Kernuak rag Dallathorian
Cornish Notes for Beginners
3.1 ....I am; it is. Description.
You will probably have realised that o ve means I am and that ew means is or it is. We encountered o ve in section 2.1 (social language) with expressions like: tubm o ve: I’m hot, clav o ve: I’m ill. With a few basic nouns and adjectives it is possible to say quite a lot using o ve and ew. See how many phrases you can make. Here are some adjectives to use:
braoz: big; bian: little; hîr: long/tall; ber: short; kern: round; pedrak: square; marow: dead; beaw: alive; daa: good; droag: bad; têg: beautiful; hagar: ugly; glân: clean; ploos: dirty; tubm: hot; yein: cold; zeah: dry; gleab: wet; calish: hard; medall: soft; aiz: easy; euhall: high; ezall: low; creav: strong; gwadn: weak; noweth: new; coath: old; younk: young; looan: happy; trawethack: sad; whêg: pleasant, nice, sweet; wherow: bitter; terres: broken; gwâg: hungry, empty; lean: full; kîf: expensive; râz: cheap; skâv: light; pooz: heavy; tew: fat; tanow: scarce, thin; spladn: bright, obvious, splendid; tewal: dark, unclear, gloomy; parres: ready.
[ Users of Unified and Kemmyn should be aware that Late Cornish makes greater use of emphatic forms like o ve. ]
3.2..What's this? What's that?.........back
The word for this is hemma, occasionally written
The word for that is hedna
There are also feminine forms of this and that: homma and hodna which you use when you know something is feminine.
The word for what is pandra. It contains the word for thing – tra / dra
Pandra ew hemma? What is this?
Pandra ew hedna? What is that?
(Pandra ew may be shortened to pandr'ew or even drew.)
To answer, simply name the thing and follow with ew (is):
Tezan ew It’s a cake Bord ew It’s a table Darras ew It’s a door
Alternatively, you can start with thew:
Thew gwedhan It’s a tree Thew beisder It’s a window Thew quillan It's a pen
Thew is the same word as ew. The th simply stops it from producing a question when placed at the start of the sentence.
Peath dha redia / Something to read: (floh : child an daama: the mother)
Floh: Mabm, Mabm Pandr’ew hedna?
An dâma: Pandra?
Floh: Hedna Mabm....war an vrea. Pandr’ew hedna?
An dâma: Ah, belin-gwins ew hedna. Onen braoz ew.
Floh: Ew hedna per wîr belin-gwins Mabm? Nag ew pecara’n velin-gwins en lever ve.
An dâma: Ah, thew hedna onen coath...thew hemma onen noweth.
(Belin-gwinz: windmill, war an vrea: on the hill, lever ve: my book, per wîr: really, en: in)
Build your vocabulary by asking Cornish speakers Pandr’ew hemma? Pandr’ew hedna?
[ ew may occasionally be written yw ]
3.3 Fatel ew...? How is....? (What is ....like?).........back
Fatel: how is the same word found in Fatla gana whei? & Fatel era whei kîl?
You can practice your adjectives by asking questions about objects e.g.
Fatel ew an bord?....Pedrak ew? Fatel ew an
tay?.....Tubm ew an tay.
Fatel ew an dezan?....Whêg ew an dezan. Fatel ew hedna?....Têg ew hedna.
Fatel ew an gistan?....Gwâg ew an gistan? Fatel ew an scudell?....Glân ew. Nag ew ploos.
Obma means either here or here is.
Obma kei. kei bian ew. Nag ew braoz. Here is a dog. It’s a little dog. It isn’t big.
Obma chy. Chy coath ew. Nag ew chy noweth. Here is a house. It’s an old house. It isn’t new.
You can use obma when presenting something:
Ha, Marîa ! Obma bolla tay Tubm ha creav ew.
Hey, Mary. Here’s a cup of tea. It's hot and strong.
Obma scudell noweth. Glaon ew. Nag ew ploos. Here’s a new plate. Its clean. It isn’t dirty.
To say here I am / behold me use otta
ve (also written yta ve).
e.g. Otta ve parres: Behold, I’m ready
To say that you have got something use ottava for
a masculine thing or otta hei for a feminine thing
followed by genam (with me). e.g.
otta va genam / otta hei genam behold, I’ve got it
There are severals kinds of plural:
(The commonest)-ow ending. Pronunciation normally a bit like ‘a’ or ‘aw’. Some words have an i in the plural giving -iow
-as. Mainly used for animals and plants but also some words refering to people.
-s. Mainly for words that have come into Cornish from English or French and which end in an unstressed syllable.
-es. A variation of -s for borrowed words which end in a stressed syllable.
-ian or -ion). Mainly applied to words refering to people.
-y. Mainly applied to words ending in ias/yas which refer to people.
-ath. Applies to a few words refering to family relationships.
Internal vowel changes. e.g. davas: sheep pl. deves, edhan: bird pl. edhen.
Many of these apply to animals.
3.6 These and Those.........back
These a rima Those: a rina
What are these? Pandra ew a rima?
What are those? Pandra ew a rina?
They are: ens or en'gei (when placed after the noun)..thenz or then'gei (when placed before the noun):
e.g. Pandr’ew a rima? > Deves enz They are sheep
Pandr’ew a rima? > Levrow enz They are books
Pandr’ew a rima? > Puscas enz They are fish
3.7 More about ew.........back
In the questions above ew (is) is used to
mean are. In Cornish it is correct to say what is
these?, what is those?. Similarly we say things like: the
dogs is running, the books is open etc.. In effect ew
may translate either is or are. However, you
will need to use enz or en'gei when
the meaning 'they are' is intended.
Let’s look at ew a bit more:
We have already established that we can either start statements with thew or put ew later in the phrase. Look at these examples and try to get a feel for it:
An car ew noweth The car is new Car noweth ew / Thew car noweth It's a new car
Coath ew an marh The horse is old Marh coath ew/ Thew marh coath It is an old horse
An lever ew pooz The book is heavy Lever pooz ew/ Thew lever pooz It is a heavy book
thew would not normally be used in answer to a question. In answer to pandra ew hemma/hedna? use ew:
Chy têg ew It’s a beautiful house Darras glâz ew It’s a blue door Bord kern ew It’s a round table Bara gwidn ew It’s white bread Tezan whêg ew It’s a nice cake Brea vroaz ew It’s a big hill Vor hîr ew It’s a long road Scâth bian ew It’s a little boat
To ask a question, start with ew:
Ew marow an pesk? Is the fish dead? Ew parres an booz? Is the food ready?
Ew an padik terres aweadh? Is the jug
broken as well?
Ew hemma da? Is this good? Ew an quillan rooz po du? Is the pen red or black?
Ew an flehas skîth? Are the children tired? Ew an vibbian looan? Are the boys happy?
Ew hedna edhan? Is that a bird?
To say is not/are not use : nag ew:
Nag ew droag an cor’ma This beer isn’t
bad Nag ew teag an drea The town isn’t
beautiful Nag ew da andella dha cowz It
isn’t good to speak like that
Nag ew gwâg It is not empty Nag ew hedna an gwela vor That is not the best way
Nag ew creav It isn’t strong Nag ew an muzzy vâz The girls are not good
Nag ew an bobel looan The people are not happy
[ Unified & Kemmyn speakers, be aware that nag is used here where you would use nyns/nynj ]
Useful words from above examples: aweadh: as well; po: or
3.10 The descriptive tense of boaz (to be)..........back
So far we have encountered EW (is/are), O VE (am I / I am), ENZ / THENZ (they are). These are parts of the descriptive form of the verb BOAZ: to be (& this is sounding seriously like grammar). Here is a summary of boaz:
a)The TH form. Used when the verb comes first: tho ve: I am, tho che: thou art, thew e: he is, thew hei: she is, tho nei : we are, tho whei: you are, then'gei / thenz: they are.
Be aware of the less emphatic forms which may be used where you wish to give less stress to the verb and subject:
thom: I'm, thooz: thou art, thew: he's / she's / it's, thon: we're, thenz: they're
b)Without TH. Used when the compliment comes before the verb & for questions:
o ve: I am, o che/osta: thou art, ew e: he is, ew hei: she is, o nei: we are, o whei: you are, enz/en'gei: they are
Again there are less emphatic forms for use when you don't need to
stress the subject:
om: I'm, ooz/os: thou art, ew: he's/she's, on:we're, o: you're, enz: they're
c) With nag. Used for negatives:
nag o ve, nag o che, nag ew e, nag ew hei, nag o nei, nag o whei, nag enz
Note: The forms above are together the descriptive present tense of the verb BOAZ: to be. Use them for describing. In Cornish there are completely different forms of this verb for use when talking about actions and locations. These are introduced in the following sections.