Mis Me 2014

Mis Me 2014 · April 2014

1 · Yma drog penn dhodho hedhyw vyttin wosa omlowenhe nyhewer· He has a headache this morning after celebrating last night

  • drog (nm), drogow bad, harm, hurt (from the adjective drog ‘bad’)
  • penn (nm), pennow head, chief, end
  • drog penn (nm), drogow penn headache (literally, ‘head pain’)
  • dhodho (prep+pro) to him, for him (3sg. masc. conjugated form of dhe2 ‘to, for’)
  • hedhyw vyttin (phr) this morning (from hedhyw ‘today’ + myttin ‘morning’ with unusual lenition of the second element)
  • omlowenhe (vn) celebrate, enjoy oneself (from om- ‘self-‘ + lowen ‘happy’ + -he ‘make’)
  • Grammar note: In the phrase hedhyw vyttin ‘this morning’ (literally, ‘today morning’), the word myttin ‘morning’ is lenited even though there is no clear grammatical reason for this. As we learned on February 6, however, lenition of the second element can sometimes occur in set phrases like Kemmer with! ‘Take (sg.) care!’
  • Grammar and usage note: The verbal noun onlowenhe ‘enjoy oneself’ is a compound formed from the adjective lowen ‘happy.’ The suffix -he is a common ending for verbal nouns formed from adjectives, and has the meaning ‘make (someone or something) X’ where X stands for the adjective. An equivalent suffix in English is the -en in words like ‘brighten’ (‘make bright’) or ‘widen’ (‘make wide’). By itself, lowenhe would mean ‘make (someone) happy’ and could be compared to the English word ‘gladden.’ The reflexive/reciprocal prefix om- corresponds to phrases like  ‘[to] oneself’ or ‘[to] one another’ in English, and adding it to lowenhe creates a word meaning ‘make oneself happy, enjoy oneself.’ Note that omlowenhe means ‘celebrate’ in the sense of ‘make merry, enjoy oneself’; the word for ‘celebrate (a holiday)’ is solempnya.
  • Note on pronunciation: All verbs in -he have an unusual pattern of word stress whereby the primary stress accent falls on the syllable containing the -h- from the verbal noun ending. Thus the word omlowenhe ‘celebrate’ in today’s phrase is pronounced om-LO-wen-HE.
  • Cultural note: Like other Celtic nations, Cornwall has a number of customs and traditions surrounding May Day (May 1, called Kala’ Me in Cornish, from Kalan ‘calends, first of the month’ + Me ‘May’). Perhaps the best known of these is the ‘Obby ‘Oss festival in Padstow, where on May 1 revelers process through the streets following an ‘Obby ‘Oss: a figure dressed in a black ‘hobby horse’ costume featuring an elaborate mask and a large round skirt or cape.

2 · Gwell via dhodho eva pot a goffi du · He’d better drink a pot of black coffee

  • gwell via dhe X gul Y (phr) X had better do Y (literally, ‘Doing Y would be better for X’)
  • pot (nm), pottys or pottow pot
  • koffi (nm), koffiow coffee
  • Grammar note: Like res yw dhe X ‘X must, X has to,’ which we learned on March 15, gwell via dhe X is an idiomatic phrase involving an adjective and the preposition dhe2 ‘to, for.’ The adjective in this case is gwell ‘better,’ and the phrase gwell via dhe X… (‘literally, ‘[it] would be better for X [to…]’) corresponds to the English expression ‘X had better….’
  • Grammar and usage note: Today’s vocabulary list gives two different plural forms for pot: pottys and pottow. Like Welsh, Cornish has been subject to influence from English for many centuries and contains a large number of English loanwords like pot ‘pot.’ Nouns borrowed from English into Cornish often retain an English plural ending (-s or -ys)—although not always the one we might expect based on modern English usage, which is why pot has the plural form pottys in Cornish. Nowadays, many Cornish speakers prefer to ‘regularize’ or ‘naturalize’ loanwords like pot by assigning them the most common Cornish plural ending -ow, hence the alternative plural form pottow.

3 · Ny evav vy saw te heb sugra · I only drink tea without sugar (Literally, ‘I don’t drink [anything] except for tea without sugar.’)

  • evav (v) I drink (1sg. present/future of eva ‘drink’)
  • te (nm) tea
  • sugra (nm) sugar
  • Grammar note: Today’s sentence uses the same ny2 … saw … construction that we saw in the phrase for February 18: Nyns eus saw lyver lavarennow genev ‘I’ve only got a phrasebook with me.’ In both cases, the concept which English expresses with ‘I only…’ followed by a positive verb is expressed in Cornish using a negative verb (one preceded by the negative particle ny2 or nyns) followed by the word saw ‘but, except for’ or marnas ‘except for.’ The literal meaning of the Cornish is therefore ‘I don’t drink [anything] except for tea without sugar.’ The verb evav in today’s sentence is the first person singular present/future form of eva ‘drink,’ here used with its ‘habitual present’ meaning: ‘I don’t drink.’ For more information on how to conjugate regular verbs in the present/future tense, see the table provided on March 14.
  • Cultural note: In the 18th century, as part of a protest against slavery initiated by the Methodist church, many Cornish people stopped using sugar in their tea since sugar from the West Indies was a product of slave labor. The practice of drinking tea without sugar continues to this day and is referenced in a poem by the Cornish-language poet Pol Hodge entitled

4 · Piw a garsa sugen owraval?· Who would like orange juice?

  • sugen (nm), sugenyow juice
  • owraval (nm), owravalow orange (fruit) (compound of owr ‘gold’ + aval ‘apple’)
  • Vocabulary note: In Cornish, the names of many kinds of fruit (and a few vegetables) are based on the noun aval ‘apple.’ Owraval (literally, ‘golden apple’) for ‘orange’ is just one example. Others include:
    • aval dor (nm), avalow dor potato (literally, ‘earth apple’)
    • aval gwlanek (nm), avalow gwlanek peach (literally, ‘woolly apple’)
    • aval kerensa (nm), avalow kerensa tomato (literally, ‘love apple’)
    • aval paradhis (nm), avalow paradhis grapefruit (literally, ‘paradise apple’)
    • limaval (nm), limavalow lime (literally, ‘lime apple’)
    • lymmaval (nm), lymmavalow lemon (literally, ‘sharp apple’)
    • pinaval (nm), pinavalow pineapple (literally, ‘pine apple,’ as in English)

5 · Lowen vien vy gans gwedrennas leth · I’d be happy with a glass of milk

  • bien (v) I would be (1sg. conditional of bos ‘be’)
  • leth (nm), lethow milk
  • Grammar note: Up to now, we have mainly encountered Cornish verbs in the present/future indicative tense. The regular first person singular ending for the present/future indicative is -av, and all the present and future forms we have learned thus far (including the various forms of bos ‘be’) have a 1sg. form that ends in -v (easy to associate with the pronoun vy ‘I’). Today’s phrase, however, shows a different class of ending: -en, which is found in the first person singular and plural endings of the imperfect and conditional tenses. The usual 1sg./1pl. conditional ending is -sen, but the -s- that is characteristic of the conditional endings for all regular verbs does not appear in the conditional of bos ‘be’—as we have already seen in the 3sg. conditional form bia ‘would be’ (which can be contrasted with the regular 3sg. form karsa ‘would like, would love’ from kar- ‘love’ + -sa).

6 · Yma sehes dhedhans · They’re thirsty (Literally, ‘There is a thirst to them’ or ‘They have a thirst’)

  • sehes (nm) thirst (noun formed from the adjective sygh ‘dry’)
  • yma sehes dhe2 X (phr) X is thirsty (literally, ‘X has thirst’)
  • dhedhans or dhedha (prep+pro) to them, for them (3pl. conjugated form of dhe2 ‘to, for’)
  • Grammar and usage note: In Cornish, rather than saying that a person ‘is hungry’ or ‘is thirsty,’ we say that he or she ‘has hunger’ or ‘has thirst.’ Today’s phrase illustrates this using the yma … dhe2 X (‘there is … to X’) construction for ‘have’ and the noun sehes ‘thirst.’
  • Grammar note: Most grammar books give dhedha as the third person plural form of the preposition dhe2 ‘to, for.’ Dhedhans is a variant which comes from a later stage of the traditional language and likely arose under the influence of the 3pl. verb ending -ns. Of the two variants, dhedha is more widespread among Cornish speakers today.
  • Milestone: Congratulations! As of today, we’ve learned all seven conjugated forms of the preposition dhe2 ‘to, for’:
    • 1sg. dhymm ‘to me, for me’
    • 2sg. dhis ‘to you (sg.), for you (sg.)’
    • 3sg. masc. dhodho ‘to him, for him’
    • 3sg. fem. dhedhi ‘to her, for her’
    • 1pl. dhyn ‘to us, for us’
    • 2pl. dhywgh ‘to you (pl.), for you (pl.)’
    • 3pl. dhedha or dhedhans ‘to them, for them’

7 · Yma nown bras dhyn ni · We’re very hungry (Literally, ‘There is a big hunger to us’ or ‘We have a big hunger’)

  • nown (nm) hunger
  • bras (adj) big, large
  • yma nown dhe2 X (phr) X is hungry (literally, ‘X has hunger’)
  • Usage note: Yma nown dhyn ni literally means ‘we have hunger’ rather than ‘we are hungry,’ and there is no way to translate the English adverb ‘very’ literally in a phrase of this kind. The closest equivalent in Cornish is therefore yma nown bras dhyn ni ‘we have a great hunger.’

8 · Pandr’a vynsewgh hwi dhe dhybri? · What would you (pl.) like to eat?

  • mynsewgh (v) you (pl.) would like (2pl. conditional of mynnes ‘want’)
  • dybri (vn) eat
  • Grammar note: Today’s question uses the same structure we saw in Pandr’a vynses ta dhe eva? on April 26, although here the verb is in the second person plural form. While the second person plural forms of verbs (and prepositions) always end in -wgh, the vowel which precedes this cluster varies. Regular verbs end in -owgh in the 2pl. present/future and preterite (simple past) tenses, but in -ewgh in the 2pl. of other tenses (the imperfect, conditional, and imperative). As a rough guide, the endings of the present/future and preterite often contain the vowels a, i, and o, while those of the other tenses are characterized by the vowel e.

9 · Ni a garsa pysk hag asklos, mar pleg · We’d like fish and chips, please

  • pysk (nm), puskes fish
  • asklos (nc) chips (fries); asklosen (nf) a chip
  • Grammar note: The word asklos ‘chips’ in today’s sentence is another example of a collective noun, a type of noun we first encountered on February 27. Collective nouns behave grammatically like masculine singular nouns but often have a plural meaning when translated into English. They usually refer to plants, animals, and things that are most commonly found in large numbers or mass quantities (and therefore most commonly discussed in the plural rather than the singular). It is therefore no surprise that ‘chips’ is a collective noun in Cornish—who could eat just one? If we ever do need to refer to a single chip (‘I dropped a chip!’), we can add the suffix -en to create the singulative form asklosen, which behaves grammatically as a feminine singular noun.

10 · Agan kowetha a vynsa erhi peswar pasti · Our friends would like to order four pasties

  • erhi (vn) order (request, purchase)
  • peswar (num, m) four (masc.)
  • pasti (nm), pastiow pasty (PASS-tee—a traditional and justly famous Cornish food)
  • Grammar note: As we learned on April 6, the numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4 in Cornish have different forms for use with masculine and feminine nouns. The masculine form peswar which appears in today’s phrase is also the form used when counting out loud or giving digits in a telephone number. As always, any noun preceded by a number appears in its singular form, so the English phrase ‘four pasties’ is peswar pasti (literally, ‘four pasty’) in Cornish.

11 · Py par pastiow a vynsens i? · What kind of pasties would they like?

  • par (nm), parow kind, sort
  • py par? (phr) what kind (of), what sort (of)
  • mynsens (v) they would like (3pl. conditional of mynnes ‘want’)
  • Grammar note: As we noted on May 8, the second person plural form ends in -wgh in every verb tense. Similarly, the third person plural form always ends in -ns. The ending -ens is found in the 3pl. of the imperfect, conditional, and imperative of regular verbs, while other tenses (the present/future and preterite) end in -ons.
  • Milestone: Congratulations! As of today, we have encountered every personal conjugated form of the conditional. Here is a complete list of the endings as well as the corresponding forms of kara ‘love’ (a regular verb):
    • 1sg. -sen · karsen ‘I would like’ (identical to the 1pl.)
    • 2sg. -ses · karses ‘you (sg.) would like’
    • 3sg. -sa · karsa ‘he/she/it would like’ (also used with all noun subjects, both singular and plural)
    • 1pl. -sen · karsen ‘we would like’ (identical to the 1sg.)
    • 2pl. -sewgh · karsewgh ‘you (pl.) would like’
    • 3pl. -sens · karsens ‘they would like’
  • Here are the conditional forms of bos ‘be’ (an irregular verb in which the -s- of the conjugated ending is dropped):
    • 1sg. bien ‘I would be’ (identical to the 1pl.)
    • 2sg. bies ‘you (sg.) would be’
    • 3sg. bia ‘he/she/it would be’ (also used with all noun subjects, both singular and plural)
    • 1pl. bien ‘we would be’ (identical to the 1sg.)
    • 2pl. biewgh ‘you (pl.) would be’
    • 3pl. biens ‘they would be’

12 · Dew basti hengovek ha dew basti keus hag onyon · Two traditional pasties and two cheese and onion pasties

  • dew2 (num, m) two (masc.)
  • keus (nm), keusyow cheese
  • onyon (nc) onions; onyonen (nf) onion
  • Grammar and usage note: As with many other fruits and vegetables, the word for ‘onions’ in Cornish is a collective noun; a single onion is onyonen. When using ‘onion’ as an adjective or to describe the contents of a pasty or a soup, we use the collective form onyon, since this is the basic form of the word. If instead we used the singulative form and asked for pasti keus hag onyonen (‘cheese and an onion pasty’) we might receive a pasty made with cheese and a whole (single) onion!

13 · An dhiw vowes na a garsa dehen rew · Those two girls would like some ice cream

  • diw2 (num, f) two (fem.)
  • mowes (nf), mowesi girl
  • dehen (nm), dehennow cream
  • rew (nm), rewyow ice, frost
  • dehen rew (nm), dehennow rew ice cream
  • Grammar and usage note: English often uses the word ‘some’ when referring to an unspecified quantity of a plural noun (‘some pasties’) or a mass noun (‘some ice cream’), in much the same way that English uses the indefinite article ‘a’ or ‘an’ with singular nouns (‘a sandwich’). Cornish does not have an indefinite article, and likewise does not have a word that equates to English ‘some’ in a sentence like An dhiw vowes na a garsa dehen rew.
  • Grammar rule of the day: The numbers dew2 ‘two (masc.)’ and diw2 ‘two (fem.)’ undergo lenition to dhew2 and dhiw2 respectively when they are preceded by the definite article an, and cause lenition (coincidentally marked by the superscript 2) to any following noun. An adjective following such a ‘dual noun’ is likewise lenited, regardless of whether the noun in masculine or feminine.

14 · My a dhybris oy friys ha backen rag hansel · I ate a fried egg and bacon for breakfast

  • dybris (v) ate (3sg. preterite of dybri ‘eat’)
  • oy (nm), oyow egg
  • friys (v.adj) fried (past participle of fria ‘fry’)
  • backen (nm) bacon
  • hansel (nm), hanselyow breakfast
  • Grammar and usage note: Today’s sentence features a verb in the preterite tense, dybris, which generally corresponds to the simple past tense in English: ‘ate.’ The ending -as is the usual third person singular suffix for the preterite tense, but a number of verbs (including dybri ‘eat’) take the ending -is instead. We use the preterite in Cornish whenever we are describing an action that took place in the past, unless we wish to emphasize…
    • …that the action happened prior to another event in the past, in which case we use the pluperfect (equivalent to English ‘I had eaten breakfast before I left for work’).
    • …that the action happened for a long time or was interrupted by another event, in which case we use the imperfect (equivalent to English ‘I was eating breakfast between 7 and 7:30 today’ or ‘I was eating breakfast when she called”)
    • …that the action happened regularly at a given time or happened repeatedly over a period of time, in which case we use the imperfect (equivalent to English ‘I used to eat eggs for breakfast every day’ or ‘I would eat eggs for breakfast every day’)
    • …the relationship between this past action and a situation at the present time, in which case we use the perfect (equivalent to English ‘I have eaten my breakfast already’)

15 · De y tybris vy krasen gans amanyn · Yesterday I ate toast with butter

  • dybris (v) I ate (1sg. preterite of dybri ‘eat’; identical with the 3sg. form)
  • krasen (nf), krasennow toast
  • amanyn (nm) butter
  • Grammar and usage note: The first person singular ending in the preterite tense is -is for all regular verbs, and can lead to some ambiguity in the case of verbs like dybri where -is is also used in the third person singular. To avoid this, we may choose to add a suffixed subject pronoun like vy in today’s sentence.
  • Mutation rule of the day: The mixed mutation of D is T, so dybris ‘I ate’ becomes tybris after the pre-verbal particle y5.

16 · Prys li yw lemmyn · Now it’s lunch time

  • li or liv (nm), livyow lunch
  • Usage note: While prys is often translated as ‘time,’ and appears in phrases like prys li ‘lunch time’ and prys te ‘tea time,’ it can also be used by itself as a word meaning ‘meal.’

17 · Gwren ni mos dhe vosti · Let’s go to a restaurant

  • gwren (v) let’s do, let’s make (1pl. imperative of gul ‘do, make’; identical to the 1pl. present/future indicative form)
  • bosti (nm), bostiow restaurant (from boos ‘food’ + -ti ‘house, building’)
  • Grammar and usage note: In English, the first person plural imperative is expressed by the phrase ‘let us…’ or ‘let’s…’ followed by a verb, as in ‘let’s go.’ In Cornish, however, it is possible to create a conjugated 1pl. imperative for any verb, which is usually identical to the 1pl. present/future indicative form. The 1pl. form gwren can mean either ‘we (will) do’ or ‘let’s do’ depending on the context. As we learned on March 27, the auxiliary verb gul can be used with the verbal noun of another verb as a way to convey information about tense without having to add conjugated endings to the main verb of the sentence. Such is the case in today’s phrase, where gwren ni mos ‘let’s do going’ is used to translate the English ‘let’s go.’
  • Vocabulary note: Bosti is only one of many compound words in Cornish in which the second element is ti or chi ‘house, building.’ (Ti represents the original form of the word, equivalent to Breton ti; chi is a later development in Cornish.) In this case, the first element is boos ‘food’ with the resulting compound meaning ‘food-house’: thus, ‘restaurant.’

18 · Hemm yw an gwella bosti y’n dre · This is the best restaurant in town

  • gwella (adj) best (irregular superlative form of da ‘good’)
  • tre (nf), trevow home, farmstead; town, village
  • an dre (phr) (the) town
  • Grammar note: Gwella ‘best’ is the superlative form of da ‘good.’ Most Cornish adjectives have two forms: the positive degree (the basic form, e.g. tomm ‘warm’) and the comparative/superlative degree (e.g. tomma ‘warmer, warmest’) which is used in cases where we are describing something as ‘more X’ or ‘the most X.’ The comparative/superlative form takes the suffix -a (equivalent to -er or -est in English), and the final consonant of the r00t is sometimes altered through provection and/or doubling. Da ‘good’ is one of the few adjectives in Cornish that distinguishes between the comparative and superlative forms, and as in English, these forms are irregular (based on a different root). We have already encountered the comparative form gwell ‘better’ on February 11; today’s sentence contains the superlative form gwella ‘best.’ While adjectives typically follow nouns in Cornish, superlative adjectives are usually placed before the nouns they modify.
  • Usage note: The word tre can mean either ‘home, farmstead’ or ‘town, village.’ When it is used with the definite article an ‘the’ (as in today’s sentence), the meaning is ‘(the) town.’

19 · My a wra erhi an kig yar gans losow kegin kemyskys · I’m going to order the chicken with mixed vegetables

  • kig (nm) meat, flesh
  • yar (nf), yer hen, chicken
  • kig yar (nm) chicken (meat) (literally, ‘chicken meat’)
  • losow (nc) herbs, plants; losowen (nf) herb, plant
  • kegin (nf), keginow kitchen
  • losow kegin (nc) vegetables (literally, ‘kitchen plants’); losowen gegin (nf) vegetable
  • kemyskys (adj) mixed (past participle of kemyska ‘mix’)
  • Usage note: In English, we often have two different words for an animal and its meat: cow and beef, pig and pork, sheep and mutton. In general, words of Germanic (Anglo-Saxon) origin are used to name animals and words of Romance (French) origin are used to name the meat of those animals. This is often described as a legacy of the Norman Conquest, in which English-speaking serfs would raise the animals to be eaten by their French-speaking overlords. In Cornish, however, there is usually only one word (of Celtic origin) for both the animal and its meat. If we want to specify that we are ordering a cooked portion of chicken meat rather than a whole, live chicken, we need to place the word kig ‘meat, flesh’ before the word yar ‘chicken.’
  • Grammar and usage note: Words for plants in Cornish are often collective nouns, and this is true of losow ‘herbs, plants’ in today’s sentence. Losow kegin ‘vegetables’ literally means ‘kitchen plants’; the singulative form losowen gegin shows the expected lenition of K to G following a feminine singular noun.

20 · Ha my a garsa an kowl skavellow kronek ha salad byhan · And I’d like the mushroom soup and a small salad

  • kowl (nm), kowlow soup; kowl (nc) cabbage(s); kowlen (nf) (a) cabbage
  • skavel (nf), skavellow stool (for sitting)
  • kronek (nm), kronogow toad
  • skavel gronek (nf), skavellow kronek toadstool, mushroom
  • salad (nm) salad
  • Vocabulary note: The Cornish word kowl means both ‘cabbage’ and ‘soup,’ which as the author of one Cornish dictionary has noted gives you a good idea of what one of the principal ingredients of a Cornish soup was!
  • Usage note: The Cornish skavel gronek is a word-for-word equivalent of the English ‘toadstool’ (although the order of the two elements in the compound is reversed in Cornish). Whereas ‘toadstool’ usually refers only to poisonous mushrooms, Cornish speakers use skavel gronek as the term for mushrooms of all kinds.

21 · Ass ov vy gwag! · How hungry I am!

  • ass!, assa! (int) how!
  • gwag (adj) empty, hungry
  • Usage note: On May 7, we learned the expression Yma nown dhymm (literally, ‘There is hunger to me’ or ‘I have [a] hunger’) as a way to translate the English sentence ‘I am hungry.’ Cornish also has another way to translate ‘I am hungry,’ however, using the adjective gwag ’empty’ to mean ‘hungry’: Gwag ov vy.
  • Grammar note: In English, we often use question words like ‘how’ or ‘what’ to express wonder or astonishment in statements like ‘How happy I am!’ or ‘What a surprise!’ In Cornish, we convey the same feelings using the interjection ass (which may become assa when the following verb begins with a consonant). You will often encounter ass in sentences containing a short form of bos, as in today’s phrase Ass ov vy gwag! ‘How hungry I am.’ Note the difference in word order between Cornish and English: English places the adjective ‘hungry’ right after the initial exclamative ‘how!’ while Cornish always places the verb immediately after ass (that is, in second position, which is where the verb usually appears in a Cornish sentence).

22 · My a alsa dybri margh! · I could eat a horse!

  • galsa (v) could (3sg. conditional of gallos ‘be able [to]’)
  • margh (nm), mergh horse
  • Grammar and usage note: Today’s phrase features the conditional of gallos ‘be able [to]’: galsa. This is translated into English as ‘could,’ but be aware that English ‘could’ does not always correspond to the conditional form galsa in Cornish. Galsa means ‘could’ in the sense of ‘would be able to (if…),’ but English ‘could’ is also used as the past tense of ‘can’ (e.g. ‘When I was younger I could run faster’), which in Cornish would be represented by the imperfect tense form gylli.

23 · My a elwis dew gesoberer dhe ginyewel genen haneth · I invited two co-workers to dine with us tonight

  • gelwis (v) invited, called (3sg. preterite of gelwel ‘call, invite’)
  • kesoberer (nm), kesoberoryon co-worker
  • kinyewel (vn) dine (verb formed from kinnyow ‘dinner, evening meal’)
  • Usage note: The basic meaning of the verb gelwel is ‘call,’ and the Cornish verb gelwel is used in much the same way as its English counterpart. It can mean to ‘call out’ or shout, to ‘call’ someone something (as in ‘I am called Jowan’ = ‘Jowan is my name’), or to ‘call’ (summon) someone over. In this last sense it has the extended meaning ‘invite.’

24 · A via gwell gansa kig bewin po mordhos hogh rag kinnyow? · Would they prefer beef or ham for dinner?

  • bewin (nm) beef
  • kig bewin (nm) beef (literally, ‘beef meat’)
  • mordhos (nf), mordhosow thigh, haunch
  • hogh (nm), hohes pig, hog
  • mordhos hogh (nf), mordhosow hogh ham (literally, ‘pig haunch’)
  • kinnyow (nm), kinyewow dinner (evening meal)
  • Usage note: The word bewin by itself means ‘beef’ and is a rare example of a Cornish word that refers specifically to the meat of an animal rather than using kig ‘meat’ + the name of the animal. (Another example is backen ‘bacon,’ which we encountered on May 14, but this is an English loanword and refers to a specific kind of ‘processed’ meat rather than being a catchall term for all kinds of meat derived from pigs—what English calls ‘pork’ and Cornish calls kig mogh ‘swine flesh.’) The phrase kig bewin (literally, ‘beef meat’) is therefore somewhat redundant but is also in common use for ‘beef,’ presumably by analogy with kig yar, kig mogh, and other terms for kinds of meat in Cornish.

25 · Ny wrussens i dybri naneyl na’y gila · They wouldn’t eat either one (Literally, ‘They would eat neither one nor the other’)

  • gwrussens (v) they would do, they would make (3pl. conditional of gul ‘do, make,’ here used as an auxiliary verb)
  • naneyl (pro) neither one (compound derived from nag ‘neither’ + an ‘the’ + eyl ‘one [of two]’)
  • na or nag (conj) neither, nor (na before consonants, nag before vowels and—for some speakers—h)
  • na’y2 (phr) nor his (contraction of nag ‘nor’ + y2 ‘his’)
  • kila (pro) mate, companion (but never used as a noun in this sense; see below)
  • Grammar note: In Cornish, the expression ‘neither X nor Y’ is translated using the conjunction na(g): na X na YNaneyl in today’s sentence is a compound which has merged the initial na(g) with the phrase an eyl ‘the one (first of two alternatives).’
  • Grammar and usage note: As we learned on March 27, the auxiliary verb gul is often used with the verbal noun of another verb (here, dybri) as a way to convey information about tense without having to add conjugated endings to the main verb of the sentence. Ny wrussens i dybri literally means ‘They wouldn’t do eating’ but is translated as ‘They wouldn’t eat.’
  • Usage note: The phrase naneyl na’y gila ‘neither (the) one nor the other’ is more often encountered in its positive version in phrases like an eyl y gila ‘one another’ or an eyl wosa y gila ‘one after another.’ The word kila can be thought of as meaning ‘mate, companion’ but does not actually occur outside of these expressions in which y gila (literally ‘his mate’) is used as the equivalent of English ‘the other (one),’ ‘another.’

26 · Losowegoryon yns · They’re vegetarians

  • losoweger (nm), losowegoryon vegetarian (masc.) (compound based on losowek ‘vegetable’ + -er ‘-er’)
  • Grammar note: The subject pronoun (i ‘they’) does not need to be included to create a grammatically correct sentence in Cornish, since the subject is already marked by the 3pl. conjugated form yns ‘they are.’

27 · Saw hwi oll a ober yn kigti! · But you all work in a butcher’s shop!

  • ober (v) work (3sg. present/future indicative of oberi ‘work’)
  • kigti (nm), kigtiow butcher’s shop (from kig ‘meat’ + -ti ‘house, building’)
  • Vocabulary note: Like bosti ‘restaurant’ (which we learned on May 17), kigti is a compound noun with -ti ‘house, building’ as the second element. Compounds like these commonly refer to a building or establishment where a particular item is produced, used, or sold. Other examples featuring the suffix -ti or -ji include lyverji ‘bookstore’ (from lyver ‘book’) and le’ti (from leth ‘milk’).

28 · Henn yw an praga poran! · That’s precisely the reason!

  • praga (nm) reason (the interrogative word praga ‘why’ used as a noun)
  • poran (adv) precisely, exactly
  • Grammar note: The word praga in today’s sentence is another form of the word prag ‘why,’ which is derived from py ‘what’ + the preposition rag ‘for.’ When used as a noun, praga means ‘the reason (why).’
  • Pronunciation note: Poran is one of the relatively few Cornish words with an irregular stress on the final syllable (rather than the penultimate).

29 · A dhebrons i boos mor? · Do they eat sea food?

  • debrons (v) they eat (3pl. present/future indicative of dybri ‘eat’)
  • boos (nm), bosow food
  • mor (nm), moryow sea
  • boos mor (nm) sea food
  • Grammar note: As we see from the form debrons in today’s sentence, Many of the conjugated forms of the verb dybri add personal endings to the root debr- (like debrons ‘they eat’ in today’s sentence), not dybr- as we might expect. In general, dybr- occurs in forms like the verbal noun dybri or the 1sg./3sg. preterite form dybris ‘ate’ where the conjugated ending contains an i or y.

30 · Debrons, del grysav · Yes, I believe so (Literally, ‘Yes, as I believe’)

  • del2 (conj) as
  • krysav (v) I believe (1sg. present/future indicative of krysi ‘believe’)
  • del grysav (phr) (as) I believe
  • Usage note: The phrase del grysav is a common one in Cornish, and is often used where an English speaker would say, ‘I think (that…)’

31 · My a wra bibynes bubyn ragdhans ytho · I’ll make shrimp for them, then.

  • bibyn bubyn (nm), bibynes bubyn shrimp, prawn
  • ragdhans or ragdha (prep+pro) for them (3pl. conjugated form of rag ‘for’)
  • ytho (adv) thus, so, then
  • Usage note: Today’s sentence uses gwra (the 3sg. present/future indicative of gul) in the sense of ‘will make’ rather than ‘will do.’
  • Vocabulary note: Ytho is often best translated as ‘then’ in English, but it only means ‘then’ in the sense of ‘thus’ or ‘therefore.’ The Cornish word for ‘then’ meaning ‘at that time’ is ena.
  • Note on pronunciation: The stress accent falls on the final syllable of ytho, not on the penultimate syllable as is usually the case in Cornish.

Summary · Mis Me 2014

In May 2014 we learned:

  • 31 phrases plus 3 bonus phrases
  • 91 vocabulary words, not counting idiomatic phrases and personal names

Mis Metheven 2014 · June 2014



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