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Ma...   Nag ez...

Apart from the meaning already learnt, Ma has two other very important meanings - ‘There is’ or ‘There are’,   e.g.,
Ma dean en gegen - ‘There is a man in the kitchen.
Ma benenas war an treath - ‘There are women on the beach’.
The negative form, ‘There is not’, ‘There are not’, is given by ‘Nag ez’,  e.g.,
Nag ez dean en gegen - ‘There is not a man in the kitchen’, i.e., ‘There is no man in the kitchen’.
The question forms, ‘Is there?’, ‘Isn’t there?’, is carried out exactly as you learnt on the previous page,  e.g.,
Ez dean en gegen? - ‘Is there a man in the kitchen?’
And the replies of course are carried out in the same way.

Two useful words for Questions

‘Peleah’ - ‘Where’;         ‘Pana termen’ - ‘When’

‘With ‘Peleah’, simply tack it on to the front of the affirmative statement given in Group1 in the Box on page 5, omitting the ‘th’ where present,

Pelea era whei moaz? - Where are you going?’
Peleah  ma Jedna? - ‘Where is Joan?’

And with ‘Pana termen’, it is equally as easy. This time tack it on to the front of the question form:

Pana termen idgeva a toaz? — ‘When is he coming?’
Pana termen era whei  moaz dha Helles? — ‘When are you going to Helston?

Pana termen’ literally means ‘what time’, and may be used for asking or telling the time, 
Pana termen ew?‘What time is it?’      Alternatively, you can say  'Pana prez ew?'


Where you were;

What you were doing.


These follow the same pattern as for the present, and where they are the same, the context makes the meaning clear.   Here are the ‘boxes’ once again

Thera ve     I was Thera Jowan     John was
Thesta     you were [s] Thera an flehas     The children were
Thera e     he was Thera nei     We were
Thera hei     she is not Thera whei     You were [plur.]
Thera an dean     the man was Thera angy/anjei     They were


These are simple.   Just knock off the ‘th’ at the start of the word and add ‘Nag’, i.e.,
‘Nag era ve a moaz’   =  ‘I was not going.’
‘Nag era an deez enna’  = The men were not there

Questions and replies

Even easier!  For the Question simply use ‘era’ without the prefixes ‘th’ or ‘Nag’, e.g.,
Era Jowan en gegen?’ — ‘Was John in the kitchen?’
Era angy/anjei a carma?’ — ‘Were they shouting?’

Replies. These are exactly as the present tense, e.g.,

‘Era e a kerras dha'n drea?’ - ‘was he walking to the town?’
Ea, entei’ - ‘Yes, [he was]’.     ‘Na, nantei’ - ‘No, [ he wasn’t ]’.

*          Now compose sentences as before, now using a combinations of all the ‘boxes’.

THERA "There was" or "There were "

Like ‘ma’, ‘thera’ has these alternative useful meanings, e.g.,

Thera dean en looar - ‘There was a man in the garden’.

And the Negatives and Questions of course.

Nag era flehaz en chy.  - There weren’t (any] children in the house.

Era benen war an treath? - Was there a woman on the beach?’

 Not forgetting the replies to questions, which as you probably have already guessed, are carried out exactly as further up the page, i.e.,

 Era booz war an bord? - Was there food on the table?’

Ea, entei’ Yes, [there was]’.  ‘Na, nantei’ - No, [there wasn’t]’. 

The foregoing, ‘What you are doing’, ‘What you were doing’, ‘Where you are’ and ‘Where you were’, are locative tenses, and as you can see, only express action and location, but do not express a condition, i.e., ‘What you are like’, and ‘What you were like’. In Cornish there is another form of the verb ‘to be’ to express this, as follows.


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