Ma genam a ehaz I’m well 
Ma pedn drôg dhem I’ve got a headache
Ma annez dhem I’ve got a cold

Clav ('clauv') o ve I’m ill   Skîth o ve I’m tired
Looan o ve I’m happy   Yein o ve I’m cold
Tubm o ve I’m hot   Trawethak o ve I’m sad
Da lowar o ve I’m O.K.  
(...o ve  means I am )

Vedo whei cowaz badna? Do you want a drop to drink?
Vedo whei cowaz tabm? Do you want something to eat? 
Pandra vedo whei comeraz / cowaz? What would you like to have?

Bolla tay/coffy: a cup of tea/coffee.  Cor: beer.  gwîn: wine.  Cyder: cider.  Dowr: water. 
Hogan: a pastry.  Coffan kîg: Meat pasty. Tezan saffern: safron cake.  Scubmow: chips.  Pesk: fish.  Aval: an apple.

Me venja cowaz...I’d like to have...;  Me venja kens...I’d rather have..../ I’d prefer
pedgy rei dhem...Please give me... moy   more (also spelt moye/moy )
badna moy a drop more   tabm moy a bit more 
mar plêgplease  (at the end of a phrase)

gwâg o ve I’m hungry         zehes o ve I’m thirsty 
ethik sehes o ve I’m awfully thirsty

ehaz dha whei !  health to you.      ehaz ha sowena dha whei whath ha goz hînath ! health and prosperity to you and your descendants.         pesk, cober ha stêan ! Fish, copper and tin.

durdalada whei  or  merastawhei  or gromassy
In letters: mear a ras dha whei  or  me a rei massy/marci dha whei

Dew boz geno God be with you   benatugana God bless   tereba nessa  Till next time    anowr Untill then  comero wîth Take care   ternestadha  or noaz dha whei Good night to you.

2.2  Names.........back

Pe hanow o whei ? What is your name?

There are several ways to answer, apart from just saying your name:



Beginners should concentrate on the first type of answer given above.