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© 2023 Ian Jackson

Revived Cornish on the principle of tota Cornicitas

Taking account of all the evidence for historical Cornish

Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

Level A1 (Breakthrough)



Cara Kernowek Book One is a straightforward grammar-based course designed for motivated adults learning revived traditional Cornish with a teacher or by self-study. At present only some teachers of Cornish have a formal teaching qualification, and many teachers of beginners may still be learners themselves at a higher level. The course is scaffolded to encourage teachers to be confident of the core material, passing that confidence on to the student, who can then become a confident teacher of further beginners, in a virtuous cycle.

Standard Cornish is the spelling system used throughout. The course is divided for convenience into lessons, but teachers should work through the course at a pace that matches the interest and aptitude of the class. Teachers will no doubt wish to provide much additional opportunity to develop listening, speaking, reading and writing skills within the framework of each lesson.

For the sake of clear exposition, the Cornish presented in Cara Kernowek Book One is based on the literary language that had evolved to the end of the 16th century. Cornish as actually spoken was certainly rather different. Grammar and pronunciations truer to everyday speech were preserved in records of the 17th and 18th centuries, and from this evidence we can restore a conversational register for use alongside more formal prose styles. The second, third and fourth books in the Cara Kernowek series gradually introduce truly colloquial alternatives so you can eventually acquire a lively idiom of your own.

Cara Kernowek departs from the typical coursebook convention which has characters using Cornish but not explicitly inhabiting a world where Cornish is a part of everyday life. The various dialogues in this book are set in a slightly modified universe where Cornish is already the language of home and work for a significant minority of people in Cornwall. Students can be encouraged to think wisely about the personal, social and political issues that naturally arise in this scenario.

I am indebted to Ray Chubb for his book Skeul an Tavas which first established a modern syllabus for beginners in traditional Cornish. I am ever grateful to Professor Nicholas Williams and Michael Everson for their advice and support. I have been inspired by the enthusiasm of my students, especially Carmen Cernadas, Dominic Ó Ceallaigh, Kyle Odgers, John Riley, Dilwyn Roberts, Nigel J. Roberts, Roberta Spencer, and Isaac Tutin.

Ian Jackson, MA (Cantab), MA (Oxon), QTS

lovinglivingcornish, September 2023




Lesson 1

Containing Exercises 1 - 7

Alphabet; pronunciation; greetings; asking how someone is; saying goodbye; gender; number; definite article; Second State mutations; optional mutation; attributive adjectives; saying ‘this’ and ‘that’; open question: ‘what?’; fronting; closed questions (for a yes/no answer); replying to closed questions; replying with an affirmative statement; replying with a negative statement; predicative adjectives; Cornish adjective glas; blocked mutation; string of attributive adjectives; model answers

Lesson 2

Containing Exercises 8 - 14

Negative questions; personal pronouns subjects; using pronoun why; ‘they’ form of verb not used with plural noun; plural nouns referring to male people; dropping personal pronouns; vocative particle; talking about the weather; ‘was’ and vëdh ‘will be’; more about saying ‘yes’ and ‘no’; open question: ‘who?’; nouns specifically for female people; counting to ten; model answers; getting the most out of the dialogue exercises

Lesson 3

Containing Exercises 15 – 20

Counting people and things; Third State mutations; saying ‘there is/are’ (pointing); yma meaning ‘there is/are’; saying ‘in’ and ‘in the’; yma with definite subject; open question: ‘where?’; saying ‘from’ and ‘of’ (not possession); ‘from/of the’; saying ‘on’ and ‘under’; model answers

Lesson 4

Containing Exercises 21 – 25

Local present tense of bos; asking closed questions with local present tense of bos; local forms eus, usy, usons; distinction between copula and local forms only exists for two tenses of bos; model answers

Lesson 5

Containing Exercises 26 – 30

Verb-nouns; present tense formed with verb-noun; Fourth State mutations; present tense formed with verb-noun continued; verb-noun taking direct object; tre meaning ‘home’ or ‘back’; collective nouns; days of the week; owth; counting from eleven to twenty; telling the time; model answers

Lesson 6

Containing Exercises 31 - 35

More prepositions; saying ‘for’ and ‘in order to’; building future tenses with mydnas; distinguishing particle ny from pronoun ny; personal forms of prepositions; model answers

Lesson 7

Containing Exercises 36 -38

Building future tenses with gwil, more personal forms of gans; ordinal numerals; months of the year; specific dates; naming the year; cans and mil; model answers

Lesson 8

Containing Exercises 39 - 44

Genitive construction; saying ‘have’ meaning possession; present-future of godhvos; ‘know how to’ sometimes equivalent to ‘can’; model answers

Lesson 9

Containing Exercises 45 - 48

Possessive pronouns; preposition dhia works like preposition a; present-future of gallos; some cases of English ‘may’ rendered by gallos; personal forms of dhe; the noun tra; the idiom aga dew etc; mar ‘if’ and Fourth State; model answers

Lesson 10

Containing Exercises 49 - 51

Plurals of nouns; reinforcing with personal pronouns; possessive pronouns expressing direct object of verb-noun; reinforcing with personal pronouns continued; personal forms of gans; model answers

Lesson 11

Containing Exercises 52 - 56

Building a past tense with gwil; preposition orth after côwsel and govyn; gwil as auxiliary makes tenses of gwil; link particle a connects preceding subject or direct object to verb; neb and nebes; about honen; personal forms of orth; more about higher numerals; naming the year: a second method; model answers

Lesson 12

Containing Exercises 57 - 60

Imperfect tense; imperfect of godhvos and gallos; forming adverbs with yn; Fifth State mutations; do not confuse yn with in; adverbial phrase in gwir; model answers

Lesson 13

Containing Exercises 61 - 63

Saying ‘wish to’ or ‘want to’; me a garsa etc not followed by ordinary noun; seasons; telling the time with mynysen; model answers

Lesson 14

Containing Exercises 64 - 69

Expressing verbs with particle y; grammar of weather sentences; saying 'should' or 'ought to'; personal forms of rag; building imperatives with gwil; negative imperatives; dëdh becomes jëdh after an, in, i’n, udn; parataxis in place of syntax; model answers

Lesson 15

Containing Exercises 70 - 72

Decimal numbers; naming the year: a third method; some help with Exercise 72; model answers


All the Cornish words in this Book One

Find links to model answers for the exercises at the end of each Lesson

Click or tap here for the Pronunciation Guide

Click or tap here for the Consolidated Index to the first three Cara Kernowek coursebooks




The alphabet

Cornish words are spelled using all 26 letters of the alphabet. But x and z only occur in a few words. Here are the letters with Cornish names. Can you sing them?

A a called A

B b called Be

C c called Ce

D d called De

E e called E

F f called Ef

G g called Ge

H h called Ha

I i called I

J j called Je

K k called Ke

L l called El

M m called Em

N n called En

O o called O

P p called Pe

Q q called Qwo

R r called Er

S s called Es

T t called Te

U u called Û

V v called Ve

W w called We

X x called Ex

Y y called Ye

Z z called Zed

We also use three accents (sometimes called diacritical marks): the circumflex accent (aken grobm), often called to bian ‘little roof’; the grave accent (aken dhieskynus); and the diaeresis (aken dhewboynt). There is also the apostrophe (collverk) and the hyphen (nos jùnya). The Cornish for ‘alphabet’ is abecedary.

Click or tap here for more information


To start, you must imitate your teacher carefully if you have one. In any case you should work through the Pronunciation Guide at an early opportunity. And then consult it frequently until you are sure of all the sounds of Cornish. It is easy to correct yourself at the beginning. Later it will be much more difficult to unlearn things that are wrong.

Click or tap here for the Pronunciation Guide

Click or tap here for spellings in the International Phonetic Alphabet


Lowena dhis! means ‘Hello!’ or ‘Hi!’ If we wish to be more formal, we can say Dùrda dhe why! ‘Good day!’ Both these Cornish greetings are traditional. We can also use greetings based on contemporary English, saying Myttyn dâ! ‘Good morning!’ (until about 10:00), Dohajëdh dâ! ‘Good afternoon!’ (after midday), Gordhuwher dâ! ‘Good evening!’ (up to midnight). Some use Dëdh dâ! as a modern alternative to Dùrda dhe why!

Asking how someone is

Fatla genes? means ‘How are you?’ (literally ‘how [is] along with you?’) It can be used as a greeting without expecting any reply. If you do wish to reply but without giving anything away, you can just respond with Fatla genes? Alternatively you can give a stock answer such as Pòr dhâ ‘Fine!’ (literally ‘very good’), Na dâ na drog! ‘So-so!’ (literally ‘neither good nor bad’) or Heb bos yn tâ lowr! ‘Not too good!’ (literally ‘without being well enough’). If you use one of these answers you can add Ha tejy? ‘And you?’ to prompt something in return.

Saying goodbye

Duw genes! (literally ‘God [be] along with you’) and Benatuw! (literally ‘God’s blessing!’) are used for ‘Goodbye!’ More casually you can say Da weles! ‘[Be] seeing you!’ When it’s quite late in the evening you may use Nos dâ! ‘Good night!’


Cornish nouns are either ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’. Just one noun, tra ‘thing’, is neuter and so does not fit straightforwardly into this scheme (see Lesson Nine). Nouns for specifically female people are always feminine. But the great majority of nouns in Cornish are masculine. Apart from a few nouns that designate males specifically, masculine nouns for people and animals can refer to either a male or a female. A few feminine nouns may likewise refer to males or females. Whether any individual is male or female is determined by societal norms, which may evolve over time.


Here are some masculine nouns.

chy house, den man, edhen bird, glaw rain, gwely bed, ky dog, margh horse, maw boy, pons bridge, porhel pig

Here are some feminine nouns.

benyn woman, buwgh cow, cath cat, davas sheep, garr leg, gwedhen tree, mowes girl, pluven feather or pen, tesen cake, tre town


All of these nouns are ‘singular’. When the noun designates someone or something that is countable, the singular is used for one individual. There is no word in Cornish corresponding to the English indefinite article ‘a, an’. So benyn means ‘woman’ or ‘a woman’ depending on the context. (Later we shall learn about nouns that are either collective or plural – designating more than one individual.) A noun for something that is not countable has only a singular form. For example, glaw ‘rain’.

Definite article

The definite article an ‘the’ precedes its noun just as in English. But when an is used in front of feminine singular nouns beginning with certain sounds, it causes a sound-change (mutation). We say that the noun is in First State before this change. After the change it is in Second State. The technical name for the change from First State to Second State is lenition.

Second State mutations

Mutation is usually reflected in the spelling. Here are the spellings that can change.

> g

k > g


p > b

b > v

m > v

> d

> dh

ch > j

go > wo

gu > wu

Any other simply disappears.

Practys Onen Exercise One

Here are two examples: an venyn ‘the woman’, an arr ‘the leg’. Now give the Cornish for:

the cow, the cat, the sheep, the tree, the girl, the pen, the cake, the town

Masculine singular nouns do not change after an. Give the Cornish for:

the house, the man, the bird, the rain, the bed, the dog, the horse, the boy, the bridge, the pig

Optional mutation

A small number of feminine singulars optionally change their sound. So an fenester ‘the window’, an fordh ‘the road or the way’, an fos ‘the wall’ are commonly pronounced with an initial v-sound. But it is possible to retain the f-sound if you prefer. That is why we do not alter the spelling. Likewise you can pronunce an sarf ‘the snake’ with an initial z-sound if you wish. Again, we do not change the spelling.

Attributive adjectives

When an adjective is coupled directly with a noun to describe it we say that the adjective is attributive. Attributive adjectives are usually placed after their noun in Cornish. So coth, for instance, means ‘old’; and we say den coth ‘an old man’ and an den coth ‘the old man’. But attributive adjectives placed after feminine singular nouns go into Second State. So we say benyn goth ‘an old woman’ and an venyn goth ‘the old woman’.


Here are some more adjectives that can be used attributively.

bian small, little, blou blue, brâs big, large, du black, gwer green, gwag empty, blank (also hungry), gwydn white, melen yellow, poos heavy, rudh red

Here are some more masculine nouns.

bord table, chair chair, daras door, hanaf cup, paper paper

And here are some more feminine nouns.

astell board, bre hill, canstel basket, gwedren glass, tumbler, padel pan

Practys Dew Exercise Two

Give the Cornish for

a small boy, a green frog, the black cat, the blue cup, an empty glass, the big hill, the heavy pan, a yellow chair, blank paper, a big table, the red door, the whiteboard (= the white board), the empty bed, a white leg, a large house, the toilet (= the little house), a heavy basket, the yellow wall, the old pig, the green snake

Saying ‘this’ and ‘that’

An maw means ‘the boy’; an maw-ma means ‘this boy; an maw-na means ‘that boy’. An vowes means ‘the girl’; an vowes-ma means ‘this girl’; an vowes-na means ‘that girl’.

Hebma means ‘this [one]’ referring to a masculine noun. Hobma means ‘this [one]’ referring to a feminine noun.

Hedna means ‘that [one]’ referring to a masculine noun. Hodna means ‘that [one]’ referring to a feminine noun.

If we do not yet know what noun we are dealing with, we use hebma and hedna.

Open question: ‘what?’

Pëth yw? and Pandr’yw? both mean ‘what is/are?’ They are interchangeable. So we can ask, for example, Pëth yw hebma? ‘What is this?’ or Pandr’yw hedna? ‘What is that?’

Pandr’ stands for pandra but the word is usually abbreviated before yw.

Here are some specimen replies.

Hèm yw qwylkyn. ‘This is a frog.’

Hòm yw padel. ‘This is a pan.’

Hèn yw gwely. ‘That is a bed.’

Hòn yw tesen. ‘That is a cake.’

We nearly always abbreviate hebma, hobma, hedna, hodna before yw ‘is’.


It is very common in Cornish to move the most important piece of information in a sentence to the very front. So we can also say:

Qwylkyn yw hebma. ‘This is a frog.’

Padel yw hobma. ‘This is a pan.’

Gwely yw hedna. ‘That is a bed.’

Tesen yw hodna. ‘That is a cake.’

When hebma, hobma, hedna, hodna do not come immediately before yw, they are not abbreviated.

Practys Try Exercise Three

Here are some more specimen replies – this time for you to work out the meaning.

Hèm yw chair. Hòn yw canstel. Hanaf yw hedna. Pluven yw hobma. Hòm yw davas. Hèn yw daras. Fenester yw hodna. An Chy Gwydn yw hebma. An astell wydn yw hobma. Hòn yw an fordh vrâs.

Closed questions (for a yes/no answer)

With yw ‘is’ we can make questions expecting the answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ just as in English.

Practys Peswar Exercise Four

What do the following questions mean?

Yw hebma edhen? Yw hobma buwgh? Yw hedna hanaf? Yw hodna gwedren? Yw hobma sarf? Yw hedna glaw? Yw hodna garr? Yw hebma an chy bian? Yw hedna den coth? Yw hedna an pons brâs?

Replying to closed questions

is ‘yes’. is ‘no’. A more formal way of saying ‘yes’ is to repeat the verb. So you could also say Yw ‘yes’ (literally ‘[it] is’). A more formal way of saying ‘no’ is to repeat the verb preceded by the general negative particle na (which becomes nag if the verb is a part of bos ‘be’ beginning with a vowel). So you could also say Nag yw ‘no’ (literally ‘[it] is not’).

Replying with an affirmative statement

In reply to a question Yw hobma canstel? for example, we can say Eâ (or Yw), hòm yw canstel. Or we can front the important information and say Eâ (or Yw), canstel yw hobma.

Replying with a negative statement

To state a negative we use the special negative statement particle ny (which becomes nyns if the verb is a part of bos ‘be’ beginning with a vowel). So we can say, for example, Nâ (or Nag yw), nyns yw [hobma] canstel. In this construction the subject (here hobma) comes after the verb (here yw), just like in a question. But in a negative sentence we usually just omit a subject ‘this’ or ‘that’, rather than attempting to rematch the subject to the gender of whatever the person or thing might actually be. We could front canstel and say Nâ (or Nag yw), canstel nyns yw. But for negative statements fronting is more characteristic of written Cornish; it is not very common in conversation.

Practys PympExercise Five

Produce affirmative and negative replies for each of the questions in Exercise Four.

Predicative adjectives

When an adjective is not coupled directly with a noun but instead is used with a part of the verb bos ‘be’ (such as yw ‘is’) to describe the noun, we say the adjective is predicative. Predicative adjectives are always in First State – they do not mutate, even when they refer to a feminine singular noun.

Practys WheExercise Six

What do the following sentences mean?

An chy yw gwag. An venyn yw coth. Bian yw an dre. Yw an dhavas gwydn? Nyns yw an gath du. Pandr’yw hedna? Hòn yw astell wydn. Yw an astell wydn gwag? Hòm yw bre vrâs. An vre yw brâs.

Practys SeythExercise Seven

If you are learning in a class, you can play a game of mixing nouns with adjectives. Making ‘crazy’ combinations can actually stimulate your memory for new words. One student picks a noun (with definite article), pronouncing the phrase well and giving the meaning. The next learner picks an adjective in the same way. The teacher then selects a third student to put the two together – either attributively (e.g. an vuwgh vlou) or predicatively (e.g. an vuwgh yw blou or blou yw an vuwgh).

Cornish adjective glas

People often claim that glas is the ordinary Cornish word for both blue and green. Which is rather confusing because these colours are obviously not the same! The truth is that blou is the basic adjective for blue, and gwer is the basic adjective for green. Glas means ‘having a bright colour’ but with the limitation that it is not used for the red/yellow end of the spectrum. So glas can mean blue, referring for example to the sky. Or green, referring for example to verdant pasture. But the word is also used to refer to grey hair.

Blocked mutation

It is sometimes said there is a rule of Cornish grammar that an adjective beginning with any of c t k p or q is not put into Second State if the feminine singular noun preceding it ends in s or th. It is true that the change to Second State may be blocked in these circumstances, but it is only a tendency, not a rule.

String of attributive adjectives

You can of course apply more than one adjective to a noun. For instance, chy gwag brâs ‘a big empty house’. When used with a feminine singular noun every adjective in the string goes into Second State where applicable. So we say, for example, an wedhen wer vian ‘the little green tree’. Note how the sequence of adjectives is generally the reverse of the English word order. If ha ‘and’ joins the adjectives, this breaks the string and we return to First State, saying for instance an wedhen wer ha bian.

Model answers for the exercises in this Lesson One

Click or tap here





Here are some more nouns. From now on we will introduce masculine nouns with the symbol m, feminine nouns with the symbol f, and plural nouns with the symbol pl.

bara bread, carrek rock, keus cheese, lyver book, pel ball

Here are some more adjectives.

cales hard (also difficult), cogh scarlet, êsy easy, nowyth new, teg beautiful, pretty

Two fixed expressions: bara cogh brown bread, bara nowyth fresh bread

The phrase bara cogh gives a clue that Cornish colour words are not precisely aligned with counterparts in English. There is no all-purpose word for ‘brown’ in Cornish. Both rudh and cogh are used in this sense. There are other possibilities too.

Practys EthExercise Eight

Answer some questions according to the following example.

Yw an bara-ma cogh?

Eâ (Yw), an bara-ma yw cogh. Yw an bara-na cogh? Nâ (Nag yw), an bara-na yw gwydn.

Yw an bel-ma rudh? Yw an bel-na rudh? 

Yw an keus-ma melen? Yw an keus-na melen?

Yw an garrek-ma poos? Yw an garrek-na poos?

Yw an practys-ma êsy? Yw an practys-na êsy?

Yw an lyver-ma nowyth? Yw an lyver-na nowyth?

(occasionally ) means ‘or’.

Practys NawExercise Nine

Answer some questions according to the following example.

Yw an bel rudh pò gwer?

An bel yw rudh. Nyns yw an bel gwer.

Yw an keus melen pò gwydn?

Yw an bluven blou pò rudh?

Yw an ganstel brâs pò bian?

Yw an bara nowyth pò coth?

Yw an practys êsy pò cales? 

Negative questions

If we put interrogative particle a in front of a negative statement, the result is a negative question. For example:

Nyns yw an bel rudh. ‘The ball is not red.’

A nyns yw an bel rudh? ‘Isn’t the ball red?’

This can be answered in the ways we have already learned.

Eâ (Yw), an bel yw rudh. ‘Yes, the ball is red.’ i.e. contradicting

Nâ (Nag yw), nyns yw an bel rudh. ‘No, the ball is not red.’ i.e. confirming

Personal pronoun subjects

Strictly speaking, yw means ‘is’. But in fact we can put any personal pronoun in front of it. Like this:

me (or my) yw dyscor ‘I am a learner’

ny yw dyscoryon ‘we are learners’

te (or ty) yw dyscor ‘you are a learner’

why yw dyscoryon ‘you are learners’

ev yw dyscor ‘he is a learner’

hy yw dyscor ‘she is a learner’

anjy (or y) yw dyscoryon ‘they are learners’

Dyscor m is any learner, male or female. Its plural form is dyscoryon. For a female learner we can say dyscores f, but this is optional. The plural form of dyscores is dyscoresow.

If on the other hand we front the more important piece of information, we cannot use yw in this universal way. There are particular forms for subjects ‘I’, ‘we’, ‘you’, ‘they’ that must be used instead. Like this:

dyscor ov vy ‘I am a learner’

dyscoryon on ny ‘we are learners’

dyscor osta ‘you are a learner’

dyscoryon owgh why ‘you are learners’

dyscoryon yns y ‘they are learners’

We must also use these particular forms in questions and with the negative statement particle.


Here are some more new words.

descador teacher, lowen happy, parys ready, sqwith tired, trist sad, yagh well (referring to health)

Kernow refers to a male Cornish person. Kernow means Cornwall. Kernowes refers to a female Cornish person. Kernowyon pl is used for males or a mix of males and females. Kernowesow pl is used specifically for females only.

Practys DegExercise Ten

Answer some questions according to the following example.

Osta dyscor?

Eâ, me yw dyscor. Eâ, dyscor ov vy. Nâ, nyns ov vy dyscor.

Osta mowes?

Osta yagh?

Osta lowen?

Owgh why dyscoryon?

Owgh why sqwith?

Yw ev descador?

On ny parys?

Yw hy trist?

Ov vy poos?

Yns y Kernowyon?

Using pronoun why

Why is also used for ‘you’ referring to a single person that you do not know well. So to a stranger you should say Owgh why descador? rather than Osta descador? In fact why can be used with friends and family too, interchangeably with te. And it is a fixture in some phrases – such as Dùrda dhe why! ‘Good day!’

‘They’ form of verb not used with plural noun

Yw, never yns, is used when a plural noun is the subject. In Cornish a singular verb is always used when the subject is a plural noun.

Plural nouns referring to male people

Plural nouns referring to male people (or a mix of male and female people) have a tendency to appear in Second State after an ‘the’ (and to cause Second State of accompanying attributive adjectives) – though it is not a very rigid grammatical rule. And it does not usually apply to loan-words from English.

So we say, for example, an dhyscoryon yw lowen or lowen yw an dhyscoryon ‘the learners are happy’. Contrast an dyscoresow – feminine singular nouns take Second State after an ‘the’, but their plurals stay in First State.

An dus ‘the men’ is regular, because tus is a feminine singular meaning ‘people’ that serves as the plural of den; it retains its original sense of ‘people’ as well.

Dropping personal pronouns

In quite formal Cornish, but also in conversation for speed and to save repetition, we may omit the personal pronoun from the particular forms because the sense is already complete without it. So you might find Kernow ov ‘I am Cornish’, instead of Kernow ov vy. Even informally we might say Osta sqwith? Os trist? ‘Are you tired? Are you sad?’

Vocative particle

There are three different particles in Cornish. We have already met interrogative particle a before nyns, turning a negative statement into a negative question. Vocative particle a is optionally used before proper names of people when addressing them. Vocative particle triggers Second State, but any personal name remains unchanged.

Practys UdnekExercise Eleven

Here is a typical brief exchange between two acquaintances who meet on a street in Truro (Cornish Trûrû) one day. Read it aloud several times to be sure you understand it. New words are glossed at the end.

Perys Pentreath:

Dùrda dhe why, a Vêstres Mundy. Fatla genes?

Cattern Mundy:

A Perys, lowena dhis! Ha lavar Cattern mar pleg! Pòr dhâ ov vy. Fatla genes sy? Osta yagh?

Mêster Pentreath:

Eâ, yagh lowr, Cattern.

Mêstres Mundy:

A nyns yw an glaw-ma uthyk?

Mêster Pentreath:

Howl avorow martesen?

Mêstres Mundy:

Re bo govenek! Da weles, Perys!

Mêster Pentreath:

Duw genes!

avorow tomorrow, howl sun, sunshine, martesen maybe, perhaps, Mêster Mr, Mêstres Mrs, Ms, uthyk dreadful

The phrase lavar Cattern mar pleg means ‘please call me Cattern’ (literally, ‘say Cattern if it pleases’). Fatla genes sy? is a more emphatic form of fatla genes? – How are you? Re bo govenek means ‘I hope so’ or ‘let’s hope so’ (literally, ‘may there be hope’).

Talking about the weather

We talk about the weather just as much in Cornish as we do in English. Here are some more useful words.

comolek cloudy, glëb wet, gwyns wind, gwynsak windy, howlek sunny, kewar weather, sëgh dry, tobm warm, hot, yêyn cool, cold

If we do not already know what the weather is like we can ask Fatl’yw an gewar? or Fatell yw an gewar? Both fatla and fatell mean ‘how’. Fatla is always used for the question fatla genes? Otherwise fatla and fatell are about equally common. Fatla always abbreviates to fatl’ before yw.

Practys DêwdhekExercise Twelve

Make your own conversation based on the following model. Note how Cornish does not generally employ a word for ‘it’ when talking about the weather. New words are glossed at the end.

Fatl’yw an gewar? Yw howlek? 

Nâ, nyns yw howlek. Nyns yw sëgh. Comolek yw. Glëb yw. Saw nyns yw yêyn.

A nyns yw yêyn in gwir? Fatell yw an gwyns? 

Gwyns? Nâ, nyns yw gwynsak.

Howl avorow? 

Martesen. Pò glaw unweyth arta.

in gwir indeed (literally, ‘in truth’), saw but, unweyth arta once again

o ‘was’ and vëdh ‘will be’

We often like to compare the weather from day to day. Hedhyw is ‘today’. De is ‘yesterday’. When we are talking about the past yw ‘is’ becomes o ‘was’. When we talk about the future yw becomes vëdh ‘will be’. Fatla abbreviates before o.

So we say:

An gewar o glëb de. ‘The weather was wet yesterday.’

or (with fronting)

Glëb o an gewar de.

or just

Glëb o de.


An gewar a vëdh yêyn avorow. ‘The weather will be cold tomorrow.’

or (with fronting)

Yêyn vëdh an gewar avorow.

or just

Yêyn vëdh avorow.

Note how vëdh must be connected to a preceding subject by link particle a (the third of the three particles a).

More about saying ‘yes’ and ‘no’

We can always say and . Or we can ‘repeat the verb of the question’. But some questions do not contain a verb, so this method cannot be applied to them. And by now we have encountered a number of verb forms: ov, os, yw, on, owgh, yns, o, vëdh. We must be sure to ‘repeat’ the right one. It will not always be the exact form used in the question. Consider the following examples.

Osta yagh? Ov, me yw yagh.

Are you well? Yes, I’m well.

On ny parys? Nag on, nyns on ny parys.

Are we ready? No, we’re not ready.

Owgh why lowen? On, ny yw lowen.

Are you happy? Yes, we’re happy.

O glëb de? Nag o, nyns o an gewar de glëb. Sëgh o.

Was it wet yesterday? No, the weather yesterday wasn’t wet. It was dry.

A vëdh tobm avorow? Bëdh, avorow an gewar a vëdh howlek.

Will it be warm tomorrow? Yes, tomorrow the weather will be sunny.

A vëdh glëb avorow? Na vëdh, ny vëdh glëb.

Will it be wet tomorrow? No, it won’t be wet.

There’s quite a lot to note here. You can see how we must adjust the form of the verb to make sense in the answer. Osta? ‘are you?’, for example, is usually answered with Ov ‘I am’. We employ particle ‘interrogative a’ before vëdh in a yes/no question, but (like yw) is used without this particle. And vëdh becomes bëdh when it means ‘yes’. As for negatives with vëdh, the general negative particle na and the negative statement particle ny are used in their basic form – in contrast to their extended forms nag and nyns that must be employed with yw and o.

It may be best to avoid using the repeat-the-verb method for ‘yes’ and ‘no’ until you are fairly confident about your Cornish. But you need to be able to recognize it.

Open question: ‘who’?

Pyw is ‘who’ in questions. Also ‘whose’ in questions when it is placed after a noun.

Practys TredhekExercise Thirteen

Make your own conversation based on the following model.

Here are some job titles that you might use: acowntyas ‘accountant’, laghyas ‘lawyer’, clojior ‘nurse’, injynor ‘engineer’, lewyor ‘driver’, medhek ‘doctor’, tiak ‘farmer’.

Pyw owgh why?

Mêster Teague ov vy. Saw lavar te mar pleg.

Gromercy dhis, a Vêster Teague! Ha pëth osta?

Descador ov vy.

Ha pyw yw hy?

Descadores yw hy.

Py hanow yw an dhescadores?

Mêstresyk Keverne yw.

Ha pëth yw hedna? Yw ky martesen?

Nâ, nyns yw ky. Hòn yw cath dhu vrâs.

Gromercy dhis! or Gromercy dhys! means ‘Thank you’. Mêstresyk is ‘Miss’ for those who still like to use this title. Note how you can substitute py hanow? (literally ‘which name?’) for pyw? when you want specifically to know someone’s name.

Nouns specifically for female people

We saw when we met the pair dyscor / dyscores ‘learner’ that the masculine or form refers to either a male or a female person, while the feminine es form refers specifically to someone who is female. The pairs clojior / clojiores, descador / descadores, injynor / injynores, lewyor / lewyores, medhek / medheges, tiak / tioges work in the same way. For a masculine yas form (referring to males or females) there is a corresponding feminine form yades (referring only to females): so we also have the pairs acowntyas / acowntyades and laghyas / laghyades.

Counting to ten

Onen, dew, try, peswar, pymp, whe (or whegh), seyth, eth, naw, deg

Practys PeswardhekExercise Fourteen

Do a ‘launch countdown’ from ten to zero. In conversational Cornish ‘zero’ is màn. Keep repeating until you can say the whole sequence, in both directions, as quickly as you can in English.

Model answers for the exercises in this Lesson Two

Click or tap here

Getting the most out of the dialogue exercises

Throughout the book there are many exercises in the form of a dialogue in Cornish arising from particular circumstances. You should take the opportunity to practise with these exercises in multiple ways. Read the conversation several times until you are confident with the ‘flow’ of it. And make sure you understand it completely, of course. But you should not stop there. Go on to ask questions about the conversation. Or based on the particular scenario. Then reply to those questions. If you are in a class you will be able to tackle the task interactively. But it is an important method for self-study as well.

Here’s how you might apply the question-and-answer technique to Exercise Eleven.

Fatl’yw Cattern?

Cattern yw pòr dhâ. Pòr dhâ yw Cattern. Hy yw pòr dhâ. Pòr dhâ yw hy.

Yw Perys yagh?

Eâ, Perys yw yagh – yagh lowr. Ev yw yagh lowr. Yagh lowr yw ev.

Fatl’yw an gewar? Nyns yw an gewar dâ. Nyns yw dâ. Uthyk yw.

Yw glaw teg?

Nâ, nyns yw glaw teg. An glaw-ma yw uthyk. Uthyk yw.

A vëdh howl avorow? 

Martesen. Howl a vëdh avorow martesen. A vëdh hedna uthyk? Nâ, ny vëdh hedna uthyk. Dâ vëdh hedna. Hedna a vëdh dâ. A nyns yw howl dâ? Howl yw dâ, a nyns yw? Dâ yw howl, a nyns yw? Eâ, howl yw pòr dhâ. Pòr dhâ yw howl. Pòr dhâ yw.




Counting people and things

In Cornish the words for numbers are followed by a singular noun. So we say, for example, pymp ky ‘five dogs’, seyth dëdh ‘seven days’, deg den ‘ten men’.

For ‘one’ there is a special form udn that is used with nouns. This works like an ‘the’ – it causes Second State mutation of feminine nouns. So we say udn maw ‘one boy’ but udn vowes ‘one girl’.

Dew has a separate form dyw that is used with feminine nouns. Both dew and dyw cause Second State mutation, so we say dew vaw ‘two boys’ and dyw vowes ‘two girls’. And both dew and dyw themselves go into Second State after an ‘the’. So we say an dhew vaw ‘the two boys’ and an dhyw vowes ‘the two girls’.

Try has a separate form teyr that is used with feminine nouns. Both try and teyr cause a mutation we have not met before – we call it Third State. The technical name for the change from First State to Third State is spirantization. And teyr itself appears in Third State after an ‘the’ when it is followed by a noun that does not itself mutate.

Third State mutations

Mutation is reflected in the spelling. Here are the spellings that can change.

c > h

> h

qw > wh

p > f

> th

That’s a lot simpler than Second State mutation!

Here are some examples.

Try hy ‘three dogs’, an try fons ‘the three bridges’, teyr hath ‘three cats’, an teyr fluven ‘the three feathers (or pens)’, try whylkyn ‘three frogs’, an teyr thesen ‘the three cakes’, an theyr gwelen ‘the three sticks’.

Peswar has a separate form peder that is used with feminine nouns. But there is no mutation after any of the numbers four to ten. So we say peswar ky ‘four dogs’ and peder cath ‘four cats’.

Saying ‘there is/are’ (pointing)

Otta means ‘there is/are’ when pointing or drawing attention to someone or something. For example, otta chy ‘there’s a house’ or otta Kernowyon ‘there are (some) Cornish people’. If we wish to point specifically we can add dres ena ‘over there’ – otta treven dres ena ‘there are (some) houses over there’. Note how chy ‘house’ has a completely different word as its plural. Before a vowel we may optionally reduce otta to ot. For instance, ot an vergh ‘there are the horses’. Mergh ‘horses’ is exceptionally put into Second State after an ‘the’ (as if the word referred to male people).

To say ‘here is/are’ for something close at hand, Cornish uses ot obma. So for example, ot obma chair ‘here’s a chair’ or ot obma Kernowyon ‘here are (some) Cornish people’. A noun always comes after ot obma; it is not possible to place it between ot and obma.

There are fixed phrases when otta is used with a personal pronoun. These are otta vy ‘there I am’, otta sy ‘there you are’ (one person), otta va ‘there he is’, otta hy ‘there she is’, otta ny ‘there we are’, otta why ‘there you are’ (plural or stranger), ottensy ‘there they are’. These can be used with dres ena just as for nouns. For example, ottensy dres ena ‘there they are, over there’. Obma is not generally used with these pronoun phrases, so otta vy for instance means ‘there I am’ or ‘here I am’ according to context.


Here are some more nouns.

amowntyor dêwlin laptop (computer), amowntyor legh tablet (computer), blòg blog, cargor charger, gwelen stick (all senses), gwiasva website, iscarg download, kerdhfôn mobile phone, kevren link (including hyperlink), lyther letter (communication), text text (all senses)

In practice blòg has no Second State; vlòg ‘video blog’ is a separate word.

Rîvbost means ‘email’ and mainys socyal means ‘social media’. An individual email is messach rîvbost. A social media post is messach in mainys socyal.

Practys PymthekExercise Fifteen

How would you say the following in Cornish?

six websites, eight emails, three mobile phones, two blogs, one charger, four tablets (computers), seven laptops, nine social media posts, ten downloads

Practys WhêtekExercise Sixteen

How would you say the following in Cornish?

There’s the door. Here’s the link. There are two tables over there. Here’s a glass. Here are three pens. Here we are. There you are. Here are three farmers. And here are ten lawyers. There’s one female teacher over there.

Yma meaning ‘there is/are’ 

When we are not pointing, but merely saying that someone or something is in a particular place, we use yma ‘there is/are’.

Saying ‘in’ and ‘in the’

In means ‘in’ (or ‘at’ when the sense is the same). For ‘in the’ we say i’n, pronounced the same but written with the apostrophe, and causing the same mutations as simple an. For example, yma arhanty i’n dre ‘there is a bank in the town’.

Yma with definite subject

We also use yma (not yw) as the introductory word, but meaning just ‘is’ or ‘are’, when we say that a definite subject is in a particular place. For example, yma an tiak i’n arhanty ‘the farmer is in (or at) the bank’ or yma’n vergh i’n park ‘the horses are in the field’ or yma Mêstresyk Keverne i’n chy ‘Miss Keverne is in the house’. Note that yma an can optionally become yma’n.


Here are some more nouns.

eglos church, lyverva library, popty bakery, shoppa shop, tavern pub

Practys SeytekExercise Seventeen

Let’s imagine a town in West Cornwall. What do the following sentences mean?

Yma dyw eglos i’n dre. Onen yw coth ha teg. Onen yw nowyth. I’n dre yma lyverva spladn. Hag yma try thavern i’n dre. Yma Mêstres Pascoe in shoppa bian i’n dre. I’n fenester yma tesen vrâs. Popty yw an shoppa-ma. Yma Mêster Pascoe i’n arhanty. Yma an arhanty i’n Strêt Arâg.

Spladn literally means ‘splendid’. It is used colloquially to mean ‘great’, ‘excellent’, ‘wonderful’, ‘fantastic’ etc.  Ha ‘and’ optionally (but very frequently) becomes hag when the next word begins with a vowel. I’n Strêt Arâg means ‘in the Fore (or High) Street’.

Open question: ‘where?’ 

Ple ma? means ‘where is/are?’ In this phrase ma is an abbreviated form of yma.

Saying ‘from’ and ‘of’ (generally not possession)

We’ve learned that there are three particles a: interrogative, vocative, relative. It is time to meet a fourth word a in Cornish: this time a preposition meaning ‘from’. The word also means ‘of’, though its use in that sense is more limited than in English – it is not used generally to indicate possession.


Here are some more new words.

stranjer stranger, whythror explorer or researcher, west (also adjective) west, wolcùm ‘welcome’

Practys ÊtekExercise Eighteen

A stranger in our town meets Mr Pascoe coming out of the bank. Read their conversation aloud several times to be sure you understand it. See below for help with the meaning.


Mar pleg. Ple ma an lyverva?

Mêster Pascoe:

An lyverva? Yma hodna i’n strêt-ma. Otta hy dres ena. Lyverva pòr dhâ yw.


Dùrdala dhe why!

Mêster Pascoe:

Owgh stranjer obma in Kernow West?


Eâ. Den a’n Tir Uhel ov vy. Whythror a’n istory a Gernow. Ha dyscor a’n Kernowek.

Mêster Pascoe:

Wolcùm osta! Benatuw!


Duw genes! Ha gromercy unweyth arta!

Dùrdala dhe why! means ‘Thank you!’ – why is appropriate for a stranger to use when he does not know Mr Pascoe, but it is anyway a fixed part of this expression, just as for Dùrda dhe why ‘Good day!’ Note how Mr Pascoe switches to osta (familiar) as he welcomes the stranger to his town.

‘From the’ / ‘of the’

Just as i’n means ‘in the’, so a’n means ‘from the’ or ‘of the’. Therefore den a’n Tir Uhel means ‘a man from the High Land (that is, North Cornwall). Whythror a’n istory a Gernow means ‘a researcher of the history of Cornwall’. It also shows us that ‘from, of’ triggers Second State when the noun directly follows it. Dyscor a’n Kernowek means ‘a learner of (the) Cornish (tongue)’.

Saying ‘on’ and ‘under’

Wàr means ‘on’. Like ‘from, of’ this word causes Second State mutation of any noun that follows it directly. For instance wàr jair ‘on a chair’.

In dadn means ‘under’. This too causes Second State mutation of any noun that directly follows it. For instance in dadn vord ‘under a table’.


Here are some more nouns.

amary cupboard, attêsva toilet, crow shed, kegyn kitchen, lowarth garden

Practys NawnjekExercise Nineteen

How would you say the following in Cornish?

There’s a shed in the garden. There’s a pretty little cat under the bed. There are two toilets in the house. Here’s the kitchen. On the table there’s (some) bread – and a cake. Is this cupboard big enough? There’s (some) paper under that basket. And a blue pen over there. Where’s the laptop? Here it is – on the chair. 

Practys UgansExercise Twenty

Read the following summary aloud several times to be sure you understand it. New words are glossed at the end.

Ple ma an lyverva? Yma’n lyverva wàr an Strêt Arâg. Ha fatell yw an lyverva? Hy yw lyverva spladn. Ple ma an stranjer? I’n lyverva yma ev. Devedhys yw ev a’n Tir Uhel. Whythror a’n istory a Gernow yw ev. Hag ev yw dyscor a’n Kernowek inwedh. Wolcùm yw an stranjer i’n dre.

Devedhys yw means ‘has come’ (literally ‘is come’). The meaning of inwedh is ‘also’. Note how hy (literally ‘she’) is used to mean ‘it’ referring to the library – because lyverva is feminine. In the same way we can use ev (literally ‘he’) in the sense ‘it’ to refer to anything that is a masculine noun.

Model answers for the exercises in this Lesson Three

Click or tap here





Here are some more new words.

â! ah!, desînor designer, dhe’n lyha at least, gwias web (spider’s or the internet), ogh! oh! (expressing emotion), optycyan optician, wèl well (thinking what to say)

Practys Onen warn UgansExercise Twenty One

Jowan and Jana have not met before. They find themselves standing around at Lÿs Kernow (New County Hall) in Truro, waiting for a Cornish language presentation for professionals to begin. Man-gows ‘small talk’ is called for! What are they saying?


Dëdh dâ! Jowan Pryce ov vy. Pyw owgh why?


Dëdh dâ! Jana Bligh ov vy. Optycyan ov. Pëth owgh why?


Ogh, lavar ‘osta’ mar pleg! Desînor gwias ov vy.

(Another man joins them.)


Â! Tomas, dëdh dâ! Fatla genes?


Yagh ov vy. Saw sqwith ov. Te yw lowen! Pyw yw hobma? Dùrda dhe why, a vêstres!


Hòm yw Jana. Jana Bligh. Tomas Landry yw tiak, Jana.


Fatla genowgh, Mêstres Bligh?


Ogh, Jana ov vy, ha lavar ‘genes’ mar pleg. Me yw dâ lowr. Tobm yw an gewar!


Ha tobm o an gewar de, a nyns o? Saw yêyn vëdh avorow. Howlek, saw gwynsak ha yêyn.


Wèl, nyns yw an gewar glëb dhe’n lyha! Ha nyns yw comolek.

In Fatla genes? the genes corresponds to the pronoun te. Tomas says Fatla genowgh? because he has not met Jana before – the genowgh corresponds to the pronoun why. Duw genes! ‘goodbye!’ likewise becomes Duw genowgh! if said to someone you do not know well. But if you are bidding goodbye to several people together whom you do know well, it is better to say Duw genes (or Da weles) kettep pedn! (‘everyone’, literally ‘every head’).

We first encountered ‘good’ in the phrase pòr dhâ ‘very good’. Now we know First State , we can see that pòr ‘very’ causes Second State of the adjective after it. Dâ lowr, literally ‘good enough’, is the Cornish way of saying ‘okay’.

Local present tense of bos

You’ve already been introduced to yma, which is one form of what we call the local or ‘long’ present tense of bos ‘be’. We use the local forms whenever we wish to say that the subject ‘is in’ or ‘is at’ a place. These forms are distinct from the copula or ‘short’ present tense that we learned first (yw, ov etc). We use the copula forms when we are saying that the subject ‘is something’ (noun or adjective). Here are all the local forms of the present tense.

yth esof vy ‘I am’

yth esos jy or yth esta ‘you are’

yma ev ‘he is’

yma hy ‘she is’

yma + definite noun ‘… is/are’

yma + indefinite noun ‘there is/are …’

yth eson ny ‘we are’

yth esowgh why ‘you are’ (plural or stranger)

ymowns y ‘they are’

You will find yth esta is more frequent in conversation than yth esos jy. The forms sy and jy meaning ‘you’ are interchangeable; jy is the more common of the two.

Practys Dew warn UgansExercise Twenty Two

What do the following sentences mean?

Yth esof vy i’n arhanty. Yth esta i’n strêt. Yma ev i’n lyverva. Yma hy i’n shoppa. Yma Mêstres Pascoe i’n popty. Yma tesen vrâs i’n fenester. Yth eson ny i’n dre. Yth esowgh why i’n pow. Ymowns y in Kernow.

Pow means ‘country’ in any sense; here it means the countryside as opposed to the town. Contrast with gwlas which means ‘country’ in a specifically political or patriotic sense.

Asking closed questions with local present tense of bos

When we wish to ask a closed (yes/no) question with local forms of the present tense of bos we delete the statement particle yth. ‘Yes’, ‘no’ and negative statements follow the scheme we have already learned. Note that only esos, not esta, is used to reply ‘yes’ or ‘no’. For example:


Either (if thinking to oneself)

or Esof, yth esof vy i’n arhanty.

or Nag esof, nyns esof vy i’n arhanty.

Or (if replying to question from someone else)

or Esos, yth esta i’n arhanty.

or Nag esos, nyns esta i’n arhanty.


Either (if thinking to oneself)

or Esos, yth esta i’n strêt.

or Nag esos, nyns esta i’n strêt.

Or (if replying to question from someone else)

or Esof, yth esof vy i’n strêt.

or Nag esof, nyns esof vy i’n arhanty.


Either (if thinking to oneself)

or Eson, yth eson ny i’n dre.

or Nag eson, nyns eson i’n dre.

Or (if replying to question from someone else)

or Esowgh, yth esowgh why i’n dre.

or Nag esowgh, nyns esowgh why i’n dre.


Either (if thinking to oneself)

or Esowgh, yth esowgh why i’n pow.

or Nag esowgh, nyns esowgh why i’n pow.

Or (if several people are replying to question from someone else)

or Eson, yth eson ny i’n pow.

or Nag eson, nyns eson ny i’n pow.

Or (if stranger is replying to question from someone else)

or Esof, yth esof vy i’n pow.

or Nag esof, nyns esof vy i’n pow.

This looks more complicated than it really is. Work through the examples carefully and you will see it is all quite logical. Do not try to memorize everything all at once. Seek the patterns. Confidence comes with practice.

Local forms eus, usy, usons

We do not use yma in closed questions. Nor do we use yma to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ or to make negative statements. Instead we use eus with an indefinite noun or pronoun; and usy with a definite noun and with definite pronouns like ev, hy, hedna etc. For example:


or Eus, yma tesen i’n fenester.

or Nag eus, nyns eus tesen i’n fenester.


or Usy, yma hy i’n fenester?

or Nag usy, nyns usy hy i’n fenester.

Likewise ymowns is not used in questions, or to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’, or to make negative statements. Instead we use usons (occasionally esons). For example:


or Usons, ymowns y in Kernow.

or Nag usons, nyns usons y in Kernow.

Practys Try warn UgansExercise Twenty Three

Reply in Cornish to the following questions. Vary your answers between ‘yes’ and ‘no’, and between thinking and replying to someone else. In every case you should answer with a complete sentence.

Note new preposition ryb ‘beside’.

Eson ny in Trûrû? Eus bara i’n fenester? Esta i’n tavern? Usy an lyverva ryb an arhanty? Esowgh why in shoppa? Usons y i’n strêt? Usy ev i’n park poblek? Esos jy i’n Tir Uhel? Esons y i’n eglos? A nyns esof vy in Kernow?

Cornish park means any enclosed field. So park poblek (literally ‘public field’) is how we say ‘park’ in the sense of a place for recreation inside a town.

Just as ov vy in statements and questions can be shortened to ov, etc, so likewise we can shorten esof vy to esof, etc. We can say, for instance, yth esof in Trûrû or nyns usons in Kernow. But esta is the exception – it cannot be abbreviated.


Here are some more new words.

Arwednak Falmouth (also called Falmoth, Aberfala, Aberfal), brav fine, caradow likeable, friendly, cyta city, degolyow pl holiday, vacation, mor sea, pyctùresk picturesque

Practys Peswar warn UgansExercise Twenty Four

Dilwyn and his partner are visiting from Cardiff. Dilwyn texts his friend Rhodri who belongs to the same Cornish language group back home. This exercise is a mix of sentences using copula forms of bos and sentences using local forms of bos. What does it all mean?

Lowena dhis! Yth esof in Kernow, ha Gwen obma inwedh. In degolyow. Pow spladn yw hebma. Ha caradow yw an Gernowyon. Hedhyw yth eson in Trûrû. Cyta vrav yw. Avorow ny a vëdh in Arwednak. Yma’n dre-na orth an mor, ha pòr byctùresk.

The preposition orth literally means ‘up against’. It is used in the sense ‘at’ when that is not the same as ‘in’.

Distinction between copula and local forms only exists for two tenses of bos

The present tense of bos has copula and local forms. So too does the ‘imperfect’ tense of which (so far) we only know one copula form: o ‘was’. But other tenses of bos do not make any distinction between copula and local meaning. So vëdh ‘will be’ is used both when the subject will be ‘something’ (noun or adjective) and also when it will be ‘in’ some place.


Here are some more new words.

Alter Non Altarnun, amêthyans farming, agriculture, bargen tir farm, bysy busy, dallath begin, dowt doubt, heb without, nefra ever (with negative statement particle nyns the sense of the two together is ‘never’), ogas dhe near to, practys practice (any practice, not just one which is an exercise), presentyans presentation, whel work, worteweth at last, ÿst (also adjective) east

Possessive pronoun dha ‘your’ corresponds to personal pronoun te ‘you’. Both dha and preposition dhe ‘to’ (be careful not to confuse them!) trigger Second State of the following word.

Practys Pymp warn UgansExercise Twenty Five

The presentation at Lÿs Kernow has still not begun. More small talk meanwhile!


Ple ma dha vargen tir, Tomas?


Yma ev in Kernow Ÿst, ogas dhe Alter Non. Tir brav yw hedna, saw nefra nyns yw amêthyans whel êsy!


Ha ty yw optycyan, a Jana. Ple ma dha bractys?


Yth esof vy in Arwednak. Yma an dre bysy lowr, ha’n practys yw onen dâ.


Heb dowt a hedna. Â, worteweth! An presentyans yw parys dhe dhallath.

Bargen tir literally means a ‘land bargain’. Like the English word ‘farm’ the Cornish term originally referred to land that was leased by the farmer from a landowner for a fixed rent in money, as opposed to taking a share of the produce. But nowadays both expressions are used generally to mean any land, freehold or leasehold, that is used for agriculture.

Note that yma can be used to link a noun to an adjective, where technically we would expect yw. But yma requires a different word order. So we can say, for instance, an dre yw bysy lowr or, as in the conversation here, yma an dre bysy lowr. This idiom is unique to yma (and ymowns) – it does not extend to any other local form of bos.

We do not say ha an or hag an – ha + an always becomes ha’n.

Model answers for the exercises in this Lesson Four

Click or tap here





The commonest form of most Cornish verbs is what we call the verb-noun. For the verb ‘be’ the verb-noun is bos. For the verb ‘begin’ it is dallath. The verb-noun carries the sense of the verb but ‘packaged’ as a noun. So bos strictly means the state of ‘being’, and dallath strictly means the action of ‘beginning’.

Present tense formed with verb-noun

The verb bos has its own forms for expressing ‘I am’, ‘you are’ etc as we have seen. But most verbs do not employ such forms in everyday modern Cornish. Instead we say that the subject is ‘at’ the action or state of the verb, using the verb-noun. For example, the everyday Cornish for ‘I begin’ (or ‘I am beginning’) is yth esof vy ow tallath, which literally means ‘I am at beginning’.

You will not be surprised we use the local form of bos in expressions like this: because we are saying that the subject is ‘at’ what is, for Cornish, notionally a place. In origin ow (generally pronounced as just a short o) is a worn-down version of preposition orth, but we usually treat the word as a separate particle in contemporary grammar because it only occurs in this form directly in front of a verb-noun, and because (unlike orth itself) it causes another mutation we have not met before – this time, Fourth State. The technical name for the change from First State to Fourth State is provection.

Fourth State mutations

Mutation is reflected in the spelling. Here are the spellings that can change.

> p

> t

g > k before e, i, y

> q before w

> before any other letter


Here are some more verb-nouns.

cùsca sleep, danvon send, debry eat, desky learn (also teach to someone), gorfedna finish, gwary play, mos go, prena buy, redya read, scrifa write

Practys Whe warn UgansExercise Twenty Six

What do the following sentences mean?

Yth esof vy ow tebry i’n gegyn. Yth esta ow tesky Kernowek. Yma ev ow cùsca i’n gwely. Yma hy ow qwary i’n lowarth. Yth eson ny ow mos dhe’n dre. Yth esowgh why ow prena bara. Ymowns y ow redya i’n lyverva. Yma Dilwyn ow tanvon text dhe Rhodri. Yma Rhodri ow redya an text. Yth esos jy ow corfedna an practys.

Present tense formed with verb-noun - continued

Questions and negative statements with verb-nouns work in just the same way. So we say Esta ow tallath? ‘Are you beginning?’ to which two of the various possible answers would be Esos, yth esta ow tallath ‘Yes, you are beginning’ or Nâ, nyns esof ow tallath ‘No, I am not beginning’.

Verb-noun taking direct object

Some verb-nouns, according to sense, can take another verb-noun as their direct object; that verb-noun may in turn have its own direct object, which may be a third verb-noun; and so on. We can say, for instance, ymowns y ow tallath desky redya Kernowek ‘they are beginning to learn to read Cornish’. Only the first verb-noun, the one directly following ow, is changed into Fourth State; the others stay in First State.


From now we will use the abbreviation to mark new verb-nouns.

gwil make or do, parusy prepare or cook, pasty pasty, soper supper

Tre meaning ‘home’ or ‘back’

To say go ‘home’ (or go ‘back’ to some other place) we use tre – but as an adverb rather than as a noun. And tre is also used as an adjective meaning ‘home’ in phrases like folen tre ‘homepage’. When used as an adjective or an adverb tre is invariable. The original meaning of tre was a ‘well-ordered settlement’, and we can still find many place-names (and surnames) in Cornwall where it means ‘farm’. In modern Cornish tre is specifically a town, while bargen tir is the usual expression for a farm. But you can see how the original sense of tre lies behind all its various meanings today, including the sense of going ‘home’.

Practys Seyth warn UgansExercise Twenty Seven

How would you say the following in Cornish?

We are beginning to do the exercise. You are reading a letter. Is she writing an email? No, she is sending a text. They are playing under the tree. The horse is in the field, but it is not eating. The girl is learning Cornish without a book. Are you cooking supper? The man in the shop is buying three pasties and also three cakes. I’m going home.


Here are some more new words.

Cambron Camborne, coffy coffee, coffyva café, dehen cream, dell wosta as you know, eva drink, gans along with, leverel say, lus col bilberries or blueberries, metya meet, pùb termyn always, salad salad, scol school, tanow thin, tea, tew thick (also fat), trigys resident (in a place), whath still, vysytya visit, wheg sweet

Collective nouns

Older words for flora and fauna are often collective in meaning. We will use the abbreviation symbol col to mark new collective nouns. Our first instance is lus. We use plural pronouns to refer to collective nouns, so if an lus yw wheg ‘the blueberries are sweet’ we can also say anjy (or y) yw wheg or wheg yns y. If we wish to refer to a single ‘unit’ of the collective, then we form a feminine ’singulative’ from the collective noun by adding -en: therefore lusen means a (single) blueberry. But a collective noun itself is neither singular nor plural. So lus when used adjectivally in tesen lus renders the idea ‘blueberry muffin’ – a muffin characterized by blueberry flavour / blueberries baked into it. We have previously learned a feminine singulative which we can now pair with its collective ‘parent’ word: gwedhen is a tree, and gwëdh col is ‘trees’.

Days of the week

Here are the names of the days of the week, starting with Monday.

Lun, Merth, Merher, Yow, Gwener, Sadorn, Sul

These names are all treated as masculine nouns, but they are not employed on their own. We can either use them with an ‘the’ to say ‘the Monday’ etc. Or most frequently we use them with a preceding de – this is pronounced with a very short vowel-sound (like the short sound in English the when that does not rhyme with me), quite different from de ‘yesterday’ which usually has a long vowel sound and always has a very clearly pronounced one. When we use the names with a preceding de the meaning is, according to context, either just ‘Monday’ etc, or ‘on Monday’ etc.


When a verb-noun begins with a vowel, we substitute owth for ow. The usual pronunciation of owth is oh – just a short o followed by an h which, in practice, becomes the first sound of the verb-noun. Therefore written owth eva will actually be pronounced “o heva”.

Practys Eth warn UgansExercise Twenty Eight

Yma Crysten trigys in Trûrû. Hedhyw yw de Sadorn, hag yma hy ow vysytya Tôny. Yma Tôny trigys in Cambron. Ymowns y ow metya in coffyva i’n dre. Pandr’usons y ow leverel?


Dëdh dâ, Crysten. Fatla genes?


Dùrda dhe why, a Tôny. Pòr dhâ, gromercy dhys. Ha tejy?


Wèl, dâ lowr, saw sqwith ov vy. Me yw descador obma i’n scol vrâs. Dell wosta. Ha’n whel yw poos.


Pëth esta owth eva?


Coffy gans dehen wheg. Ev yw dâ. Hag yth esof ow tebry tesen lus.


Ha ty yw poos! Onen tew osta. Yth esof vy owth eva tê pùb termyn, ow tebry salad, ha tanow ov vy whath.

We learned initially that pandra becomes pandr’ before yw. We can now note that it is in fact abbreviated to pandr’ before any form of bos ‘be’ that begins with a vowel.

Counting from eleven to twenty

To learn to count above ten you can use the numbers of the exercises in this coursebook as a starting-point. We can quickly see that the next ten numbers are udnek, dêwdhek, tredhek, peswardhek, pymthek, whêtek, seytek, êtek, nawnjek, ugans. These numbers do not cause any mutation. And just like the numbers one to ten they are all followed by a singular noun.

Telling the time

We need higher numbers in order to tell the time. For this purpose we must also learn eur o’clock (literally ‘specific time’), hanter half, wosa past (literally ‘after’). We use dhe ‘to’ just as in English. Py eur yw? means ‘What’s the time?’ For ‘a.m.’ we say kensêwha which is abbreviated in writing to k.e. For ‘p.m.’ we say wosa hanter-dëdh which is abbreviated in writing to w.h.

Here are some examples.

udn eur one o’clock or at one o’clock

dyw eur two o’clock or at two o’clock

teyr eur three o’clock or at three o’clock

peder eur four o’clock or at four o’clock

pymp wosa whe five past six or at five past six

deg wosa seyth ten past seven or at ten past seven

pymthek wosa eth quarter past eight or at quarter past eight

hanter wosa naw half past nine or at half past nine

pymp warn ugans dhe dheg twenty five to ten or at twenty five to ten

ugans dhe udnek twenty to eleven or at twenty to eleven

pymthek dhe dhêwdhek quarter to twelve or at quarter to twelve


Here are some more new words.

cara love, class class, côwsel speak, crambla climb, dauncya dance, dos come, kerdhes walk, lebmyn now, level level, lies many (always with singular noun), marhogeth ride, neyja swim (also fly), ponya run, rag for, Sowsnek English (language), sport sport, studhya study

When chy is used as an adverb rather than a noun it means ‘at home’.

Practys Naw warn UgansExercise Twenty Nine

A busy day in the life of a busy student. For reading aloud once you have been through it carefully for meaning. Be sure to say all the clock times in Cornish.

Yma Peternel trigys in Kernow. Yma Peternel ow studhya rag Level A in Istory ha Level A in Sowsnek. Dâ yw gans Peternel redya lies lyver ha gwil lies sport. Yma hy ow côwsel Sowsnek i’n scol ha Kernowek chy.

6.00 k.e.

De Lun yw. Yma Peternel ow cùsca. Yma hy ow cùsca i’n gwely.

6.30 k.e.

Yma Peternel ow neyja i’n mor.

7.45 k.e.

Yma Peternel ow tebry hag owth eva. Yma hy ow tebry hawnsel hag owth eva coffy.

8.15 k.e.

Yma Peternel ow kerdhes. Yma hy ow mos dhe’n scol.

8.30 k.e.

Yma Peternel ow ponya. Yma hy ow mos dhe’n scol.

9.30 k.e.

Yma Peternel ow redya. Yma hy ow redya an lyver Jane Eyre in Sowsnek i’n class Sowsnek.

10.30 k.e.

Yma Peternel ow tauncya. Yma hy ow tauncya i’n class dauncya.

12.30 w.h.

Yma Peternel ow tebry. Yma hy ow tebry bara ha keus.

2.00 w.h.

Yma Peternel ow crambla. Yma hy ow crambla i’n class sport.

4.00 w.h.

Yma Peternel ow tos tre.

5.00 w.h.

Yma Peternel ow marhogeth. Yma hy ow cara marhogeth.

7.00 w.h.

Yma Peternel ow tebry soper.

8.00 w.h.

Yma Peternel ow redya. Yma hy ow redya Jane Eyre, lebmyn in Kernowek.

10.00 w.h.

Peternel yw sqwith. Yma hy ow cùsca i’n gwely.


Here are some more new words.

anken adversity, stress, choclet chocolate, comyck comic, coref beer, coweth companion, dianowy yawn, dorydhieth geography, gwandra wander, in dadn gel secretly (literally ‘under concealment’), ly lunch, mordardhya surf, negys business, pel droos football, spêna spend, studhyans study / studies, termyn time, treth (sandy) beach

Practys Deg warn UgansExercise Thirty

A different sort of day in the life of a different kind of student. Same again please. Be sure to read everything aloud in Cornish, including all the clock times.

Davyth yw trigys in Kernow. Yma Davyth ow studhya rag Level A in Dorydhieth ha Level A in Studhyans Negys. Dâ yw gans Davyth spêna termyn heb anken.

6.00 k.e.

De Gwener yw. Yma Davyth ow cùsca. Yma ev ow cùsca i’n gwely.

6.30 k.e.

Yma Davyth ow cùsca.

7.45 k.e.

Yma Davyth ow cùsca whath.

8.15 k.e.

Yma Davyth owth eva coffy hag ow tianowy sqwith.

8.30 k.e.

Yma Davyth ow ponya. Yma ev ow ponya dhe’n scol.

9.30 k.e.

Yma Davyth ow redya. Yma ev ow redya comyck in dadn gel i’n class dorydhieth.

10.30 k.e.

Yma Davyth ow tebry choclet.

12.30 w.h.

Yma Davyth ow tebry ly.

2.00 w.h.

Yma Davyth ow qwary pel droos.

4.00 w.h.

Yma Davyth ow tos tre.

5.00 w.h.

Yma Davyth ow mos dhe’n treth. Yma ev ow mordardhya.

7.00 w.h.

Yma Davyth ow tebry soper.

8.00 w.h.

Yma Davyth ow qwandra i’n dre gans coweth. Ymowns y owth eva coref.

11.30 w.h.

Davyth yw sqwith worteweth. Yma ev ow cùsca i’n gwely.

Model answers for the exercises in this Lesson Five

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More prepositions

Here are some more prepositions.

adrëv behind, a-ugh above, bys in up to, all the way to, der through, dhia from, dhyrag in front of, dhywar off, dres across, in mes a out of, in mesk among, kyns before, ogas ha almost (with nouns and numbers), tro ha towards

Adrëv is mostly limited to espressing position. We use adhelergh dhe to express either position or motion behind.

Der is the fifth (and last) simple preposition that causes Second State mutation of any noun which directly follows it. There is an alternative form dre that causes the same mutation. There is a tendency in modern Cornish to keep der for use before vowels, using dre only before consonants. But no hard rule exists about it.

Compound prepositions dhia and dhywar cause Second State of a directly following noun just like and wàr. Dhia is only used to mean ‘from’ a place or a point in time. To say ‘from’ a person (sometimes also from a place) we use another compound prepostion dhyworth. From this we can note that worth is an alternative form of orth.

Saying 'for' and ‘in order to’

Preposition rag means ‘for’. When rag is placed in front of a verb-noun the sense is specifically ‘for the purpose of’ – that is, ‘to’ in the sense ‘in order to’.

Personal forms of prepositions

Many Cornish prepositions have personal forms that are used instead of just putting a personal pronoun after the bare preposition. These personal forms will be introduced gradually. Here is the first of them: gensy is used instead of gans hy meaning ‘along with her’ or ‘along with it’ (feminine reference).


Here are some more new words.

aral (pl erel) other, aval apple, box box, cafos find, get, chambour bedroom, daffar lybm cutlery, darn piece, don carry, dôwys choose, esedhva sitting-room, lounge, estyll col shelving (compare astell ‘shelf’), hel m & f hall, kemeres take, kempen tidy, leur floor, lus rudh col cranberries, màn zero (and used with a negative to mean ‘not at all’), mildir mile, new sink, oll all, pad pad, plastyk plastic, restryn file, sagh bag, skyjyow sport pl trainers, sùgan juice, taclow pl things, trog tedna drawer, trùssa pack, yêyner fridge

Practys Udnek warn UgansExercise Thirty One

Work through Peternel’s getting ready for school until you understand all the meaning. Then read aloud.

De Merher yw hedhyw. Yma Peternel ow trùssa sagh kyns mos dhe’n scol. Nyns yw an chy kempen màn. Cales yw cafos oll an taclow. Yma an skyjyow sport i’n chambour adrëv an daras. Yma’n lyver Jane Eyre in dadn an gwely. Yma Peternel ow mos der an chy rag cafos an taclow erel. Yma an pad paper i’n esedhva – wàr an leur dhyrag an bellwolok. Yma Peternel ow mos dres an hel. Yma an restryn Sowsnek i’n gegyn wàr an bord. Yma an bluven i’n trog tedna in mesk an daffar lybm. Yma Peternel ow kemeres box plastyk dhywar an estyllen a-ugh an new, rag don ly vian. Dâ yw keus gensy pùb termyn. In mes a’n yêyner yma hy ow kemeres try darn bara, ha keus, ha dew aval. Yma hy ow tôwys sùgan lus rudh rag eva gans an ly. Peternel yw parys wosa hedna dhe dhallath tro ha’n scol. Dhia’n chy bys i’n scol yma hy ow kerdhes ogas hag udn vildir.

Dâ yw keus gensy is the way Cornish most naturally says 'she likes cheese'.

Building future tenses with mydnas

Bos is the only Cornish verb that has an ordinary present tense that is not formed with the verb-noun in the way we learned in Lesson Five. It is also the only verb that has an ordinary future tense not formed with the help of an auxiliary (see next paragraph).

Other verbs possess an old tense that can express either present or future, according to context. We call this tense the ‘present-future’. For all except a handful of verbs the present-future is employed only in high literary styles of Cornish, especially in poetry. But the present-future of mydnas ‘wish’ is a very common part of the everyday language as an auxiliary verb meaning ‘will’ (a weakening of the original sense of ‘wish’). This provides a general method to build ordinary prose futures for other verbs.

For example, me a vydn dallath ‘I shall begin’ or ‘I will begin’ or ‘I am going to begin’. Here the is the link particle connecting preceding subject to verb. We have already encountered this function in me a vëdh ‘I will be’ etc.

Practys Dêwdhek warn UgansExercise Thirty Two

What do the following sentences mean?

Me a vydn mos dhe’n arhanty. Te a vydn prena amowntyor dêwlin. Ev a vydn marhogeth dha vargh. Hy a vydn neyja i’n mor. Ny a vydn vysytya Arwednak. Why a vydn gwil man-gows. Anjy a vydn debry ly. An vowes a vydn gwary pel droos. Davyth a vydn ponya dhe’n scol. An Gernowyon a vydn kerdhes dhe Loundres.

Loundres is London. The famous march was in 1497.

Building future tenses with mydnas - continued

The subject does not precede the verb in questions and negative statements. So for subjects ‘I’, ‘we’, ‘you’, ‘they’ universal vydn is swapped for forms of the present tense of mydnas particular to those subjects. Just as we can make a statement Te yw dyscor but must ask Osta dyscor?

Here is the pattern:

A vydnaf vy dallath? Shall I begin?

Ny vydnaf vy dallath. I shall not begin.

A vydnys jy dallath? Will you begin?

Ny vydnys jy dallath. You will not begin.

A vydnyn ny dallath? Shall we begin.

Ny vydnyn ny dallath. We shall not begin.

A vydnowgh why dallath? Will you (plural or stranger) begin?

Ny vydnowgh why dallath. You (plural or stranger) will not begin.

A vydnons y dallath? Will they begin?

Ny vydnons y dallath. They will not begin.

Instead of vydnaf we can say vadnaf – the forms are interchangeable. Instead of vydnys jy we can say vynta – likewise interchangeable. The personal pronoun subject can optionally be omitted, as we have already seen with present tense forms of bos. The option to drop such a subject is always there in Cornish – for any verb at all.

For ‘yes’ and ‘no’ it is always easiest to say just and . If you wish to use the repeat-the-verb method, then ‘yes’ will be mydnaf etc (First State), and ‘no’ will be na vydnaf etc.

Saying 'if you like'

You should also learn and use mar mynta and mar mydnowgh ‘if you like’ – these are fixed phrases in which the sense of ‘wishing’ survives.

Distinguishing particle ny from pronoun ny

In phrases like ny vydnyn ny containing both the negative statement particle ny and the pronoun ny ‘we’, it is especially important to give the correct pronunciation to each of them. The vowel in the particle is short, the vowel in the pronoun is long.


Here are some more new words.

âls cliff, barr bar, clùb club, cothman friend, dôtys wàr mad (passionate) about, drîvya drive (usually a vehicle, but also in golf), golf golf, Kilgoodh Ust Cape Cornwall, Lanust St Just, poll neyja swimming-pool, pùb every, pynta pint (of), todn wave, Tewyn Plustry Newquay, Treth Fystral Fistral Beach

Practys Tredhek warn UgansExercise Thirty Three

Work through Crysten and Tôny’s rather different ideal Sundays until you understand all the meaning. Then read aloud.

Hedhyw yw de Sul. Hedhyw an gewar yw howlek ha tobm. Dâ yw kewar dobm gans Crysten. Trigys yma hy in Trûrû, saw dôtys yw hy wàr an treth. Dâ yw gans Crysten pùb todn vrâs. Dâ yw gensy mordardhya. Ytho hedhyw Crysten a vydn vysytya Treth Fystral in Tewyn Plustry rag mordardhya.

Dâ yw kewar howlek gans Tôny inwedh. Trigys yma ev in Cambron, saw dôtys yw ev wàr golf. Hedhyw ev a vydn drîvya dhe Lanust rag gwary golf wàr an âls ryb Kilgoodh Ust gans dew gothman. Wosa hedna anjy a vydn neyja i’n poll neyja i’n clùb. Ha debry ly i’n barr. Hag eva pynta coref gensy.

Practys Peswardhek warn UgansExercise Thirty Four

What do the following sentences mean?

A vydn Crysten mos dhe’n dre bò dhe’n treth? Ny vydn Tôny ha’n dhew gothman mordardhya. Ytho pandra vydnons y gwil hedhyw? A vydnowgh why kerdhes dhe’n lyverva? A vydnys kemeres hanaf a dê? Gromercy na vadnaf. A vynta drîvya dhe Arwednak avorow? Eâ, me a vydn vysytya an optycyan. Ha tejy? Nâ, me a vydn marhogeth i’n pow.


Here are some more new words.

bykîny bikini, cana can (of), côla cola, dehen rew ice cream, ès than, fylm film, gortos wait (for), gwysca put on (clothing), in le instead of, indelma like this, moy more, munys tiny, omhowla sunbathe, pàr hap perhaps, pendra village, Porth Towan Porthtowan, sewt stanch wetsuit, tedha melt, tybyans idea, uskys quick

Practys Pymthek warn UgansExercise Thirty Five

Yma Crysten ha Tôny wàr an treth in Porth Towan. De Sadorn yw. Pandr’usons y ow leverel?


An howl yw tobm, a nyns yw?


Eâ, pòr dobm hedhyw.


A vydnys jy neyja i’n mor?


Martesen. Yw an mor tobm?


Nâ, nyns yw tobm. Pùb todn yw pòr yêyn.


Me a vydn gortos. Neyja moy adhewedhes. A vynta mordardhya?


Nâ, me a vydn mordardhya avorow. Hedhyw me a vydn omhowla. Dâ in kewar dobm yw gwysca bykîny munys cogh in le sewt stanch du. Ha debry dehen rew pàr hap.


Eâ, hèn yw tybyans dâ. Pò eva cana côla yêyn. A vynta dos genama ha prena dehen rew i’n bendra?


Kerdhes bys i’n shoppa? Indelma? Heb moy ès an dhyw gweth vian-ma? Ogh nâ nâ nâ! Nyns eson ny in fylm rag mebyon. My a vydn debry dehen rew knack obma – onen choclet gwydn wàr welen – ha ty a vydn ponya ha cafos hedna. Uskys kyns tedha. Gromercy teg!

Adhewedhes means ‘late’, generally without any sense of missed deadline. Contrast holergh ‘late’, usually implying that something is after its due time. Genama is a personal form of gans meaning ‘along with me’. Qweth means a piece of fabric, especially a garment; it is used to refer to the top (qweth awartha) and bottom (qweth awoles) of a bikini. Mebyon is the plural of maw, here in the sense ‘lads’. Knack adds emphasis to a word or phrase of position – knack obma ‘right here’.

Model answers for the exercises in this Lesson Six

Click or tap here




Building future tenses with gwil

The present-future of gwil ‘make or do’ provides a second method to build ordinary prose futures for other verbs.

As with mydnas we connect a preceding subject to forms of gwil with link particle a. For example, me a wra dallath ‘I shall begin’, ‘I will begin’, ‘I am going to begin’ (literally ‘I shall make or do beginning’).


Here are some more new words.

convedhes perceive, understand, gweles see, kyttryn bus, ûsya use

Practys Whêtek warn UgansExercise Thirty Six

What do the following sentences mean?

Me a wra debry dehen rew. Te a wra convedhes. Ev a wra ûsya amowntyor legh. Hy a wra côwsel Kernowek. Ny a wra metya i’n goffyva. Why a wra gweles fylm dâ. Anjy a wra ponya tre. An venyn a wra gortos an kyttryn. Peternel a wra gwary sport. An dhyscoryon a wra gwil an practys êsy.

Building future tenses with gwil - continued

Notice how in the last sentence the present-future of gwil is even used as an auxiliary to make the everyday future tense of gwil itself.

For questions and negative statements the subjects ‘I’, ‘we’, ‘you’, ‘they’ adopt forms of the present-future of gwil that are particular to them. Just as we can make a statement Te a vydn dallath but must ask A vynta dallath?

Here is the pattern.

A wrav vy dallath? Shall I begin?

Ny wrav vy dallath. I shall not begin.

A wreth jy dallath? Will you begin?

Ny wreth jy dallath. You will not begin.

A wren ny dallath? Shall we begin?

Ny wren ny dallath. We shall not begin.

A wrewgh why dallath? Will you (plural or stranger) begin?

Ny wrewgh why dallath. You (plural or stranger) will not begin.

A wrowns y dallath? Will they begin?

Ny wrowns y dallath. They will not begin.

Instead of wreth jy we can say wreta – the forms are interchangeable. The option to drop a personal pronoun subject is always there, so ny wrav vy, for instance, can be simplified to ny wrav if you like.

For ‘yes’ and ‘no’ we will mostly say just and . But if you wish to use the repeat-the-verb method, then ‘yes’ will be Gwrav etc (First State), and ‘no’ will be Na wrav etc.

Remember the different vowel lengths in phrases like ny wren ny – short vowel for the negative particle, long for the pronoun.

More personal forms of gans

We have met gensy ‘along with her / it (feminine). Soon we shall meet its partner ganso ‘along with him / it (masculine). And genef ‘along with me’. We know genes ‘along with you’ of course – we have been using it from the outset in Fatla genes?


Here are some more new words.

addys additional, extra, boosty restaurant, cappa cap (here topping), dywros saya exercise bike, greun olew col olives, hàm ham, jorna m day, kig yar chicken (meat), kîlomêter kilometre, onyon col onion(s), pînaval pineapple, py lies how many (always with singular noun), pytsa pizza (pl pytsas), radna divide, share, Redrudh Redruth (also called Ewny Redrudh), scavel [cronak] mushroom (literally ‘toadstool’, but the inedible ones are generally called keus lefans, literally ‘frog cheese’), ÿs wheg col sweetcorn

Practys Seytek warn UgansExercise Thirty Seven

Crysten ha Tôny a wra debry ly gans dew gothman, Jenefer ha Mathew, in boosty ogas dhe Redrudh. Anjy a vydn debry pytsas. Pandr’usons y ow leverel? 


Tôny, a wreta debry udn pytsa? Pò onen genef vy: hanter, hanter?


Nâ, me a vydn debry udn pytsa. Gwag ov vy. Ytho gans try happa.


My a wra radna udn pytsa genes, Crysten. Gans dew gappa martesen.


Me a vydn debry udn pytsa, ha peswar cappa ganso.


Peswar! Ha nyns osta tew màn!


In gwir. Yth esof vy ow marhogeth deg kîlomêter pùb jorna wàr dhywros saya.


Py lies cappa eus dhe gafos?


Naw. Pepperoni, hàm, kig yar, scavellow cronak, greun olew, onyon, pînaval, ÿs wheg, ha keus addys.


Hàm ha scavellow dhe ny martesen, Crysten?


Dâ lowr.


My a wra kemeres pepperoni, scavellow, ha greun olew.


Pòr dhâ. Ha my a wra dôwys pepperoni, kig yar, onyon, ha keus addys.


Ha wosa hedna, deg kîlomêter dywros, ha deg kîlomêter unweyth arta!

We need not try to translate foreign words into Cornish if we accept them in everyday use as they are. So pepperoni is ‘pepperoni’, obviously. By putting vy after genef we make a more emphatic phrase. Dhe gafos literally means ‘to get’ and the sense is ‘available’. Hàm ha scavellow dhe ny: we learned that rag is ‘for’. But dhe ‘to’ can come close to this sense, according to context.

Ordinal numerals

The words for numbers we have learned up to now are technically called cardinal numerals. There are also ordinal numeral – these are all adjectives: in English the series is ‘first, second, third’, and so on.

Here are the first ten ordinal numerals in Cornish.

kensa, secùnd, tressa, peswora, pympes, wheffes, seythves, êthves, nawves, degves

The first six in the series are not very predictable, but then things settle down and suffix -ves becomes regular. Note that nessa is used instead of secùnd when we are enumerating points: kensa ‘first (point)’, nessa ‘second (point)’, tressa ‘third (point)’. And nessa is used after a similar fashion in calendar dates and in a few fixed phrases: dyscans nessa, dyscans tressa for instance, meaning ‘secondary education’, ‘tertiary education’ (but ‘primary education’ is dyscans elvednek, literally ‘elementary’). You should not use nessa more generally to mean ‘second’ because this will often conflict with the more common sense of this Cornish word, which is ‘nearest’ or ‘next’.

Except in fixed phrases like dyscans tressa an ordinal numeral usually precedes the noun.

To put the regularity of suffix -ves to the test, let’s try the ordinal numerals from ‘eleventh’ to ‘twentieth’.

unegves, dêwdhegves, tredhegves, peswardhegves, pymthegves, whêtegves, seytegves, êtegves, nawnjegves, ugansves

Just a couple of points to watch, stemming from Cornish sound-laws. The final k of the cardinals goes back to the original g that we see in deg ‘ten’. And the dn of udnek simplifies to n in unegves because of the different position of the stress accent.

While we’re about it, here are the ordinals up to ‘thirty first’. So that we can learn how to say calendar dates. And it is really easy – we just add warn ugans to each of the ordinals ‘first’ to ‘eleventh’.

kensa warn ugans, nessa warn ugans (secùnd warn ugans in all other contexts), tressa warn ugans, peswora warn ugans, pympes warn ugans, wheffes warn ugans, seythves warn ugans, êthves warn ugans, nawves warn ugans, degves warn ugans, unegves warn ugans

The phrase warn ugans literally means ‘on the twenty’ – it only occurs in numerals.

Months of the year

Here are the names of the months.

mis Genver, mis Whevrel, mis Merth, mis Ebrel, mis Mê, mis Metheven, mis Gortheren, mis Est, mis Gwydngala, mis Hedra, mis Du, mis Kevardhu

There are a couple of alternative names for optional use: mis Efen instead of mis Metheven, and mis Gorefen instead of mis Gortheren.

The names of the months work like the days of the week (where we have learned that de precedes each proper name, and the sense is either ‘Monday’ or ‘on Monday’ etc). So mis Genver similarly means either ‘January’ or ‘in January’ according to context. We carefully distinguish de preceding the name of a day from de meaning ‘yesterday’ by observing the difference in pronunciation. But mis is just the ordinary noun meaning ‘month’ – it is pronounced the same in every situation.

Specific dates

To name a specific date, we use an ordinal numeral with definite article an, followed by the name of the month. For example:

an kensa, mis Genver the first of January or on the first of January

an nessa, mis Whevrel the second of February or on the second of February

an tressa, mis Merth the third of March or on the third of March

In writing the comma makes that clear we do not just mean ‘the first January’ etc. But when speaking we may choose to clarify the sense, if we feel the context alone is not enough, by substituting preposition a for the comma, remembering that is one of the five simple prepositions to cause Second State. And this option is sometimes taken in writing as well. For example:

an peswora a vis Ebrel the fourth of April or on the fourth of April

an pympes a vis Mê the fifth of May or on the fifth of May

an wheffes a vis Metheven the sixth of June or on the sixth of June

Naming the year

There are several methods for naming the year. Here is the simplest of them, showing how we refer to years in this century, in the last century, and in the next.

2023 [an vledhen] dyw vil dew try

1939 [an vledhen] nawnjek cans try naw 

2123 [an vledhen] dyw vil, cans, dew try

For the first twenty years of a century we may substitute a single word for the last two digits. So you may hear, for example, either dyw vil màn pymp or dyw vil pymp for '2005', and either dyw vil onen pymp or dyw vil pymthek for '2015'.

Bledhen means ‘year’. It is common to say an vledhen in these expressions, to make it easier to recognize that what follows is the name of a year, but there is no absolute requirement.

Cans and mil

You can immediately learn cans ‘hundred’ and mil ‘thousand’, and a few things that are special about them. They are simultaneously numerals and nouns. Cans is masculine, mil is feminine. Dew cans ‘two hundred’ is irregular because in this phrase dew does not cause mutation. Tryhans ‘three hundred’ is always written as a single word. And for ‘three thousand’ we say tremil. Other numbers higher than nawnjek warn ugans ‘thirty nine’ will be covered in Lesson Eleven.

Practys Êtek warn UgansExercise Thirty Eight

How might you say the following dates in Cornish, using what you know so far?

27 June 1497

Execution of Michael Joseph ‘An Gov’

5 November 1605

Planned date for blowing up Houses of Parliament

4 July 1776

American Declaration of Independence

26 December 1777

Death of Dolly Pentreath

11 November 1919

Armistice to end First World War

6 August 1945

Detonation of atom bomb over Hiroshima

9 November 1989

Fall of Berlin Wall

11 September 2001

Terrorist attack on Twin Towers in New York

23 June 2016

UK votes to leave European Union

8 September 2022

Death of Queen Elizabeth II

Model answers for the exercises in this Lesson Seven

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Here are some more new words. ascorn m bone, goodh goose, lost tail (also queue), neyth nest, pal spade, pluvak cushion

Genitive construction

In English we say, for example, ‘the tail of the dog’. Cornish does not have a construction like that. In Cornish the preposition ‘of’ is not generally used to mean possession.

In English we can also say ‘the dog’s tail’ – that is, ‘the dog’ + ‘tail’, using the old genitive ending ’s for the dog. In this construction ‘the’ in front of ‘tail’ disappears. Cornish tackles possession in the same way.

However, in Cornish we put ‘the dog’ after ‘tail’ because (just like an adjective) ‘the dog’ describes what kind of a tail it is – one belonging to the dog. Modern Cornish has no genitive ending.

The result is lost an ky.

Practys Nawnjek warn UgansExercise Thirty Nine

See if you can put these phrases into Cornish. The first one has been done for you.

the girl’s book lyver an vowes

the man’s house­­­­­­

the boy’s spade

the woman’s cushion

the school’s cat

the farmer’s field

the bird’s nest

the dog’s bone

the goose’s feather

Mathew’s pizza

Davyth’s football


Here are two more new words.

loder stocking, pebor baker

Practys DêwgansExercise Forty

Now see if you can put these phrases into Cornish. Remember there is usually no Cornish word for ‘of’ meaning possession. Just use the same construction as before. The first one has been done for you.

the rock of the cliff carrek an âls

the bread of the baker

the door of the bedroom

the stocking of the woman

the leg of the frog

the pen of the friend

the beautiful window of the church

the scarlet bikini of Crysten

the blueberry muffin of Tôny

the cranberry juice of Peternel

Saying ‘have’ meaning possession

‘Have’ meaning possession is expressed in Cornish by the verb ‘to be’ with preposition dhe. So ‘the dog has a tail’ is yma lost dhe’n ky.

Instead of dhe you can use gans, but the sense is then ‘have something with you’. For example, yma gans Peternel box ly means ‘Petronella has a lunch box [with her]’.

Practys Onen ha DêwgansExercise Forty One

How would you say the following in Cornish?

Crysten has a black wetsuit. The sitting-room has three windows. The house has four bedrooms. The village has a shop. Jowan has a tablet computer with him. Jana has a laptop with her. The farm has two large fields for the farmer’s horses. Peternel has a fine horse. The teacher has a big file with him. Davyth has a geography class at nine thirty.

Present-future of godhvos

The verb godhvos means ‘know’ a fact. It also means ‘know how’ to do something.

The present-future of godhvos is still part of the everyday language. Most of the time it is used with present sense. But the meaning can be future when the context supports that.

As with mydnas and gwil we connect a preceding subject to forms of godhvos with link particle a. For example, me a wor hedna ‘I know that’.

Practys Dew ha DêwgansExercise Forty Two

What do the following sentences mean?

Me a wor oll an lesson. Te a wor istory Kernow. Ev a wor neyja. Hy a wor marhogeth. Ny a wor ple ma Arwednak. Why a wor redya Kernowek. Anjy a wor mordardhya. An tiak a wor amêthyans. Davyth a wor gwary pel droos. An Gernowyon a wor dauncya yn tâ.

Present-future of godhvos - continued

For questions and negative statements the subjects ‘I’, ‘we’, ‘you’, ‘they’ adopt forms of the present-future of godhvos that are particular to them. Just as we can make a statement Te a wra dallath but must ask A wreta dallath?

Here is the pattern.

A woraf vy? Do I know?

Ny woraf vy. I do not know.

A wodhes jy? Do you know?

Ny wodhes jy. You do not know.

A wodhyn ny? Do we know?

Ny wodhyn ny. We do not know.

A wodhowgh why? Do you (plural or stranger) know?

Ny wodhowgh why. You (plural or stranger) do not know.

A wodhons y? Do they know?

Ny wodhons y. They do not know.

Instead of woraf vy we can say wòn vy – the forms are interchangeable. Ny woraf vy is frequently condensed in conversation to just Nor’vy (compare English ‘I dunno’). Instead of wodhes jy we can say wosta – we have already met this form in dell wosta ‘as you know’). The option to drop a personal pronoun subject is always there, so ny wòn vy, for instance, can be simplified to ny wòn if you like.

For ‘yes’ and ‘no’ we will mostly say just and . But if you wish to use the repeat-the-verb method, then ‘yes’ will be Goraf etc (First State), and ‘no’ will be Na woraf etc.

Remember the different vowel lengths in phrases like ny wodhyn ny – short vowel for the negative particle, long for the pronoun.

‘Know how to’ sometimes equivalent to ‘can’

When godhvos means ‘know how’ the English equivalent will often be expressed with ‘can’. For example, A wosta neyja? ‘Can you swim’, A wodhons y drîvya ‘Can they drive?’ But be careful. the English word ‘can’ is very ambiguous. When ‘Can they drive?’ corresponds to A wodhons y drîvya? it means ‘Have they passed their driving test?’ But the English might in a different context mean ‘Can they get hold of a car or will they just have to take the bus?’ Godhvos does not always correspond to ‘can’.

Practys Try ha DêwgansExercise Forty Three

Crysten and surfer friend Kyle are planning to meet up with three of Crysten’s colleagues from the office where she works as an accountant. In Newquay next Saturday. Kyle has not met them before, and is rightly concerned about safety. How would you put the conversation into Cornish?


Can they speak Cornish?


Oh yes, they all speak Cornish.


And can they surf?


Gregor surfs well. Elsat’s still a learner. Vyvyan can’t surf, won’t surf. She can’t swim! So she’ll sunbathe and read a book.


Do they know where Newquay is?


Of course! Stop worrying. We’ll meet on Fistral Beach at half past ten.


Okay! See you on the beach.

For ‘of course’ you can use heb dowt. The expression for ‘Stop worrying’ is Gas cavow dhe wandra (literally ‘leave cares to wander [away]’). You will also need Da weles ‘[be] seeing you’ at the end.


Here are some more new words.

abrës early, carr car, dhana then, havysy pl summer tourists, hudhyk merry, joy joy, jùnya join, know col nuts, leun full, lows loose, relaxed, naneyl either (in a negative sentence), nebes a little, parkya park, Por’treth Portreath, pùptra everything, syger idle, toos dough, tôwlel throw, warbarth together

Practys Peswar ha DêwgansExercise Forty Four

Yma Tôny ow tôwlel towl rag an Sadorn gans descador aral i’n scol, Lûk. Pandr’usons y ow leverel?


Ty ha Crysten, a ny wrewgh spêna termyn warbarth de Sadorn?


Nâ. Crysten a vydn mos dhe Tewyn Plustry. Rag mordardhya gans try acowntyas aral.


Peswar acowntyas wàr udn treth? Jorna pòr hudhyk!


Ogh, nyns on ny descadoryon leun a joy naneyl.


In gwir … Saw otta tybyans. An ragwel wàr an awel de Sadorn yw brav. Ytho my ha ty, ny a wra mos dhe Por’treth rag dëdh lows dhe vebyon syger. Omhowla nebes. Neyja nebes. Eva nebes coref yêyn. Jùnya dhe’n havysy.


Dëdh êsy lowr. Eâ, tybyans dâ yw hebma. Gwell ès gortos chy in Cambron.


Wèl, êsy nyns yw pùptra. Cales vëdh parkya an carr ogas dhe’n treth mar ny vydnyn ny mos abrës.


Hawnsel ryb an mor dhana. Saw coffy ganso me a’th pës. Coref moy adhewedhes.


Coffy heb dowt in eur abrës. Ha know toos – prag na?

Place-names very frequently remain in First State after a preposition that usually causes Second State mutation; as here in dhe Tewyn Plustry. It would be unusual, though not wrong, to say dhe Dewyn Plustry. But note that personal names always remain in First State. 

Tôwlel towl (literally ‘throw a throw’) is an idiom meaning ‘make a plan’. But that does not mean towl on its own can be used in the sense ‘plan’ – for the word on its own we use towlen f, which also means a ‘program(me)’.

An ragwel wàr an awel means ‘the weather forecast’. Literally ‘the preview on the breeze’, but awel is actually interchangeable with kewar as a general word for weather; kewar itself originally meant just ‘stormy weather’.

Mar means ‘if’ – we have already met it in fixed phrases mar pleg, mar mynta, mar mydnowgh The expression me a’th pës means ‘please’, and is more emphatic than mar pleg. Literally it means ‘I pray you’.

The singulative formed to know ‘nuts’ is slightly irregular – knofen f nut.

We have already seen how martesen can be added to the end of an idea to show we tentatively support it. We can add prag na? ‘why not?’ to the end of an idea to show we strongly support it.

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Possessive pronouns

The possessive pronouns correspond to the personal pronouns. Here is the basic scheme.

Personal me ‘I’, possessive ow ‘my’

Personal te ‘you’, possessive dha ‘your’

Personal ev ‘he’ or ‘it’ (masculine), possessive y ‘his’ or ‘its’ (masculine)

Personal hy ‘she’ or ‘it’ (feminine), possessive hy ‘her’ or ‘its’ (feminine)

Personal ny ‘we’, possessive agan ‘our’

Personal why ‘you’ (plural or stranger), possessive agas ‘your’ (plural or stranger)

Personal anjy or y ‘they’, possessive aga ‘their’


This is pronounced as it is spelled (unlike particle ow which usually not so pronounced - see Lesson Five). Possessive pronoun ow is followed by Third State. It is replaced by ’m (which does not cause mutation) in a’m ‘from my’ or ‘of my’, dhe'm 'to my', ha’m ‘and my’ (also ha’w which does still trigger Third State), and i’m ‘in my’. It is worth noting from the outset that in practice words beginning with c k q quite frequently remain in First State after ow ‘my’ in spite of the grammar rule requiring Third State.


We have learned this word previously, when we noted that is causes Second State.


This is a short vowel (whereas ‘they’ is a long vowel). It is followed by Second State. It merges to leave a a single syllable combi-word in a’y ‘from his’ or ‘of his’, dh’y ‘to his’, ha’y ‘with his’ or ‘and his’ – the apostrophe marks the merger. Second State still applies. In this note ‘his’ includes ‘its’ (masculine).


This is a short vowel (whereas hy ‘she’ is a long vowel). It is followed by Third State. It merges to leave a single syllable combi-word in a’y ‘from her’ or ‘of her’, dh’y ‘to her’, ha’y ‘with her’ or ‘and her’– the apostrophe marks the merger – Third State still applies. In this note ‘her’ includes ‘its’ (feminine).


This has an unstressed variant gàn. And it is replaced by ’gan in a’gan ‘from our’ or ‘of our’, ha’gan ‘with our’ or ‘and our’. Also optionally in i’gan ‘in our’. In the case of dh’agan ‘to our’ it is the preposition that elides its vowel. None of these causes any mutation.


This has an unstressed variant gàs. And it is replaced by ’gas in a’gas ‘from your’ or ‘of your’, ha’gas ‘with your’ or ‘and your’. Also optionally in i’gas ‘in your’. In the case of dh’agas ‘to your’ it is the preposition that elides its vowel. None of these causes any mutation.


This has an unstressed variant . And it is replaced by ’ga in a’ga ‘from their or ‘of their’, ha’ga ‘with their ‘or ‘and their’. Also optionally in i’ga ‘in their’. In the case of dh’aga ‘to their’ it is the preposition that elides its vowel. All of these are followed by Third State.


And this is the best place to note that kensa ‘first’ never mutates after any possessive pronoun (or any other word that normally causes mutation).

Practys Pymp ha DêwgansExercise Forty Five

What do the following phrases mean?

dha baper, ow fluven, hy hath, agan cothman, y gy, aga thermyn, a’y chy, agas boosty, dha dhywros, gàn cyta, ha’m carr, gà lyverva, a’y jair, ha’gan descadoryon, dh’agas park, i’ga thre, gàs chambour, y dowlen, dha kensa dëdh i’n scol, ha’ga kensa degolyow warbarth

Preposition dhia works like preposition a

Compound preposition dhia works just like a as far as the possessive pronouns are concerned. So we say, for example, yth esof vy ow kerdhes dhia’m chy dhe’n scol ‘I walk from my house to school’. The same goes for prepositions containing ha as their second element. So we say for instance ymowns y ow kerdhes tro ha’y jy ‘they are walking towards his house’.

Practys Whe ha DêwgansExercise Forty Six

How do we say the following in Cornish?

my bus to Truro, our black car, her little dog, their splendid library, your lunch box, his Cornish class, and my red pen, towards their town, on its beach, to its park (‘its’ meaning in each case ‘of the town’, so both should be feminine reference)

Present-future of gallos

The verb gallos means ‘can’ or ‘be able’ when the ability depends on power, or opportunity, or permission. Not when the ability is based on knowledge or skill, for which we use godhvos as we have already seen.

The present-future of gallos is still part of the everyday language. Most of the time it is used with present sense. But the meaning can be future when the context supports that.

As with mydnas, gwil, godhvos we connect a preceding subject to forms of gallos with link particle a. For example, me a yll redya ‘I can read’ (opportunity or permission). Particle is however only very lightly pronounced in front of forms of gallos.


Here are some more new words.

dama wydn grandmother, dasvêwa revive, fùgen Dhanek Danish pastry, in cres prep in the middle of, kydnyow dinner, mona money, ostel hotel, pel neyjys volleyball, whythra explore, research

Practys Seyth ha DêwgansExercise Forty Seven

What do the following sentences mean?

Me a yll vysytya ow dama wydn. Te a yll gwary pel neyjys wàr an treth. Ev a yll debry kydnyow i’n ostel in cres an dre. Hy a yll parusy an lesson moy adhewedhes. Ny a yll eva gwedren pò dyw i’n tavern-ma. Why a yll prena fùgen Dhanek i’n popty. Anjy a yll scrifa messach rîvbost der an wiasva pò danvon text. Mêster Pascoe a yll kemeres mona in mes a’n arhanty. An stranjer a yll whythra istory an dre. An Gernowyon a yll dasvêwa aga thavas.

Present-future of gallos - continued

For questions and negative statements the subjects ‘I’, ‘we’, ‘you’, ‘they’ adopt forms of the present-future of gallos that are particular to them. Just as we can make a statement Te a wor hedna but must ask A wosta hedna?

Here is the pattern.

A allaf vy? Can I?

Ny allaf vy. I cannot.

A yllyth jy? Can you?

Ny yllyth jy. You cannot.

A yllyn ny? Can we?

Ny yllyn ny. We cannot.

A yllowgh why? Can you (plural or stranger)?

Ny yllowgh why. You (plural or stranger) cannot.

A yllons y? Can they?

Ny yllons y. They cannot.

Instead of yllyth jy we can say yllysta or ylta – all three forms are interchangeable. The option to drop a personal pronoun subject is always there, so ny allaf vy, for instance, can be simplified to ny allaf if you like.

For ‘yes’ and ‘no’ we will mostly say just and . But if you wish to use the repeat-the-verb method, then ‘yes’ will be Gallaf etc (First State), and ‘no’ will be Na allaf etc.

Remember the different vowel lengths in phrases like ny yllyn ny – short vowel for the negative particle, long for the pronoun.

Some cases of English ‘may’ rendered by gallos

When gallos means indicates having permission, it will often correspond to English ‘may’. For example, A allaf vy mos dhe’n attêsva mar pleg ‘Please may I go to the toilet’. But not every case of English ‘may’ is rendered by Cornish gallos. When ‘may’ just indicates a possibility, it will usually be more appropriate to combine martesen with a future tense. For instance, An lesson hedhyw a wra martesen gordfedna nebes abrës ‘The lesson today may finish a little early’.


Here are some more new words.

broder brother, cleves clun sciatica (literally ‘hip illness’), esedha sit (down), goles bottom, base, gour husband, gwell better, gwreg wife, keyn back, mabm mother, nos night, pain pain, vëth any (in negative sentence)

Personal forms of dhe

Here are personal forms of the preposition dhe ‘to’.

dhybm or dhe vy ‘to me’

dhis or dhys or dhe jy ‘to you’

dhodho or dhe ev ‘to him’ or ‘to it’ (masculine reference)

dhedhy or dhe hy ‘to her’ or ‘to it’ (feminine reference)

dhyn or dhe ny ‘to us’

dhywgh or dhe why ‘to you’ (plural or stranger)

dhedhans or dhodhans or dh’anjy or dhedha ‘to them’

The form dhedha is mostly confined to written Cornish. Dhodhans is shortened colloquially to dho’ns.

Note too the forms dhybmo or dhybmo vy ‘to me’ and dhyso or dhyso jy ‘to you’: these are usually relatively emphatic in conversation, but in written Cornish, especially in the literary language, dhybmo and dhyso are sometimes employed just to provide a desired rhythm.

Practys Eth ha DêwgansExercise Forty Eight

Yma Tùbmas ha’y gothman Hecka ow cortos rag gweles an medhek. Ha den aral ow cortos inwedh, Harry. Pandr’usons y ow leverel?


(Dhe Hecka) Yma pain dhybm i’m garr. Eus pain dhis inwedh?


Eâ. Yma pain dhybm i’m keyn.


In dha geyn? Wèl, brâs yw an pain i’m garr vy. Saw nyns yw goles ow heyn yn tâ naneyl.


Cleves clun yw hedna, heb dowt.


Â! Yma pain cleves clun dhe’m mabm inwedh. Uthyk yw.


In gwir. (Dhe Harry) Ha pëth yw gàs cleves why? Eus pain dhe why inwedh?


Nâ, pain vëth nyns eus. Saw ny allaf vy cùsca i’n nos, ytho pòr sqwith ov vy pùb eur oll.


Ny yll ow gwreg cùsca yn tâ. Yma hy owth esedha i’n gwely hag ow redya, hag ow côwsel inwedh, der oll an nos. Pòr uthyk yw.


Ogh, nyns yw hedna tra dhâ màn. Me a wor! Yma broder dhybm. Saw y wreg, mar ny yll hy cùsca, yma hy ow mos dhe’n gegyn hag ow qwil tesen rag hy gour. Hèn yw gwell rag aga dew.


Ha rag agan try, gwell mar mydn an medhek dallath y whel. Sqwith ov vy. Sqwith a wortos!

The noun tra

The singular noun tra ‘thing’ is the only neuter noun in modern Cornish. It is neither masculine nor feminine. Instead it has some features that appear masculine, and some that appear feminine. In dictionaries it has historically been marked as feminine, with its apparently masculine features noted as irregularities. It will be better just to learn all the features as they are, without trying to hammer a square peg into round holes.

Attributive adjectives go into Second State after tra. But the personal pronoun to use for it is ev and the appropriate possessive pronoun is y. Tra itself will be in Second State after an ‘the’ and udn ‘one’. But we use dew, try, peswar with it (not dyw, teyr, peder).

Tra has no plural form. We have already learned taclow meaning ‘things’. And tra itself sometimes means 'things', rather like English 'stuff'.

The idiom aga dew etc

Aga dew is literally ‘their two’. This is how Cornish says ‘both of them’. Likewise we say agan dew ‘both of us’, agas dew ‘both of you’. Dew becomes dyw if both of the people or things referred to are female or feminine gender. The phrase can be made more emphatic by adding oll at the front. Phrases with larger numbers can be formed in similar fashion – oll aga thry, for instance, meaning ‘all three of them’.

Mar ‘if’ and Fourth State

The verb is changed into Fourth State after mar ‘if’. But since Fourth State does not affect words beginning with the letter m, forms of the auxiliary verb mydnas appear unmutated. For example, mar mydnyn ny prena ‘if we are going to buy’; and mar mynta, mar mydnowgh ‘if you like’ that we already know.

Model answers for the exercises in this Lesson Nine

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Plurals of nouns

There are a number of different ways of forming a plural from a singular noun, and most nouns that have a plural in Cornish use only one of them, so you must learn which method is used for each noun at the same time as you learn its singular form and its gender.

This is not as bad as it sounds – for several reasons.


There are patterns that are easy to identify. For example, every noun ending in or that designates a person who does something forms its plural in yon. We have already met dyscoryon ‘learners’ for instance. If we encounter a new word, studhyor ‘student’ for instance, then we immediately know that its plural must be studhyoryon.


Cornish does not use plural nouns as often as happens in English: ‘ten students’ is deg studhyor, ‘many students’ is lies studhyor.


Quite a lot of Cornish nouns have no plural form at all. For instance, prow is ‘advantage’, but it has no plural. We can of course express the plural notion ‘advantages’ in Cornish; but we use a phrase poyntys a brow (literally ‘points of advantage’) rather than a single word.

The ending ow that we have already seen in taclow ‘things’ and in Kernowesow ‘Cornishwomen’ is the commonest plural ending. It has a variant yow that is also widespread – we have already met it in degolyow ‘holiday’ (plural in form although singular in meaning). But there are other endings as well.

Many animals like buhas ‘cows’ and cathas ‘cats’ form their plural in as. This ending has a variant es that occurs in a few very common plural words: for instance, benenes ‘women’, flehes ‘children’.

The plural ending ys is used for many words originally borrowed from English: boxys ‘boxes’, for example, or rômys ‘rooms’. Sometimes this ending is simplified to -s as in chambours ‘bedrooms’ and cothmans ‘friends’; and in words like cytas ‘cities’ and pytsas ‘pizzas’ ys would not be suitable anyway.

Mastering plural forms does take a while. For beginners it is generally best not to worry too much about all the detail until a slightly later stage of learning. Why does the letter d appear in pluven > pluvednow ‘feathers or pens’? Why does one letter r disappear in carrek > carygy ‘rocks’? And why singular ek > plural ygy here? There are reasons for everything, but not all of them are straightforward. So long as you are confident about your Cornish, there is no need to go into a lot of technical matters unless you find them interesting.

Reinforcing with personal pronouns

We have already encountered the use of personal pronouns to add emphasis in prepositional phrases: Fatla genes sy? How are you? genef vy ‘along with me’, dhybmo vy ‘to me’.

Personal pronouns are used in similar fashion in conjunction with the possessive pronouns. For example, ow scol vymy school’, dha scol jyyour school’. Notice how jy replaces sy when the preceding word does not end in the letter s. In fact jy is the usual form even after s when that is the last letter of a verb.

Often, especially in conversation, these pronouns are used in these sorts of phrases even when there is no very strong emphasis; in the same way as they occur after forms of verbs unless they are dropped. It is frequently just a matter of the natural rhythm of expression.

Possessive pronouns expressing direct object of verb-noun

So far we have only seen the Cornish possessive pronouns used with ordinary nouns. They also have another important function. We have learned that a verb-noun can have an ordinary noun as its direct object. Now we must note that in careful Cornish a verb-noun cannot take a personal pronoun as direct object. Instead, we use the corresponding possessive pronoun with the verb-noun.

Here are three examples. Note that particle ow is replaced by preposition orth before the possessive pronoun. As we originally learned, particle ow is merely a ‘worn down’ form of orth that is only employed immediately before a verb-noun. Neither ow nor owth is relevant when a possessive pronoun intervenes.

yth esof vy ow parkya an carr ‘I am parking the car’, yth esof vy orth y barkya ‘I am parking it' (literally ‘I am at its parking’)

me a vydn parkya an carr ‘I will park the car’, me a vydn y barkya ‘I will park it’

me a yll parkya an carr obma ‘I can park the car here’, me a yll y barkya obma ‘I can park it here’

Reinforcing with personal pronouns – continued

Although a personal pronoun cannot express the direct object of a verb-noun, you may use a personal pronoun to reinforce the meaning or to improve the rhythm of expression. So you can say, for instance, me a vydn y vysytya ev ‘I’ll visit him’ in careful Cornish.

When Cornish is being used informally, me a vydn y vysytya ev may quite easily become me a vydn vysytya ev. But this is colloquial simplification. It is still the general rule that a personal pronoun does not express the direct object of a verb-noun.

Practys Naw ha DêwgansExercise Forty Nine

On the same pattern, what do the following pairs of sentences mean?

Me a wor côwsel Kernowek. Me a wor y gôwsel.

Usy Crysten ow prena hy dehen rew? Usy Crysten orth y brena?

Te a yll drîvya an carr dhe’n dre. Te a yll y dhrîvya dhe’n dre.

Yth eson ny ow tebry an know toos wàr an treth. Yth eson ny orth aga debry wàr an treth.

A wodhowgh why gwary pel neyjys? A wodhowgh hy gwary?

Usy ev ow tôwlel an bel? Usy ev orth hy thôwlel?

Ny yll ev vysytya an lyverva avorow. Ny yll ev hy vysytya avorow.

Hy a vydn eva an coffy i’n lowarth. Hy a vydn y eva i’n lowarth.

A wra Vyvyan gwysca hy bykîny rag omhowla? A wra Vyvyan y wysca rag omhowla?

Nyns usons y ow convedhes istory Kernow. Nyns usons y orth y gonvedhes.

Note how we often drop a personal pronoun subject to avoid ‘piling up’ similar sounding pronouns. So it is better to say A wodhowgh hy gwary? than A wodhowgh why hy gwary? – the latter is grammatically correct but rather clumsy.

The last sentence of all – Nyns usons y orth y gonvedhes: this is a good one to memorize as a reminder that ‘they’ is a long vowel, but the possessive pronoun y is short.


Here are some more new words.

checkya check, comptya count, copy copy, cudyn difficulty, problem, dell hevel apparently (literally ‘as it seems’), dybarth depart (literally ‘separate’), erhy order, gweres help, gyllys wàr stray missing (literally ‘gone astray’), isel adj low, lev voice, marnas (often abbreviated to ma’s) except, ober task, job, otham need, packet packet, pêsya continue, plobm lead (metal), pluven blobm pencil, pryntyor printer, seythen f week, soweth! oh dear!

Practys Deg ha DêwgansExercise Fifty

Tôny yw descador a Sowsnek. I’n degolyow scol yma ev ha'y goweth Lûk ow checkya oll an taclow in rom class Tôny. Pandr’usons y ow leverel?


Py lies copy a Jane Eyre eus wàr an estyllen-na?


Pymthek warn ugans.


Pymthek warn ugans? A nyns eus dêwgans?


Nâ. Yma pymthek copy warn ugans. Eus cudyn?


Cudyn vëth. Pymp copy yw gyllys wàr stray, dell hevel.


Hag yma box obma a bluvednow plobm. Comptya oll an pluvednow?


Ogh nâ. Nyns eus otham a hedna. Ot obma eth pad paper A4 i’n trog tedna. Eus paper i’n amary inwedh?


Eâ. I’n amary yma packet a baper rag an pryntyor, pymp cans folen.


Me a vydn erhy moy. Nyns yw lowr ma’s dhe dhyw seythen.


(sqwith a’n whel) Py eur yw lebmyn?


Udnek eur.


Scon me a vydn dybarth. Rag metya gans cothman dêwdhek eur in cres an dre.


Soweth! Whath nyns yw an ober gorfednys màn.


Ny a yll pêsya avorow martesen.


(ow côwsel in lev isel) Me a wra pêsya hedhyw, heb gweres …

You can see from pymthek copy warn ugans that the noun being counted must be ‘tucked inside’ the complex numeral.

Cudyn vëth as a stand-alone phrase means ‘no problem’. The negative verb nyns eus is implied.

The plural of pluven blobm is pluvednow plobm. Cornish does not usually put the material out of which something is made into Second State, even when the material appears as an attributive adjective with a feminine singular noun. But pencils have not been made with lead for many years, and there never were any lead feathers. Changing First State plobm to Second State blobm after feminine singular pluven is indicative of a metaphorical description. In pluvednow plobm there is no mutation because most plural nouns do not cause mutation anyway.

Nyns yw lowr ma’s rag dyw seythen literally means ‘It is not enough except for two weeks’. In English we would more naturally say ‘It is only enough for two weeks’.

Note how dêwdhek eur means both ‘twelve o’clock’ and ‘at twelve o’clock’ according to context. Compare the same usage with dates (Lesson Seven).

Gorfednys means ‘finished’ This is a verbal adjective – we shall learn more about them at a later stage. We have met two others already: devedhys ‘come’ (= ‘having come’) and gyllys ‘gone’.


Here are some more new words.

breghtan sandwich, cras toasted (literally ‘parched’), dewas drink, flapjack flapjack, goheles shun, avoid, heb namoy only (literally ‘without any more’), kefrës too (also), na hen otherwise (in a negative sentence), leth milk, neppëth something, rol roll (also list), sehes thirst, selsyk col sausage(s), warlergh after, yêhes health

Personal forms of gans

Here are personal forms of the preposition gans ‘along with’.

genef or gena vy ‘along with me’

genes or gena jy ‘along with you’

ganso ‘along with him’ or ‘along with it’ (masculine reference)

gensy ‘along with her’ or ‘along with it’ (feminine reference)

genen or gena ny ‘along with us’

genowgh or gena why ‘along with you’ (plural or stranger)

gansans or gansa ‘along with them’

The form gansa is mostly confined to written Cornish; it sounds exactly the same as ganso. Alternatives genama and genam ‘along with me’ commonly occur in the spoken language. Gena, and gans itself, may be simplified colloquially to gèn.

Practys Udnek ha DêwgansExercise Fifty One

Warlergh kerdhes wàr Carn Bre yma Crysten ha Tôny in Cambron arta.


Yma sehes dhybm.


Eâ, yma otham a dhewas dhe vy kefrës.


Res yw dhyn esedha hag eva neppëth. I’n goffyva martesen?


Gwell yw gena vy prena cana dewas in popty. Dâ vëdh gena vy kerdhes nebes moy.


I’n goffyva ny a yll debry inwedh.


Nyns ov vy gwag.


Saw my yw pòr wag.


Pùb eur oll, dell hevel. Yma barr choclet genef. Ny a yll radna hedna.


Wèl, in gwir. Saw gwell yw genef debry nebes moy. Mar mydnyn ny prena cana dewas in popty, my a yll kemeres rol selsyk ganso, ha knofen toos.


Ogh, fethys glân ov vy! Gwell vëdh dhe ny mos dhe’n goffyva. Dhe’n lyha yma coffy leth tanow i’n goffyva.


Ha coffy gans dehen wheg. Ha breghtan cras. Ha tesen lus.


Me a wra debry udn flapjack, heb namoy. Saw gwell dhe’n yêhes yw goheles an popty. Coffyva ytho, ny allaf na hen!

Cornish does not have an adjective equivalent to English ‘thirsty’. Yma sehes dhybm is the way we say ‘I am thirsty’ (literally ‘I have thirst’).

Just as dâ yw genef (literally ‘good along with me’) is used to mean ‘I like’ something, so gwell yw genef (literally ‘better along with me’) is employed in the sense ‘I prefer’.

We have noted already that eur means ‘specific time’, and that one of its uses is to express ‘o’clock’ when we tell the time. The word also crops up in the common phrases i’n eur-ma ‘now’, i’n eur-na ‘then’ (often simplified to nena), and pùb eur oll ‘always’.

Fethys glân ov vy!’ (literally ‘I am clean defeated’) is a fixed phrase meaning ‘I give up!’

Ytho means ‘(and) so’. But unlike the English phrase it does not have to stand at the beginning of the sentence. In this respect it is more like English ‘therefore’.

Model answers for the exercises in this Lesson Ten

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Building a past tense with gwil

Nearly all Cornish verbs have a ‘simple past’ tense. Its formal grammar name is the ‘preterite’ tense. It indicates that the ‘action’ of the verb is regarded as a past event, something that just happened, rather than a process that stretched over past time. It corresponds to two tenses in English: ‘did’ and ‘had done’. Context usually tells you which is intended. The latter sense can also be clarified with an adverb like solabrës ‘already’ or kyns ‘previously’.

We have noted that the present-future is only employed for a few verbs except in high literary styles of Cornish, especially in poetry. The inflected preterite tense of most verbs is also sparingly used, except for one particular form which is regularly used: the form that is used with a preceding subject connected by link particle a. We shall be learning this form in Book Two, where we shall also learn the preterite of bos. But the whole preterite of gwil is a very common part of the everyday language as an auxiliary verb meaning ‘did’. This provides a general method to build preterites without needing to inflect each individual verb. So we shall learn it now.

With a preceding subject and the link particle we use the form wrug. For example, me a wrug dallath ‘I did begin’ or ‘I began’ or ‘I have begun’. See how English here employs three separate forms with different vowels (begin, began, begun – the formal name for this phenomenon is ablaut). The Cornish is more straightforward. And where did the g come from in wrug? Well, compare the related English word ‘wrought’ – there you are!

Practys Dêwdhek ha DêwgansExercise Fifty Two

What do the following sentences mean?

Me a wrug metya gans cothman. Te a wrug comptya an pluvednow plobm. Ev a wrug debry dehen rew. Hy a wrug mordardhya wàr Treth Fystral. Ny a wrug mos dhe Lanust. Why a wrug erhy pytsas. Anjy a wrug prena pastys. An descador a wrug checkya oll an taclow i’n rom. An gath a wrug esedha dhyrag an daras. An flehes a wrug ponya i’n lowarth.

Building past tenses with gwil - continued

As usual, the subjects ‘I’, ‘we’, ‘you’, ‘they’ adopt forms that are particular to them for questions and negative statements.

Here is the pattern for the preterite of gwil.

A wrug vy? Did I?

Ny wrug vy. I did not.

A wrussys jy? Did you?

Ny wrussys jy. You did not.

A wrussyn ny? Did we?

Ny wrussyn ny. We did not.

A wrussowgh why? Did you (plural or stranger)?

Ny wrussowgh why. You (plural or stranger) did not.

A wrussons y? Did they?

Ny wrussons y. They did not.

Instead of wrussys we can say wrusta – the forms are interchangeable. As usual, the subject can optionally be omitted.

For ‘yes’ and ‘no’ we will mostly say just and . But if you wish to use the repeat-the-verb method, then ‘yes’ will be Gwrug etc (First State), and ‘no’ will be Na wrug etc.

Remember the different vowel lengths in phrases like ny wrussyn ny – short vowel for the negative particle, long for the pronoun.


Here are some more new words.

adro dhe around, about, awartha at the top, bêwnans life, honen self, mellya interfere, neb some, sur sure, top top, vu view

Practys Tredhek ha DêwgansExercise Fifty Three

Yma Jenefer ow covyn orth Crysten adro dh’y dëdh kerdhes gans Tôny.


Fatl’yw kerdhes gans Tôny? A wrusta cafos jorna brav?


Eâ, sur. Ny a wrug gwandra dres Carn Bre.


A wrussowgh why mos bys in top an vre?


Gwrussyn, ha’n vu awartha o spladn.


Pëth a wrussowgh why gwil wosa hedna?


Ny a wrug mos dhe Cambron, rag eva neppëth in coffyva.


A wrusta debry inwedh?


Wèl, me a wrug kemeres udn flapjack.


Ha pëth a wrug Tôny debry?


Ogh, nor’vy. Neb breghtan cras, neb knofen toos …


Crysten, te a wor – nyns usy Tôny ow tebry taclow dâ. Saw ny yllysta mellya. Y negys y honen yw y vêwnans ev.

Preposition orth after côwsel and govyn

We use orth after govyn to specify the person to whom the question or request is made. It is also the preposition that must be used after côwsel ‘speak’. In English we ‘speak to’ someone but Cornish is more intimate – we speak ‘up against’ someone.

Gwil as auxiliary makes tenses of gwil

We have already seen that gwil is used to make a future tense of itself. Likewise, it makes an everyday preterite tense of itself. So we really do say, for instance, ev a wrug gwil hedna ‘he did that’. Or as in the dialogue, pëth a wrussowgh why gwil? Compare English ‘did do’.

Link particle connects preceding subject or direct object to verb

We have learned that a preceding subject is connected to the verb by link particle a. Pëth a wrussowgh why gwil? and Pëth a wrug Tôny debry? in the dialogue demonstrate that the same applies to a preceding direct object. Compare pandra vydnons y gwil? in Exercise 34 – pandra is technically pandr’a when it precedes a verb, but its spelling has been simplified for convenience.

Neb and nebes

Neb means ‘some’ as an adjective in the sense of ‘some individual’ (person or thing). Contrast nebes which means ‘some (small) quantity’. Neb, like adjective pùb ‘every’ that we have already met, precedes its noun. None of these words cause any mutation.

About honen

Honen ‘self’ is just a special form of numeral onen. So y honen means ‘himself’ (literally ‘his self’). And y negys y honen means ‘his own business’ (literally ‘his business his self’).

Personal forms of orth

Here are personal forms of the preposition orth ‘up against’.

orthyf or orta vy ‘up against me’

orthys or ortys ‘up against you’

orto ‘up against him’ or ‘up against it’ (masculine reference)

orty ‘up against her’ or ‘up against it’ (feminine reference)

orthyn or orta ny ‘up against us’

orthowgh or orta why ‘up against you’ (plural or stranger)

ortans or orta ‘up against them’

The form orta is mostly confined to written Cornish; it sounds exactly the same as orto. And some people drop the letter h in all these forms, saying ortyn for instance rather than orthyn.

We have already noted that worth is an alternative form of orth. It follows an identical pattern: worthyf or worta vy etc.

Practys Peswardhek ha DêwgansExercise Fifty Four

How do we say the following in Cornish?

I shall speak to the bank tomorrow. He is talking to you. She is asking her friend. We spoke to them. The stranger is asking me.

More about higher numerals

From the numbering of the exercises we can see that we count upwards from twenty using warn ugans (literally ‘on the twenty’) until we reach thirty nine. Dêwgans (or dew ugans) is forty. Then we count upwards again, until we reach fifty nine. But this time the phrase is simply ha dêwgans. ‘Fifty’ is deg ha dêwgans but it is frequently also expressed as hanter-cans (literally ‘half a hundred’), and we may optionally count up to fifty nine as hanter-cans hag onen, hanter-cans ha dew, etc. Try ugans is sixty, and we count upwards from there to seventy nine using ha try ugans. Then peswar ugans is ‘eighty’, and we count upwards to ninety nine using ha peswar ugans.

Practys Pymthek ha DêwgansExercise Fifty Five

How would you say these numbers in Cornish?

Twenty four, thirty five, forty six, fifty seven (two possibilities), sixty eight, seventy nine, eighty one (assuming it is not used with a noun), eighty one (assuming it is used with a noun), ninety two, a hundred

Naming the year: a second method

Now you know the higher numerals up to ninety nine, you may use them as a second way of naming the year. Instead of saying, for example, [an vledhen] nawnjek cans naw seyth you can say [an vledhen] nawnjek cans, seytek ha peswar ugans.


Here are two more nouns.

our hour, stap step

Practys Whêtek ha DêwgansExercise Fifty Six

What do the following phrases mean?

Peswar our warn ugans, whêtek our warn ugans, eth our ha dêwgans, dêwdhek our ha try ugans, an nawnjek stap warn ugans

Model answers for the exercises in this Lesson Eleven

Click or tap here




Imperfect tense

In addition to the simple past or preterite tense, Cornish verbs also have a ‘past continuous’ tense. Its formal grammar name is the ‘imperfect tense’. We have already encountered ‘was’, which is just one form of the imperfect tense of bos.

We shall introduce the whole of the imperfect tense of bos in Book Two, and see how it is used to build imperfect tenses for other verbs. Then in Book Three we shall learn the ‘habitual imperfect tense’ of bos; also the ‘inflected imperfect’ tense of other verbs that is mostly confined to literature.

Imperfect of godhvos and gallos

In this Lesson we will be learning the imperfect tenses of godhvos and gallos. The imperfect tenses of these verbs are very frequently employed. Knowledge and ability are continuous states, so the imperfect of these verbs is the usual means to express their sense in the past.

With a preceding subject and the link particle we use the forms wodhya and ylly. For example, me a wodhya pùptra i’n lesson solabrës ‘I already knew everything in the lesson’ and me a ylly parkya an carr ‘I was able to park the car’. It is true the ability to park the car perhaps depended on seizing an opportunity quickly. But in everyday Cornish the imperfect of gallos tends to predominate over the preterite, even when the preterite would be the more logically correct tense to use.


Here are some more new words.

Austol St Austell, dewetha last, Penzans Penzance, tecter beauty, trigva address

Practys Seytek ha DêwgansExercise Fifty Seven

What is the meaning of the following sentences employing the imperfect of godhvos?

Me a wodhya hy thrigva rîvbost. Ev a wodhya oll an dra. Ny a wodhya an fordh. Anjy a wodhya tecter an pow. Gwreg broder Tùbmas a wodhya gwil tesen.

Practys Êtek ha DêwgansExercise Fifty Eight

What is the meaning of the following sentences employing the imperfect of gallos?

Me a ylly mordardhya in Porth Towan de. Te a ylly mos dhe Austol dewetha seythen. Ev a ylly vysytya y dhama wydn in Penzans. Hy a ylly prena ly i’n popty. Ny a ylly viajya wàr an kyttryn. Why a ylly desky yn tâ. Anjy a ylly marhogeth dres an treth. Mêster Pascoe a ylly wolcùbma an stranjer. Peternel a ylly eva sùgan lus rudh. An cathas a ylly cùsca in dadn an gwely.

Imperfect of godhvos and gallos - continued

As usual, the subjects ‘I’, ‘we’, ‘you’, ‘they’ adopt forms that are particular to them for questions and negative statements.

Here is the pattern for the imperfect of godhvos.

A wodhyen vy? Did I know?

Ny wodhyen vy. I did not know.

A wodhyes jy? Did you know?

Ny wodhyes jy. You did not know.

A wodhyen ny? Did we know?

Ny wodhyen ny. We did not know.

A wodhyowgh why? Did you {plural or stranger) know?

Ny wodhyowgh why. You (plural or stranger) did not know.

A wodhyens y? Did they know?

Ny wodhyens y. They did not know.

For ‘yes’ and ‘no’ we will mostly say just and . But if you wish to use the repeat-the-verb method, then ‘yes’ will be Godhyen etc (First State), and ‘no’ will be Na wodhyen etc.

Here is the pattern for the imperfect of gallos.

A yllyn vy? Could I?

Ny yllyn vy. I could not.

A yllys jy? Could you?

Ny yllys jy. You could not.

A yllyn ny? Could we?

Ny yllyn ny. We could not.

A yllewgh why? Could you (plural or stranger)?

Ny yllewgh why. You (plural or stranger) could not.

A yllens y? Could they?

Ny yllens y. They could not.

For ‘yes’ and ‘no’ we will mostly say just and . But if you wish to use the repeat-the-verb method, then ‘yes’ will be Gyllyn etc (First State), and ‘no’ will be Na yllyn etc.


Here are some more new words.

byttele nonetheless, chaunjya change, cùssulya advise, demedhy marry, fystena hurry, gorsaf station, gortheby answer, govyn ask, request (also used as a masculine noun meaning ‘enquiry’ or ‘request’), hast haste, inter between (also intra), kebmyn common, kescows conversation, manerow pl manners, habits, meur a a lot of, nepprës sometime, nowodhow pl news, pendom extreme (in attitude), perthynas relationship, Plymoth Plymouth, Pow Densher Devon, qwestyon question, sad serious, tas father, testen subject, topic, train train, tùchyng about, concerning, viajya travel, vytel col food, warbydn against

Practys Nawnjek ha DêwgansExercise Fifty Nine

Tôny has a meeting with his father. Read their conversation aloud several times to be sure you understand it. See below for help with the meaning.

Tas Tôny yw trigys in Pow Densher. Tôny a wrug viajya dhe Plymoth rag vysytya y das. Ev a ylly viajya wàr an train. Y das a ylly metya ganso i’n gorsaf. Anjy a wrug mos dhe davern in cres an dre. Anjy a ylly côwsel adro dhe oll aga nowodhow. Ha debry ly. Hag eva lies gwedren a goref. Tôny a wrug mencyon dh’y das a’y gothman Crysten. Y das a wrug govyn mars yw perthynas sad.

“Nor’vy, a Das,” a wrug Tôny leverel. “Nyns yw an perthynas êsy màn. Martesen nyns eus lowr a daclow kebmyn inter agan dew. Dâ yw gensy mordardhya ha gwil meur a sport. Ha nebes pendom yw hy tùchyng manerow hy vytel.”

Tas Tôny a wrug cùssulya warbydn hast. Tôny a wrug leverel, “Awhêr vëth! Ow fystena dhe gafos gwreg nyns esof vy.”

“Byttele,” y das a wrug gortheby, “res yw dhis nepprës demedhy, a nyns yw?”

“Dar!” Tôny a wrug cria in mes. “A ny yllyn ny côwsel heb qwestyon cales a’n par-na?”

Y das a wrug chaunjya testen an kescows.

Mars is substituted for mar before forms of bos beginning with a vowel.

The preterite of gwil mencyon a ‘mention’ (literally ‘make mention of’) is usually just wrug mencyon a, though wrug gwil mencyon a is also possible.

Be careful not to confuse Cornish sad ‘serious’ with trist ‘sad’.

Awhêr vëth! literally means ‘[Not] any distress!’ This is a common way of saying ‘Don’t worry!’

Res is technically a masculine noun meaning ‘necessity’. But it is only used in the construction res yw dhe nebonen gwil neppëth ‘it is necessary for someone to do something’. So res yw dhis demedhy means ‘you must marry’ or ‘you have to marry’.

Dar! is a fairly harmless exclamation that takes its meaning from the context. It originated as a weakened form of English ‘damn!’

Cria means ‘call’ or ‘shout’, and cria in mes means ‘shout out’ or ‘exclaim’.

Cornish uses the phrases a’n par-ma and a’n par-na for ‘such’ or ‘like this / that’ – so qwestyon cales a’n par-na means ‘a difficult question like that’.

Forming adverbs with yn

Cornish adjectives are sometimes also used as adverbs. This is especially true when they are preceded by pò‘very’. So pòr dhâ means both ‘very good’ and ‘very well’. Particle yn can be used to make clear that an adverb is intended. So for ‘very well’ we can also say yn pòr dhâ.

Fifth State mutations

Particle yn causes another mutation we have not met before – this time, Fifth State. Because it is a mix of spirantization and provection, it is also called mixed mutation.

Mutation is reflected in the spelling. Here are the spellings that can change.

b > f

> f

d > t

g > h

go > who

gw > wh

Do not confuse yn with in

Be careful not to confuse particle yn with preposition in. Particle yn makes adverbs out of adjectives. Preposition in occurs in adverbial phrases built to nouns.

Adverbial phrase in gwir

Gwir is both an adjective ‘true’ and a noun ‘truth’. But we always say in gwir ‘in truth’ or ‘truly’ or ‘indeed’ – that is, we treat gwir in this expression as a noun.


Here are some more adjectives.

Dien entire, dywysyk eager, garow rough, gwyls wild, men vigorous, menowgh frequent

Practys Try UgansExercise Sixty

How do we say the following in Cornish? Use particle yn.

happily, entirely, seriously, sadly, frequently, eagerly, roughly, heavily, wildly, vigorously

In colloquial Cornish dien, men, menowgh are most commonly encountered in conjunction with particle yn.

Bear in mind that a Cornish adverb will not necessarily correspond exactly to English usage. For instance, ny a wrug debry yn frav ‘we ate splendidly’ (literally ‘finely’).

Model answers for the exercises in this Lesson Twelve

Click or tap here




Saying ‘wish to’ or ‘want to’

The present-future tense of mydnas originally had the sense ‘wish to’ or ‘want to’. But this sense was weakened (save in a few fixed phrases) so that it became an auxilary verb ‘will’ forming future tenses for other verbs.

To say ‘I wish to do something’ or ‘I want to do something’ in modern traditional Cornish we use the inflected conditional tense (originally a 'pluperfect') of cara ‘love’ followed by the verb-noun. Literally what we are saying is ‘I would love to’.

The conditional of cara is not present, future or past. It is timeless. We usually understand the sense to be ‘I would like’ referring to the present. But context or a word like avorow ‘tomorrow’ or de ‘yesterday’ can make it clear we are referring to a desire in the future or in the past.

A preceding subject is connected to the conditional of cara with link particle a in the usual way. For example, me a garsa esedha ‘I would like to sit (down)’.

Me a garsa etc not followed by ordinary noun

If we use this construction to say we want something, we must ensure we express what we want with a verb-noun. So we say, for example, me a garsa debry ly for ‘I want lunch’.

Practys Onen ha Try UgansExercise Sixty One

What do the following sentences mean?

Me a garsa debry pytsa lebmyn. Te a garsa kerdhes gans an ky de. Ev a garsa drîvya dhe’n treth avorow. Hy a garsa cùsca wàr an train. Ny a garsa nejya i’n mor. Why a garsa mos dhe’n tavern. Anjy a garsa redya i’n lyverva. Davyth a garsa gwary pel droos. Crysten a garsa debry flapjack. An dhyscoryon a garsa côwsel moy Kernowek.

As usual, the subjects ‘I’, ‘we’, ‘you’, ‘they’ adopt forms that are particular to them for questions and negative statements.

Here is the pattern.

A garsen vy? Did I want to?

Ny garsen vy. I did not want to.

A garses jy? Did you want to?

Ny garses jy. You did not want to.

A garsen ny? Did we want to?

Ny garsen ny. We did not want to.

A garsowgh why? Did you (plural or stranger) want to?

Ny garsowgh why. You (plural or stranger) did not want to.

A garsens y? Did they want to?

Ny garsens y. They did not want to.

For ‘yes’ and ‘no’ we will mostly say just and . But if you wish to use the repeat-the-verb method, then ‘yes’ will be Carsen etc (First State), and ‘no’ will be Na garsen etc.


The four seasons are gwaynten spring, hâv summer, kydnyaf autumn, gwâv winter. We have already met the word havysy pl summer tourists.


Here are some more new words.

aval kerensa tomato (literally ‘love apple’), bryntyn noble, cowl soup, dowr water, dystowgh immediately, dry bring, gwas assistant, waiter, mynysen (pl mynysow) minute, only only, sant melys dessert, scot bill

Practys Dew ha Try UgansExercise Sixty Two

Crysten has been working late. Before going home she visits a restaurant to eat a simple dinner for one. The staff know her well.


Lowena dhis, fatla genes?


Gromercy, pòr dhâ. Ha tejy?


Bryntyn. Gromercy a’n govyn. Pëth a garses eva?


Only dowr, mar pleg.


Dâ lowr. Otta rol an vytel. Me a wra dry an dowr dystowgh.


Gromercy dhis.


Ot obma dha dhowr. Os parys dhe erhy?


Nâ, mynysen pò dyw mar pleg.


Cudyn vëth. Oll heb hast.

(Warlergh teyr mynysen …)


Moy termyn whath?


Nâ, parys ov vy.


Pëth a vynta erhy?


Me a garsa kemeres salad gwer a’n gwaynten ha kig yar ganso.


Heb mar. Inwedh yma cowl aval kerensa gans an salad. A garses erhy neppëth moy?


Gromercy na vadnaf.

(Warlergh pymp mynysen …)


Cowl aval kerensa ha salad gwer, ottensy!


Gromercy teg.

(Warlergh deg mynysen …)


Yw gorfednys dhis?




A garses gweles rol an sant melys?


Na vadnaf, saw cafos an scot mar pleg.


Otta va.


Dùrdala dhe why.

Bryntyn is used colloquially like spladn to mean ‘great’, ‘excellent’, ‘wonderful’, ‘fantastic’ etc. Another word that can be used in this way is rial ‘royal’.

There are quite a lot of different ways to express ‘only’ in Cornish. The word only itself is not as common as in English. But it is particularly useful in short replies.

The present-future of mydnas makes future tenses for other verbs, but it can still have its original force of ‘wish to’ in polite questions such as Pëth a vynta eva? Compare English ‘Will you take tea?’ It is frequently heard in replies, even when the question itself has been asked with cara. Hence A garses gweles rol an sant melys? Na vadnaf.

Heb mar means ‘certainly, of course’ (literally ‘without an if’).

Yw gorfednys dhis? is what we call an impersonal construction because the subject of the verb (yw) is a notional ‘it’ while the logical subject is expressed with preposition dhe. Literally, ‘Is it finished to you?’ This a common way of saying ‘Have you finished?’

Telling the time with mynysen

When we are content to tell the time in five minute intervals, we do not usually employ the word mynysen. So we generally say, for example, deg wosa eth ‘ten past eight’ though deg mynysen wosa eth or even deg mynysen wosa eth eur are certainly possible. We do however need mynysen when we step outside this framework. So for instance, teyr mynysen wosa eth ‘three minutes past eight’.

Practys Try ha Try UgansExercise Sixty Three

Put the following times into Cornish. Four minutes past six, twenty nine minutes past ten, twelve minutes past seven, sixteen minutes to two, twenty one minutes to twelve

Model answers for the exercises in this Lesson Thirteen

Click or tap here




Expressing verbs with particle y

We have encountered three kinds of affirmative statement. One where the subject precedes the verb: me yw lowen, te a vydn kerdhes, etc. One where important information is fronted: lowen ov vy, etc. And one where the verb comes before everything else: yma an tiak i’n arhanty, etc.

The third of these word orders – putting the verb before everything else – has the longest history within the insular Celtic languages, so it is often regarded as ‘typically Celtic’. But in Cornish this word order competes with the other two ways of making an affirmative statement.

If we wish to express the idea me yw lowen or te a vydn kerdhes with the verb at the front, then we must employ the affirmative particle to introduce the verb in this position. We already know this particle from the words yma and ymowns in which it has become embedded. When particle y is a separate word it becomes yth if the next word begins with a vowel or h (we first met yth in forms like yth esof vy); and it is followed by Fifth State mutation of any following consonant that undergoes that mutation. Particle y is pronounced differently from both ‘they’ and ‘his’. Unsurprisingly, particle sounds just like the first sound in yma. And the same sound occurs in yth.

So instead of me yw lowen we can say yth ov vy lowen. This places emphasis on the whole statement. And instead of anjy a vydn kerdhes we can say y fydnons y kerdhes. This way of expressing the matter is particularly suitable when the sentence begins with an adverb or with another clause. For example, mar ny vëdh carr dhodhans, y fydnons y kerdhes ‘if they don’t have a car, they’ll walk’.


Here are some more new words.

ergh snow, gwil ergh snow (verb), gwil glaw rain (verb), gwil keser hail (verb), keser col hail

Practys Peswar ha Try UgansExercise Sixty Four

What do the following sentences mean?

Yth on ny sqwith. Hedhyw yma ow qwil ergh. De y whrug gwil keser. Avorow y whra gwil glaw. Mars osta parys, y hyllyn ny dallath.

Grammar of weather sentences

When referring to the weather we can use personal pronoun hy since both kewar and awel are feminine nouns. So we could say Hedhyw yma hy ow qwil ergh. But the pronoun is usually omitted.

We saw with gwil mencyon that we usually say me a wrug mencyon rather than me a wrug gwil mencyon – though both are possible. It is the same with the phrasal verbs for raining, hailing, snowing. It is more common to say just y whrug here than y whrug gwil.

For present or future sense with these weather expressions we likewise use y whra more often than y whra gwil. In this case it is anyway necessary to clarify with an appropriate adverb whether present or future meaning is intended unless the context is already clear.

Saying ‘should’ or ‘ought to’

Y coodh is a present-future form of codha ‘fall’ which is used to mean ‘should’ or ‘ought to’ (literally ‘it falls to someone to do something’). Y coodh dhys spêna moy termyn ‘you should spend more time’ shows you how the construction works. Y tal is a present-future form of tyly ‘pay’ which is used with similar sense (literally it is of value to someone to do something). So we could also say Y tal dhys spêna moy termyn. With A dal dhybm y wil? ‘Should I do it?’ we move from a statement to a question. So particle disappears; we use interrogative particle a as usual.


Here are some more new words.

adhevîs first class, alebma from here (also ago), ap app, assaya try (exercise, effort), clôwes hear, codha fall, codnek skill, cors course, cowethyades female colleague, cows talk(ing), fon phone, fylm (pl fylmys) film, golsowes listen, gonysegeth culture, gwellhe improve, gwil gweres help (verb), gwydhyô (pl gwydhyôs) video, i’n kettermyn at the same time, in gwrioneth really (literally ‘in truthfulness’), is- sub-, Italek Italian (language), Italy Italy, Italyan Italian, Italyans pl Italians, les interest, lînen line, miras v look, podcast (pl podcastys), polyshya polish, prag? why? (we have already met prag na? ‘why not?’), prevy try (test), son charm, tavas tongue (also language), tîtel (pl tîtlys) title, traweythyow sometimes, occasionally, tro turn, time (occasion), viaj journey, trip

Practys Pymp ha Try UgansExercise Sixty Five

Yma Merv ow tesky Italek. Yma ow covyn orth y gowethyades Carolyn fatell yll ev gwelhe y gows in Italek. Pandr’usons y, aga dew, ow leverel?


Me a garsa gwelhe ow hows Italek.


Te a wor Italek?


Eâ, nebes.


Otta nowodhow dhybm.


Me a wrug dallath desky teyr pò peder bledhen alebma.


In gwrioneth? Prag?


Yth esof ow cara an tavas ha’n wonysegeth. Me a wrug vysytya Italy kensa tro in viaj scol. Ha my lebmyn in dadn son an wlas.


Clôwes hedna yw meur dhe’m les. Fatell ylta studhya Italek?


Yth esof ow qwil cors wàr lînen, hag yma ap dhe vy wàr ow fon. Byttele, heb côwsel dhe well.


Esta ow miras orth fylmys ha gwydhyôs Italek hag ow colsowes podcastys?




Y coodh dhys spêna moy termyn gansans martesen.


Me a vydn assaya. Saw cales yw convedhes oll an cows.


Prag na wreta miras orth fylmys gans is-tîtlys Italek warbarth. Indelma y hylta redya Italek ha golsowes i’n kettermyn. Y whra gwil gweres orth dha godnek clôwes ha’n codnek côwsel kefrës.


Tybyans dâ yw hedna. Pëth aral a dal dhybm gwil?


Esta nepprës ow côwsel orth Italyans in Kernow?


Nag esof in gwir.


Yma dhybm cothman Italyan. Yma hy whath ow polyshya hy Sowsnek, hag ow tesky Kernowek inwedh. Pàr hap y fynta gwil gweres dhedhy, hag assaya côwsel nebes Italek orty hy.


Ogh, y fëdh adhevîs!

Gwell ‘better’ does not form an adverb with particle yn. Instead we use the phrase dhe well. We do the same with moy ‘more’ and le ‘less’: dhe voy and dhe le.

Golsowes ‘listen’ is followed by orth if we listen to a person, but only optionally by orth if we listen to a thing. Miras ‘look’ must be followed by orth (occasionally wàr) whether we are looking at people or things.

You can see that gwil gweres ‘help’ uses dhe for the person to whom the help is given and orth for the thing with which they are helped. And we may note here how the rule we learned in Lesson Ten operates in reverse. Thus, preposition orth becomes particle ow (with Fourth State mutation) or owth (before a vowel) when it is immediately followed by a verb-noun. So we say, for instance, me a vydn gwil gweres dhis ow parusy soper ‘I’ll help you [to] cook / with cooking supper’.

Adhevîs is another word, like spladnbryntynrial, that can be used to mean ‘great’, ‘excellent’, ‘wonderful’, ‘fantastic’ etc.

Personal forms of rag

Here are personal forms of the preposition rag ‘for’.

ragof or raga vy ‘for me’

ragos or raga jy ‘for you’

ragtho or rag ev ‘for him’ or ‘for it’ (masculine reference)

rygthy or rag hy ‘for her’ or ‘for it’ (feminine reference)

ragon or raga ny ‘for us’

ragowgh or raga why ‘for you’ (plural or stranger)

ragthans or rag anjy or ragtha ‘for them’

The form ragtha is mostly confined to written Cornish; it sounds exactly the same as ragtho.

Practys Whe ha Try UgansExercise Sixty Six

What do the following sentences mean?

Me a wra gwil hedna rygthy. Yth eson ow studhya rag desky Kernowek yn tâ. Raga vy nyns yw hebma meur y les. Ev a wra parusy vytel adhevîs ragowgh. I’n eur-ma yth yw pùptra parys ragos.

Building imperatives with gwil

The (second person) imperative forms of a verb are used to give commands; thay can also be coupled with a phrase like mar pleg ‘please’ to make requests.

The imperative forms of gwil provide a method to build imperatives for other verbs. The forms are gwra for a command or request to one person and gwrewgh for a command or request to more than one person or to a stranger. For example, gwra redya an messach-ma ‘read this message’ or gwrewgh tyly an scot ‘pay the bill’.


ajy in(side), derivas (dhe or orth) report (to), tell, pobel people, ry give

Practys Seyth ha Try UgansExercise Sixty Seven

How do we say the following in Cornish to a single person we know well?

Please sit down. Eat your supper. Go to bed now. Write a letter to Grandma. Buy me a pasty at the bakery.

And how do we say the following in Cornish to more than one person or to a stranger?

Please come in. Tell me the news. Give this to the people at the bank. Eat healthily. And drink a glass of milk every day.

Negative imperatives

We use the negative imperative forms of gwil in the same way to build imperatives for other verbs. The forms are na wra and na wrewgh. For example, na wra govyn a hedna ‘don’t ask about that’ and na wrewgh kerdhes wàr an gwels ‘don’t walk on the grass’.

Practys Eth ha Try UgansExercise Sixty Eight

How do we say the following in Cornish to a single person we know well?

Don’t swim in the sea today. Don’t eat that! Don’t count the pencils. Please don’t go to Falmouth today. Don’t speak to them!

And how do we say the following in Cornish to more than one person or to a stranger?

Don’t sit there! Please don’t hurry. Don’t talk in the library. Don’t spend all your money. Don’t listen to them!

Dëdh becomes jëdh after an, in, i’n, udn

Some refer to this sound-change as ‘nasal mutation’ because it is triggered by the n at the end of each of the four preceding words. But that is rather too grand since it only applies to a couple of words in the whole Cornish language.


Here are some more new words.

asen m & f ass, donkey, askel (pl eskelly) wing, bohes little, not much, cabm crooked (also wrong), caletter difficulty, composa straighten, corn (pl kern) horn, crowd violin, dainty delicate, drâma drama, stage play, edrek regret, fast firm, fyt match (sport), golok look (also scene), Golowan Midsummer, hunros dream, kerens pl close relatives, parents, Kernowegoryon pl Cornish speakers, kescùssulyans conference, kevarwedhor director, na whath yet (in a negative sentence), pedn head, performans performance, plegya bend, remembra remember, spêda success, staga attach, surhe ensure (also insure), syra sir

Practys Naw ha Try UgansExercise Sixty Nine

Tôny yw an kevarwedhor rag Hunros in Nos Golowan. Hèn yw drâma an Gernowegoryon in Bledhen Seyth ha Bledhen Eth y scol ev. Nyns yw ober êsy! Pandr’yw oll an kescows?


Ple ma dha bedn jy, Bottom? Pedn an asen. A ylta y wysca rag assaya an wolok-ma?


Pòr gales yw gwysca an pedn, syra. Tobm ov vy i’m pedn asen, ha ny allaf vy gweles yn tâ rag redya ow lînednow.


Dar, nyns esta ow remembra dha lînednow na whath? Ha’n performans wosa dyw seythen – nâ, wosa deg dëdh!


Syra, ow askel yw stagys cabm. A yllowgh hy homposa?


Yth esof vy ow composa dha askel pùb termyn! Gwra kemeres with a’n eskelly dainty-ma, heb aga flegya!


An kern wàr ow fedn vy, th’yns y lows. Soweth! Me a vydn mos dhe’n rom gwysca rag aga staga arta.


Nâ, ny vydnys màn. Gwra gortos obma. Ny a wra gorfedna oll agan practys, ha ty a yll staga dha gern moy fast rag an nessa tro.


An nessa tro?


Eâ. Avorow. Ny a vydn assaya pùb dohajëdh bys in jëdh an performans.


Saw avorow yw dëdh ow fyt pel droos!


Saw avorow yw dëdh ow dyscas crowd!


Saw avorow yw dëdh an kescùssulyans kerens, syra.


In gwrioneth! Ogh, fatell allaf vy surhe drâma dâ? Lies caletter, bohes spêda. Yma edrek dhybm a dhallath oll an dra!

Particle yth can easily lose its vowel sound in speech. When this happens, we represent it in writing as th’.

Parataxis in place of syntax

Now you have nearly reached the end of the coursebook, you are already in a position to say many things in Cornish. But you have not yet learned a lot of what grammar books call ‘syntax’. That is, how sentences can be made of several parts linked by conjunctions like ‘when’ and ‘because’. We will be introducing a lot more syntax in Book Two.

Meanwhile, try always to break up what you want to say into simple short sentences. If you wish to say when something happened, add a stand-alone sentence beginning I’n termyn-na ‘At that time’. If you want to say why something happened or why it is the case, add a separate sentence beginning Rag 'For'. Or you can give the reason first, then add a separate sentence beginning Rag hedna 'Therefore, That's why'. If you wish to say ‘Although’, side-step it with a second sentence beginning Byttele ‘Nonetheless’. Your teacher, if you have one, will be able to give you more tips on saying quite complex things in a simple way.

Model answers for the exercises in this Lesson Fourteen

Click or tap here




Decimal numbers

The Cornish counted in twenties rather than tens. But modern mathematics is strongly focused on counting in tens. So a new system of decimal numbers has been introduced, running alongside the traditional system once we count past twenty. This is generally employed for arithmetic, including sums of money. It is also useful in sentences like Gwra prena dhybm udn naw deg naw mar pleg ‘Buy me a ninety nine please’ referring to an ice cream cone with a chocolate flake.

Here are the principal numbers, in steps of ten.

deg ten

dew dheg twenty

try deg thirty

peswar deg forty 

pymp deg fifty

whe deg sixty

seyth deg seventy

eth deg eighty

naw deg ninety

cans ‘a hundred’ is unchanged

The numbers one to nine and eleven to nineteen continue to be used as before. There is a new method of forming numbers twenty one to twenty nine, thirty one to thirty nine, etc. We illustrate it here with the numbers from twenty one.

dew dheg onen twenty one

dew dheg dew twenty two

dew dheg try twenty three

dew dheg peswar twenty four

dew dheg pymp twenty five

dew dheg whe twenty six

dew dheg seyth twenty seven

dew dheg eth twenty eight

dew dheg naw twenty nine

In the decimal system, once we get past twenty, we do not use udn (the alternative form of ‘one’). Whegh can still be used as an alternative to whe. We use the new decimal numbers with a plural noun, and we link the number to the noun with preposition a. For instance, try deg onen a dhedhyow ‘thirty one days’ corresponds to udnek dëdh warn ugans in traditional counting.


Here are some more new words.

cent (pl centys) cent, degrê (pl degrês) degree (temperature), dollar (pl dollars) dollar, dynar (pl denerow) penny, ewrô (pl ewrôs) euro, holyor (pl holyoryon) follower (including social media), kîlomêtrow pl kilometres, mildiryow pl miles, pens (pl pensow) pound (both weight and money)

The plural of bledhen 'year' is bledhydnyow.

Practys Deg ha Try UgansExercise Seventy

Put the following phrases (traditional numbers) into their equivalent using decimal numbers.

udn vledhen warn ugans, seytek dynar ha dêwgans, try foynt ha try ugans, peder mildir ha peswar ugans, hanter-cans degrê, pymthek ewrô ha try ugans, whêtek dollar warn ugans, udnek holyor ha peswar ugans, eth cent warn ugans, peswar kîlomêter ha dêwgans

Naming the year: a third method

Now you know the decimal numbers, you may use them as a third way of naming the year. Instead of saying, for example, [an vledhen] dyw vil dew try you can say [an vledhen] dyw vil dew dheg try. In this manner [an vledhen] nawnjek cans try naw becomes [an vledhen] nawnjek cans try deg naw and [an vledhen] dyw vil, cans, dew try becomes [an vledhen] dyw vil, cans, dew dheg try. 


Here are some more new words.

assayva gym, corf body, cowethyas colleague, dywweyth twice, cot short, crev strong, hay! hey! hir long, hùrâ! hurray! lent slow, lies torn often, lyftya lift, pel gowel basketball, powes rest, scant barely, hardly, scarcely, scon soon, tergweyth three times

Practys Udnek ha Try UgansExercise Seventy One

Yma Naomi parys dhe bonya nebes kîlomêtrow wosa gorfedna hy whel de Gwener. Yma hy ow covyn orth hy howethyas Marcus mos gensy. Pandr’usons y ow leverel?


A garses ponya gena vy, Marcus?


Err ... scant.


Prag na?


Nyns yw ponya dâ genama.


Nyns yw dâ? Ha ty pòr grev i’n corf …


Eâ, th’esof i’n assayva yn fenowgh hag ow lyftya posow. Hag ow qwary pel gowel traweythyow. Saw nyns yw dâ genama ponya fordh hir.


Mar mynta mos gena vy, ponya lent y hyllyn ha powes lies torn.


Hmm ... dâ lowr. Me a vydn mos genes.




Py eur fydnyn ny mos?


Knack i’n eur-ma.


In gwir? Dâ lowr. Gas vy dhe wysca ow skyjyow sport.


Gwra hedna.




Dallath ytho!


Hay, yn moy lent!


Hèm yw pòr lent solabrës. Mar mydnyn mos yn moy lent, only kerdhes a wren ny.


Ogh, cales yw ponya!


Cales i’n kensa mynysow. Saw êsy scon. Te a dal ponya dywweyth pò tergweyth an seythen, fordh got. Ena y fëdh êsy pùb tro.


Dâ lowr. Me a wra prevy hedna.


Ha te a yll gwil gweres dhybm rag desky lyftya posow.


Bargen yw!

We have met nebes meaning ‘a little’. With a plural or collective noun it means ‘a few’.

We know poos ‘heavy’. The word is also a masculine noun, plural form posow, meaning ‘weight’.

Fifth State mutation occurs after py eur. This is explained in Cara Kernowek Book Two.

We can note from kerdhes a wren ny that the verb-noun is connected to auxiliary gwil (likewise to auxiliary mydnas) by link particle if it is fronted for emphasis.

Te a dal is another way, more colloquial, of saying y tal dhis ‘you should’.

In phrases like dywweyth pò tergweyth an seythen the sense of an is ‘per’.

Practys Dêwdhek ha Try UgansExercise Seventy Two

To finish the last lesson of this Coursebook here is a conversation between two new friends where the Cornish is just a bit more complex. To give you a flavour of the kind of Cornish we shall be learning in Book Two.­­ See below for help with the meaning.

Yma Oli ha Frances ow metya dhe’n kensa tro. Worth kyffewy a Gernowyon in Loundres. Pandr’usons y ow leverel?


Lowena dhis. Oliver ov vy, saw gwra gelwel Oli.


Lowena, Oli. Me yw Frances. Metya yw plesour wheg.


Wheg dhybm kefrës.


A ble osta devedhys?


A Bow Rësohen. Saw ow mabm yw devedhys a Gernow. Rag hedna yth esof ow côwsel Kernowek. Ha tejy?


Me yw devedhys a Gernow hy honen.


Ancombrus yw! Nyns yw Kernow aswonys dhybm yn pòr dhâ. Marnas Essa. Tre ow mabm.


A ble in Pow Rësohen osta?


Tyller cries Burford. Deg mildir warn ugans dhia Rësohen hy honen.


In gwir ... Ha fatl’yw Burford?


Plesont. Wàr an breow yma hy. Nyns yw ma’s tre vian, saw onen goth. Yma treven a’n pymthegves cansbledhen.


Ria reva!


Eâ, an dre yw pòr sêmly. Yma tavernyow dâ inwedh i’n vro.


Dynyak! Me a garsa hy gweles nepprës a’m bodh!


Y tal vysytya! A ble in Kernow osta jy devedhys?




Bythqweth ny wrug vy vysytya an dre-na. Py lies eus trigys ena?




Ô! Naneyl nyns yw brâs.


Nag yw màn. Brâs nyns yw tyller vëth in Kernow.


Pana daclow eus dhe’n solas in Lanwedhenek?


Wèl, dâ yw genef an treth. Th’esof ow mordardhya menowgh. Yma hendrajy. Ha pùb Cala’ Mê y fëdh an gool ’Obby ’Oss, brâs y hanow. Saw ma lies huny ow tos dhe Lanwedhenek rag an boostiow, yw uhel gà class.


Eus pyctours genes a’n tyleryow yw moyha kerys dhis?


Eus sur! Wàr ow fôn. Gwra miras!

Some help with Exercise 72

dhe’n kensa tro for the first time (literally ‘to the first time’)

gelwel call (also invite)

metya yw plesour wheg nice to meet you (literally ‘meeting is sweet pleasure’)

a ble? where from?

Pow Rësohen is Oxfordshire. Rësohen is Oxford.

tyller (pl tyleryow) place

The sense of ancombrus here is ‘embarrassing’. It is important to realize a Cornish word does not necessarily correspond exactly with a single word in English. The meaning of ancombrus is broader than English ‘embarrassing’. In other contexts ancombrus can be closer to English ‘confusing’.

aswonys known (another verbal adjective)

The plural of bre is breow.

plesont pleasant

In onen goth we see that an adjective takes Second State after onen when the reference is to a feminine noun (here Burford, which is a tre ‘town’).

cansbledhen century (100 years)

Ria reva! Gosh! Wow!

sêmly handsome, pretty

The plural of tavern is tavernyow.

bro area, district (affectionate overtones)

dynyak attractive, tempting

a’m bodh willingly, gladly (literally ‘of my will’)

Lanwedhenek is Padstow.

Nefra and bythqweth both mean ‘ever’. With negative statement particle nyns the sense is, in each case, ‘never’. But nefra is used to refer to the present or the future, whereas bythqweth always refers to the past.

Pana daclow? means ‘What things?

By dhe’n solas (literally ‘to the solace’) we mean ‘for entertainment’.

hendrajy museum

Cala’ Mê is May Day.

gool festival

brâs y hanow literally means ‘big its name’ – that is, ‘famous, renowned’.

lies huny means ‘many people’.

The plural of boosty is boostiow.

yw uhel gà class literally means ‘[which] are high their class’ – that is ‘high-class’. You can see from this phrase that Third State mutation does not apply to words beginning cl (or cr).

pyctour (pl pyctours) picture

yw moyha kerys dhis literally means ‘[which] are most [be]loved to you’ – that is ‘which are your favourites’.

Model answers for the exercises in this Lesson Fifteen

Click or tap here




Click or tap here for spellings in the International Phonetic Alphabet

The listing is comprehensive for what has been covered specifically in the coursebook. If you wish to go further at this stage, there is always Gerlyver Kescows – a Cornish dictionary for conversation.

Click or tap here for the dictionary

Abbreviations: adj adjective, adv adverb, col collective noun, conj conjunction, feminine noun, interj interjection, masculine noun, part particle, phr phrase, pl plural noun, prep preposition, pron pronoun, quant quantifier, verb-noun.

Superscript numerals indicate required mutation of following word: 2 Second State, etc. (2) means that Second State mutation depends on the overall grammar.

In entries for ordinary nouns, the plural form is also given; except that for collective nouns it is the singulative that is often added. All singulative nouns in en are feminine with a plural in ednow.

Names of cities, towns and villages can be treated as feminine because cyta or tre or pendra can be understood. Most can equally be regarded as genderless (but Loundres is always feminine). A few transparent names may be treated as masculine or feminine according to their composition – Penzans can thus be considered masculine because pedn is masculine or feminine because it is a tre.

Cardinal and ordinal numerals are listed up to twenty, together with the cardinals for fifty, a hundred and a thousand.

Click or tap here for a handy reference table of verb forms.

A name of letter A

a2 part interrogative particle used to mark closed question

a2 part link particle used to connect preceding subject or direct object to verb

a2 part vocative particle, optional when addressing someone

a2 prep from; of

â interj ah

a’n par-ma phr such, like this

a’n par-na phr such, like that

a ble phr where from

a’y vodh phr willingly, gladly

abecedary alphabet

abrës adv early

acowntyades acowntyadesow female accountant

acowntyas m acowntysy accountant

addys adj additional, extra

adhelergh dhe2 prep behind

adhevîs adv first class

adhewedhes adv late

adrëv prep behind

adro dhe2 prep around; about

aga3 possessive pron their; them (direct object of verb-noun)

agan possessive pron our; us (direct object of verb-noun)

agas possessive pron your (plural or stranger); you (plural or stranger, direct object of verb-noun)

ajy adv in(side)

aken dhewboynt f akednow dewboynt diaeresis

aken dhieskynus f akednow dieskynus grave accent

aken grobm f akednow crobm circumflex accent

alebma adv from here; ago

âls f âlsyow cliff

Alter Non Altarnun

amary m amarys cupboard

amêthyans farming, agriculture

amowntyor dêwlin m amowntyoryon laptop (computer)

amowntyor legh m amowntyoryon tablet (computer)

an(2) definite article the

an ragwel wàr an awel phr the weather forecast

an Tir Uhel North Cornwall

ancombrus adj embarrassing; confusing

anjy personal pron they, them

anken adversity, stress

ap m appyow app

aral adj (pl erel) other

arhanty m arhantiow bank (financial)

arta adv [back] again

Arwednak Falmouth

ascorn m eskern bone

asen m & f asenas ass, donkey

askel f eskelly wing

assaya try (exercise, effort)

assayva f assayvaow gym

astell f estyll board

astell wydn f estyll gwydn whiteboard

aswonys adj known

attêsva f attêsvaow toilet

a-ugh prep above

Austol St Austell

aval m avallow apple

aval kerensa m avallow tomato

avorow adv tomorrow

awartha adv at the top

awel f awellow breeze; weather See also an ragwel wàr an awel

Awhêr vëth! phr Don’t worry!

awoles adv at the bottom

bara bread

bara cogh brown bread

bara nowyth fresh bread

bargen m bargenys bargain

bargen tir m bargenys farm

barr m barrys bar

Be name of letter B

Benatuw! interj Goodbye!

benyn f benenes woman

bêwnans life

bian adj small, little

bledhen f bledhydnyow year

blòg m bloggys blog

blou adj blue

bò See

bodh See a'y vodh

bohes quant little, not much

boosty m boostiow restaurant, café

bord m bordys table

box m boxys box

brâs adj big, large

brâs y hanow phr famous, renowned

brav adj fine

bre f breow hill

breghtan m breghtanow sandwich

bro f broyow area, district

broder m breder brother

bryntyn adj noble

buwgh f buhas cow

bykîny m bykînys bikini

bys in prep up to, all the way to

bysy adj busy

bythqweth adv ever past reference

byttele adv nonetheless

cabm adj crooked; wrong

cafos find; get

Cala’ Mê May Day

cales adj hard; difficult

caletter m caleterow difficulty

Cambron Camborne

cana m canys can (of)

cans m/num a/one hundred

cansbledhen f cansbledhednow century (100 years)

canstel f canstellow basket

cappa m cappys cap; topping

cara love; conditional tense used to mean ‘would like to’

caradow adj likeable, friendly

cargor m cargoryon charger

carr m kerry car

carrek f carygy rock

cath f cathas cat

Ce name of letter C

cent m centys cent

chair m chairys chair

chambour m chambours bedroom

chaunjya change

checkya check

choclet m choclettys chocolate

chy adv at home

chy m treven house

chy bian toilet, loo (room)

class m classys class

cleves clun sciatica

clojior m clojioryon nurse

clojiores f clojiores nurse

clôwes hear

clùb m clùbbys club

codha fall See Lesson 14 for 'should' / 'ought to'

codnek skill

coffy coffee

coffyva f coffyvaow café

cogh adj scarlet

côla cola

collverk m colverkys apostrophe

comolek adj cloudy

composa straighten

comptya count

comyck m comycks comic

content m contens content

convedhes perceive, understand

copy m copiow copy

coref beer

corf m corfow body

corn m kern horn

cors m corsow course

cot adj short

coth adj old

cothman m cothmans friend

coweth m cowetha companion

cowethyades f cowethyadesow female colleague

cowethyas m cowethysy colleague

cowl soup

cows talk[ing]

côwsel speak

crambla climb

cras adj parched; toasted

cres See in cres

crev adj strong

cria call; shout

cria in mes phr shout out; exclaim

crow m crowyow shed

crowd m crowdys violin

cudyn m cudydnow difficulty, problem

cùsca sleep

cùssulya advise

cyta f cytas city

adj good

dâ lowr phr good / well enough, okay

da weles phr be seeing you

dadn See in dadn

daffar lybm cutlery

dainty adj delicate

dallath begin

dama wydn f damyow gwydn grandmother

danvon send

dar interj damn (but very mild)

daras m darasow door

darn m darnow piece

dasvêwa revive

dauncya dance

davas f deves sheep

De name of letter D

de adv yesterday

de Gwener adv/m [on] Friday

de Lun adv/m [on] Monday

de Merher adv/m [on] Wednesday

de Merth adv/m [on] Tuesday

de Sadorn adv/m [on] Saturday

de Sul adv/m [on] Sunday

de Yow adv/m [on] Thursday

debry eat

dëdh m dedhyow day

deg num ten

degolyow pl holiday, vacation

degrê m degrêdegree (temperature)

degves num tenth

dehen cream

dehen rew ice cream

dell hevel phr apparently

dell wosta phr as you know

demedhy marry

den m tus man

der2 prep through

derivas report, tell

descador m descadoryon teacher

descadores f descadoresow female teacher

desînor m desînoryon designer

desky learn

devedhys adj [having] come

dew2 num two

dew cans num two hundred

dewas m dewosow drink

dêwdhegves num twelfth

dêwdhek num twelve

dewetha adj last

dha2 possessive pron your singular; you singular (direct object of verb-noun)

dhana adv then

dhe2 prep to

dhe’n lyha phr at least

dhe le phr less

dhe voy phr more

dhe well phr better

dhia2 prep from (place or point in time)

dhyrag prep in front of

dhywar2 prep off

dhyworth prep from (person or place)

dianowy yawn

dien adj entire

dohajëdh adv/m [in the] afternoon

dollar m dollars dollar

don carry

dorydhieth geography

dos come

dôtys wàr2 phr mad (passionate) about

dowr m dowrow water

dowt m dowtys doubt See also heb dowt

dôwys choose

drâma drama, stage play

dre2 See der2

dres prep across

dres ena phr over there

drîvya drive

drog adj bad, evil (not used attributively)

dry bring

du adj black

Dùrda dhe why! phr Good day!

Dùrdala dhe why! phr Thank you!

Duw genes / genowgh! phr Goodbye!

dybarth separate; depart

dynar m denerow penny

dynyak adj attractive, tempting

dyscans elvednek primary education

dyscans nessa secondary education

dyscans tressa tertiary education

dyscor m dyscoryon learner

dyscores f dyscoresow female learner

dystowgh adv immediately

dyw2 num two (with feminine noun)

dywros f dywrosow bicycle

dywros saya f dywrosow exercise bike

dywweyth adv twice

dywysyk adj eager

E name of letter E

interj yes

edhen m ÿdhyn bird

edrek regret

Ef name of letter F

eglos f eglosyow church

El name of letter L

Em name of letter M

En name of letter N

ena adv there; then See also dres ena

Er name of letter R

ergh snow

erhy order; book

Es name of letter S

ès prep than

esedha sit (down)

esedhva f esedhvaow sitting-room, lounge

estyll col estyllen shelves

êsy adj easy

êtegves num eighteenth

êtek num eighteen

eth num eight

êthves num eighth

eur f euryow time (specific) See also i’n eur-ma, i’n eur-na

ev pron he, him, it (masculine)

eva drink

Ewny Redrudh Redruth

ewrô m ewrôeuro

Ex name of letter X

fast adj firm

fatell adv how

fatla adv how

Fatla genes / genowgh? phr How are you?

fenester f fenestry window

Fethys glân ov vy! phr I give up!

flapjack m flapjacks flapjack

flogh m flehes child

folen f folednow page, sheet

fon m fônow phone

fordh f fordhow way; road

fos f fosow wall

fùgen Dhanek f fùgednow Danek Danish pastry

fylm m fylmys film

fystena hurry

fyt m fyttys match (sport)

3 See aga3

gallos be able to

gàn See agan

gans prep along with

garow adj rough

garr f garrow leg

gàs See agas

Gas cavow dhe wandra! phr Stop worrying!

Ge name of letter G

gelwel call; invite

gèn See gans

gerva f gervaow vocabulary

glas adj See Lesson One

glaw rain

glëb adj wet

godhvos know (facts); know how to

goheles v shun, avoid

goles m golesow bottom, base

golf golf

golok look; scene

Golowan Midsummer

golsowes listen [to]

gonysegeth culture

goodh f godhow goose

gool m golyow festival

gordhuwher adv/m [in the] evening

gorfedna finish

gorfednys adj finished

gorsaf m gorsavow station

gortheby answer

gortos wait (for)

gour m gwer husband

govyn enquiry; request

govyn ask, request

greun olew col greunen olives

gromercy interj thank you

gwag adj empty; blank; hungry

gwandra wander

gwary play

gwas m gwesyon assistant; waiter

gwâv m gwavow winter

gwaynten spring (season)

gwëdh col gwedhen trees

gwedren f gwedrednow glass, tumbler

gwelen f gwelyny stick (all senses)

gweles see

gwelhe improve

gwell adj better See also dhe well

gwely m gweliow bed

gwer adj green

gweres help

gwias web; internet

gwiasva f gwiasvaow website

gwil make; do; auxiliary forming future and preterite tenses

gwil ergh phr snow verb

gwil glaw phr rain verb

gwil gweres dhe2 phr help verb

gwil keser phr hail verb

gwil mencyon a2 phr mention verb

gwir adj true

gwir truth See also in gwir

gwlas f gwlasow country (political)

gwreg f gwrageth wife

gwrioneth See in gwrioneth

gwydhyô m gwydhyôs video

gwydn adj white

gwyls adj wild

gwyns m gwynsow wind

gwynsak adj windy

gwysca put on (clothing)

gyllys adj gone

gyllys wàr stray phr missing

Ha name of letter H

ha conj and

hag See ha

hàm ham

hanaf m hanavow cup

hanow m henwyn name

hanter m hanterow half

hanter-cans m/num fifty

hanter-dëdh midday

hast haste

hâv m havow summer

havysy pl summer tourists

hawnsel breakfast

hay interj hey

heb prep without

heb dowt phr without doubt, of course

heb mar phr certainly, of course

heb namoy phr only

hebma pron this [one] (masculine)

hedhyw adv today

hedna pron that [one] (masculine)

hel m & f helow hall

hèm See hebma

hèn See hedna

hendrajy m hendrajiow museum

hir adj long

hobma this [one] (feminine)

hodna that [one] (feminine)

holergh adj late

holyor m holyoryon follower

hòm See hobma

hòn See hodna

honen self

howl sun, sunshine

howlek adj sunny

hudhyk adj merry

hunros m hunrosow dream

hùrâ interj hurray

hy personal pron she, it (feminine)

hy3 possessive pron her; ; her, it (feminine) (direct object of verb-noun)

I name of letter I

in prep in; into

i’n eur-ma phr now

i’n eur-na phr then

i’n kettermyn phr at the same time

in cres prep in the middle of

in dadn2 prep under

in dadn gel phr secretly

in gwir phr indeed

in gwrioneth phr really

in le prep instead of

in mes a2 prep out of

in mesk prep among

indelma adv like this

injynor m injynoryon engineer

injynores f injynoresow female engineer

inter prep between

intra See inter

inwedh adv also

is- prefix sub-

iscarg m iscargow download

isel adj low

istory history

Italek Italian (language)

Italy Italy

Italyan adj/m Italyans Italian

Je name of letter J

jorna m jornys day

joy joy

jùnya join

jy pron you singular (subject or with inflected preposition)

Ke name of letter K

kebmyn adj common

kefrës adv too (also)

kegyn f kegynow kitchen

kel See in dadn gel

kemeres take

kempen adj tidy

kensa num first

kensêwha a.m.

kerdhes walk

kerdhfôn m kerdhfônow mobile phone

kerens pl close relatives, parents

Kernow m Kernowyon Cornishman

Kernow Cornwall

Kernowegor m Kernowegoryon Cornish speaker

Kernowek Cornish (language)

Kernowes f Kernowesow Cornishwoman

kescows conversation

kescùssulyans conference

keser col keseren hail

kettep pedn phr everyone

kettermyn See i’n kettermyn

keus cheese

keus lefans toadstools

kevarwedhor m kevarwedhoryon director

kevren f kevrenyon link

kewar weather

keyn m keynow back

kig yar chicken (meat)

Kilgoodh Ust Cape Cornwall

kîlomêter m kîlomêtrow kilometre

knack adv right, just

knack obma phr right here

know col knofen nuts

ky m keun dog

kydnyaf autumn

kydnyow m kynyewyow dinner

kyffewy col party

kyns adv previously

kyns prep before

kyttryn m kyttrynyow bus

laghyades f laghyadesow female lawyer

laghyas m lahysy lawyer

Lanust St Just

Lanwedhenek Padstow

le quant less See also dhe le

le See in le

lebmyn adv now

lent adj slow

les m interest

lesson m lessons lesson

leth milk

leun adj full

leur m leuryow floor

lev m levow voice

level m levelyow level

leverel say lewyor m lewyoryon driver

lewyores f lewyoresow female driver

lies quant many

lies huny phr many people

lies torn phr often

lînen f lînednow line

loder m lodrow stocking

lost m lostow tail; queue

Loundres London

lowarth m lowarthow garden

lowen adj happy

Lowena dhis / dhywgh! phr Hello! Hi!

lowr adv enough

lows adj loose; relaxed

lus col lusen bilberries, blueberries

lus rudh col lusen cranberries

ly f lîvyow lunch

lyftya lift

lyha See dhe’n lyha

lyther m lytherow letter

lyver m lyfryow book

lyverva f lyvervaow library

’m See ow3

-ma part this (with definite article)

mabm f mabmow mother

mainys socyal pl social media

màn adv at all (with negative)

màn num zero

manerow pl manners, habits

mar4 conj if See also heb mar

mar mydnowgh phr if you like

mar mynta phr if you like

mar pleg phr please

margh m mergh horse

marhogeth ride

marnas prep except

mars See mar4

martesen adv maybe, perhaps

ma’s See marnas

maw m mebyon boy, lad

me personal pron I

me a’th pës phr please

medheges f medhegesow female doctor (medical)

medhek m medhygyon doctor (medical)

melen adj yellow

mellya interfere

men adj vigorous

mencyon See gwil mencyon a2

menowgh adj frequent

mes See in mes a2

mesk See in mesk

messach m messajys message

Mêster title Mr

Mêstres title Mrs, Ms

Mêstresyk title Miss

metya meet

meur adv much, a lot

meur a2 quant a lot of

mil2 f/num a/one thousand

mildir f mildiryow mile

miras look

mis m mîsyow month

mis Du adv/m [in] November

mis Ebrel adv/m [in] April

mis Efen adv/m [in] June

mis Est adv/m [in] August

mis Genver adv/m [in] January

mis Gorefen adv/m [in] July

mis Gortheren adv/m [in] July

mis Gwydngala adv/m [in] September

mis Hedra adv/m [in] October

mis Kevardhu adv/m [in] December

mis Mê adv/m [in] May

mis Merth adv/m [in] March

mis Metheven adv/m [in] June

mis Whevrel adv/m [in] February

mona money

mor m morow sea

mordardhya surf

mos go

mowes f mowesow girl

moy quant more See also dhe voy

moyha kerys phr favourite

munys adj tiny

my See me

mydnas wish to (only in fixed phrases); auxiliary forming future tenses

mynysen f mynysow minute

myttyn adv/m [in the] morning

na conj nor

na2 part expresses certain negatives

interj no

-na part that (with definite article)

na ... na conj neither ... nor

na dâ na drog phr so-so

na hen adv otherwise (in negative sentence)

na whath phr yet (in negative sentence)

nag See na2

namoy See heb namoy

naneyl adv either (in a negative sentence)

naw num nine

nawnjegves num nineteenth

nawnjek num nineteen

nawves num ninth

neb adj some

nebes quant a little; a few

nebonen pron someone

nefra adv ever present / future reference

negys m negycyow business

nena See i’n eur-na

neppëth pron something

nepprës adv sometime

nessa adj nearest; next; second (in a series)

new f newyow sink

neyja swim; fly

neyth m neythow nest

Nor’vy See godhvos

nos f nosow night

nos dâ phr good night

nos jùnya m nosow hyphen

nowodhow pl news

nowyth adj new

ny2 part expresses negative statements

ny personal pron we, us

nyns See ny2

O name of letter O

ober m oberow task, job

obma adv here

ogas dhe2 prep near to

ogas ha prep almost (with nouns and numbers)

ogh interj oh (emotion)

oll adj all

omhowla sunbathe

onen num/pron one

only adv only

onyon col onyonen onion(s)

optycyan m optycyans optician

orth prep up against

ostel f ostelyow hotel

ot See otta

ot obma phr here is / are (pointing)

otham m othobmow need

otta interj there is, there are (pointing)

our m ourys hour

ow3 possessive pron my; me (direct object of verb-noun)

ow4 part makes so called ‘present participle’

owth See ow4

packet m packettys packet

pad m paddys pad

padel f padellow pan

pain m painys pain

pal f palyow spade

pana daclow phr what things

pandrapron what

paper m paperyow paper

par See a’n par-ma and a’n par-na

pàr hap phr perhaps

park m parcow enclosed field

park poblek m parcow park

parkya park

parusy prepare; cook

parys adj ready

pasty m pastys pasty

Pe name of letter P

pebor m peboryon baker

peder num four (with feminine noun)

pedn m pednow head

pel f pelyow ball

pel droos football

pel gowel basketball

pel neyjys volleyball

pellwolok television

pendom adj extreme (in attitude)

pendra f pendrevow village

pens m pensow pound

Penzans Penzance

performans performansow performance

perthynas m perthynasow relationship

peswar num four

peswardhegves num fourteenth

peswardhek num fourteen

peswora num fourth

pêsya continue

pëth pron what

pînaval m pînavallow pineapple

plastyk plastic

ple ma phr where is

plegya bend

plesont adj pleasant

plobm lead (metal)

pluv col pluven feathers

pluvak f pluvogow cushion

pluven f pluvednow pen

pluven blobm f pluvednow plobm pencil

Plymoth Plymouth

conj or

pobel people

podcast m podcastys podcast

poll neyja m pollow swimming pool

polyshya polish

pons m ponsow bridge

ponya run

poos adj heavy

poos m posow weight

popty m poptiow bakery

pòr2 adv very

porhel m porhelly pig

Porth Towan Porthtowan

Por’treth Portreath

pow m powyow country

Pow Densher Devon

Pow Rësohen Oxfordshire

powes rest

poynt m poyntys point

practys m practycyow practice; exercise

prag adv why

prag na phr why not

prena buy

presentyans presentation

prevy try (test)

prow advantage

pryntyor m pryntyoryon printer

pùb adj every

pùb eur oll phr always

pùb termyn phr always

pùptra pron everything

py eur adv what time

py hanow phr who (asking someone's name)

py lies quant how many

pyctour m pyctours picture

pyctùresk adj picturesque

pymp num five

pympes num fifth

pymthegves num fifteenth

pymthek num fifteen

pynta m pyntys pint (of)

pytsa m pytsas pizza

pyw pron who; whose

qwestyon m qwestyons question

qweth f qwethow piece of fabric, garment

Qwo name of letter Q

qwylkyn m qwylkydnow frog

radna divide; share

rag prep for; in order to

rag conj for

rag hedna phr therefore, that’s why

raglavar m raglavarow foreword

ragwel See an ragwel wàr an awel

re bo govenek phr I hope so, let’s hope so

Redrudh See Ewny Redrudh

redya read

remembra remember

res necessity

Rësohen Oxford

restryn m restrydnow file

Ria reva! interj Gosh! Wow!

rial adj royal

rîvbost email

rol f rolyow roll; list

rom m rômys room

rudh adj red

ry give

ryb prep beside

sad adj serious

sagh m seghyer bag

salad m saladys salad

sant melys m sandys dessert

sarf f syrf snake

saw conj but

scant adv barely, hardly, scarcely

scavel [cronak] f scavellow mushroom

scol f scolyow school

scon adv soon

scot bill

scrifa write

secùnd num second

sëgh adj dry

sehes thirst

selsyk col selsygen sausage(s)

sêmly adj handsome, pretty

sewt stanch wetsuit

seytegves num seventeenth

seytek num seventeen

seyth num seven

seythen f seythednow week

seythves num seventh

shoppa m shoppys shop

skyjyow sport pl trainers

solabrës adv already

solas solace; entertainment

son m sonow charm

soper supper

soweth interj oh dear

Sowsnek English (language)

spêda success

spêna spend

spladn adj splendid

sport m sportys sport

sqwith adj tired

staga attach

stap m stappys step

stât m stâtys state

stranjer m stranjers stranger

strêt m strêtys street

strêt arâg fore / high street

studhya study

studhyans study, studies

studhyor m studhyoryon student

sùgan juice

sur adj sure

surhe ensure; insure

sy See jy

syger adj idle

syra sir

taclow pl things

tanow adj thin

tas m tasow father

tavas m tavosow tongue; language

tavern m tavernyow pub

Te name of letter T

te personal pron you


tecter beauty

tedha melt

teg adj beautiful, pretty

tejy personal pron you (emphatic)

tergweyth adv three times

termyn m termynyow time

tesen f tesednow cake

testen f testednow subject, topic 

tew adj thick; fat

Tewyn Plustry Newquay

text m textow text (all senses)

teyr3 num three (with feminine noun)

th’ See yth

tiak m tiogow farmer

tioges f tiogesow female farmer

tir land See also an Tir Uhel

tîtel m tîtlys title

to bian See aken grobm

tobm adj warm, hot

todn f todnow wave

toos dough

top m topyow top

tôwlel throw

tôwlel towl phr make a plan

towlen f towlednow plan; program(me)

tra neuter thing, stuff

train m trainow train

traweythyow adv sometimes, occasionally

tre adj home

tre adv home; back

tre f trevow town

tredhegves num thirteenth

tredhek num thirteen

tremil num three thousand

tressa num third

treth m trethow (sandy) beach

Treth Fystral Fistral Beach

trigva f trigvaow address

trigys adj resident (in a place)

trist adj sad

tro f troyow turn; time (occasion)

tro ha prep towards

trog tedna m trogow drawer

Trûrû Truro

trùssa pack

try3 num three

tryhans num three hundred

tùchyng prep about, concerning

ty See te

tybyans idea

tyller m tyleryow place

tyller vëth adv anywhere (in negative sentence); nowhere (when negative implied)

tyly pay See Lesson 14 for 'should' / 'ought to'

Û name of letter U

udn(2) num one (with noun)

udnek num eleven

ugans num twenty

ugansves num twentieth

uhel adj high See also an Tir Uhel

unegves num eleventh

unweyth adv once

unweyth arta phr [once] again

uskys adj quick

ûsya use

uthyk adj dreadful

Ve name of letter V

vëth adj any (in negative sentence); no (when negative implied)

viaj m viajys journey, trip

viajya travel

vlòg m vloggys video blog (‘vlog’)

vu m vuys view

vysytya visit

vytel col food

‘w3 See ow3

wàr2 prep on; on to

warbarth adv together

warbydn prep against

warlergh prep after

We name of letter W

wèl interj well

west adj/m west

whath adv still

wheffes num sixth

wheg adj sweet

whe num six

whegh See whe

whel m whelyow work

whêtegves num sixteenth

whêtek num sixteen

why personal pron you (plural or stranger)

whythra explore, research

whythror m whythroryon explorer, researcher

wolcùm adj welcome

worteweth adv at last

worth See orth

wosa prep after

y5 part affirmative particle

y personal pron they

y2 possessive pron his, its (masculine); him, it (masculine) (direct object of verb-noun)

‘y2 See y2

‘y3 See hy3

yagh adj well (referring to health)

Ye name of letter Y

yêhes health

yêyn adj cool, cold

yêyner m yêyneryow refrigerator

yn5 part forming adverb from adjective

ÿs wheg col ÿsen sweetcorn

ÿst adj/m east

yth See y5

ytho adv [and] so, therefore

Zed name of letter Z