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© 2024 Ian Jackson

Illustrations by Nigel J. Roberts

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 A2 (Waystage, Pre-Intermediate)



Cara Kernowek Book Two 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 those moving on from initial classes 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 students, 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 material 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.

Cara Kernowek Book One (Ian Jackson, lovinglivingcornish, September 2023) provides an introduction to Cornish for beginners. This coursebook assumes the student is already familiar with the material covered in Book One.

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. This Book Two gradually introduces truly colloquial alternatives so you can start to develop 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 ever grateful to Professor Nicholas Williams and Michael Everson for their advice and support; and I should like to thank my students who road-tested the book, especially Carmen Cernadas, Dominic Ó Ceallaigh, Kyle Odgers, Dilwyn Roberts, and Nigel J. Roberts.

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

lovinglivingcornish, January 2024




The Vocabulary at the end of this book consolidates all the Cornish words introduced in both Cara Kernowek Book One and Cara Kernowek Book Two

Here is a link to Book One in case you need to refer back to it for grammar or explanation

Return to Cara Kernowek Book One

Lesson 1

Containing Exercises 1 - 6

Saying ‘the same’; short form (copula) imperfect tense of bos; long form (local) imperfect tense of bos; colloquial Cornish; drilling; model answers

Lesson 2

Containing Exercises 7 - 10

Asking ‘what / which’; linking question phrase to verb; more about local present tense of bos in questions; negative particle in open questions; more about asking ‘where’; whither, hither, thither; pobel; personal forms of wàr; personal forms of dres; colloquial Cornish; model answers

Lesson 3

Containing Exercises 11 - 15

Future tense of bos; asking ‘when’; verbal adjectives; colloquial Cornish; model answers

Lesson 4

Containing Exercises 16 - 20

Asking ‘how’; proleptic infinitive; inflected comparative of adjectives; no Cornish equivalent of ‘the … one’; saying ‘than’; onen referring to feminine noun; saying ‘everyone’ and ‘every one’; colloquial Cornish; model answers

Lesson 5

Containing Exercises 21 - 25

Preterite tense after link particle a; continuous action / state marked by tense only in the past; comparative formed with moy; comparatives that buck the system; nouns as attributive adjectives; personal forms of in; personal forms of in dadn; colloquial Cornish; model answers

Lesson 6

Containing Exercises 26 - 28

Personal forms of heb; personal forms of ryb; preterite forms of dos and mos; preterite tense of bos; model answers

Lesson 7

Containing Exercises 29 - 33

More about imperatives; adar; affection; affection caused by ending ys; alternative ending yes instead of ys; restoring link particle a; colloquial Cornish; model answers

Lesson 8

Containing Exercises 34 - 36

More about honen; saying ‘on my own’ etc; prefix om; particle re; purpose after mos; ‘weekend’ phrases; more about affection; an vergh, an veyn; personal forms of der (dre); intensifiers; colloquial Cornish; model answers

Lesson 9

Containing Exercises 37 - 40

Indefinite pronouns; superlative of adjectives; saying ‘less’ and ‘least’; moy and le as adverbs; model answers

Lesson 10

Containing 41 - 45

‘Any’ in negative sentences; common quantifiers; ‘where’ and ‘when’ introducing an adjectival clause; model answers

Lesson 11

Containing Exercises 46 - 48

Adjectival phrases; more about adjectival clauses; re meaning ‘ones’; saying ‘other’; personal forms of preposition a; saying ‘yes please’ and ‘no thank you’; colloquial Cornish; model answers

Lesson 12

Containing Exercises 49 - 53

More about adjectival clauses; negative adjectival clauses; more words of quantity; saying ‘only’; model answers

Lesson 13

Containing Exercises 54 - 60

Compound prepositions; saying 'about'; prepositions with pronouns; mar meaning 'so'; personal forms of avell; result clause; talking about being ill; using lowr and similar words; saying 'too' in the sense 'too much'; which re is which; exclamatory particle assa; duals; model answers

Lesson 14

Containing Exercises 61 - 67

Indirect statement with fatell; indirect statement with dell; saying ‘almost’; more about prefix om; asking ‘how much’ and ‘how many’; indirect question; colloquial Cornish; model answers

Lesson 15

Containing Exercises 68 - 72

Indirect statement with infinitive construction; some other uses of the infinitive construction; ‘if’ construction with dos; talking about sand; model answers

Lesson 16

Containing Exercises 73 - 75

Indirect statement with bos clause; bos clause in other situations; indirect statement expressed with affirmative particle y; indirect statement with fronted subject; very limited interchangeability of short and long forms; le meaning ‘place’, conjunction pàn; model answers

Lesson 17

Containing Exercises 76 - 80

Negative indirect statement; saying ‘nor’; conjunction kyn; coordinating versus subordinating conjunctions; saying ‘before’ and ‘after’; model answers

Lesson 18

Containing Exercises 81 ­- 85

Asking ‘why’; saying ‘because’; conjunction abàn; colloquial Cornish; model answers


All the Cornish words in Books One and Two

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




Saying ‘the same’

The phrase an keth means ‘the same’. But it cannot be used without a following noun or pronoun. For example, ‘we did the same’ is rendered as ny a wrug an keth tra or ny a wrug an keth hedna. An emphatic alternative to an keth is an kethsam 'the very same'. There is generally no mutation after either of these phrases. But we do sometimes encounter Second State of gw and m after an keth.


Here are some more new words. Use the Vocabulary at the end of the book to check plural forms for nouns where these are available.

anwos cold (illness; also chill), apposyans examination, bloodh year of age, clojy hospital, dell yw ûsys as usual, dywyêthek bilingual, gasa leave, i’n gwelha prës fortunately, in bàn up, kyns napell before long, mab son, maner manner, way, marow dead, myrgh daughter, pedn end (also head), prenassa go shopping, sawya recover (after illness), tevy grow, ugh-clojiores sister (senior nurse)

It will be worth simultaneously learning the opposite of i’n gwelha prës. That is i’n gwetha prës ‘unfortunately’.

Practys OnenExercise One

And here is a short introduction to the Tonkin family.

Yma whel Elen Tonkin in clojy. Ugh-clojiores yw hy. Êtek bloodh warn ugans yw hy. Trigys yma hy in Trûrû. Yma gour dhedhy hag udn vyrgh ha dew vab inwedh. Hanow an gour yw Powl. An vyrgh yw Demelsa ha’n dhew vab yw Mark ha Danyel. Yma Demelsa ow parusy dhe’n apposyansow TODN. Yma Mark i’n Seythves Bledhen i’n kethsam scol. Whath yma Danyel i’n Peswora Bledhen i’n scol elvednek. Yma Elen ow côwsel Kernowek orth hy myrgh ha worth hy mebyon pùb eur oll. I’n vaner-ma ymowns y ow tevy dywyêthek in bàn.

The abbreviation TODN stands for Testscrif Ollkemmyn Dyscans Nessa. That is, General Certificate of Education (GCSE).

Practys DewExercise Two

Here is an everyday conversation between Jana Bligh and Elen Tonkin.


Dëdh dâ dhis, Elen.


Dëdh dâ, a Jana.


Osta yagh?


Heb bos marow na whath! Ha tejy?


Gwell solabrës. Yth esof ow sawya wosa anwos.


Pandra wrussys gwil dres pedn an seythen?


Ogh, prenassa de Sadorn dell yw ûsys. Mabm ha Tas a wrug vysytya de Sul. Ny a wrug kerdhes wàr an âls ha gasa an ky dhe bonya der an treth.


Drog yw an gewar i’n mis-ma.


Wèl, crev o an gwyns de Sul, mès i’n gwelha prës nyns o an glaw pòr boos.


Howlek vëdh kyns napell. Ow gaja dhe why!


Re bo govenek!

Ow gaja dhe why literally means ‘My pledge to you’. This corresponds to the English expression ‘I’m willing to bet’ when making an assertion.

Short form (copula) imperfect tense of bos

The imperfect (also called the past continuous) tense of bos has copula and local forms, just like the present tense of bos. We have been using the copula imperfect form o for a long time. Here are all the short forms.

en vy I was

es jy you were

o ev he was, it was (masculine reference)

o hy she was, it was (feminine reference)

o was / were (with noun subject)

en ny we were

ewgh why you were (plural or stranger)

êns y they were

These forms are also used in closed questions (expecting the answer yes or no). They are preceded by negative particle nyns in negative statements. If we add interrogative particle a in front of particle nyns, we arrive at a negative question.


Here are some more new words.

cuv kind, mater matter, muscok mad, skyla reason, terrys broken

Practys TryExercise Three

Put these sentences into the imperfect tense. Check you know what each one means.

Nyns yw an bord bian. Brâs yw va. Osta sqwith? Nag ov. Yns y parys? Nyns yns y màn. Ty yw muscok. Nyns ov vy flogh! Pandr’yw an mater? Medhek yw hy. Pyw yw an dhescadoryon? Cuv owgh why. Lowen nyns on ny. Yw an dra terrys? Pëth yw an skyla rag hedna?

Practys PeswarExercise Four

How would you say the following in Cornish?

She was my teacher. The children were very happy. Were you tired after the lesson? Was I ready? No, I wasn’t ready at all.

Long form (local) imperfect tense of bos

Here are all the long forms of the imperfect tense of bos.

yth esen vy I was

yth eses jy you were

yth esa ev he was, it was (masculine reference)

yth esa hy she was, it was (feminine reference)

yth esa [there] was / were (with noun subject)

yth esen ny we were

yth esewgh why you were (plural or stranger)

yth esens y they were

The long form imperfect is simply the short form prefixed with an additional element es-. The spelling esa for expected eso is the outcome of regular sound change.

In closed questions (expecting the answer yes or no) particle yth is dropped. In negative statements particle yth is replaced with particle nyns. If we add interrogative particle a in front of particle nyns, we arrive at a negative question.

Long forms of both present tense and imperfect tense are generally not interchangeable with short forms. The long forms should be used in two specific situations: (1) when bos is found with a word or phrase indicating location and (2) when bos is coupled with particle ow (owth) and a verb-noun. In any other case the short forms must be employed.

So we say Tiak en vy ‘I was a farmer’ and Sqwith en vy ‘I was tired’, but Yth esen vy wàr an treth ‘I was on the beach’ and Yth esen vy ow qwary pel droos ‘I was playing football’.


Here are some more new words.

amanyn butter, bolla bowl, collel knife, forgh fork, holan salt, kerhes fetch, kyfeth preserve (jam or marmalade), plât plate, pot pot, puber pepper, shùgra sugar

Practys PympExercise Five

Put these sentences into the imperfect tense. Check you know what each one means.

Yth eson ny ow parusy an hawnsel. Wàr an bord yma plâtys ha kellyl ha ferhy. Nyns eus hanavow. Mowns y i’n amary whath. Th’esof ow kerhes an holan ha’n puber, hag yma an kyfeth wàr an bord solabrës. Usy an amanyn i’n yêyner? Yma an leth ena kefrës. Ma an coffy i’n pot; ma’n shùgra i’n bolla. Why a yll esedha worteweth.

Practys Whe – Exercise Six

How would you say the following in Cornish?

I was talking to my friend. Our dogs were playing together in the garden. Were you waiting a long time? My grandmother wasn’t listening. They were avoiding the question.

Colloquial Cornish

The forms ma and mowns instead of yma and ymowns are colloquial.

Cornish, like every living language, has various ‘registers’ or styles for use in different contexts. We might employ a compressed register for poetry where much is said in a few words. For prose writing we will generally prefer registers that are suitable for a story, explanation, persuasion etc. For conversation we will typically opt for an informal register that is rich and versatile but also lively, carrying a strong personal stamp. Learners of a language should first concentrate on a single register until a degree of fluency has been achieved. In Book One a relatively formal prose register was taught: one that can serve as a starting point for conversation and for ordinary writing. But from now on you should always bear in mind that ‘Cornish for beginners’ is much less than the totality of Cornish.

We shall be mentioning from time to time some of the most important features of colloquial Cornish. Be prepared to encounter these variants, and gradually to start using them yourself. Here is one more for now. Colloquially mès turns into bùs or bès under the influence of English ‘but’.


This word means exercises or training in a military context of course. But it is also used to refer to regular practising of forms and patterns in a language. It is particularly important to drill constantly when learning a Celtic tongue like Cornish, because the verbs are often phrases, not just individual words, and those phrases do not neatly correspond to the way that verbs are formed in English.

If you were learning the piano, you would certainly be required to practise every day or even several times a day. Now you are taking your Cornish to a higher level you should do the same, with verb patterns being your ‘scales and arpeggios’.

Here is a drill based on yth esof vy ow qwary ‘I am playing’ to show you how to go about it.

Present affirmative

yth esof vy ow qwaryyth esta ow qwaryyma ev ow qwaryyma hy ow qwaryyth eson ny ow qwaryyth esowgh why ow qwaryymowns y ow qwary

Present interrogative

esof vy ow qwary? esta ow qwary? usy ev ow qwary? usy hy ow qwary? eson ny ow qwary? esowgh why ow qwary? usons y ow qwary?

Present negative

nyns esof vy ow qwarynyns esta ow qwarynyns usy ev ow qwarynyns usy hy ow qwarynyns eson ny ow qwarynyns esowgh why ow qwarynyns usons y ow qwary

For a simple variation, repeat the drill in a different order: say, present interrogative, present affirmative, present negative. Then you might try grouping the I-forms together, likewise we-forms, he-forms, etc. Then you might try omitting the reinforcing pronouns vyev, etc. (Remember that the element ta in esta cannot be dropped; but we can replace the whole of esta with esos.) Then you might try substituting colloquial th’esofth’estama, etc. Then you might repeat the whole thing based on yth esen vy ow qwary (imperfect tense). Eventually you will know the permutations well enough to shuffle them without a lot of conscious thinking.

All this requires time and patience but will be worth the investment. Ask any piano player about those scales.

Model answers for the exercises in this Lesson One

Click or tap here




Asking ‘what / which’

In English you can say ‘What language are you learning?’ or ‘Which language are you learning?’ Cornish pana or pan means ‘what’ and py means ‘which’. In practice the words are used more or less interchangeably. So you may say Pana davas esta ow tesky? or Pan tavas esta ow tesky? or Py tavas esta ow tesky? We apply Second State mutation after pana; there is no mutation after py; after pan there is usually no mutation, but we do find pan vaner ‘what kind of’ and in pan vaner ‘in what way’ as fixed expressions.

The vowel in py is short, and the word is always unstressed. In English we may place emphasis on the corresponding question word, saying for instance ‘I have to press one of these buttons. But which one?’ To achieve the same effect in Cornish we must employ a reinforcing adverb, saying for example Res yw dhybm gwasca onen a’n botednow-ma. Saw py boton iredy? ‘I have to press one of these buttons. But which one?’ (literally, which one indeed?) We may place emphasis on pan and pana without restriction.

We must use pana, pan, py with a noun. If we wish, for instance, to select a number of cars, we will ask py kerry? ‘which ones?’ To select one car, we will generally ask py carr? But when there are only two possibilities we may alternatively use the pronoun pyneyl ‘which one (of two)’. So to choose between two cars we say py carr or just pyneyl.


Here are some more new words.

biologieth biology, calcorieth mathematics, colour m colours colour, enef soul, Frynkek French (language), fysyk physics, gwelha best, kemyk chemistry, lien literature, longya belong, sciens science, Spaynek Spanish (language)

Practys SeythExercise Seven

Here are some more examples of pana, pan and py in conversation. Check you understand everything teenagers Wella Kent and Tamsyn Kneebone are saying.


Pana davas esta ow tesky i’n scol?


Spaynek. Ha tejy?


Frynkek. Saw me a vydn gasa hebma dhe godha.


Ha pan sciens esta ow tesky?


Yth esof ow tesky oll an try: fysyk, kemyk ha biologieth.


Hèn yw ober poos! Py onen yw gwell dhys?


Fysyk, heb dowt. Dâ yw genef oll an galcorieth i’n fysyk. Py sciens yw dâ genes sy?


Sciens dâ nyns eus màn! Lien Sowsnek hag istory yw an gwella taclow genef vy.


Nâ nâ, hunrosow ha’n dedhyow coth yw hedna. Ma sciens ow longya dhe’n termyn usy ow tos. Dhe’n jëdh hedhyw kefrës.


Ogh Wella! Ty yw heb enef vëth!

Gasa dhe godha literally means ‘leave to fall’; this is a common way of expressing the sense ‘drop’. And an jëdh hedhyw is the Cornish way of saying ‘the present day’.

Linking question phrase to verb

Provided a question phrase made with pana / pan / py is either the subject or the direct object in the sentence, forms of the present and imperfect tenses of bos that we have learned follow the question phrase without any connecting particle. But we use link particle (followed by Second State mutation) to connect a subject or direct object question phrase to the future tense of bos, and to all forms of mydnas, gwil, godhvos, gallos.

So for example pan sciens esta ow tesky? (present) becomes pan sciens a vynta (or wreta) desky? (future). Pana sciencys a yllysta desky i’n scol-ma? means ‘what sciences can you study in this school?‘ Py tavosow a wosta côwsel means ‘what languages can you speak?’

More about local present tense of bos in questions

We employ eus or usy as local forms of bos when pëth, pandr’, pyw or a question phrase made with pan / pana / py is the subject. We may use eus in every case (occasionally we find yma instead); usy is a justifiable alternative when we are seeking information about some person or thing of whom / which we already have some definite idea. When pëth, pandr’, pyw or a question phrase made with pan / pana / py is the direct object we use usy or usons as appropriate (not yma or ymowns).

Negative particle in open questions

To make a negative question with pan / pana / py or with pëth / pandra / pyw we employ particle ny (nyns), just as for closed questions. For example, Py gwlas ny wrug ev vysytya? ‘What country has he not visited?’

Practys Eth – Exercise Eight

How would you say the following in Cornish?

What museums will you be visiting? Which bus does she use to go to school? What sandwiches are there in the shop today? Which colour did you choose? Which pub is that?

More about asking ‘where’

We know we can use ple to ask ‘where’ someone or something is. This word is a contraction of py le (also pyle) ‘which place’. The uncontracted form is also found, especially in writing; in conversation it is principally used for asking a quick question on its own, without bothering with a full sentence. We must use the long forms of verb bos with ple and py le, because we are asking about a location. We must also learn that ple becomes pleth before a verb beginning with a vowel or h, and that both ple and py le cause Fifth State mutation of a consonant. For example, Pleth esta trigys? ‘Where do you live?’, literally meaning ‘Where are you dwelt?’. And Ple fynta mos? ‘Where will you go?’

Back in Book One Lesson Three we learned that yma is simplified to ma after ple. The same simplification occurs after py le. Likewise ymowns is always simplified to mowns after ple and py le. For example, Ple mowns y? ‘Where are they?’

Py is an alternative to ple. This is not py ‘which’ but a different py specifically meaning ‘where’. It is followed by Fifth State mutation just like ple. It becomes pyth before a vowel. Though it is largely confined to literary usage, py ma and py mowns occur conversationally alongside ple ma and ple mowns. Just as for py ‘which’, the vowel in py ‘where’ is short, and the word is always unstressed. If in English we would place emphasis on the question word, we must use ple to carry the emphatic tone or use py le (with extra stress on le).

Another way of asking ‘where’ is py tyller (literally, ‘which place’). Just put it in front of the full affirmative form of verb bos. Or use it on its own. For example, Py tyller yth eses jy trigys? ‘Where were you living?’ Py tyller yma an park kerry? ‘Where is the car park?’ If py tyller needs to be emphasized, we place extra stress on tyller, not on py (see above).

Whither, hither, thither

Nowadays these words are scarcely used. In contemporary English ‘where’, ‘here’, ‘there’ can refer to location (place at which) or destination (place to which). The same applies in Cornish for ‘where’ and ‘here’. So we can say, for example, pleth esta ow mos? ‘where are you going’ and Fatell wrusta dos obma? ‘how did you get here?’ But ena refers only to location. For destination there is a separate word dy (or dhy). So we say yma ev trigys ena ‘he lives there’ but yma ev ow mos dy ‘he is going there’.


Here are some more new words.

Breten Vian Brittany, entrans entrance, gorra put (also ‘take’ to a place), wharvos happen, take place

evreth means ‘disabled’ in the sense of having a disability. The adjective is also used as a plural noun evredhyon meaning ‘disabled people’.

Practys Naw – Exercise Nine

Here are some more examples of ‘where’ questions. Check you know what they all mean.

Ple ma an entrans rag evredhyon? Pleth eson ny ow mos? Py tyller yma an shùgra? Pleth esa hy trigys in Breten Vian? Py mowns y lebmyn? Pleth esens y de? Py tyller yth esa an class ow wharvos? Ple hallaf y gafos? Py whrug ev aga gorra?


Pobel as a feminine singular noun means a specific people. It is also employed in the collective sense ‘people’ (= persons). When pobel is used in the collective sense, it still behaves grammatically as a feminine singular noun for the purpose of mutation after an ‘the’ (an bobel); but it behaves as if it were grammatically a collective noun for the purpose of pronoun reference: that is, we refer to pobel ‘people’ in the collective sense as or anjy ‘they’.

Personal forms of wàr

Here are the personal forms of preposition wàr ‘on’ (also ‘on to’).

warnaf or wara vy ‘on me’

warnas or wara jy ‘on you’

warnodho ‘on him’ or ‘on it’ (masculine reference)

warnedhy ‘on her’ or ‘on it’ (feminine reference)

warnan or wara ny ‘on us’

warnowgh or wara why ‘on you’ (plural or stranger)

warnodhans or wàr anjy or warnedha (mostly confined to written Cornish) ‘on them’

Personal forms of dres

And here are the personal forms of preposition dres ‘over (across), also past’.

drestof or dresta vy ‘over me or past me’

drestos or dresta jy ‘over you or past you’

dresto or drest’ev ‘over him’ or ‘past him’; or over it or past it (masculine reference)

dresty or dresta hy ‘over her’ or ‘past her’ or ‘over it’ or ‘past it’ (feminine reference)

dreston or dresta ny ‘over us’ or ‘past us’

drestowgh or dresta why ‘over you’ or ‘past you’ (plural or stranger)

drestans or dresta (mostly confined to written Cornish) ‘over them’ or ‘past them’

Practys Deg – Exercise Ten

Look at the picture below. What can you talk about, using all you have learned so far? You can say what is not in the picture as well. Ask questions about it too.

Extra vocabulary: basnet helmet, cauns pavement, carven van (also carriage of a train), dywros jyn f or jyn dywros motorcycle, posa worth lean against, sevel stand still, stop (also stand up), treusva crossing

Colloquial Cornish

Colloquially, link particle a connecting subject to verb is sometimes omitted. Be ready to encounter formal my a wra and my a vydn expressing future tense in their colloquial versions me ’ra and me ’vydn. Interrogative particle may also be so lightly pronounced that it effectively disappears, especially before another a-sound. So you may meet ’Allaf vy …? instead of A allaf vy …? Another particle that may disappear in colloquial speech is ow, especially when its notional presence is audibly marked by Fourth State in the following verb-noun. So yth esof vy ow qwil hedna ‘I’m doing that’ might well be heard as th’eso’vy qwil hedna.

Model answers for the exercises in this Lesson Two

Click or tap here




Future tense of bos

The verb bos ‘be’ has its own future tense; it is not formed with the help of mydnas or gwil. With this tense there are no ‘short’ and ‘long’ forms – the same form is used in every situation. We already know vëdh. Here is the future tense in full.

vedhaf vy or vedhama or vedham I will be

vedhys jy or vedhysta you will be

vëdh ev he will be, it will be (masculine reference)

vëdh hy she will be, it will be (feminine reference)

vëdh will be (with noun subject)

vedhyn ny we will be

vedhowgh why you will be (plural or stranger)

vedhons y they will be

If we put affirmative particle before these forms the initial v becomes f. So y fedhaf vy, etc. With an indefinite subject y fëdh means ‘there will be’.

To make a closed question (expecting the answer yes or no) we put interrogative particle a in front of each of these forms. With an indefinite subject a vëdh? means ‘will there be?’

The underlying initial letter is b, and this surfaces in the forms we can use when saying yes to questions involving the future tense of bos. For example, A vedhys i’n kyffewy avorow? Eâ or Bedhaf. ‘Will you be at the party tomorrow? Yes.’ Compare the negative answer or Na vedhaf.

To make a negative statement we put particle ny in front of each of these forms. With an indefinite subject ny vëdh means ‘there will not be’. If we add interrogative particle a in front of particle ny, we arrive at a negative question.


Here are some more new words.

certan certain, dydro direct, floghcovia babysit, haneth tonight, this evening, kelly lose, miss, lesson tre homework, radn part, sodhva office (place), wharvedhyans event

Practys Udnek – Exercise Eleven

Here is a conversation over breakfast with lots of examples of the future tense of bos.


Haneth y fëdh Demelsa ow kemeres radn in nosweyth ilow an scol.


Py eur fëdh an wharvedhyans ow tallath?


Hanter wosa seyth. A vedhys ena?


Bedhaf. Bysy lowr vedhaf vy der an jëdh. Saw gas cavow dhe wandra. Me a vëdh ow trîvya dy in mes a’n sodhva yn tydro. Dhana ny wra vy kelly gweles hy ferformans wosa oll an ourys a bractys!


Ow mabm a vëdh ow tos seyth eur rag floghcovia. Hy a wra gorra Mark ha Danyel dhe’n gwely mar ny vedhyn ny dewhelys na whath.


Hag a vedhons y ow corfedna aga lessons tre?


Certan yw hedna. Ow mabm a vëdh hardh ortans y!

Nosweyth ilow is literally ‘a music evening’. This is the usual way of referring to a concert taking place late in the day.

The meaning of dewhelys is ‘returned’ in the sense ‘[having come] back’. We shall be giving more explanation about verbal adjectives later in this Lesson.

The adjective hardh means ‘able and bold’ as a single notion. There is no one-word equivalent in English. Sometimes it corresponds to English ‘competent’, sometimes to ‘decisive’.

Practys Dêwdhek – Exercise Twelve

How would you say the following in Cornish? Use the future tense of bos in each.

She will be in her office tomorrow at ten o’clock. The stranger will be visiting the town’s library to research for his book. We shall be happy to meet the teacher. Where will the conference be happening? You won’t find any food there!

Asking ‘when’

To ask ‘when’ someone or something happened or will happen, Cornish says peur. This is a contraction of py eur that we have already learned in the sense ‘what time (o’clock)?’ We can also use py eur to ask ‘when’ without reference to clock time if the clock is not relevant in the context. But this is a somewhat literary usage. Since the contracted form is not used in questions about clock time, it is practical in conversation to reserve py eur for clock time, employing peur for other situations.

Both py eur and peur cause Fifth State mutation of a following consonant, just like py le and ple. For example, peur fynta prena carr nowyth? ‘when will you buy a new car?’

Another way of saying ‘when’ in a question is pana dermyn or pan termyn ‘what time’. These phrases are followed by Second State mutation, with optional linking particle a, so we could also say Pana dermyn [a] vëdh an prës ly? ‘When will lunch be?’ Pana dermyn is also commonly used for a quick question on its own, without bothering with a full sentence.


Here are some more new words.

dyweth end, menestrouthy orchestra, performya perform, peswarden quartet, powes rest, pause, presentya present, sôlô (also adjective) solo, torr belly, whyst interj hush

Practys Tredhek – Exercise Thirteen

Powl has just arrived at the school concert and found Elen already in her seat.


Pana dermyn a vëdh Demelsa ow performya hy darn?


Hy a vëdh ow presentya dywweyth. In peswarden ha sôlô.


Wèl, peur fëdh hy kensa darn?


Obma an dowlen. Knack kyns an powes y fëdh an peswarden. Ha’n darn sôlô a vëdh ogas dhe’n dyweth.


Ha peur fëdh an powes? Ny wrug vy debry soper. Hanaf tê ha tesen ganso a vëdh pòr wolcùm.


Py eur i’n jëdh nyns esta ow predery a’n dorr iredy?


Whyst! An menestrouthy yw parys dhe dhallath.

Pedn and dyweth both correspond to English ‘end’, but they are not interchangeable. Pedn (which also means ‘head’) refers to the end of a physical object or to the end of a period of time. Dyweth refers to the cessation or completion of some action or event.

Powes is both a verb-noun and an ordinary noun. One of its uses as an ordinary noun is to refer to the ‘interval’ in a performance.

Negative particle ny (nyns) is another little word with a short vowel that cannot be stressed. So we use the same approach as for py when we wish to add emphasis.

Menestrouthy (literally ‘minstrelsy’) is the typical Cornish word for any group of musicians. Orkestra is generally reserved for large professional orchestras.

Practys Peswardhek – Exercise Fourteen

How would you say the following in Cornish?

When do the lessons start every morning? When will you finish the job? When did he go to bed? When does the café open? When can I leave?

Verbal adjectives

In Book One we met four verbal adjectives: aswonys, devedhys, gorfednys, gyllys. So far in this Book we have learned two more: terrys and dewhelys. Almost every verb has an adjective associated with it, describing the ‘action’ of the verb as applied to something. Often the implication is that the action has been completed. For example, ‘written work’, ‘burnt cakes’. The verbal adjective is sometime called the past participle. But this name is best avoided because the sense is not always past.

In Cornish the verbal adjective is usually formed with the ending ys. Thus, ober scrifys ‘written work’ from scrifa ‘write’, tesednow leskys ‘burnt cakes’ from lesky ‘burn’. Note that e + ys becomes ës and i + ys becomes ies, so we form verbal adjectives degës ‘closed’ and aspies ‘seen’ from degea ‘close’ and aspia ‘catch sight of’. We express the ‘agent’ of a verbal adjective with the preposition gans. For example, lyver scrifys gans an Bardh Meur ‘a book written by the Grand Bard’.

Cornish also frequently uses the verbal adjective with verb bos ‘be’. Sometimes this corresponds to similar usage in English. For example, leskys yw an bara cras-ma ‘this toast is burnt’. But the Cornish expression is often equivalent to a different construction in modern English. For example, scrifys yw an lyver solabrës ‘the book has already been written’. In sentences of this kind, words like solabrës ‘already’ and lebmyn ‘now’ can be very important to clarify the time of the action. Distinguish debrys yw an tesednow solabrës ‘the cakes have [already] been eaten’ from debrys yw an tesednow lebmyn ‘the cakes are [now] being eaten’.

Devedhys and gyllys are verbal adjectives with an unexpected form. Here are a couple more: gwrës ‘made, done’, rës ‘given’. As we observed in Book One, gyllys yw ev is the usual way of saying ‘he has gone’; devedhys yw hy is the usual way of saying ‘she has come / arrived’.


Here are some more new words.

arnowyth modern, boneyl … bò ‘either … or’, classyk classic(al), dre vrâs on the whole, mostly, dyvers diverse, different, ervira decide, freth eager, energetic, golsowyas listener, mûsyk music, pryntya print, scolor (school) pupil, tackya dêwla clap, applaud, tawesek silent

When used with the verbal adjective formed from a verb of action, gans means ‘by’ expressing the agent of that action.

Practys Pymthek Exercise Fifteen

Replace the verb-nouns in square brackets with the corresponding verbal adjectives to complete the story. Make sure you understand the story before moving on.

[Dos] dhe’n nosweyth ilow yw Elen ha Powl. Ymowns y [esedha] in scol Demelsa, ow colsowes mûsyk an scoloryon. [Parusy] gans an flehes yw darnow dyvers. Yma pùb darn a vûsyk [scrifa] i’n dowlen. [Pryntya] ena yma hanow pùb flogh kefrës. Dre vrâs an mûsyk [performya] i’n nosweyth ilow yw darnow, boneyl classyk bò arnowyth, dôwysys gans an dhescadoryon. Saw Demelsa a wrug dôwys an mûsyk [presentya] gensy in hy sôlô crowd. [Ervira] yw hy dhe wil performans pòr dhâ. [Mos] tawesek yw an wolsowysy. Ha lebmyn an darn yw [gorfedna] hag yma an bobel ow tackya dêwla yn freth.

Colloquial Cornish

Unlike py, particles like ny (nyns), and the possessive pronouns ow, dha, y, hy and y, all of which may never carry a stress accent, the personal pronouns my (me), vy, etc may be spoken without stress or stressed for emphasis. When there is no emphasis, vy and jy (sy) after an inflected verb or preposition are frequently replaced by ma and ta respectively.

These replacements ma and ta likewise never carry a stress accent. So we spell them as part of the preceding word, and the result is often somewhat simplified. For examples, instead of yth esof vy ‘I am not’ we can say colloquially th’esoma. We have already learned many instances of ta: osta for os jy, esta for esos jy, vynta for vydnys jy, wreta for wreth jy, ylta (or yllysta) for yllyth jy, wosta for wodhes jy. The ta-forms were originally colloquial but have spread widely to all but deliberately formal language; and ma-forms are treated similarly by some speakers.

Alternatively, if you wish to put a lot of emphasis on vy or jy, you can combine them with ma / ta. For example, yth esoma vyam’ or yth esta jyyou are’. If we wish to say an emphatic ‘me’ or ‘you’ on its own, without a verb, in Cornish that is mavy and tejy, each stressed on the second syllable. We first met tejy right back at the very beginning of Book One.

Like ma and ta there is va (never stressed) which may be substituted colloquially for subject pronoun ev. Thus yma ev ‘he is’, for instance, can become yma va. But va is not employed as widely as ma and ta. With inflected verbs it is largely confined to forms of bos and gwil ending in a vowel; it is not used at all with inflected prepositions.

Unlike ma and ta we write va as a separate word except after eu. For yw va there is also a simplified one-word alternative ywa. And va cannot be combined with ev. Instead ev has a forcefully emphatic form of its own, eev (stressed on the second syllable), for use with or without a verb, but not found with inflected prepositions.

There are no alternatives for the personal pronouns hy, ny, why. Of the two words for ‘they’, anjy is colloquial in origin; so in very formal Cornish we should really only employ y.

Model answers for the exercises in this Lesson Three

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Asking ‘how’

Both fatell and fatla mean ‘how’. Both are followed by Second State mutation. We may stress fatell on either the first or second syllable; fatla is always stressed on its first syllable and abbreviates to fatl’ before vowels in forms of bos. So fatell wreta mos tre alebma? and fatla wreta mos tre alebma? both mean ‘how will you get home from here?’

For a quick question on its own, without bothering with a full sentence, we must use fatla. Likewise we only employ fatla in the fixed expression fatla genes? ‘how are you?


Here are some more new words.

cosel quiet, peaceful, cùsk sleep, down deep, dysqwedhes show, êwnans repair, govel workshop, garage (for repairs), gwertha sell, in mes phr out, pory browse, spladna shine, tôkyn m tôknys ticket, tremenyades passenger (female), tremenyas passenger

Practys Whêtek – Exercise Sixteen

Here is a short conversation demonstrating the two ways of saying ‘how’.


Fatell allaf vy mos dhe Penzans? Yma ow harr i’n wovel rag êwnans.


Te a yll kemeres kyttryn pò train.


Yma lies kyttryn, mès termyn hir yw an viaj, ha chaunjya in Trûrû. Fatl’yw euryow an train dhe gafos?


Checkya wàr lînen, heb mar.




Ogh, Lowda! Êsy yw. Gwra kerhes dha fon in mes. My a vydn dysqwedhes. Hag y hyllyn ny prena an tôkyn i’n kettermyn.

Proleptic infinitive

We first encountered dhe gafos ‘available’ in Book One, Lesson Seven. This grammatical construction (dhe + verb-noun) is called the ‘proleptic infinitive’ when it forms such an adjectival phrase. Other instances corresponding to English ‘available’ in specific contexts are dhe dhebry, dhe redya, dhe brena. Note how English reverses this last idea in the phrase ‘for sale’. Also common are dhe wetyas ‘expected’ and whel dhe wil ‘work (available or waiting to be done)’.

Heb + verb-noun makes a negative equivalent, always with the addition of a possessive pronoun (optional, and rare, for the proleptic infinitive itself). So, for example, heb y wetyas ‘unexpected’.

Practys Seytek – Exercise Seventeen

Here is an exercise to revise the formation of adverbs from adjectives. If in doubt, check back to Book One Lesson Twelve.

Replace the adjectives in square brackets with adverbs to complete the story. We shall learn more about Cornish word order in later lessons, but for now you can see that an adverb formed with yn is frequently found at the end of its sentence.

Clemens ha Lowda a wrug checkya euryow an train [êsy]. Yma an kyttrynyow ow mos inter Austol ha Penzans [menowgh] mès [lent]. Yma an trainow ow viajya [uskys]. Ytho Lowda a wrug dôwys an train. An tremenyas esedhys ryb Lowda o codhys dhe gùsk [down]. Yth esa an howl ow spladna wàr an pow [tobm] i’n jëdh-na. Yth esa buhas ha deves ow pory wàr an parcow [cosel]. Yth esa an dremenyades adâl Lowda ow pory wàr hy fon [bysy]. Gwas an train a wrug gwertha coffy dhe Lowda [cuv]. An train a wrug dos dhe Penzans [scon].

Inflected comparative of adjectives

If an adjective consists of just a single syllable, it can be given an inflected ‘comparative’ form by adding suffix -a. For example, cot ‘short’, cotta ‘shorter’; hir ‘long’, hirha ‘longer’; pell ‘far’, pelha ‘farther, further’; wheg ‘sweet’, whecka ‘sweeter’. You will see from these examples that forming comparative adjectives of this kind is not easy – a change of consonant before the suffix is often required. For the time being, it will be best to learn each comparative as you meet it. There are not so very many of them, and a pattern will gradually emerge.

Most ordinary (so called ‘positive’) adjectives are placed after their noun in Cornish. But comparative adjectives generally precede their noun, though they can be placed after the noun in certain circumstances, especially for emphasis. So, eglos vrâs ‘a big church’, brâssa eglos ‘a bigger church’, eglos vrâssa whath or vëth ‘an even bigger church’. Note how mutation does not apply to adjectives that precede their noun.

Saying ‘than’

The Cornish word for ‘than’ is ès. There is a longer version ages which may always be used instead, but it is less common. Ages has inflected forms, but these are rarely encountered outside of literature. If in doubt, use ès.


Here are some more new words.

contentya satisfy, effethus effective, efficient, jyn m jynys engine (also machine), lewyas steer, pil battery, scav light (weight), torrva breakdown, tredanek electric

Practys Êtek – Exercise Eighteen

Here is a conversation with lots of comparative adjectives in it. Note how in lively (and here somewhat adversarial) conversation the possessive pronouns will often be reinforced by adding the personal pronoun. For instance, dha garr ‘your car’, dha garr jyyour car’.


Ow harr vy yw creffa ès dha garr jy.


Fatell ylta bos sur a hedna?


Y jyn ev yw brâssa.


Yw, mès dha garr jy yw cotha ès ow harr vy. Nyns yw an jyn pòr effethus.


Ow harr vy yw scaffa ès dha garr jy inwedh.


Eâ. Rag dha garr jy yw cotha ès ow harr vy. Tredanek yw ow harr vy. An pil yw poos, ytho oll an carr yw possa.


Wèl, ow harr vy yw gwell heb dowt. Whecka yw dh’y lewyas.


Saw contentys ov vy kefrës. Yma torrva dhyso pùb mis!

Rag ‘for’ is used as a conjunction just like in English.

Lewyas means ‘steer’ in any context. When talking of a car it is also used as an alternative to drîvya meaning ‘drive’.

No Cornish equivalent of ‘the … one’

English can avoid using a noun with an adjective when the noun in question is already known. We can say ‘a red car’. But if we already know we are talking about cars, we may prefer to say simply ‘a red one’. Similarly, in Cornish we may say carr rudh or just onen rudh. English can use the same construction with the definite article. So we may say, ‘the red car’ or ‘the red one’. But Cornish cannot do this. With the definite article you must state the noun explicitly. So, an carr rudh is the only option in this case.

Onen referring to feminine noun

An adjective after onen behaves just as it does when used with the relevant noun. So carr bian, onen bian ‘a small car, a small one’ but dywros vian, onen vian ‘a small bike, a small one’. A comparative adjective is typically placed after onen, so tecka eglos, onen decka ‘a more beautiful church, a more beautiful one’.

Saying ‘everyone’ and ‘every one’

Pùbonen is usually written as one word when it means ‘everyone’ referring to people. In English we can use ‘every one’ (written as two words) referring to people or things. The corresponding usage in Cornish is kenyver onen, likewise referring to either people or things. An alternative to pùbonen is pùb huny. Pùb huny oll is more emphatic, like kettep pedn that we already know. We find the same huny in the phrase lies huny ‘many [people]’. Contrast lies pobel ‘many peoples’. In literature, but not in conversation, we may encounter pùb alone in the sense ‘everyone’; also peb and pob with the same meaning.


Here are some more new words.

colm codna [neck]tie, dyllas clothes, gans rach carefully, gwydnrudh pink, plos dirty, rolya roll, trog dyllas suitcase

Practys Nawnjek – Exercise Nineteen

Replace those nouns that you can with onen. And make any consequential changes. Be sure you understand the meaning of the passage.

Yma Powl ow trùssa dyllas rag viaj negys a beswar dëdh. Yma va ow tôwys colmow codna. Yma ev ow trùssa colm blou ha colm rudh. Colm melen inwedh. Mès an colm gwer yw tecka – yma Powl ow kemeres hedna kefrës. Soweth, an colm rudh yw plos. In y dyller yma Powl ow trùssa colm gwydnrudh. Pùb colm yw rolys gans rach ha gorrys i’n trog dyllas.

Practys Ugans – Exercise Twenty

Here is a short passage that uses present, past and future tenses. How might we put it into Cornish? Extra vocabulary is supplied immediately after the passage.

Tomorrow will be the tenth anniversary of my graduation. I studied engineering at the university in Bristol. Now I am a civil engineer specializing in transport infrastructure. Last Saturday I returned to Bristol for a dinner with the other engineering students of my year. We also celebrated in this way five years ago. Now our plan is to meet again after five more years. In my profession it is important to network well. So I shall stay in touch with former colleagues.

Extra vocabulary: pedn bloodh anniversary (also birthday), gradhyans graduation, injynorieth engineering, ûnyversyta university, Brystow Bristol, cyvyl adj civil, arbenygya specialize (for ‘specializing’ you can use the verbal adjective), caryans transport, is-starneth infrastructure, dewheles return, gôlya celebrate, porpos purpose, intention, plan, galwans profession, formya form, make, roosweyth network, remainya remain, stay, kestaf contact

Cornish expresses ‘it is important to network well’ as ‘busy is making a good network’. For ‘former’ we employ adverb kyns ‘previously’ as an attributive adjective; in this usage it is always in First State.

Colloquial Cornish

In some words where an s-sound is derived from Old Cornish d, speakers with a colloquial West Cornwall pronunciation may use a j-sound instead; and this can also be written. For example, nyns and wosa are often pronounced nynj and woja (or oja) in West Cornwall. (Be careful: you may also hear osta pronounced as oja.) Sometimes Old Cornish d did not develop into an s-sound, but a j-alternative nonetheless emerged by analogy. For example, descajor alongside descador ‘teacher’. Analogy has also operated to produce a few j-alternatives where there never was an Old Cornish d at all. For example, ujy, ujons alongside usy, usons.

Model answers for the exercises in this Lesson Four

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Preterite tense with link particle a

The preterite is the ‘simple past’ tense. It indicates that the ‘action’ of the verb is regarded as a past event rather than a process that stretched over past time. It corresponds to two tenses in English: ‘did’ and ‘had done’. The context usually tells you which is intended, but the latter sense can also be clarified with an adverb like solabrës ‘already’ or kyns ‘previously’.

For most verbs it is also possible to form an inflected past tense with the same meanings. But only what is technically the he/she/noun form connected to the subject by link particle is common in colloquial registers.

There are two endings for this form of the verb.

Most verbs use exclusively as. For example, we can say ev a wrug ponya dhe’n scol or ev a bonyas dhe’n scol ‘He ran to school’.

A relatively small number of verbs use ys. Generally, if the verb-noun ends in el we employ ending ys; though an everyday alternative form in as is also used for a lot of these verbs. For example, my a wrug leverel or my a leverys or me a lavaras ‘I said’. We also find ys employed in some cases when the verb-noun ends in y; again an everyday form in as may exist in parallel. For example, my a wrug predery or my a brederys or me a brederas ‘I thought’.

Continuous action / state marked by tense only in the past

The ordinary present tense of a Cornish verb may or may not indicate continuous action. So yth esof vy ow tebry kig can mean ‘I am eating meat’ (continuous) or simply ‘I eat meat’ (a statement of what I do and always do). If the context is ambiguous, the first meaning can be clarified by adding, for example, i’n eur-ma ‘now’. And the second meaning can be made plain by adding, for instance, pùpprës ‘always’.

The ordinary future tense of a Cornish verb may or may not indicate continuous action. So me a vydn debry kig or me a wra debry kig or me a vëdh ow tebry kig can all mean ‘I will eat meat’ or, with specifically continuous sense, ‘I will be eating meat’. And it makes no difference if these three are reformulated with affirmative particle y. So we can also say y fydnaf vy debry kig or y whrav vy debry kig or y fedhaf vy ow tebry kig. These too may mean ‘I will eat meat’ or ‘I will be eating meat’, according to context.

When we talk about the past in Cornish, however, we do not rely solely on context or adverbs to distinguish between a continuous and a non-continuous sense. We use the imperfect tense when the sense is continuous and we wish to make that clear. So yth esen vy ow tebry kig means ‘I was eating meat’; whereas me a dhebras kig means simply ‘I ate meat’, as a statement about the past that does not specifically indicate any continuous action.

It should therefore come as no surprise that we rarely encounter the preterite tense of any verb that expresses a state rather than an action – because states by their very nature are usually continuous.


Here are some more new words.

areth speech (also lecture), cana v sing, chyffar (commercial) deal(ing), côta coat, creslu police, cris shirt, blouse, dhe dybmyn to pieces, dyscowntya discount, eskys shoe, gohebyth reporter, gwlanek jumper, iselbris cheap, ker dear, expensive, lavrak (pair of) trousers, lenwel fill, losten skirt, penvenyster prime minister, prenas purchase, pris price (also prize), tobma heat, warm up, trouvya discover, find, whilas seek, look for

Practys Onen warn Ugans – Exercise Twenty One

Here are some sentences expressing continuous action in the past. Put them into the preterite tense to remove the specific sense of continuity. All of the verbs in this exercise make their preterite with ending as after link particle a connecting the subject to the verb. And the preterite ending replaces the final suffix of the verb-noun.


Yth esa hy owth eva tê ‘She was drinking tea.’ This will become Hy a evas tê ‘She drank tea’.

Yth esa an gohebyth ow colsowes areth an penvenyster. Yth esa aga thas ow metya gansans i'n gorsaf. Yth esewgh why ow cortos i’n lost cabm. Yth esen ny ow studhya yn tywysyk. Yth esens y ow whilas bargen dâ. Yth esen vy ow kerdhes tre. Yth esa an creslu ow whythra an mater. Yth eses jy ow performya yn spladn i’n nosweyth ilow-na. Yth esa oll y dhylajow ow codha dhe dybmyn. Yth esen vy ow tôwys gans rach.

Practys Dew warn Ugans – Exercise Twenty Two

Here are some sentences with preterite verbs. Put them into the imperfect tense expressing continuous action in the past.


Hy gour a dhescas Kernowek ‘Her husband learned Cornish’. This will become Yth esa hy gour ow tesky Kernowek ‘Her husband was learning Cornish’.

My a jeckyas ow rîvbost. An penvenyster a gowsas yn tâ. An havysy a lenwys an treth. An vowes a ganas yn teg. Anjy a whilas aga hothman heb y gafos. Ny a gomptyas an gwedrednow i’n amary brâs. Coweth ow ranjy a barusys an soper. Why a scrifas messach wheg. An bobel a grias in mes. Y vroder a neyjas i’n mor.

Practys Try warn Ugans – Exercise Twenty Three

Here is a summary of Elen Tonkin’s visit to the January sales one Saturday morning.

Dre vrâs yma Elen ow prena lies tra wàr lînen, mès hy a wrug vysytya an shoppys de, rag kemeres prow a’n chyffar dyscowntys. Hy a gerdhas wàr an strêtys prenassa in cres an dre, ow whilas dyllas a brisyow isel. I’n kensa shoppa hy a viras orth côta gwâv, mès nyns o va dyscowntys. Soweth, re ger. Ny wrug hy prena hedna. Saw in shoppa aral hy a drouvyas lavrak ha dew wlanek. In tressa shoppa hy a gafas eskyjyow – anjy o bargen pòr dhâ. Wosa prena an taclow-ma, Elen a wrug eva hanaf tê ha debry breghtan cras tobmys in coffyva vysy. Hy a vetyas ena gans hy hothman Joyas ha dysqwedhes oll hy frenasow dhedhy. Joyas a wrug prena dyllas inwedh – try cris iselbris, ha kerha losten kefrës.

Chyffar dyscowntys is a fixed phrase meaning ‘sale’ or ‘sales’ in the sense of a time of discounted offers.

Here the verb-noun dysqwedhes means ‘showed’. When there is no change of grammatical subject, we do not have to employ a second preterite verb after ha ‘and’ (though we can if we wish; it’s a matter of style).

Comparative formed with moy

When an adjective consists of more than one syllable, we usually form its comparative with moy ‘more’. Adjectives ending in a suffix such as ak or ek or us always make their comparative in this way. So, gwynsak, moy gwynsak ‘windy, windier’; howlek, moy howlek ‘sunny, sunnier’; troblus, moy troblus ‘troublesome, more troublesome’.

Comparatives made with moy follow their noun without any mutation For example, bledhen moy lowen ‘a happier year’. If we use particle yn to convert such a comparative adjective into an adverb, moy does not undergo Fifth State mutation. So we say yn moy lowen ‘more happily’.

Comparatives that buck the system

You will meet a few adjectives of more than one syllable that form a comparative as explained in Lesson Four. Try to learn them when they appear. Common ones are bian, byhadnha (also simplifed spelling byhadna) ‘small, smaller’, êsy, êsya ‘easy, easier’, hager, hackra ‘ugly, uglier’, isel, iselha ‘low, lower’, sempel, sempla ‘simple, simpler’, uhel, uhelha ‘high, higher’. Occasionally either method may be employed. For example, cales ‘hard’, moy cales or calassa ‘harder’; medhel ‘soft’, moy medhel or medalha ‘softer’; uskys ‘fast’, moy uskys or uskyssa ‘faster’.

A few comparatives are very irregular. Two of the most common are gwell ‘better’ and lacka ‘worse’. The form of these words cannot be predicted from the corresponding positive adjectives dâ ‘good’ and drog ‘bad, evil’.

If we wish to use gwell as an adverb, we say simply gwell ès ‘better than’, or we may use the adverbial phrase dhe well ‘better’. For example, yma Barbery ow cana yn tâ ‘Barbara sings well’ but yma Marget ow cana gwell ès Barbery ‘Margaret sings better than Barbara’ or yma Marget ow cana dhe well ‘Margaret sings better’.

The first of these constructions is also available for lacka; but not the second. So using the same example we may only say yma Marget ow cana lacka ès Barbery ‘Margaret sings worse than Barbara’.

The first construction is in fact very common with adjectives much more generally. Many have the ability to function adverbially with or without a preceding yn. For example, ev a wra spêdya [yn] sur ‘he’s bound to succeed’.


Here are a few more new words.

amendya put right, mend, bufê buffet, carygel trolley, eseth seat

Practys Peswar warn Ugans – Exercise Twenty Four

Lowda and her friend Morwena live in St Austell. Morwena is listening to Lowda chat about her trip to Penzance the previous day.

Ow viaj dhe Penzans de o êsya ès dell wrug vy gwetyas. An train yw moy uskys ès an kyttryn. Kyttrynyow yw lenta ès an train pùpprës. Hag eseth i’n train a vëdh moy medhel i’wedh. Nyns ov vy sur mars yw an pris iselha, saw my a ylly eva hanaf a goffy dhywar an garygel bufê ha pòr wolcùm o hedna. Th’esa ow harr vy i’n wovel. Lebmyn yma’n carr ow mos dhe well. Amendys yw va yn tâ. Nebes gwell o an gewar, dell hevel, obma in Austol. An howl, th’esa ow spladna myttyn whath. Eâ, in gwir, yth esa ebron dhu ow tos scon dhyworth an west. Saw an gewar o hackra in Penzans solabrës, heb dowt. Gwyns ha glaw ena der oll an jëdh.

Note ès dell ‘than’ before a verb. We have already encountered dell meaning ‘as’ in the phrases dell hevel ‘as it seems’ (often equivalent to English ‘apparently’),and dell wosta ‘as you know’, dell yw ûsys 'as usual'. It is followed by Second State mutation.

Ha’n eseth … a vëdh moy medhel is not making a statement strictly about the future, but about something that both is and always will be the case. The future tense of bos sometimes carries this nuance. Lowda might have said yw moy medhel, but she has already used yw twice to say that the train is faster and buses are slower. She took a stylistic decision. She thereby avoided another repeition; and also achieved a triad of dh-sounds (assonance) while rhyming a vëdh with i’wedh. Such effects are typical of good fluent Cornish, even in conversation.

Nouns as attributive adjectives

In Book One Lesson Ten we noted that a noun specifying the material from which something is made is not usually put into Second State when it functions adjectivally after a feminine singular noun; so that pluven blobm ‘pencil’ (literally ‘lead pen’) must be considered an exception to the rule. In fact there is a general principle that any noun remains in First State when it acts as an attributive adjective; but exceptions occur in some specific noun + noun combinations, and these must be learned as they are encountered.

Carygel bufê ‘buffet trolley’ is true to the general principle. Carygel is feminine singular; bufê nonetheless remains in First State.

Personal forms of in

Here are the personal forms of preposition in.

inof ‘in me’

inos ‘in you’

ino or etto ‘in him’ or ‘in it’ (masculine reference)

inhy ‘in her’ or ‘in it’ (feminine reference)

inon or ina ny ‘in us’

inowgh or ina why ‘in you’ (plural or stranger)

inans or inhans or ina (mostly confined to written Cornish) ‘in them’

Personal forms of in dadn

And here are the personal forms of preposition in dadn.

in dadnof or i’dadn vy ‘under me’

in dadnos or i’dadn jy ‘under you’

in dadno or i’dadn ev ‘under him’ or ‘under it’ (masculine reference)

in dadny or i’dadn hy ‘under her’ or ‘under it’ (feminine reference)

in dadnon or i’dadn ny ‘under us’

in dadnowgh or i’dadn why ‘under you’ (plural or stranger)

in dadnans or in dadna (mostly confined to written Cornish) ‘under them’

The forms beginning i’ can drop this first syllable, so we also hear just dadn vy, dadn jy, etc.

Practys Pymp warn Ugans – Exercise Twenty Five

All the Tonkins are in the coffee shop today. Look at the picture below. What can you talk about, using all you have learned so far? You can say what is not in the picture as well. Ask questions about it too. Extra vocabulary is supplied.

Extra vocabulary: airêwnans air conditioning, brow coffy coffee grinder, comptyer counter, fav coffy col coffee beans, gorher cover, lid, lemyga sip, lugarn lamp, nen ceiling, pîbel pipe, rol prîsyow price list, sagh keyn knapsack, scavel serth bar stool, servyour tray

Colloquial Cornish

We have seen how formal yth esof vy ‘I am’ can become th’esoma in more colloquial Cornish. There are speakers who change to r in all the long forms of bos, so they say yth erof or yth erof vy when speaking formally and th’erof vy or th’eroma when speaking more colloquially.

It is also possible to clip the vowel from the end of -ma, in which case you will hear th’esom or th’erom.

In questions and negative sentences ny wrug vy often becomes ny wrugam or ny wrug avy. And in negative sentences particles ny and nyns (nynj) may be replaced with na and nag.

Try out these various options to see what suits you best.

There is a broad phenomenon of simplifying words in colloquial Cornish. We may drop final gh, final v. We may drop dh / th in the combinations rdh and rth; and w in the combination wr. Accordingly, flogh, fav, fordh, worth, wrug may be pronounced as flo, fa, for, wor, rug. The pronunciation rug may also occur instead of whrug. Apostrophes can be used to show what has been dropped but they can appear cumbersome and are not to everyone’s taste. Be prepared, then, to encounter rugam, therom, thesta etc.

You may also meet an vor, which is the way some write an fordh, to be clearer about how it is correctly pronounced.

Model answers for the exercises in this Lesson Five

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Here are some more new words.

arweth signal, kenderow male cousin, kenytherow female cousin, Keresk Exeter, keur choir, modryp aunt, omdhon behaviour (also verb ‘behave’), ôwnter uncle, selwel save, seny sound, play (music etc), tros noise, whybonel flute

Practys Whe warn Ugans – Exercise Twenty Six

Here is an extract from Demelsa’s diary.

De Sul ny a wrug mos dhe Keresk, rag vysytya ow modryp Maryan ha’m ôwnter Jâgô, ha’m kenderow Jûlyan, ha’m kenytherow Vernôna. Powl o gàn lewyor dy. Ow mos dy hag ow tos arta i’n carr yth esen vy wàr an eseth dhelergh gans ow breder. Uthyk o omdhon Danyel der agan viaj dhe Keresk, Ha’n fordh yw hir – cans mildir! Soweth, scant nyns eus arweth dhâ in nebes radnow a’n fordh, ha my owth assaya ûsya an appyow i’m fon. In Keresk ny oll a dhebras kydnyow Sul, ha kerdhes in park poblek gans aga heun, try hy bian, dohajëdh. Ha me a wrug presentya ow darn crowd sôlô mes a’n nosweyth ilow. Yma Vernôna in menestrouthy hy scol, ow seny whybonel, hag yma hy ow cana i’n keur, mès ny yll hy gwil sôlô yn tâ. Mabm a wrug agan drîvya tre. I’n gwelha prës yth esa Danyel ow cùsca an fordh tre, ytho selwys en ny a’y dros!

Although scant is usually employed with a negative, the meaning is just ‘barely, hardly, scarcely’; there is no ‘not’ in the corresponding English sentence.

We often use mes [a] as a shorter alternative to in mes [a], especially when no actual motion is involved.

Personal forms of heb

Here are the personal forms of preposition heb 'without'.

hebof or hebam ‘without me’

hebos or heba jy ‘without you’

heptho or heb ev ‘without him’ or ‘without it’ (masculine reference)

hepthy or heb hy ‘without her’ or ‘without it’ (feminine reference)

hebon or heba ny ‘without us’

hebowgh or heba why ‘without you’ (plural or stranger)

hepthans or heptha (mostly confined to written Cornish) ‘without them’

Heb is a negative notion, and occasionally it corresponds to English ‘not’. For example, we say res yw dhis heb gwil hedna ‘you must not do that’, corresponding to affirmative res yw dhis gwil hedna ‘you must do that’. And compare heb y wetyas explained in Lesson Four.

Personal forms of ryb

Here are the personal forms of preposition ryb ‘beside’.

rybof or rybam ‘beside me’

rybos or ryba jy ‘beside you’

ryptho or ryb ev ‘beside him’ or ‘beside it’ (masculine reference)

rypthy or ryb hy ‘beside her’ or ‘beside it’ (feminine reference)

rybon or ryba ny ‘beside us’

rybowgh or ryba why ‘beside you’ (plural or stranger)

rypthans or ryptha (mostly confined to written Cornish) ‘beside them’

Practys Seyth warn Ugans – Exercise Twenty Seven

Jana Bligh is one of Elen Tonkin’s cousins. Another is Peder Noon, who loves walking the Cornish coast. Look at the picture below. What can you talk about, using all you have learned so far? You can say what is not in the picture as well. Ask questions about it too.

Extra vocabulary: caregek rocky, gorwel horizon, gùlan gull, lavrak cot (pair of) shorts, leder slope (also bias), serth steep, trûlergh path, yet gate

Preterite forms of dos and mos

The preterite tenses of dos ‘come’ and mos ‘go’ are irregular. The he/she/noun forms are deuth and êth. Particle is not used with êth. We say, for example, hy a dheuth ajy ‘she came in’ and a dheuth hy ajy? 'did she come in?', but hy êth dhe ves ‘she went away’ and êth hy dhe ves? 'did she go away?'

Preterite tense of bos

The verb bos also has a preterite tense. Whereas the imperfect tense of bos expresses ‘being’ in the past as an on-going state at that time, the preterite is used when the ‘being’ is considered as an historical event. Here are a few more examples. An ober a veu gorfednys “the work was finished (preterite: it got done)”. Contrast an ober o gorfednys ‘the work was finished (imperfect: in a finished state)”. Gyllys vowns y ‘they were off (preterite: there and then)’. But gyllys êns y ‘they had gone (imperfect: ‘sometime before)’.

Here are all the forms.

veuv vy or veuma I was

veus jy or veusta you were

veu ev or veuva he was or it was (masculine reference)

veu hy she was or it was (feminine reference)

veu was / were (with noun subject)

veun ny we were

vewgh why you were (plural or stranger)

vowns y they were

If we put affirmative particle before these forms the initial v becomes f. So y feuv vy, etc. However, as with the preterites of other verbs, it is the he/she/noun form which is most common in affirmative statements for all persons. For example, ny a veu sqwith ‘we got tired’.

To make a closed question (expecting the answer yes or no) we put interrogative particle a in front of each of these forms.

The underlying initial letter is b, and this surfaces in the forms we can use when saying yes to questions involving the preterite tense of bos. For example, A veu hy marow in Kernow? Eâ or Beu. ‘Did she die in Cornwall? Yes.’ Compare the negative answer or Na veu.

To make a negative statement we put particle ny in front of each of these forms. With an indefinite subject ny vëdh means ‘there will not be’. If we add interrogative particle a in front of particle nyns, we arrive at a negative question.

The preterite of bos is used without a particle but with Second State mutation when a descriptive adjective (or noun) precedes it. This is same usage as for the future tense. So yêyn veu an gewar de ‘the weather got cold yesterday’. Compare yêyn vëdh an gewar avorow ‘the weather will be cold tomorrow’.

Wharvos ‘happen’ is a compound of bos. The spelling of preterite wharva for expected wharveu is the outcome of regular sound change. For example, pandra wharva? ‘what happened?’


Here are some more new words.

acordyng dhe according to, arhadow order(s), bedh grave, tomb, bonkya knock (single blow), codna neck, cort court, demedhyans marriage, dhe’n dor down (literally ‘to the ground’), droglam (unfortunate) accident, dydhemedhy divorce, in rag forwards, kerensa love, kert hir lorry, margh horn bike, mernans m death, posyjyon depression, despair, rêwlys regular, soweny prosper, succeed, spessly especially, teylu m family

Practys Eth warn Ugans – Exercise Twenty Eight

Here is some more information about the Tonkin family, using all the tenses of bos you have learned so far.

Elen Tonkin o demedhys unweyth kyns. Demelsa Pentreath yw hy flogh a’n demedhyans-na. Dydhemedhys veu Elen ha’y kensa gour wosa termyn cot. Nyns esa aga ferthynas ow soweny màn. Yma Demelsa ow qweles hy thas yn rêwlys whath, acordyng dhe arhadow an gort, hag anjy yw cothmans dâ lowr. Dre vrâs.

Dhe Demelsa yth esa try hanter-broder. Mès tra uthyk a wharva. An kensa broder, Ross Tonkin, a veu marow in droglam udn vledhen alebma. Ev o tredhek bloodh. Ev êth wàr y vargh horn, ha kert hir a wrug y vonkya dhe’n dor, ha terrys veu y godna. Pòr drist yw Elen ha Powl wosa mernans aga mab, ha trist yw an try flogh aral kefrës. Elen ha Demelsa spessly, ymowns y ow vysytya an bedh yn fenowgh. Saw ervirys yw an teylu dhe dhon aga bêwnans in rag heb codha dhe bosyjyon. Y fëdh Ross remembrys gans oll aga herensa pùpprës.

Model answers for the exercises in this Lesson Six

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More about imperatives

We already know that a command can be formed with gwra or gwrewgh plus a verb-noun. For example, gwra fystena! ‘hurry!’ (addressing one person) or gwrewgh ow sewya! ‘follow me!” (addressing several people or one person with whom we are not on familiar terms). For negative commands we can use na wra, na wrewgh in the same way. For example, na wra dallath! ‘don’t start!’ and na wrewgh tava ‘don’t touch!’

This is the method generally used for commands. But bos ‘be’, dos ‘come’, mos ‘go’, ry ‘give’ and dry ‘bring’ form inflected imperatives that are in common use.

bëdh! bedhowgh! be!

na vëdh! na vedhowgh! don’t be!

deus! dewgh! come!

na dheus! na dhewgh! don’t come!

kê! kewgh (or ewgh)go!

nag ê! go!

nag ewgh! don’t go!

ro (or roy)! rewgh! give!

na ro (na roy)! na rewgh! don’t give!

dro (or doroy)! drewgh! bring!

na dhro (na dhoroy)! na dhrewgh! don’t bring!

Gwra, gwrewgh are themselves inflected imperatives of gwil. They are regularly used without a verb-noun in more or less fixed phrases. For example, na wra mencyon a’n gwerryans! ‘don’t mention the war!’. But otherwise this usage is rather literary. So colloquially we are more likely to say gwra gwil dha lessons tre! ‘do your homework!’ than just gwra dha lessons tre!

Other fairly common inflected imperatives are clôw! clôwowgh! ‘listen!’ (literally ‘hear’), gorta! gortowgh! ‘wait!’, kebmer! kemerowgh! ‘take!’, mir! mirowgh! (or merowgh! – see later in this Lesson) ‘look!’, sav! (or sa’!), sevowgh! ‘stand! (also stop!)’.

We do not usually give commands to ourselves, but we often ‘exhort’ ourselves to do something. In poetical Cornish there are inflected forms for some exhortations, and at least one of these is also heard colloquially in the fixed phrase: deun alebma! ‘let’s go!’, literally ‘let’s come from here!’ But for everyday purposes we form exhortations with the inflected imperative of gasa ‘leave, let’. For example, gas vy dhe weles! ‘let me see!’ and gesowgh ny heb gwil hedna! ‘let’s not do that!’

After an inflected imperative we use vy for ‘me’, jy for ‘you’ (one person we know well), (not ev) for ‘him’ or ‘it’ with masculine reference, and (not anjy) for ‘them’. Hy, ny, why are used as expected.

We usually employ just the verb-noun after ha ‘and’ for the second limb of a double command. For example, deus ha gweles! ‘come and see!’. But occasionally we find two imperative forms instead (without ha) as in dewgh kemerowgh e! ‘come and get it!


Here are some more new words.

desempys immediately (also abruptly), pols moment (very short duration, not point in time), savla (bus) stop (also position), sehyk sachet, skydnya descend, alight (from vehicle), sows cogh tomato ketchup, war wary, cautious

Practys Naw warn Ugans – Exercise Twenty Nine

What do these Cornish commands mean?

Gorta pols! Roy e dhybm desempys! Bedhowgh war! Na sevowgh in bàn! Gwrewgh skydnya dhe’n nessa savla! Na wra gorra’n dra dhe’n dor! Gas golok dhybm orto! Kê [in] rag! Dro daffar lybm ha lies sehyk a sows cogh! Deus ha dôwys onen!

Practys Deg warn Ugans – Exercise Thirty

How would you say the following in Cornish? Here are some more inflected imperatives you might use.

assay try! deber eat! gwel see! lavar say!

Go and see the doctor! Carry these bags to the car! Don’t be sad! Order a pizza for supper! Check your email frequently! Don’t eat that! Bring up the bodies! Wait five minutes, then try again! Please say kind things! Let the passengers get off first!

‘First’ as an adverb is usually kyns oll. But when making a priority list we may say either kyns oll or [yn] kensa, with the following items being [yn] nessa ‘second[ly]’, [yn] tressa ‘third[ly]’ etc.


Adar is a preposition meaning ‘apart from’. In this sense it is rare outside literature. But it is very common in all registers of Cornish to express the idea ‘not’ in a statement with the formula ‘A, not B’.

Here are a couple of examples.

Cara warbarth, adar gwerrya.

‘Make love, not war.’

Kebmer an belednyk rudh, adar an belednyk vlou.

‘Take the red pill, not the blue one.’

Adar is also used occasionally, by analogy, to express the idea ‘but’ when the formula is ‘not A but B’. For instance, ny wrug ev kemeres an belednyk vlou, adar an belednyk rudh ‘he took not the blue pill but the red one’. This could also be expressed as ny wrug ev kemeres an belednyk vlou, mès an belednyk rudh.


Here are some more new words.

arbednyk particular, special, canel channel, fytty (very) suitable, kedrydn row, (violent) quarrel, lyver termyn magazine, rêsonus reasonable, sqwîthus tiresome, boring, tevysak grown up, adult, trehy cut, whar civilized (also humane)

Practys Udnek warn Ugans – Exercise Thirty One

Here is the Tonkin family, back from Exeter, using lots of imperatives.


Pandr’eus i’n bellwolok haneth? Gas ny dhe jeckya i’n lyver termyn.


Deus! Roy e dhybm.


Na wrav. My a vydn checkya, adar ty.


Wèl, gwra checkya oll an canolyow. Sur ny vëdh tra vëth dh’agan les wàr an BBC.


Gwra whilas towlen fytty raga vy, heb bos sqwîthus tevysak.


Ogh Danyel, bëdh rêsonus! De Sul gordhuwher nyns eus towlednow arbednyk rag flehes!


(ow cria mes a’n rom kydnyow) Gwrewgh trehy gàs tros! Yth eson ow tebry obma yn whar. Na wrewgh kedrydn!

Elen’s response is expressed very idiomatically. Note how trehy alliterates with tros. Alliteration, like assonance, is a very important device in good Cornish. Elen’s choice of the words whar and kedrydn deliberately employs hyperbole to set up a strong contrast.


The pair gas, gesowgh illustrates a pervasive phenomenon in Cornish that linguists generally know as ‘umlaut’ but which is usually called ‘i-affection’ or just ‘affection’ in the specific context of Cornish. It has nothing to do with fondness for Cornish! As a technical term of Cornish grammar it means that a short a, and sometimes a short o, is changed to a short e (occasionally a short y) by the addition of a suffix or an ending.

Affection occurs in many situations. For learners it is generally best to keep an eye open for instances of the phenomenon, recognizing them as they occur, rather than attempting to learn them all before you have made more progress. Affection is a result of historical sound change and is not always predictable.

Affection caused by ending ys

The ending ys forming the verbal adjective (Lesson Three) usually causes affection of the preceding syllable. For example, dalethys ‘begun’ (verb-noun dallath), danvenys ‘sent’ (verb-noun danvon), gesys ‘left’ (verb-noun gasa), kerys ‘loved, beloved’ (verb-noun cara), kechys or kychys ‘caught’ (verb-noun cachya). Most of these changes are compulsory, a few are merely optional. You are permitted to say cachys if you prefer. You can say sqwardys or sqwerdys ‘torn’. In colloquial speech there is a tendency to prefer an unaffected form if it is available. And there are many verbs that have been borrowed into Cornish with a verb-noun ending ya that never apply affection. For instance, parkys (verb-noun parkya) – you cannot say perkys.

Alternative ending yes instead of ys

It is also possible to employ alternative ending yes to form a verbal adjective if the verb-noun ends in ya. This is a useful fall-back if you are in doubt, because yes never causes affection. So you can be confident that, for example, cachyes ‘caught’, sqwardyes ‘torn’, parkyes ‘parked’ must be correct.


Here are some more new words.

capten captain, cast trick, chalynjya challenge, charj task, responsibility (also electric charge), cledh left (side), creft craft, cresor midfielder, dobyl double, dyhow right (side), egery open, fardellyk package, gol goal (football etc), gwainya win, gwarior player (also actor), gwerthjy store, retail outlet, keschaunjya exchange, swap, menystra administer, manage, opynyon opinion, parra team, peldrosyor footballer, pôtya kick, poyntyans appointment, fixture, sevur stern, sley skilful

Practys Dêwdhek warn Ugans – Exercise Thirty Two

Replace each verb-noun in square brackets with the corresponding verbal adjective. Give all possible forms of the verbal adjective where applicable. Make sure you understand the meaning of each sentence.

Yw an gwerthjy [egery]? Nag yw, [degea] yw va. [Danvon] veu an fardellyk de Merth. [Gasa] wàr an bord yth esa an hanavow plos. Yw an nosweyth ilow [dallath] solabrës? [Cachya] osta! Y gris o uthyk [sqwardya][Mos] yw pùb huny dhe ves. Nyns yw an ober [gorfedna]. Yth esens y ow kerdhes gans aga hy [cara]. Yma an kert [parkya] wàr lînen velen dhobyl. [Dos] a vedhyn ny yn scon.

Restoring link particle a

Link particle a occurs notionally between a noun or an adjective immediately followed by a v-form of bos (accounting for the Second State mutation). The particle is rarely heard or written in this position, but occasionally it is restored as an aid to pronunciation or for stylistic purposes. So usual yêyn vëdh an gewar may also be expressed as yêyn a vëdh an gewar.

Practys Tredhek warn Ugans – Exercise Thirty Three

Yma Mark ow cara pel droos. I’n scol ev yw capten dhe’n Kensa XI i’n Seythves Bledhen. Cresor yw va. Crev yw y droos dyhow. Ha’y droos cledh kefrës. Yma an parra ow qwary pùb seythen orth an Nessa XI rag gwelhe aga hodnek. Y fëdh an dhew barra ow keschaunjya gwarioryon yn fenowgh. Menystra an Kensa XI ha’n Nessa XI yw charj Mêster Teague, onen a’n dhescadoryon a dhorydhieth. Den sevur yw ev, mès cuv, ha peldrosyor sley kefrës. Yma ev ow tesky castys a’n greft dhe’n vebyon yn tâ. Traweythyow yma parra Mark ow chalynjya scolyow erel. Dewetha seythen, in fyt pòr gales, Mark a bôtyas dew a’n gôlyow, ha’n parra a wrug gwainya, try gol orth onen. Yma Mêster Teague ow tôwys an warioryon dhe bùb poyntyans. Saw opynyon Mark a vëdh govydnys pùpprës.

Colloquial Cornish

There are a few verbs that have an inflected singular imperative containing vowel i. These may retain the i in forms of the verb that comprise more than one syllable. But more colloquially the i changes to e in all forms of the verb (including the verb-noun) that have more than one syllable. Here are four to learn.

gwith! gwithowgh! or gwethowgh! 'keep!' and verb-noun gwitha or gwetha

mir! mirowgh! or merowgh! 'look! and verb-noun miras or meras

scrif! scrifowgh or screfowgh! 'write!' and verb-noun scrifa or screfa

whila! whilowgh! or whelowgh! 'seek!' and verb-noun whilas or whelas

If you encounter the spelling whelas etc, be careful not to confuse this verb with the noun whel ‘work’.

Note also trigys or tregys ‘living’ (in a place), literally ‘dwelt’. The verbal adjective of triga (trega) ‘dwell, stay’ occurs much more frequently than other forms of this verb.

Model answers for the exercises in this Lesson Seven

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More about honen

We may employ the possessive pronoun with honen to make a ‘reflexive’ pronoun that can be used as the object of a verb. For example, me a herdhyas ow honen rag ‘I pushed myself forward’. It can also be used to strengthen the personal form of a preposition, as in me a wrug miras orthyf ow honen i’n gweder ‘I looked at myself in the mirror’.

If ow honen etc is used with a preposition, strictly speaking it should be combined with the appropriate personal pronoun. So dh’y honen or ès y honen might be heard colloquially, but formal Cornish requires dhodho y honen and ès ev y honen.

Saying ‘on my own’ etc

If we add oll to honen, the result is a useful phrase that means ‘[all] on one’s own, alone’. For example, a wrusta mos dha honen oll? ‘did you go on your own?’

Prefix om

One of the senses of Cornish prefix om is the same as honen.

The prefix is added directly to the verb. It causes Second State mutation. For example, my a vydn gwysca ow honen or my a vydn omwysca ‘I shall get dressed’ (gwysca ‘put on’, but also ‘dress’). A few of these reflexive om-verbs are common: we have already met omdhon ‘behave’ and ‘behaviour’ (literally ‘carry oneself’) and omhowla ‘sunbathe’ (literally ‘sun oneself’). But many have a literary feel. Occasionally an om-verb and honen are found together. For instance, ev a wrug omladha y honen ‘he committed suicide’. Compare ladha ‘kill’.

Many ‘transitive’ verbs can also be used ‘intransitively’, and in these cases prefixing om to the verb is not strictly necessary. For example, parusy ‘get ready’ will usually be sufficient; ombarusy ‘prepare oneself’ is rather more formal in tone.


Here are some more new words.

atorny solicitor, byldya build, client client, kescôwsel have a conversation, kevres m & f series, omdhesky teach oneself, omdhyscor self-study learner, omfydhyans confidence, talkya talk

Codnek that we first learned as a noun ‘skill’ is also an adjective meaning ‘clever’.

Practys Peswardhek warn Ugans – Exercise Thirty Four

Powl Tonkin is a solicitor based in Truro. One of his clients is learning Cornish and is interested to hear how Powl came to speak the language.


Py class y whrussowgh why desky Kernowek ino?


Ny wrug vy desky an tavas in class. Res yw dhybm gwil whel gordhuwher yn fenowgh. Ny yllyn vy mos dhe glass yn rêwlys. Me a wrug omdhesky, ha prevy i’m sodhva worth cowethysy, ha gans ow theylu pedn pùb seythen. Yma ow gwreg ha’m flehes ow côwsel Kernowek in mesk anjy aga honen, ytho golsowes yw mater êsy, ha traweythyow y hallaf vy ow honen kescôwsel Kernowek gans ow gwreg ha’m flehes warbarth.


Â, convedhys! Kernowek vëth nyns eus i’m teylu vy, ha ny woraf desky ow honen oll.


A wrussowgh why assaya yn sad? Desky Kernowek gans Nicholas Williams yw lyver spladn rag omdhyscoryon. Pò why a yll ûsya an gevres Cara Kernowek wàr lînen.


Nâ nâ. Gwell yw genef gorra ow honen in class in dann dhescador connek. Yth esof owth ombarusy dhe wul apposyans.


Wèl, dell hevel dhybm, dha Gernowek yw pòr dhâ solabrës.


In agan class yth eson ny ow talkya Kernowek der oll an lesson. Pùb torn. Yth yw maner effethus rag byldya omfydhyans.

Note how the client uses gul, the older form of gwil, and does not ‘pre-occlude’, so dadn becomes dann and codnek becomes connek. Pre-occlusion (bm, dn for mm, nn) is a feature associated with West Cornwall, and many Cornish speakers choose not to apply it.

Particle re

Cornish has a particle re that can be substituted for link particle in front of the he/she/noun form of a preterite verb to give a greater sense that something has been completed. For example, hy a dheuth tre ‘she came back’, hy re dheuth tre ‘she has returned home’. Compare hy yw devedhys tre ‘she has come back (and is still here)’.

Particle re is followed by Second State mutation, except that it does not cause mutation of forms of bos. So, yth esen vy in Arwednak de ‘I was in Falmouth yesterday’ (establishing timeframe for some account of what I did there), my a veu in Arwednak de ‘I was in Falmouth yesterday’ (straightforward past event), my re beu in Arwednak lies gweyth ‘I was in Falmouth many times’ (been there, done that).

Particle re is not used in questions or in negative sentences or after a subordinating conjunction (except occasionally after dell). But it is possible to make an affirmative statement, then query it. For example, ev re beu in Porth Ia – yw gwir? ‘he’s already been to St Ives, I suppose?’ The answer is then simply yw ‘yes’ or nag yw ‘no’.


Here are some more new words.

asclas col chips, fries, borger burger, cynema cinema, gobonya jog (also trot), gocky silly, stupid, kîlogram kilo[gram], leth shakys milkshake, pel roos netball, sconya refuse

Practys Pymthek warn Ugans – Exercise Thirty Five

Demelsa has been out with her friend Alys Howell for the evening.


Otta sy! Ty re dheuth tre. Adermyn! Pòr dhâ. Py whrusta mos?


Ny a veu i’n cynema.


Ha fatl’o an fylm?


Dâ lowr. Saw gwell veu an kensa i’n kevres. Ha’n dyweth o pòr wocky. Wosa hedna ny êth dhe dhebry borger.


Ogh Demelsa! A nyns eses ow whilas kelly poos?


Kelly dew gîlogram my re wrug iredy! Ny a radnas udn borger, agan dyw, heb asclas. Ha kemeres salad ganso. Leth shakys ny a sconyas.


Te a yll gobonya kyns an Sul pàr hap. Yma Mark ow qwary pel droos pùb dëdh oll. Soweth, ny wreta moy sport, ty dha honen ...


Pel roos dywweyth pùb seythen. Hag avorow me a vydn gwil hanter-our wàr an dhywros saya.

Purpose after mos

Purpose after mos ‘go’ may be expressed by rag and a verb-noun, but dhe is more common. Thus, ny êth dhe dhebry borger.

‘Weekend’ phrases

Note the fixed expressions kyns an Sul ‘before the weekend’, dres an Sul ‘over the weekend’, warlergh an Sul ‘after the weekend’. Cornish idiom still reflects the idea that Saturday is a working day.

More about affection

We saw in Lesson Seven that the ending ys forming the verbal adjective causes affection. Suffixes el and y forming verb-nouns do the same, so there is in fact an affected vowel in a few of the verb-nouns we have already learned. We also noted that ys is the usual ending of the he/she/noun form of the preterite for these verbs. For example, selwel ‘save’ is formed from salow ‘safe and sound’, and the preterite form is selwys. But there are a few verbs with affection in the verb-noun that employ the ending as, and in these cases we must reverse the affection, restoring the original vowel of the verb stem.

So lesky ‘burn’, but ny a loscas an predn wàr an tan ‘we burned the wood on the fire’. Likewise, kelly ‘miss’ (also lose), but ty a gollas an kyttryn ‘you’ve missed the bus’. This explains the vowels in parallel preterite forms like leverys, lavaras ‘said’ (verb-noun leverel) and lebmys, labmas ‘jumped’ (verb-noun lebmel).

An vergh, an veyn

While we are making notes of exceptional words, we can also learn two nouns that have plurals which regularly mutate after an ‘the’, even though they do not refer to people. They are margh ‘horse’, an vergh ‘the horses’; and men ‘stone’, an veyn ‘the stones’. But there is no reason to mutate attributive adjectives with these words, so we say an vergh bian ‘the small horses’, for instance, and an veyn coth ‘the old stones’.

Personal forms of der (dre)

Here are the personal forms of prepositions der (dre) ‘through’ (also ‘by means of’).

dredhof or dredha vy or dredham ‘through me’

dredhos or dredha jy ‘through you’

dredho or dredh’ev ‘through him’ or ‘through it’ (masculine reference)

dredhy or dredha hy ‘through her’ or ‘through it’ (feminine reference)

dredhon or dredha ny ‘through us’

dredhowgh or dredha why ‘through you’ (plural or stranger)

dredhans or dredha (mostly confined to written Cornish) ‘through them’


We have learned pòr ‘very’, which causes Second State mutation. If you put emphasis on this word it may be pronounced and spelled pur, showing that the word literally means ‘pure’. Here are a few other words and phrases that can be used to strengthen what you are saying.

fest ‘very, really’. This can be placed before or after an adjective. When it precedes the adjective, it does not cause mutation. It may also be placed before an adverb formed with yn.

teg ‘very, really’. This word literally means ‘beautiful’. It is placed after an adjective. It is used to give an adjective a strongly positive ‘spin’, sometimes also with irony.

glân ‘very, completely’. This word literally means ‘clean’. It is placed after an adjective. In theory it gives a strongly positive spin but is equally common when the sentiment is more ambivalent. For example, sqwith glân oma ‘I’m exhausted’.

dres ehen ‘extremely’, dres kynda ‘extraordinarily’, yn tien ‘entirely, totally, completely’. These phrases are placed after an adjective. But the adjective is often fronted for emphasis. For example, hy o hager dres ehen or hager o hy dres ehen ‘she was extremely ugly’, and me yw acordys yn tien or acordys ov vy yn tien ‘I totally agree’.

marthys (literally, ‘amazing, wonderful’) and uthyk (literally, ‘dreadful, terrible’) are employed as intensifiers before an adjective. For example, marthys dâ and uthyk dâ, both meaning ‘excellent’. Just like English ‘terribly good’ the sense of the latter expression is rather counter-intuitive. It would be fair to say uthyk belongs to a lower register than marthys in this usage.


Here are some more new words.

arethor speaker (someone who gives a talk or lecture), caderyor chair[person], compressa oppress, bully, cowethas society, cowsor speaker, dadhel discussion, debate, dysqwedhyans display, exhibition, frank free, frôsek fluent, lêdyor leader, lewyth governor (school), pendescadores (female) head teacher, personek personal, plegya please, scodhya support, trevna arrange

Plegya ‘bend’ and plegya ‘please’ are two verbs that sound and look the same. Some speakers prefer to distinguish the verb ‘please’ as plêkya (so that, for them, the phrase mar pleg ‘please’ becomes mar plêk). For most, the two verbs have become somewhat confused. For example, in the expression bos plegys dhe wil ‘be inclined to do’ it is not really clear whether we are dealing with the verbal adjective of ‘bend’ or the verbal adjective of ‘please’.

All agree that plegya (plêkya) ‘please’ cannot have a direct object. The person (or thing) that is pleased is indicated by dhe. For example, a wra hedna plegya dh’y vabm? ‘will that please his mother?’

Practys Whêtek warn Ugans  Exercise Thirty Six

Demelsa has an important conversation with her Head Teacher.


A Demelsa, dha gows Kernowek ew frôsek glân, a nynj ew?


Yth eson ow talkya Kernowek chy pùb dëdh.


Hag i’n vledhen ujy ow tos, heb mar, te a vëdh i’n Wheffes Class.


Rag studhya fysyk, kemyk ha calcorieth. Mar pëdh an TODN gwrës yn tâ lowr.


Ma omfydhyans dhèm a hedna. Mis Gwydngala me a vedn dallath cowethas Kernowek i’n scol. Gelwel arethoryon in Kernowek. Trevna dadhlow ha lies dysqwedhyans i’n tavas. Ny a ra dallath classys Kernowek in euryow an creftow frank i’wedh. Th’eroma covyn ort ow honen: ’ellysta jy bos caderyor an gowethas nowyth-ma?


Nyns usy Kernowek ow plegya dhe bùbonen i’n scol ...


In gwir. Compressys ew cowsoryon a Gernowek traweythyow, a nynj en’jy? Gèn flehes. Gèn lies descador kefrës? ’Hellyn ny saya chaunjya hedna. An gowethas a vëdh i’m charj vy. Yn personek. Ha scodhyes gèn an Lewydhyon. Lebmyn ow whestyon dheso ew hebma: a venta bos hy lêdyor mesk an scoloryon?


Hèn yw qwestyon brâs! Heb y wetyas yn tien. Drog genef, cales yw gortheby yn scon. Res yw dhybm predery warnodho.


Gra pedery, Demelsa. Pedery warnodho, martessen gèn Mabm ha Tas jy warbarth.

Euryow an creftow frank is ‘activity time’ at Demelsa’s school – timetabled, and offering a range of different creative activities supervised by teachers.

Colloquial Cornish

Demelsa’s Head Teacher speaks quite colloquially. She’s trying to put a student at ease. So working through the Head Teacher’s words carefully is another opportunity to see how colloquial Cornish can differ from formal registers.

Model answers for the exercises in this Lesson Eight

Click or tap here




Indefinite pronouns

We have already met the pronouns that are derived from pùb ‘every’: pùbonen ‘everyone’, pùb huny ‘everyone’, pùptra ‘everything’. And we also know nebonen and neppëth. These belong to a whole family of indefinites built with neb. We occasionally find neppëth spelled nampëth reflecting colloquial pronunciation. Neb tra is an alternative. Since neb means equally ‘some’ and ‘any’, nebonen means ‘someone’ or ‘anyone‘. We can also use neb alone in this sense. And neppëth (nampëth) / neb tra mean ‘something’ or ‘anything’.

Practys Seytek warn Ugans – Exercise Thirty Seven

Answer these questions, using complete Cornish sentences. For example, Yma neppëth i’n cornet ('corner') cledh awartha – pëth yw? Trog dyllas yw hedna.

Yma neppëth in cres an pyctour awartha – pëth yw? Yma nebonen i’n cornet dyhow awartha – pyw yw? Yma neb tra i’n cornet cledh awoles – pandr’yw? Yma neppëth in cres an pyctour awoles – pëth yw? Yma nampëth i’n cornet dyhow awoles – pëth yw?

Superlative of adjectives

Comparative adjectives made with ending a have superlative force when they are used with an ‘the’. For example, hèn yw flour teg ‘that is a lovely flower’, hèn yw whath tecka flour (or hèn yw flour tecka vëth) ‘that is an even lovelier flower’, hèn yw an tecka flour i’n lowarth ‘that is the most beautiful flower in the garden’.

Comparatives made with moy change this to moyha ‘most’ for superlative use. For example, an flour moyha saworek i’n lowarth ‘the most fragrant flower in the garden’. Moyha, like moy, does not undergo Fifth State mutation after yn.

There are a few inflected adjective forms that have specifically superlative force. Paired with gwell ‘better’ we have learned gwelha ‘best’ already, and the common idiom i’n gwelha prës ‘fortunately’. We often find gwelha at the end of messages, in phrases like oll a’n gwelha ‘all the best’ and gans gormynadow a’n gwelha ‘best regards’ (literally ‘along with commandment of the best’). We have also encountered nessa ‘nearest, next’ and dewetha ‘latest, last’.

Inflected superlatives (like inflected comparative forms) usually precede their noun, but may also be found after it. And they may be used without an where the sense permits.

The comparative lacka ‘worse’ is often reinforced with oll when used with superlative force. So, lacka termyn ‘a worse time’, an lacka termyn oll ‘the worst time [of all]’.

Saying ‘less’ and ‘least’

The opposite of moy ‘more’ is le ‘less’. It too can be used to make comparatives. For example, le saworek ‘less fragrant’. But there are no inflected forms corresponding to gwell etc, so we say simply le dâ ‘less good’ as in English.

As a quantifier le means both ‘less’ and ‘fewer’. Compare similar use of ‘less’ in West Country English.

The opposite of moyha ‘most’ is lyha ‘least’. It is most commonly encountered in the phrase dhe’n lyha ‘at least’. But we may use lyha with an adjective.

Moy and le as adverbs

Moy and le can be used on their own with preposition ès (ages) ‘than’. When ‘than’ is not expressed we use the phrases dhe voy and dhe le. For example, Barbery a wrug cana rag an wolsowysy, saw cân Marget a blegyas dhe voy ‘Barbara sang for the audience, but Margaret’s song pleased (them) more’.

Dhe voy and dhe le may also be used like their exact English equivalents. For instance:

Dhe voy yth esof ow qweles polytygoryon a'n par-ma, dhe voy yth ov vy diegrys a’ga fowt onester, ha dhe le yth yns y dâ genef.

‘The more I see of these politicians, the more I’m shocked by their lack of decency, and the less I like them.’


Here are some more new words.

Bròn Wenyly Brown Willy, bÿs world, hâtya hate, leurneth area (measurement), meneth mountain, poblans population, ryver river

Practys Êtek warn Ugans – Exercise Thirty Eight

What do these sentences mean?

Ot an cotta fordh dhy. Hèm yw an uskyssa train. Bròn Wenyly yw an uhelha tyller in Kernow. Ple ma an nessa attêsva? Ev yw an hackra a’n try henderow. Towlen moyha gocky o hodna. Ev yw an dyscor lyha lowen in hy class Kernowek. An gwlanek-ma yw le ker ès dell wrug vy gwetyas. Pùb seythen yma ev orth hy hara dhe voy. Pùb mis yma hy orth y hâtya dhe le.

Practys Nawnjek warn Ugans – Exercise Thirty Nine

How would you say the following in Cornish?

She’s the cleverest girl in the class. Allan had the heaviest car. That boy will be the strongest midfielder. The café in the museum sells the worst coffee of all. My grandmother was the oldest woman in her village.

Practys Dêwgans – Exercise Forty

A yllowgh why gwil gweres dhe Danyel Tonkin ow whythra y lesson tre in Dorydhieth?

Pëth yw an uhelha tyller in Kernow? Pëth yw an uhelha meneth in Pow an Sowson? Pëth yw an uhelha meneth i’n bÿs? Pëth yw an downha tyller in oll an morow? Pëth yw an hirha ryver in Kernow acordyng dhe Athelstan? Pëth yw an hirha ryver i’n bÿs? Pëth yw an dre moyha dhe’n west in Kernow? Pëth yw an byhadna gwlas i’n bÿs? Pëth yw an brâssa gwlas acordyng dhe leurneth? Pëth yw an brâssa gwlas acordyng dhe boblans?

Model answers for the exercises in this Lesson Nine

Click or tap here




‘Any’ in negative sentences

The indefinite pronouns that we learned in Lesson Nine are mostly found in statements and questions that do not contain a negative. One prominent exception is the phrase wàr neb cor ‘in any way, at all’ which is used to reinforce a negative. But more commonly in a negative statement or negative question ‘any’ is expressed by vëth. So in a negative sentence den vëth is ‘anyone’, and tra vëth is ‘anything’. For example, ny wrussyn ny bonkya den vëth ‘we didn’t hit anyone’, ny vydn ev debry tra vëth ‘he won’t eat anything’. Benyn vëth can optionally be used instead of den vëth if only women are involved.

If we wish to give a short negative answer to a question without employing a full sentence, we can still use vëth and rely on the context to supply the negative. For example:

Pyw a wrussowgh why bonkya? Den vëth.

‘Who did you hit? No one.’

Pandra vydn ev debry? Tra vëth.

‘What is he going to eat? Nothing.’

In the very common fixed phrases such as Cudyn vëth! and Problem vëth! ‘No problem!’ a negative is likewise implied.

Similarly, if na whath is used on its own outside a full sentence, the negative will be implied. For instance, A wrusta debry ly? Na whath. ‘Have you had lunch? Not yet.’ It is a common misconception that na in na whath is itself a negative. That is incorrect. In this phrase na is a reduced form of neb.

Practys Onen ha Dêwgans – Exercise Forty One

Mrs Pascoe and Mrs Treloar arrive very early for a meeting of the Women’s Institute at the Village Hall.

Mêstres Pascoe:

Eus nebonen i’n hel solabrës?

Mêstres Treloar:

Na whath. Obma nyns eus benyn vëth.

Mêstres Pascoe:

Eus vytel wàr an bordys? Ha dewosow?

Mêstres Treloar:

Nyns eus tra vëth dhe weles wàr vord vëth.

Mêstres Pascoe:

Wèl, devedhys pòr avarr on ny. Res yw dhyn gortos oll an bobel.

Mêstres Treloar:

Yma pùptra obma i’n gegyn. My a yll dallath parusy tê.

Mêstres Pascoe:

Tybyans dâ. Hag y hallaf vy dallath gorra oll an breghtanow ha tesednow in mes.

Practys Dew ha Dêwgans – Exercise Forty Two

What do these questions and brief answers mean?

Pyw a wodhya an gwir? Den vëth. Pëth a wrussons y gwil? Tra vëth. Pan colour yw dâ genowgh? Colour vëth. Pleth esta ow mos? Tyller vëth. Peur whra va dos? Eur vëth.

Common quantifiers

Meur as an adjective means ‘great’ and is rather formal. We have already encountered it in its much more common usage as a quantifier meaning ‘much’, For example, meur moy ‘much more’. Although we have learned that meur as quantifier with a noun is usually followed by preposition a, it may alternatively be followed directly by the noun, either in First or Second State. But Second State mutation is confined to relatively formal registers and to more or less fixed phrases. For example, meur a bobel ‘lots of people’, meur gerensa ‘much love’.

By far the most frequent instance of the latter construction is meur ras ‘thank you’, but no mutation is operating in this case. The old Celtic noun ras means favour; it ends in a voiced z-sound. It cannot be Second State of grâss ‘grace’ (also ‘thanks’) based on Latin gratia, because that ends in a voiceless s-sound.

Moy ‘more’ also functions as a quantifier. It is either put directly in front of a noun with no mutation or it is linked to the noun by preposition a. Thus, moy dowr ‘more water’, moy gwëdh ‘more trees’, moy a gerry ‘more cars’. Le ‘less’ works just the same.

We also know bohes, a quantifier meaning ‘little, not much’. It is put directly in front of a singular noun with no mutation. For example, bohes trobel ‘little trouble’. Contrast nebes trobel ‘a little trouble’. The commonest way of saying ‘few’ is to use lies in a sentence with a negative verb. We may also use the phrase bohes aga nùmber (‘little their number’). Again, contrast nebes meaning ‘a few’. And note the exceptional Second State mutation in fixed expression bohes venowgh ‘seldom, rarely’.


Here are some more new words.

argemydnans advertising, publicity, awedhya influence, camdyby be mistaken, chauns chance, opportunity, cowntnans attitude, dre lycklod probably, dyharas apologize, ger word, negedhek negative, nyver number, poblek public, profyans offer, revrons respect, stowt stubborn, unyêthek monoglot, whans wish, desire

Practys Try ha Dêwgans – Exercise Forty Three

Demelsa is discussing the Head Teacher’s idea with her father, Perys Pentreath, who works with the Cornish language for Cornwall Council.


Nyns eus lies flogh ow côwsel gàn tavas. Dhe nyver bian yma nebes geryow. Mès meur moy yw unyêthek Sowsnek yn stowt. Fatell yll cowethas Kernowek soweny in scol?


Saw scodhyes yw hy gans an lewydhyon ha’n bendescadores, a nyns yw?


Camdybys yns y dre lycklod.


Te a dal bos le negedhek orth an bÿs, Demelsa. An gwir yma dhe’n lewydhyon. Res yw dhyn ûsya an tavas heb dyharas. Yn poblek, adar only chy. Chauns spladn yw hebma dhyso, rag gwainya revrons in mesk an scoloryon. I’n Wheffes Class spessly. Heb dowt y fedhys owth awedhya gà howntnans.


Wèl, mars osta sur, me a vydn assaya. Yma dhe’n bendescadores whans a dhadhlow. A ylta gwil gweres dhybm ow cafos arethoryon?


Certan y hallaf. A wrusta predery solabrës a worra nowodhow wàr wiasva an scol pò in mainys socyal? Yth esof vy ow qwil moy ha moy whel wàr argemydnans i’m soodh. A wrav vy cùssulya pàr hap?


Hèn yw profyans cuv glân. Meur ras, a Das!

Where’ and ‘when’ introducing an adjectival clause

An adjectival (relative) clause is a part of the sentence, with its own verb, that describes the noun immediately preceding it.

If an adjectival clause is introduced by the notion ‘where’ or ‘when’, the clause will begin with may if it is affirmative, and with ma na if it is negative. The verb of the clause follows immediately after these words: in Fifth State in the case of may, in Second State in the case of ma na. If the verb is a form of bos beginning with a vowel, then may becomes mayth and ma na becomes ma nag. But mayth is not used before yma and ymowns; instead yma becomes ma and ymowns becomes mowns (without mutation). Note that we do not say mayth eus nor (save very exceptionally) mayth usy, mayth usons.

Here are some examples of sense ‘where’.

Yma ow hothman trigys whath i’n bendra may feuva genys.

‘My friend still lives in the village where he was born.’

Obma an gresen kemeneth mayth esa gàn class Kernowek ow metya de.

‘Here is the community centre where our Cornish class was meeting yesterday.’

Hag obma an tavern may ma dha dhew gothman owth eva pynta.

‘And here’s the pub where your two friends are having a pint.’

Hòm yw an ostel moyha cosel, ma na vydn pobel gôlya bys i’n maneuryow.

‘This is the quietest hotel, where people won’t be partying until the early hours.’

Gwrewgh cafos rom ma nag eus tros an gegyn in dadno.

‘Get a room that doesn’t have the noise of the kitchen underneath it.’

Here are some examples of sense ‘when’. Note how English very often suppresses the ‘when’ word. But in Cornish we cannot leave it out.

Esta ow perthy cov a’n prës-na mayth esen ny ow marhogeth wàr an treth?

‘Do you remember that time we were riding on the beach?’

Hèn o an jëdh may whrug ev govyn demedhyans orthyf.

‘That was the day he asked me to marry him.’

Th’esa hy ow remembra an termyn ma na wrug ev kemeres y vedhegneth.

‘She was remembering the time he didn’t take his medication.’

Practys Peswar ha Dêwgans – Exercise Forty Four

How would you say the following in Cornish?

The gym is the place where he’s happiest. But that’s not the house where we grew up. Come to Cornwall where the summer is always warm. Do you remember all the years we lived in Falmouth? Is that the week I’ll be in Exeter?


Here are some more new words.

creftus artificial, cubmyas permission, daffar kit, equipment, drefen because of, entra enter, gwary game (also stage play), gwels col grass, gwethyas keeper, peryllys dangerous, rowtor manager (football), vas useful, whêlva laboratory

Practys Pymp ha Dêwgans – Exercise Forty Five

Mark has been asked to show a new Cornish speaking pupil round his school.


Ot obma an hel sport, may ma’n Êthves Bledhen lebmyn, an mowysy, ow qwary pel roos.

Scolor nowyth:

Yw res dhe’n vebyon gwary pel roos kefrës?


Nag yw màn! Ty a wra gwary pel droos. Osta peldrosyor dâ? Capten an Kensa XI ov vy.

Scolor nowyth:

Gwethyas gol ov vy, dell yw ûsys.


Ria reva! Spladn yw hedna ren ow thas! Ny a vydn gwary de Merher, may fëdh Mêster Teague, gàn rowtor ny, ow prevy dha godnek. Yma ev ow tôwys an warioryon dhe’n fyttys moyha bysy.

Scolor nowyth:

A ny vëdh an dor nebes medhel i’n seythen-ma rag gwary vas?


Problem vëth! Yma gwels creftus dhyn, AstroTùrf, may hyllyn ny gwil practys pùb kewar.

Scolor nowyth:

Sciens yw ow thesten moyha kerys. A wren ny gweles whêlva?


Miras der an fenester, dhe’n lyha. Chy an lies whêlva yw tyller ma na yllyn ny entra heb cubmyas, drefen oll an daffar peryllys.

Ren ow thas (literally ‘by my father’) strengthens an assertion. Ren is unique to this expression, being a special form of preposition re ‘by’ (followed by Second State mutation) used in exclamations like re Jovyn ‘by Jove’ and re’m fay (also wàr ow fay) ‘upon my word’. Originally these had considerable force, but in modern Cornish they are relegated to situations when a speaker wishes to be polite or at least not to offend.

Model answers for the exercises in this Lesson Ten

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Adjectival phrases

An adjective adds information about a noun. But an adjective is a single word. We can fine-tune the information if we use an adjectival phrase.

English often employs compound adjectives like ‘red-faced’ or uses idiomatic expressions such as ‘hard up’. In Cornish the adjectival phrase serves the same purpose. The first element is typically an adjective or quantifier. The second element is a possessive pronoun plus a noun. Thus, we say in Cornish rudh y fâss ‘red-faced’ and bohes y vona ‘hard up’. Conventionally we cite these phrases with possessive pronoun y, but the pronoun will vary according to the actual context. So we would say den rudh y vlew ‘a red-haired man’ but benyn rudh hy blew ‘a red-haired woman’.

Brâs and meur are used interchangeably in many adjectival phrases. For example, brâs y hanow or meur y hanow ‘renowned, famous’. Brâs and meur (rather than leun) also correspond in adjectival phrases to English suffix -ful.

We can use the adjectival phrase with or without verb bos ‘be’. For example, ev a veu desempys pòr rudh y fâss ‘he suddenly got very red in the face’. Or i’n tavern me a dheuth warbydn den rudh y fâss ‘I bumped into a red-faced man in the pub’.

We never mutate the first word of an adjectival phrase. For example, an venyn teg hy fows ‘the woman in the beautiful dress’.


Here are some more new words. As always, plural forms can be found in the Vocabulary at the end of the book. But in an adjectival phrase a singular frequently does service for a plural.

bogh cheek, boll see-through, creswas policeman, fâss face, gwe’us lip, plat flat, scovarn ear, tednva tension, stress, toth speed

Practys Whe ha Dêwgans – Exercise Forty Six

How would you say the following in Cornish? Use an adjectival phrase for each.

a long-legged man, a woman in a see-through blouse, a boy with big ears, a girl with pink cheeks, a flat-footed policeman, a thin-lipped face, a high-speed train, a multi-faceted problem, a hotel with cheap rooms, a stressful job

More about adjectival clauses

An adjectival clause is another way of providing additional information. In Lesson Ten we looked at adjectival (relative) clauses beginning with the notion ‘where’ or ‘when’. An adjectival clause can also begin with the notion ‘who’ or ‘which’. For example, in English, ‘the woman who taught me Cornish’ or ‘the book which we are using in class’. In Cornish this kind of clause begins with the relative pronoun a, which is in origin the same word as link particle a (and so, as usual, is always dropped before forms of bos beginning with a vowel). So these examples will become in Cornish an venyn a wrug desky Kernowek dhybm and an lyver eson ny owth ûsya i’n class. Note how in Cornish has no separate verb for ‘teach’ – we simply ‘learn something to someone’.

Link particle a is used, of course, to connect a subject to a main verb. This can result in potential ambiguity. For instance an vowes a wrug wherthyn usually means ‘the girl laughed’, but it might instead mean ‘the girl who laughed’. To make the latter meaning quite clear we add either neb or hag at the beginning of the adjectival clause: an vowes neb (hag) a wrug wherthyn can only mean ‘the girl who laughed’.


Here are some more new words.

antarlyk pantomime, avauncya advance, progress, cares girlfriend, cudha cover, hide, dyghtyor kebmyn general manager, dyvlâm blameless, innocent, ges joking, in gwrioneth really, actually, les’hanow nickname, mery merry, mêster master, boss, namoy any more (in a negative sentence), scryvynyades (female) secretary, skeusen photograph, styfa squirt, tednvos attraction

Compare budhek ‘victorious’ with Boudica, the name of the Brythonic chieftainess whose warriors sacked Roman London in 60 CE.

Practys Seyth ha Dêwgans – Exercise Forty Seven

Yma Coryn ow tysqwedhes dh’y gares Jacket skeusednow a wrug ev kemeres in kyffewy a’n gowethysy usy ow longya dh’y sodhva.


Ha pyw yw an den-ma, hir y fâss, bian y scovornow?


Ogh, a ny wosta? Hèn yw Mery Merrick – gàn acowntyas ny.




Les’hanow hag eson ny ow ry dhodho. Ges yw. Y hanow gwir yw Merdhyn.


Ha’n vowes melen hy blew, meur hy thednvos? Marthys meur!


Budhek. Victoria Watson yw hy in gwrioneth, mès gwell yw hanow a Gernow gensy. Scryvynyades. Ha demedhys yn salow yw hy!


Dâ lowr. Ha pyw yw an den obma, gwydn y bedn – an fâss-na, neb a veu cudhys in dehen styfys?


Eâ, wèl, ev yw agan mêster. An dyghtyor kebmyn. Adam Scrase. Ha my yw an maw usy ow styfa an dehen.


Scant nyns yw maner effethus rag avauncya i’n negys.


Sport dyvlâm! Heb namoy. Onen brav yw Adam. Ev a wor convedhes antarlyk garow.


Codnek, a Coryn, traweythyow nyns osta màn.

Antarlyk garow is ‘slapstick comedy’.

Re meaning ‘ones’

The plural equivalent of onen ‘one’ referring to a noun is re ‘ones’. Unlike onen, however, re may be used both without and with the definite article an. For example, re munys ‘tiny ones’, an re munys ‘the tiny ones’. When an re is the grammatical subject, it is used with a singular verb just like a plural noun.

‘These [ones]’ and ‘those [ones]’ are an re-ma and an re-na, corresponding to singular pronouns hebma / hobma and hedna / hodna.

Saying ‘other’

Cornish has two words for ‘other’. First, there is aral, plural erel. This is the only adjective that has a distinct plural form. So we say an venyn aral ‘the other woman’ but an benenes erel ‘the other women’ and pobel erel ‘other people’. We can use an aral as a pronoun meaning ‘the other one’. For ‘the other ones / the others’ we say an re erel.

As an adjective aral can be used with or without the definite article an. So we may say benyn aral ‘another woman’. Cornish has a second word for ‘other’ that can only be used indefinitely. This is ken, which precedes a noun. So ‘another woman’ can also be ken benyn.

For ‘another one’ we say ken onen. We can also use ken as an adverb meaning ‘otherwise’. We put ken after the key word in nebonen ken ‘someone else’, neppëth (or nampëth) ken ‘something else’. And there is also poken ‘or else’. But note pùbonen aral ‘everyone else’, pùptra aral ‘everything else’, neb tra aral ‘something else’.

Finally, there are the useful expressions wàr an eyl tu (or tenewen) ‘on the one hand’ and wàr an tu (or tenewen) aral ... on the other hand’.

Personal forms of preposition a

Here are the personal forms of ‘from, of’.

ahanaf or ahana vy ‘from / of me’

ahanas or ahana jy ‘from / of you’

anodho ‘from / of him’ or ‘from / of it’ (masculine reference)

anedhy ‘from / of her’ or ‘from / of it’ (feminine reference)

ahanan or ahana ny ‘from / of us’

ahanowgh or ahana why ‘from / of you’ (plural or stranger)

anodhans or anedha (mostly confined to written Cornish) ‘from / of them’

Saying ‘yes please’ and ‘no thank you’

Cornish for ‘yes please’ is simply mar pleg. For ‘no thank you’ we say gromercy na vadna’. Note that gromercy usually comes first, and may even be used alone, with a shake of the head to make the meaning clear. Na vadnaf is an alternative form of na vydnaf that may be used generally if you prefer it.


argya argue (a case), caretys col carrots, cawlvlejen cauliflower, delycyùs delicious, fresk fresh, frût fruit, gwycor trader, losow col vegetables, marhas market, organek organic, panes col parsnips, qwalyta quality, syght syght, tùrnypen swede (generally called ‘turnip’ in Cornwall)

Practys Eth ha Dêwgans – Exercise Forty Eight 

Yma Mêstres Mundy ow prena losow ha frûtys i’n varhas.

Mêstres Mundy:

An avallow-ma, re anodhans yw bian, mès wheg yns y martesen?


Avallow Cox yns y, wheg certan.

Mêstres Mundy:

Ha pan vaner yw an re erel – an re dres ena?


Braeburn yns y. Le wheg. Mès brâssa, heb dowt.

Mêstres Mundy:

Mar pleg. Me a vydn kemeres hanter-dêwdhek a’n re yw brâssa.


Eus whans dhywgh a neppëth ken?

Mêstres Mundy:

Cawlvlejen. Hodna yw pòr vian. An aral, rypthy, yw meur gwell hy syght.


Ha nebes caretys organek pàr hap? Poken me a yll gwertha panes dhywgh, fest dâ gà whalyta. Pò neb tra aral?

Mêstres Mundy:

Yw an panes organek?


Nyns yns y hedhyw. Losow organek yw gwell yn fenowgh. Ny allaf vy argya ken. Saw an re-ma yw fresk glân, delycyùs. Prevy udn pens?

Mêstres Mundy:

Dâ lowr. Udn pens a’n caretys organek, hag udn pens panes i’wedh.


Ha tùrnypen dhedha martesen?

Mêstres Mundy:

Gromercy na vadna’.


Ot obma gàs avallow ha’gas losow. Duw genowgh why, Mêstres.

Colloquial Cornish

Possessive pronouns can be omitted conversationally whenever there is a reinforcing personal pronoun. For example, Coryn in Exercise 47 could have said just acowntyas ny instead of gàn acowntyas ny. Sometimes the mutation caused by a possessive pronoun is retained when the possessive itself is dropped. For instance, hothman vy ‘my friend’. But the mutation may well be dropped too, in which case you will hear just cothman vy ‘my friend’.

Forms of the Cornish verb that are called ‘subjunctive’ are mostly beyond the scope of this coursebook. They will be introduced in Cara Kernowek Book Three. But it will be useful at this stage to learn re bo ‘may there be’, and the pair re’ fo and re’gas bo ‘may you have’ (corresponding respectively to te and why). These occur in a number of colloquial expressions. Re here is the completive particle we have already learned. But a subjunctive verb gives ‘optative’ force to the idea of completion, so that it becomes a wish. We already know re bo govenek ‘I hope so, let’s hope so, etc’.

For a birthday or anniversary you can say:

Re’ fo Pedn Bloodh lowen dhis!

For Christmas and New Year you’ll be saying to your friends:

Re’gas bo Nadelyk lowen ha Bledhen Nowyth dâ!

Model answers for the exercises in this Lesson Eleven

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More about adjectival clauses

An adjectival (relative) clause is introduced by link particle a whenever the noun being described is the subject or the direct object of the clause. But the particle is dropped before a form of bos beginning with a vowel; we employ eus, usy, usons as appropriate, not yma, ymowns. So, for example, in an ky [neb / hag] a wrug brathy an den ‘the dog who bit the man’, an ky, the noun being described is the subject: it was the dog that did the biting. In an den [neb / hag] a wrug an ky brathy ‘the man who(m) the dog bit’, the noun being described is the direct object: it was the man was on the receiving end of the biting. The technical name for the noun being described (or any pronoun substituted for it) is the ‘antecedent’.

When the antecedent is the subject the relative pronoun a must be followed by the he/she/noun form of the verb. So an keun [neb / hag] a wrug brathy an den ‘the dogs who bit the man’ but an den [neb / hag] a wrussons y brathy ‘the man who(m) they bit’. This rule applies in main clauses too. You have known it for a long time. For instance, an flehes a vydn mos dhe’n scol ‘the children will go to school’.

In English a preposition may precede ‘who’ or ‘which’ at the beginning of an adjectival clause or may come at the very end of the clause. In such a clause in Cornish we use a personal form of the relevant preposition, selected to refer back to the antecedent, and typically placed at the end of the clause.

When a preposition is used in this way there is an option to introduce the clause with may (literally ‘where’). Fifth State mutation follows may in the usual way, mayth is employed before a vowel, yma and ymowns become ma and mowns (without mutation). The preposition may then be omitted in formal Cornish if the meaning is still clear without it.

Here are some examples.

an bobel dhydo a vydnowgh gwil gweres dhodhans or

an bobel dhydo may fydnowgh gwil gweres [dhodhans]

‘the homeless people who(m) you’re going to help’

an dhescadores eus dhybm an brâssa revrons anedhy or

an dhescadores may ma dhybm an brâssa revrons [anedhy]

‘the teacher for whom I have the greatest respect’ or

‘the teacher who(m) I have the greatest respect for’

an ky a wrug an den whilas scappya orto or

an ky may whrug an den whilas scappya [orto]

‘the dog from which the man tried to run away’ or

‘the dog which the man tried to run away from’

an savla esa pùbonen ow cortos ryptho or

an savla mayth esa pùbonen ow cortos [ryptho]

‘the bus stop at which everyone was waiting’ or

‘the bus stop which everyone was waiting at’

The last example brings us back to what we learned in Lesson Eleven. If we employ may and omit ryptho, the sense is effectively ‘the bus stop where everyone was waiting’.

We also use may when the adjectival clause is introduced in English by ‘whose’. So we say, for example:

Pyw yw an den may ma y garr parkys wàr an lînen velen dhobyl?

‘Who’s the guy whose car is parked on the double yellow line?’

Negative adjectival clauses

Negative adjectival clauses are introduced by na followed by Second State mutation or by nag before a form of bos beginning with a vowel. Otherwise the constructions are the same as for affirmative clauses. We may use ma na instead of simple na if we prefer, with the same consideration of then possibly omitting the preposition.

Here are some examples.

an ky na wrug brathy an den bythqweth kyns

'the dog that had never bitten the man before’

an dhescadores nag eus dhybm an lyha revrons anedhy or

an dhescadores ma nag eus dhybm an lyha revrons [anedhy]

‘the teacher for whom I had not the slightest respect or

‘the teacher who(m) I had not the slightest respect for’

an savla nag esa den vëth ow cortos ryptho or

an savla ma nag esa den vëth ow cortos [ryptho]

‘the bus stop at which no one was waiting’ or

‘the bus stop which no one was waiting at’

Practys Naw ha Dêwgans – Exercise Forty Nine

What do these sentences mean?

An maw a dhôwysas an gnofen toos o an brâssa wàr an plât. Yth yw an wlas may ma y gotha myrgh trigys etto. An den gocky-na a vonkyas solabrës an carr a wrug vy gwertha dhodho dewetha seythen. Wharvedhyans o va na wrussyn ny gweles kyns. Fâss yw hedna a’n problem na wrussons y miras orto gans rach. Ple ma oll an canys coref a wrussys prena raga ny? Fatell allaf vy derivas taclow ma nag esof ow perthy cov? Scant ny woram hanter a’n istory may hyllowgh redya anodho i’n lyver-na. Py ma’n daffar may fydn ev byldya an crow ganso? Peur hyllyn ny vysytya an dre may ma dha vab ow studhya i'n ûnyversyta?

Practys Deg ha Dêwgans – Exercise Fifty

How would you say the following in Cornish?

That’s the same road we’ll be using tomorrow to drive home. Did they really eat all the food you’d brought? When will they bring back everything they took? Are you going to keep these half dozen carrots that haven’t yet been cooked? The old people I often did the shopping for in the days before the internet are still living in that house over there.


Here are some more new words.

cresy believe, Hellës Helston, now now (interjection), splat plot of ground, whedhel story

Practys Udnek ha Dêwgans – Exercise Fifty One

Yma Elen Tonkin ow tysqwedhes dhe Mark an strêt in Hellës mayth esa hy trigys kyns. 


Ot obma an chy mayth esen vy trigys ino. Flogh en vy i’n termyn-na.


A yllyn ny mos ajy?


Nâ. Yma pobel erel trigys ino i’n jëdh hedhyw, heb mar.


Pò ajy dhe’n lowarth martesen?


Na yllyn màn. Lowarth nebonen yw tyller na yll pùb huny mos dredho. Now, gwra miras dres ena. Hèn yw an splat mayth esen ny ow qwary pel droos warnodho.


Pel droos? In gwir?


Eâ! Mebyon ha myrhas warbarth. Ha dha das o onen a’n vebyon mayth esen vy ow qwary ganso. Dell wosta solabrës – whedhel coth yw.


Wèl, nyns esen vy ow cresy bys i’n eur-ma. An splat-na yw fest bian! Meur brâssa yw an park mayth esof ow qwary gans ow hothmans vy.


Byttele ny a wrug gwary lowen teg pùb eur oll. Ha th’yw an tyller may feuv vy metyes gans Powl an kensa tro.


Pana dermyn a veu hedna?


Deg bledhen warn ugans alebma!

More words of quantity

We know the quantifier lies ‘many’, always followed by a singular noun, or employed as a stand-alone word; and we also know the phrase lies huny ‘many [people]’. Another quantifier used only with a singular noun is lower ‘quite a few’. This cannot be used as a stand-alone word without a following noun; nor with huny; but we can say lower onen. For example, yma lies wàr an estyllen-ma ‘there are lots on this shelf’ or yma lower onen i’n amary-na ‘there are quite a few in that cupboard.’

We know the quantifier nebes meaning ‘a little’ when used with a singular noun and ‘a few’ when used with a plural or collective noun. For example, nebes bara ‘a little bread’, nebes breghtanow ‘a few sandwiches’, nebes asclas ‘a few chips’. Nebes may also be employed as a stand-alone word, in which case the sense will depend on the context. For instance, Eus own dhis? Nebes. ‘Are you scared? A little.’ Eus pastys whath? Nebes. ‘Are there any pasties left? A few.’

For small amounts a useful word is tabm ‘a bit’. This may be followed directly by a singular noun or we may use it with preposition a. For example, tabm vytel ‘a bit of grub, a snack’, tabm a gân ‘a snatch of song’. We may also employ tabm as a stand-alone word. For instance, A wodhes Kernowek? Tabm. ‘Do you speak Cornish? A bit.’

Spot a ‘a spot of’ is another common phrase, generally used for small amounts of liquids. For example, tê ha spot a leth ino ‘tea with a little milk in it’. Badna ‘a drop’ is another possibility for liquids. This word is followed directly by a noun. For instance, Moy coffy mes a’n pot? Eâ, badna coffy, mar pleg. ‘More coffee from the pot? Yes, a drop of coffee, please.’


Here are a few more new words.

pysk fish, tatty potato, vytamyn vitamin

Practys Dêwdhek ha Dêwgans – Exercise Fifty Two

Yma Elen ow qwil bargen gans Danyel rag prës soper.


Pandr’yw dhe dhebry haneth orth soper?


Pysk, tettys ha losow gwer. Tabm bara ’manyn.


Ogh! A ny allaf vy debry fa’ pebys in le losow gwer?


Yma lower vytamyn in losow gwer.


Hag in fa’ kefrës!


Yma shùgra i’ga sows cogh y. Uthyk tra. Yth esta ow tebry fav pebys yn pòr fenowgh solabrës.


Saw fatla mar qwrav vy dôwys nebes fa’ hedhyw? Adar lies.


Wèl, dâ lowr. Mar mynta debry dha losow gwer, te a yll kemeres nebes fav gansans.

Bara ’manyn is ‘bread and butter’.

We have encountered fav coffy ‘coffee beans’ already. Now we can add fav pebys ‘baked beans’. There is an alternative spelling fâ for clipped fa’.

uthyk tra is a fixed stand-alone phrase meaning ‘a lot’.

Fatla mar? means ‘what if?’. Compare English ‘how would it be if?’

Saying ‘only’

Cornish has several ways of expressing the idea ‘only’. The most common method is to use a negative statement with preposition marnas ‘except’, very frequently shortened to ma’s (spelled mès by some; compare mès ‘but’). For example, ny vedhaf vy owth eva coref ma’s (mès) dywweyth an seythen ‘I only drink beer twice a week’.

We may use preposition saw ‘save’ as an alternative to marnas. But the many ways saw can be employed in Cornish risk being a little confusing. As an adjective saw means ‘intact’, also ‘safe’. And it is very common as a conjunction meaning ‘but’. Saw as preposition is generally a weaker contrast than marnas. Conjunction mès ‘but’ is derived from marnas, so naturally saw as conjunction is likewise generally a weaker contrast than mès. To reduce the possibility for confusion, preposition saw ‘save’ is reinforced with yn unsel (itself meaning ‘only’, but not found in more general use). For example, ny wrug ev kemeres saw onen yn unsel ‘he only took one, that’s all’.

A further way of saying ‘only’ generally is yn udnyk. But this is quite a forceful expression: literally it means ‘uniquely’. For example, ev a wrug debry onen yn udnyk ‘he ate just one’. Another fairly strong way to express ‘only’ is heb namoy. The word only itself, borrowed directly from English, is less emphatic and especially useful in short phrases. For instance, nyns esa lies huny i’n kyttrynnebes flehes only ‘There weren’t many on the bus – only a few kids.’ The first vowel in Cornish only is short.


Here are some more new words.

botel m & f bottle, codna bregh wrist, cres medium (also ‘middle’ as adjective), ewon col foam, glebyor moisturizer, golghva bathroom, gwara goods, merchandise, gwycores (female) trader, Japanek Japanese, omwolhy wash (oneself), owraval orange, ros col roses, sampyl sample, sawor fragrance (also flavour), stalla stall, yogùrt yoghurt

Practys Tredhek ha Dêwgans – Exercise Fifty Three

Hedhyw i’n varhas yma Cattern Mundy ow whythra stalla an gwara omwolhy.


Why a garsa perna nampëth dh’agas golghva martesen?

Mêstres Mundy:

Nyns esof vy obma saw rag miras yn unsel.


Wolcùm. Gwrewgh meras. Termyn cot pò termyn hir.

Mêstres Mundy:

An barr seban saworek-ma. Plesont teg. Pandr’yw?


Hèn yw owraval Japanek – satsuma. Hag ot obma ewon omwolhy ha’n keth sawor dhodho.

Mêstres Mundy:

Me a vydn kemeres an ewon. Udn votel only. Eus neppëth ha sawor flourys ros ganso?


Gwara omwolhy? Nag eus. Agan seban yw sawor frûtys dyvers yn udnyk.

Mêstres Mundy:

Yma dhywgh an glebyor-ma. Yogùrt corf acordyng dhe’n tôkyn warnodho. A nyns eus neb tra marnas hebma?


Oll agan dehen corf yw sawor flourys – lies flour. Eâ, hèm yw sawor ros, an gwir yma dhywgh. Ot obma sampyl. Gwrewgh assaya wàr godna bregh.

Mêstres Mundy:

Hmm, dâ lowr. Mar nyns eus tra vëth a sawor ros marnas an glebyor, gas vy dhe gemeres udn pot anodho, cres y vrâster. Ev yw gwell ages y hanow!

perna is a common alternative form of prena

We use ewon omwolhy for ‘bubble bath’, and jel cowas for ‘shower gel’. But these days they are fairly interchangeable. Lydn seban is ‘handwash’ (literally ‘soap liquid’), not to be confused with lydn golhy lestry ‘washing up liquid’.

Model answers for the exercises in this Lesson Twelve

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Compound prepositions

There are three kinds of compound preposition in Cornish, exemplified by dhyrag ‘in front of’, warlergh ‘after’, in le ‘instead of’.

The first kind of compound is a single word that cannot be split. If the second element has personal forms, then the compound will have corresponding forms. So we say dhyragof, dhyworthys, dhywarnodho, etc, exactly as for ragof, worthys, warnodho.

The second kind of compound is also employed as a single word, but it may not be followed by a personal pronoun. Instead, the preposition splits, and the second element is preceded by the corresponding possessive pronoun. For example, warlergh an nosweyth ilow ‘after the concert’ but wàr hy lergh ‘after it’. Warbydn ‘against’, that we have already learned in its unsplit form, is another common preposition of this second kind. Here are all its possible forms when it is split.

wàr ow fydn ‘against me’

wàr dha bydn ‘against you’

wàr y bydn ‘against him’ or ‘against it’ (masculine reference)

wàr hy fydn ‘against her’ or ‘against it’ (feminine reference)

wàr agan pydn ‘against us’

wàr agas pydn ‘against you’ (plural or stranger)

wàr aga fydn ‘against them’

There is a variant erbydn, with identical meaning, that works in the same way. It is nowadays mostly confined to the literary language. The element pydn in all these forms is in an old dative form (now defunct) of pedn ‘head’.

The third kind of compound preposition consists of a simple preposition plus a noun. If this kind of preposition is applied to an ordinary noun or indefinite pronoun, it forms the first half of a genitive construction. So when we say ewon omwolhy in le seban, the strict grammar is ‘bubble bath in the place of soap’, that is ‘bubble bath instead of soap’. But verb-nouns, demonstrative pronouns and personal pronouns may not appear as the second element of a genitive construction. In the first two of these cases we employ preposition a. For example, in le a wortos ‘instead of waiting’ and in le a hedna ‘instead of that’. As for personal pronouns, they may become possessive pronouns if the sense permits; or we employ preposition a.

Other compound prepositions of this kind are in cres ‘in the middle of’ and dre rêson ‘because of’. So we say in y le ‘instead of him’, in cres anodhans ‘in the middle of them’, dre rêson an glaw ‘because of the rain’, etc.

In kever ‘in respect of, in relation to’ is a compound preposition of the third kind that is exceptional because it can only be used with a possessive pronoun. For example, gesowgh ny dhe vôtya in y gever ‘let’s take a vote on it’.

In dadn ‘under’ is also exceptional, being treated as a simple preposition even though it appears to be a compound. Another preposition like that is in mesk ‘among’.

There are also a number of complex prepositions that are not compounds. These always end in a simple preposition, and their grammar is straightforward. So we have for instance in mes a ‘out of’, and we can say in mes a’n chy ‘out of the house’ or in mes anodho ‘out of it’. Similarly we have ajy dhe ‘inside’, avês dhe ‘outside’, adhelergh dhe ‘behind’ (an alternative to adrëv), in despît dhe (or in despît wàr) ‘in spite of’.

Ha (optionally hag before a vowel) is also a preposition, meaning ‘with’, which is the primary sense of the word, from which its meaning ‘and’ has been derived. It too forms complex prepositions, such as tro ha and wor’tu ha, which both mean ‘towards’.

Saying ‘about’

The literal equivalent in Cornish of ‘about’ is adro dhe, another comples preposition we have known for some time. But it should not be overused. For variety we may employ in kever, so long as we remember the limitation to possessive pronouns only. Simple preposition will often be sufficient. Occasionally wàr may be suitable. For example, ny a wrug dadhel a’n dra-na ‘we discussed that’ or yma Perys ow qwil meur whel i’n eur-ma wàr argemydnans ‘Perys is now doing a lot of work on publicity’.

Practys Peswardhek ha Dêwgans – Exercise Fifty Four

How would you say the following in Cornish?

He ran ahead of (= in front of) me, and I followed behind (= after) him. Take it off the fire immediately! She always has an umbrella with her instead of putting on a raincoat. There’ll be lots of questions about this plan. Everyone is arguing against us.

Prepositions with pronouns

Only a relatively few Cornish prepositions may be used with a bare personal pronoun. A common one is ès ‘than’, so we may say ès my, ès ty, etc. Marnas and saw also accept a personal pronoun, hence marnas ev and saw hy ‘except [for] him’ and ‘save [for] her’, for instance. Adar too can be used with personal pronouns, as in yth yw my, adar ty ‘it’s me, not you’. Complex prepositions ending ha can be followed by a personal pronoun. For example, tro ha why ‘towards you’.

Where personal forms of the preposition exist, these must be used; though it is true that a few colloquial variants of personal forms do actually employ a bare personal pronoun. So we must say warnan or wara ny ‘on us’ but dhe ny ‘to us’ is acceptable.

There are a few one-word prepositions that may be used straightforwardly with a noun, but which must add dhe when used with a pronoun (with personal forms as appropriate). So for example we say adrëv an daras ‘behind the door’ but adrëv dhodho ‘behind it’. Other common instances of this usage are adâl ‘opposite’ and abarth ‘on behalf of, in favour of’.

The preposition bys in ‘up to’ is employed only with nouns. With pronouns it becomes bys dhe (with personal forms as appropriate), and this may not be used with nouns. So we say, for instance, mos bys i’n govep ‘go up to the monument’ but mos bys dhedhy ‘go up to it’. Bys ‘up to’ on its own is only used with numerals, and in fixed phrases like bys vycken ‘for ever’.

Practys Pymthek ha Dêwgans – Exercise Fifty Five

How would you say the following in Cornish?

Demelsa’s cousin Vernôna is younger than her. I argued in favour of the plan; you argued on its behalf too; but all the time he was arguing against the idea. At the Christmas pantomime everyone was shouting ‘Behind you!’ She walked up to him and struck him on the face. You have many problems – tell me a little about them.

Mar meaning ‘so’

Mar meaning ‘if’ is followed by Fourth State mutation of a consonant and becomes mars before a form of bos beginning with a vowel. There is another word mar which is followed by Second State mutation. This mar means ‘so’ and is used with adjectives. For example, mar vrâs ‘so big’, mar vian ‘so small’, mar lowen ‘so happy’.

Fairly colloquially, we may use mar ‘so’ to express a quality emphatically. For instance, Mar wheg yw an ôn bian-ma! ‘This little lamb is so sweet!’

In all registers of Cornish mar can be used to express a comparison of equality. For example:

An ôn o mar wydn avell an ergh.

‘The lamb was as white as snow.’

An ôn-ma, nyns yw mar wydn avell an ôn-na.

‘This lamb isn’t so (as) white as that one’.

Mar does not undergo Fifth State mutation after particle yn. But the combination rarely occurs.

A statement like nyns yw ev mar hir avell y vroder ‘Jowan is not as tall as his brother Jamys’ is generally understood to mean that John is less tall than James. Just as in English.

Personal forms of avell

Here are the personal forms of preposition avell ‘as (also ‘like’)’.

avellof or avell my as / like me

avellos or avell ty as / like you

avello or avell ev as / like him or as / like it (masculine reference)

avelly or avell hy as / like her or as / like it (feminine reference)

avellon or avell ny as / like us

avellowgh or avell why as / like you (plural or stranger)

avellans or avell anjy or avella (mostly confined to written Cornish) as / like them

In idiomatic Cornish you may also sometimes encounter avell meaning ‘than’.

Practys Whêtek ha Dêwgans – Exercise Fifty Six

What do these sentences mean?

Ow chy vy yw mar vrâs avell agas chy why. Nyns yw agan lowarth mar wer avell dha lowarth jy. Hy blew yw mar rudh avell caretys. Mar wocky osta! Mos wàr an train a vëdh mar uskys avell drîvya dy i’n carr. O an poll neyja i’gas ostel mar dhown avell an poll i’gan cresen sport? An attêsva boblek-na yw mar blos! Nyns yw ow than munys chy mar dobm avell an tan spladn usy i’n tavern. Yw an descador mar godnek avell an dhyscoryon? An practys-ma, nyns yw mar gales avell lies aral.

Practys Seytek ha Dêwgans – Exercise Fifty Seven

How would you say the following in Cornish?

His wife is not as dear to him as the other women in his life. I had less money than them perhaps, but I was always as happy as them. She’s not as stubborn as him. Alys plays netball as skilfully as Demelsa. You’re never as busy as me!

Result clause

We have so far looked at may as it is used in adjectival clauses. The basic ‘where’ sense of may also develops, via the notion ‘whereby’, into ‘[so] that’ expressing a consequence or result.

In writing we usually put a comma before may when it is used to mean ‘[so] that’ in this way.

As with other senses of this word, may is followed by Fifth State mutation, mayth is employed before a vowel, yma and ymowns become ma and mowns (without mutation). For example, an bows o mar hir, may whrug hy tava bys i’n leur ‘the dress was so long that it touched the floor’. When the result clause is negative we substitute ma na for may, with Second State mutation. For example, degës o an groglen, ma na yllyn vy miras in mes ‘the curtain was drawn, so that I could not look out’. We use ma nag before forms of bos beginning with a vowel. Y lavrak yw mar got, ma nag usy va ow cudha y ufernyow ‘his trousers are so short they don’t cover his ankles’.


Here are some more new words.

an Norvÿs the Earth, budhy drown, bÿs-efan worldwide, global, derevel rise, dyrêwl out-of-control, dysert desert, enys f enesow island, gass gas, gwederjy greenhouse, pedn êhel pole (of planet), peryl peril, danger, planet planet, rew ice, sewyans consequence, result, specyfyk specific, tesyans warming

Practys Êtek ha Dêwgans – Exercise Fifty Eight

Yma dhe Danyel Tonkin lesson tre in Dorydhieth unweyth arta. Yma va orth y jeckya gans Elen warbarth.


Wèl, pëth a wrusta scrifa?


Yma oll an bobel wàr an planet ow qwil gass gwederjy mar dhyrêwl, mayth yw an Norvÿs gyllys tobma. Hag yma an tesyans bÿs-efan ow pêsya whath.


Pòr dhâ. Ha pandr’yw oll an sewyans yn specyfyk?


An gewar yw gwylsa pùpprës. Yma an tyleryow dysert ow tevy, ma na yll tiogow soweny. Hag yma an rew wàr an pednow êhel ow tedha, may ma an mor ow terevel.


Ha pëth yw an sewyans a vor uhelha?


Yma tir isel ryb an mor ow mos budhys, may fëdh darn a’n enesow in peryl brâs wosa nebes bledhydnyow.


In gwir. Ha lower splat in Kernow kefrës.

Talking about being ill

If you are sick, you can say you have the relevant illness using the usual formula yma dhybm. You can also use yma ... warnaf. For example, th’esa anwos warnaf ‘I had a cold’. Here are names for other common ailments.

cleves strewy hayfever, covyd covid, drog dens toothache, drog pedn headache, fakel briansen sore throat, flû flu, losk pengasen heartburn, skit diarrhoea, stoppyans constipation, whej ha skit phr gastro-enteritis


Here are some more new words.

benthygya borrow, botas col boots, clâv sick, ill, durya endure, gnas character, lendya lend, medhegva infirmary (also GP’s surgery), possybylta possibility, strethassay lateral flow test

Practys Nawnjek ha Dêwgans – Exercise Fifty Nine 

Yma Mark Tonkin owth ombarusy dhe wary pel droos. Saw nyns yw ev lowen.

Mêster Teague:

Pandr’yw an mater, Mark?


Ny allaf vy gwary i’n fyt hedhyw pàr hap.

Mêster Teague:

A wrusta kelly radn a’gas daffar? Yma nebes taclow a yll bos lendys dhyso.


Nâ, benthygya nyns eus otham, yma pùb daffar genef. Cris an kensa XI, lavrak ha lodrow. Botas vy kefrës.

Mêster Teague:

Nena ple ma’n problem?


Warnaf yma anwos crev ha drog pedn uthyk i’wedh. Saw me a gemeras strethassay i’n vedhegva. Negedhek. Nyns yw covyd!

Mêster Teague:

Wèl, mos tre yn clâv yw possybylta. Poken dysqwedhes gnas an lêdyor ha durya in rag. Hedhyw yma fyt a bris dhyn. Ha ty yw capten an parra, Mark.


Hèn yw gwir. Me a vydn gwary dhana. Gwainya ny a wra sur!

Using lowr and similar words

Lowr ‘enough’ is employed as an attributive adjective in a sentence like Eus charj lowr i’n pil? ‘Is there enough charge in the battery?’ It is used as a predicative adjective in a sentence like Yw hedna lowr rag agan viaj? ‘Is that enough for our journey?’ It is used as an adverb in sentences like A wrusta debry lowr? ‘Have you eaten enough?’ or Yw hedna brâs lowr? ‘Is that big enough?’ It may also mean ‘quite’ in a phrase like dâ lowr ‘quite good’ or ‘okay’.

Lower meaning ‘quite a few’ preceding a singular noun (Lesson Twelve) is in origin just a variant spelling of lowr. It was the revivalist R. Morton Nance who first differentiated the spelling systematically. It is convenient. But the preferred spelling of many Cornish speakers nowadays is lowr for every meaning, so be prepared to find that too.

Lowr is followed by preposition a as an idiomatic quantifier meaning ‘lots of’. For example, lowr a bobel ‘lots of people’. Cornish has several such expressions with similar meaning. We have met meur a ‘much, a lot of’ already; this belongs to a slightly higher register. Plenta ‘plenty (of)’ is followed directly by a noun. Tomals ‘ample amount’ is usually followed by preposition a. Then there are showr a and cals a, both meaning ‘loads of’; these belong to a slightly lower register. Preposition is optional with cals. Sometimes cals is heard and written as calj. Choosing between showr and cals may be influenced to some extent by the original meaning of these words: showr ‘shower’, cals ‘[rubbish] heap’. But there’s no need to be very rigid about it.

Saying ‘too’ in the sense ‘too much’

Re means ‘too’ in front of adjectives. The adjective is put into Second State. For example, re vrâs ‘too big’, re dobm ‘too hot’. We can use yn to form a corresponding adverb in the usual way. For instance, hy a dhrîvyas yn re uskys ‘she drove too fast’, but yn is often omitted before re, so hy a dhrîvyas re uskys is equally possible.

If re ‘too’ is used on its own, without a following adjective, then the meaning is ‘too much’ or ‘too many’. For example, ty a dhebras re ‘you’ve eaten too much’ and ty a gomptyas re ‘you’ve counted too many’. Note also the phrase re nebes ‘too little’, where nebes takes the place of expected bohes. A similar replacement occurs in the phrase very nebes ‘very little’.

Which re is which

The completive particle re can never be confused, because it only appears immediately before an inflected verb where grammatically no other re can be placed.

If we encounter the phrase re anodho or re anedhy or a similar phrase with a singular noun, then we must be dealing with re ‘too much’ For example, re a dra dhâ ‘too much of a good thing’.

If we encounter a phrase like re anodhans or a similar phrase with a plural or collective noun, the meaning could be ‘some’ or ‘too many’. Which sense did Cattern Mundy intend with her re anodhans about the apples in Exercise 48? Or was she being a little tongue-in-cheek with the trader perhaps?

If Mrs Mundy had said radn anodhans ‘some (literally, part) of the apples’, we could not mistake her meaning. And an unambiguous way of saying ‘too many’ is the adjectival phrase re aga nùmber. For example, yma problemow re aga nùmber ‘there are too many problems’ and an problemow yw re aga nùmber ‘the problems are too many’.

First and Second State distinguish re munys ‘tiny ones’ from re vunys ‘too tiny’. In re uskys ‘fast ones’ and re uskys ‘too fast’ the Cornish words are identical, but the two phrases work differently in terms of the grammar of a whole sentence, so the intended meaning will usually be plain, provided the phrases are not used in isolation without any context.

Exclamatory particle assa

Assa is used to introduce a sentence of exclamation. It is followed immediately by the verb, with Second State mutation. Before a form of bos beginning with a vowel assa is clipped to ass. For example:

Assa vëdh rial!

‘That will be splendid!’

Ass osta fol!

‘What an idiot you are!’


Here are a couple more new words.

porcyon portion, yahus healthy (good for health)

Practys Try Ugans – Exercise Sixty

Tùbmas ha’y gothman Hecka re wrug prena pysk hag asclas ganso.


Yma calj asclas genef obma. Re gà nùmber. Eus whans dhis kemeres an re-ma dhyworta vy?


Wèl, eus! Meur ras. Scant ny vëdh asclas lowr dhybm in udn porcyon.


Re dew osta. Yahus nyns yw.


Ogh, ass esta ’predery re ’dro dhe’n yêhes!


Nyns esta jy ow predery lowr.


Avorow me a wra debry salad.


Mès an Avorow, ny vëdh devedhys nefra.


In Cornish nouns may be singular, plural or collective. It is also possible to combine the numeral dew / dyw with the singular of a noun to express the idea of ‘two together’. Sometimes this is straightforward word-building, as in dywros ‘bicycle’, making a new singular noun that then has its own plural dywrosow ‘bicycles’. But in the case of paired parts of the body the resulting combination is considered to be a ‘dual’ form of the noun, rather than an entirely new word.

In spoken Cornish the only very common dual is dêwla ‘(two) hands’, formed from leuv ‘hand’ (only in fixed phrases in speech, especially shakya leuv ‘shake hands’), and distinguished from dorn ‘hand (in action)’ and dornow ‘hands (in action)’. Dêwlin ‘(two) knees’ formed from glin ‘knee’ is relatively common.

Here are some duals from the literary language that are occasionally heard in speech: dewfrik ‘nose’ (formed from frig ‘nostril’), dewlagas formed from lagas ‘eye’, dywscoth formed from scoodh ‘shoulder’, dywvregh formed from bregh ‘arm’. But in conversational Cornish you are more likely to hear frigow, lagasow, scodhow, brehow.

You should not assume that all body pairings can be expressed as a dual in Cornish. For instance, troos is ‘foot’, but for ‘feet’ we always use plural treys; there is no authentic dual form.

Because numeral dew / dyw itself is followed by Second State mutation, some apply Second State to a following adjective after any dual. But there is no historical ground for such an approach. A better way is to put attributive adjectives after duals into Second State only if they are formed from feminine nouns. So dewlagas should be followed by First State because lagas is masculine. But dêwla and dywvregh should be followed by Second State since leuv and bregh are feminine. Thus dewlagas blou ‘blue eyes’, dêwla dobm ‘warm hands’, dywvregh grev ‘strong arms’.

Model answers for the exercises in this Lesson Thirteen

Click or tap here




Indirect statement with fatell

Here is an example of reporting ‘direct speech’.

Hy a leverys, “Kernowek yw tavas bew.”

She said, “Cornish is a living language.”

'Indirect statement’ most typically occurs when we report what someone says (or thinks) without giving their words as an exact quotation. Cornish can construct an indirect statement in a variety of ways. Probably the easiest is to use fatell. For example:

Hy a leverys fatell o Kernowek tavas bew.

‘She said that (literally ‘how’) Cornish was a living language.’

Or more colloquially

Hy a lavaras tr’yw Kernowek tavas bew.

‘She said Cornish is a living language.’

There are several points to note.

First, fatell can be clipped to tell or colloquially it may become ter (abbreviated to tr’ before forms of bos beginning with a vowel) when it is used to mean ‘that’ introducing the indirect statement. Fatla, the alternative word for ‘how’, is not employed in this role. And whereas in English we may omit ‘that’ at the beginning of the indirect statement, fatell (tell, ter, tr’) is an essential introductory word; it cannot be dropped.

Secondly, if the verb of saying etc is in a past tense (imperfect or preterite) but the verb of the indirect statement is in the present tense, then we change the present tense in the indirect statement to past tense (imperfect or preterite as the sense requires). This is called the ‘rule of sequence of tenses’. It derives from the grammar of classical Latin. But we must acknowledge that it is frequently ignored these days in all but the most formal usage.

There is a third important feature of indirect statement. Pronouns often need to be changed. For example:

Hy a leverys, “Yth esof ow colhy ow blew.”

She said, “I’m washing my hair.”

Hy a leverys fatell esa hy ow colhy hy blew.

‘She said that she was washing her hair.’

Or more colloquially

Hy a lavaras tr’ujy hy colhy hy blew.

‘She said she’s washing her hair.’

After fatell, tell, tr’ we employ eus, usy, usons as appropriate, not yma, ymowns.


Here are a few more new words.

Normandy Normandy, perfeth perfect, ranjy flat, apartment, Sèn Malow Sant-Maloù (French, Saint-Malo)

Practys Onen ha Try Ugans – Exercise Sixty One

Yma Powl hag Elen ow tôwlel towl a’ga degolyow hâv.


Hedhyw yth esen vy ow côwsel orth Jack i’n sodhva. Ev êth gans y deylu dhe Vreten Vian warleny. Ha Jack a lavaras fatell yw an pow perfeth rag degolyow hâv.


Yth esof ow perthy cov a Sèn Malow, fatell yw an dre ha’y fosow coth fest teg.


Jack a lavaras tr’esens y oll trigys dyw seythen in Sèn Malow, ha tell wrussons y vysytya lies tyller meur aga les in Breten Vian hag in Normandy inwedh.


Me a vydn whythra nebes i’n gwias. Ranjiow hâv ha prîsyow.

Practys Dew ha Try Ugans – Exercise Sixty Two

How would you say the following in Cornish?

They report that the weather will be fine tomorrow. I decided just one is enough. We thought your performance was splendid. I’ll tell her that you’re ill. He argued the conference had been a great success.

Indirect statement with dell

Dell, meaning literally ‘as’, is another word that can be used to introduce an indirect statement. For example:

Hy a leverys dell o Kernowek tavas bew.

She said that Cornish was a living language.

In this usage dell may colloquially become der (abbreviated to dr’ before forms of bos beginning with a vowel). Sequence of tenses and changing pronouns as for fatell. There is a strong stylistic tendency to move the grammatical subject of what was said, if it is a noun, so that it stands in front of dell. Thus, hy a leverys Kernowek dell o tavas bew is better Cornish.

After dell, dr’ we employ eus, usy, usons as appropriate, not yma, ymowns.

Now try doing Exercise 62 again, but this time using dell and its variants instead of fatell and its variants.


Here are some more new words.

an pëth what (followed by adjectival clause), Bretonek Breton (language), descryvyans description, hevleny this year, person person, plâss place

Practys Try ha Try Ugans – Exercise Sixty Three

Yma Elen ow terivas an pëth a wrug hy cafos i’n gwias.


Holergh on ny in gwir. Hevleny lies ranjy yw kemerys solabrës. Saw me a gafas hebma hag a wrug erhy dystowgh.


Yma’n descryvyans a’n ranjy-ma ow tysqwedhes dell yw va brâs lowr dhe whe person.


Ytho chambour dhe Demelsa hy honen oll.


Ha tell eus vu wàr an mor. Ny vydnaf vy leverel an pris dell yw onen isel vëth, mès an plâss yw fytty heb dowt. Ober dâ, Elen.


Mabm a leverys tell vëdh fytty i’wedh mar mydnaf vy desky nebes Bretonek lebmyn, dhyrag an degolyow. Fatla, ny wòn màn! Gans oll an TODN kefrës!


Only nebes geryow, Demelsa! In Sèn Malow nyns yw Bretonek namoy côwsys gans lies huny. Soweth!

Saying ‘almost’

Cornish has several ways of saying ‘almost’. We can substitute particle namna for affirmative particle y. We employ Second State mutation after namna; and we use namnag before forms of bos beginning with a vowel. For example, namna wrug ev codha ‘he almost fell’ and namnag yw naw eur ‘it’s almost nine o’clock’. After namnag we employ eus, usy, usons as appropriate, not yma, ymowns.

Otherwise we can use the word ogasty ‘almost’. Ev a wrug codha ogasty ‘he almost fell’. The word is particularly useful as a short response. A wrusta codha? Ogasty! ‘Did you fall? Almost!

With an adjective we can also just say ogas, meaning literally ‘near’. For instance, ogas gorfednys ‘almost finished’. Before a noun, a pronoun or a numeral we use ogas ha: for example, ogas ha mothow ‘almost a disaster’, ogas ha pùbonen ‘almost everyone’, ogas hag ugans ‘almost twenty’.


Here are a few more new words.

cowl-dhyfygys exhausted, burnt out, perthyans patience, truan poor (to be pitied)

Practys Peswar ha Try Ugans – Exercise Sixty Four

Demelsa re wrug seny hy crowd in menestrouthy cowethas drâma in Trûrû, ha gelwys veu Powl hag Elen dhe gyffewy wosa an performans.


Namnag yw hanter-nos! Peur hyllyn ny dybarth worteweth?


Perthyans, Powl. Sqwith on ny agan dew. Ple ma Demelsa?


Dres ena. Ow tôwlel hy honen ogasty wàr an maw re sêmly-na.


Hmm, prës yw dybarth in gwir. Demelsa, os ogas parys dhe’n fordh?


Eâ sur! Desempys iredy. Gas vy dhe gemeres ow crowd.


Mar pleg. Ogas ha dêwdhek eur solabrës. Ha’n Dama Wydn ow floghcovia lies our.


Res yw bos avorow i’n scol dhe jy, Demelsa. Ha dhybmo bos i’n clojy avarr.


Da weles, Jonathan. Y yw spênys oll, ow Mabm ha Tas truan. Ma otham gà gorra dhe’n gwely.

Spênys oll means ‘exhausted’.

More about prefix om

In Lesson Eight we saw how prefix om is one way of expressing a reflexive verb where the sense is ‘oneself’. The prefix is also used to form a reciprocal verb where the sense is ‘each other’. So we can say, for example, anjy a vydn omvetya ‘they are going to meet up’.

Frequently, however, we express a reciprocal with the phrase an eyl y gela. For example, ymowns y ow scodhya an eyl y gela pùb termyn ‘they always support one another’. The formula an eyl y gela is invariable, but it can be split by a preposition. For example, ny a wrug metya an eyl gans y gela lies bledhen alebma ‘we met each other many years ago’.

We may optionally substitute hy ben for y gela if the reference is exclusively feminine. It is possible to say either an cathas a aspias an eyl y gela i’n strêt or an cathas a aspias an eyl hy ben i’n strêt ‘the cats saw each other in the street’. But if ‘the dog and the cat fought each other in the street’, then we can only say an ky ha’n gath a wrug omlath an eyl gans y gela i’n strêt.


Here are some more new words.

felshyp friendship, omdava contact (one another), scodhya support

Omsensy means ‘feel, consider’ (of emotions or mind). It is derived from the basic verb sensy meaning ‘hold’.

Practys Pymp ha Try Ugans – Exercise Sixty Five

Yma Demelsa ha’y hothman Alys ow scodhya an eyl hy ben. Lower dëdh yma Mark ha Danyel ow qwary trainow munys an eyl gans y gela. Mès pòr gales yw dhe Demelsa ha’y breder cafos taclow dhe les kebmyn. Traweythyow, ytho, nyns usons y owth acordya an eyl orth y gela yn tâ. Yma Demelsa hag Alys owth omvetya pùb dëdh ogasty. Yn fenowgh ymowns y owth omdava dre vainys socyal inwedh. Yma Demelsa owth omsensy hy felshyp gans Alys dell yw tra a bris brâs.

Trainow munys means ‘model railway(s)’.

Asking ‘how much’ and ‘how many’

To ask ‘how much’ we can use pygebmys or py seul as in pygebmys mona eus genes? or py seul mona eus genes? ‘how much money have you got [on you]?’

When used with a plural noun pygebmys and py seul mean ‘how many’, as in pygebmys / py seul chairys eus i’n rom? ‘how many chairs are there in the room?’ But pan[a] lies or py lies, followed by a singular noun, is more common than pygebmys (py seul) in this sense. Pygebmys (py seul) is however always used with a collective noun.

We connect the pygebmys (py seul) or pan[a] / py lies phrase to the verb with link particle a followed by Second State mutation if it is the subject or object of the verb, and with affirmative particle y followed by Fifth State mutation in other cases. Particle is omitted before forms of bos beginning with a vowel. Affirmative particle y becomes yth before a vowel. For example, pygebmys caretys a vynta kemeres? ‘how many carrots would you like?’ and py lies our y fëdh res dhyn gortos? ‘how many hours will we have to wait?’ However, in colloquial Cornish the link particle is frequently substituted for affirmative particle y after a question word or phrase, and the particle then disappears as usual before vowels in bos). This practice is especially common when the question is made with pan or pana. So we may also say pan lies our a vëdh res dhyn gortos?

We can use pygebmys? on its own for a quick question ‘how much?’ without a full sentence But ‘how much?’ when enquiring about the price of something is pana bris? For ‘how many?’ without a full sentence we always say py seul?


Here are some more new words.

bardh bard, bern concern, dasvêwor revivalist, fur wise, sensible, gwythresek active, Kembrek Welsh (language), kesobery co-operate, present present, profya offer

Practys Whe ha Try Ugans – Exercise Sixty Six

Pygebmys a wodhowgh adro dhe’n Kernowek ha’y istory? Fatl’yw an perthynas inter Kernowek, Bretonek ha Kembrek? Pana lies bledhen alebma y feu scrifys an cotha textow Kernowek usy genen whath? Fatell eson ny owth ûsya oll an textow rag dasvêwa tavas fytty dhe’n dedhyow hedhyw? Fatla wrug an kensa dasvêworyon kesobery an eyl gans y gela? Pëth usy an bobel wythresek ow qwil i’n present termyn? Fatl’yw gàs opynyon a’ga spêda?

A wodhowgh why gortheby dhe bùb qwestyon? Pòr dhâ. Saw gwrewgh remembra: an bardh Caradar a leverys yn fur dell yw cows Kernowek moy y vern ages cows adro dhe’n Kernowek. Gwrewgh assaya! Pan lies gorthyp a yllowgh why profya in Kernowek?

Indirect question

An indirect question adjusts the pronoun and the tense just as occurs for an indirect statement. For example:

Me a wovydnas orty, “Esta ow colhy dha vlew.”

I asked her, “Are you washing your hair.”

Me a wovydnas orty mars esa hy ow colhy hy blew.

I asked her if she was washing her hair.

Just as for indirect statement, the tense of the indirect question is often left unadjusted these days in less formal usage. Mar (mars) corresponds exactly to English ‘if’ beginning a closed indirect queston.

Practys Seyth ha Try Ugans – Exercise Sixty Seven

How would you say the following in Cornish?

We asked them if they had enough money to buy all the pizzas. I enquired if she still had a cold. They’ll ask how much is a second class ticket from Truro to London. If you’re asking who cares, the answer is ‘No one’. Shall I ask him when and where he found it?

Colloquial Cornish

Prepositions are typically unstressed, and they are sometimes spelled to reflect weakened pronunciation. So instead of gans, orth, dhyworth you may encounter gèn, ort, dhort. Refer back to Exercise 36. The preposition in can appear as en or et. And inter may appear as tredh.

Model answers for the exercises in this Lesson Fourteen

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Indirect statement with infinitive construction

Another common way of expressing indirect statement is to use a clause employing the so called ‘infinite’ or ‘infinitive’ construction. This comprises noun / pronoun + dhe + verb-noun. For example:

Hy a leverys Kernowek dhe vos tavas bew.

Literally, ‘She said Cornish to be a living language.’

We change pronouns as for fatell and dell.

Hy a leverys, “Yth esof ow colhy ow blew.”

She said, “I'm washing my hair.“

Hy a leverys hy dhe wolhy hy blew.

Literally, ‘She said she to wash her hair.’ or

Hy a leverys hy dhe vos ow colhy hy blew.

Literally, ‘She said she to be washing her hair.’

With this construction there is no need to worry about choosing a tense for the indirect statement. On the other hand, it may be more difficult to understand what time is intended. We must rely on the context to make that clear.

Thus, Hy a leverys Kernowek dhe vos tavas bew could mean any of:

‘She said that Cornish had been a living language.’ or

‘She said that Cornish was a living language.’ if we opt not to adjust the tense

(Her actual words: “Cornish was a living language.”)


‘She said that Cornish was a living language.’ or

‘She said that Cornish is a living language.’ if we opt not to adjust the tense

(Her actual words: “Cornish is a living language.”)


‘She said that Cornish would be a living language.’ or

‘She said that Cornish will be a living language.’ if we opt not to adjust the tense

(Her actual words: “Cornish will be a living language.”)

As you can see, modern English is not wholly without ambiguity. But the degree of ambiguity is much greater in Cornish when we employ the infinitive construction.

If you are worried about the temporal ambiguity when using this construction, you can add a clarifying adverb or adverbial phrase. In the case of the example you could say Hy a leverys Kernowek dhe vos tavas bew i’n jëdh hedhyw. But the original spoken words were, you recall, simply Kernowek yw tavas bew. It may be dangerous to embroider them – here the added phrase perhaps makes the statement more limited or more emphatic than the speaker may have intended.

Practys Eth ha Try Ugans – Exercise Sixty Eight

How would you say the following in Cornish? Provide three sentences for each: using fatell and related words, employing dell and related words, and using the infinitive construction.

I said it was the silliest idea I had heard in many years. He reports that everyone has the equipment they need. It is amazing that she walks three miles to lectures every morning. Did your father say he agreed? Mark felt, after a dreadful first half, that his favourite team had already lost the match.


Here are some more new words.

alwheth key, carten card, coronal colonel, grassa (dhe nebonen) thank (someone), gwary bord board game, kedhow mustard, keslowena congratulations, lovan rope, mùrder murder, Pywdô Cluedo®, stevel room, tyby think (an idea)

Practys Naw ha Try Ugans – Exercise Sixty Nine

Danyel re drouvyas an gwary bord Pywdô.


Mabm! Fest lowen oma. Mark ha Demelsa, anjy a gollas. Aga dew! Ha my a wrug gwainya!


Fatla wrusta hedna, Danyel?


Kyns oll, me a wrug tyby Mêstresyk Redrudh dhe wil an mùrder i’n hel dauncya gans an lovan. Hèn o cabm yn tien.


Ha pandra wrusta tyby nessa?


Coronal Kedhow dhe wil an mùrder i’n gegyn gans an alwheth know.


O hedna gwir?


Nag o, soweth. Ena me a jaunjyas only an stevel. Me a leverys an mùrder dhe vos gwrës i’n rom studhya. Ha gans Mark nyns esa carten vëth. Na gèn Demelsa. Na genef vy naneyl. Ytho hèn o gwir glân – ha my a wrug gwainya!


Keslowena! Now remember grassa dhe Demelsa ha Mark a dhesky an gwary dhyso.

Alwheth know means ‘spanner’.

Remember is the inflected imperative (addressing one person) of remembra.

Some other uses of the infinitive construction

The infinitive construction is also employed in certain other situations.

It may be used with govenek ‘hope’. For example, yma govenek dhedhy ev dhe bassya y apposyans ‘She hopes he’ll pass his exam’.

It can be employed with otham ‘need’. For instance, ma otham dhèm why dhe waya gàs carr ‘I need you to move your car’.

We may use the infinitive construction with whans ‘wish’. For example, yma whans dhedha ty dhe dhos dhe’n kyffewy ‘they want you to come to the party’.

The infinitive construction is also employed with res ‘necessity’ when making an assertive inference. For instance, res yw why dhe gôwsel Kernowek in Yêth an Weryn ‘you must have been speaking Cornish at Yeth an Werin’. Contrast res yw dhywgh côwsel Kernowek in Yêth an Weryn ‘you must speak Cornish at Yeth an Werin’, expressing obligation. And remember that res requires the short forms of verb bos.


Here are a few more new words.

arayans layout (also arrangement), cortes polite, grassyans gratitude

Practys Deg ha Try Ugans – Exercise Seventy

Otta Danyel ha’y rassyans ev.


Gromercy, Demelsa, te dhe wary Pywdô genama.


Res yw Mabm dhe erhy hebma dhis. Wèl, cortes teg osta, ytho my a vëdh cortes inwedh. Bÿth na lavar a’n dra, Danyel! Pywdô yw gwary a’n cotha in gwir, mès y brevy unweyth arta a veu showr a wherthyn. 


Mark, gromercy ty kefrës dhe wary genam.


Dâ lowr, Danyel. Ow thro vy lebmyn. Yma otham dhybm ty dhe dhos ha gorfedna genef arayans nowyth dhe’n trainow munys.

Bÿth na lavar a’n dra means ‘Don’t mention it’, politely acknowledging someone’s thanks.

’If’ construction with dos

Mar ‘if’ is often combined with inflected forms of verb dos, and these are followed by ha + verb-noun. For example:

mar teuv vy (or teuma) ha redya 'if I read' )literally, ‘if I come and read’)

mar têta ha redya 'if you read'

mar teuva ha redya 'if he reads'

mar teu hy ha redya 'if she reads'

mar teun ny ha redya 'if we read'

mar tewgh why ha redya 'if you read' (plural or stranger)

mar towns y ha redya 'if they read'

So we could say, for instance, mar teuv vy ha redya an lyver-ma, me a yll desky moy Kernowek ‘if I read this book I can learn more Cornish’.

We use either particle ny (more common) or particle na to make a negative ‘if’ clause. As usual, these become respectively nyns and nag before forms of bos beginning with a vowel. So we might say, for example:

Mar ny (or na) dheta ha checkya an wiasva, ny wodhes py fordhow yw degës. ‘If you don’t check the website, you won’t know which roads are closed.’

As always, we generally substitute hag for ha in front of a vowel. For instance, why a vëdh attês mar tewgh hag esedha obma ‘you’ll be comfortable if you sit here’.


Here are some more new words.

aysel vinegar, larj generous, olew olive oil, plegadow wish, inclination, sêsnans dressing (for salad)

Practys Udnek ha Try Ugans – Exercise Seventy One 

Tùbmas ha Hecka êth dhe dhebry salad.


(dhe was an boosty) Yma whans dhybm erhy an salad.


Ha dhybmo kefrës.


(dhe Hecka) Ha mar teuma hag erhy borger gans an salad, le gwag vedhaf vy dohajëdh pàr hap.


Ogh, Tùbmas!


(dhe’n gwas) Mara teuv vy ha govyn borger, a vëdh keus warnodho?


Mars owgh plegys, syra. Ha mar tewgh hag erhy an borger, why a yll kemeres asclas ganso inwedh.


Tùbmas, nâ! Asclas ny a dhebras de.


Dâ lowr. Asclejen vëth, mès borger ha keus wàr ev. Ha’n salad, mar pleg.


Ha pan vaner sêsnans wàr agas salad?


Olew hag aysel a vëdh dâ.


Maras yw res debry salad, tabm whecka tra yw flegadow vy. Me a vydn kemeres porcyon larj a sêsnans mil enys.

Mara is an alternative form of mar ‘if’ and maras is an alternative form of mars.

Talking about sand

The ordinary word for ‘sand’ when it is on the seashore is treth. The tendency to interpret treth as ‘beach’ is understandable, but treth can in fact be any sandy place that is like the seashore: a sand pit in a children’s play area, for instance. And not every beach will be treth – if the beach is shingle, that will just be bùly bian (‘pebbles’) ryb an mor. Other Cornish words may correspond to English ‘sand’. A sand dune is towan. Sand as a material, or occurring naturally inland, is tewas. Note that treth has a colloquial alternative dreth.

Practys Dêwdhek ha Try Ugans – Exercise Seventy Two

It’s a warm weekend and the Tonkins are relaxing on a Cornish beach. Look at the picture below. What can you talk about, using all you have learned so far? You can say what is not in the picture as well. Ask questions about it too.

Extra vocabulary: bùcket bucket, castel castle, gwedrow howl pl sunglasses, hot hat, towal towel

Model answers for the exercises in this Lesson Fifteen

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Indirect statement with bos clause

To express an indirect statement when the tense of the actual words is present we may substitute a ‘bos clause’ for an infinitive construction. For example:

Hy a leverys bos Kernowek tavas bew.

‘She said that Cornish was a living language.’

Here bos Kernowek is akin to a genitive construction. Literally, the meaning is ‘She said Cornish’s being a living language.’

The form of a bos clause resolves the ambiguity inherent in the infinitive construction, because its use as an indirect statement signals the actual words must have been “Kernowek yw tavas bew.”

Usually in Cornish, as we have learned, possessive pronouns are employed with a verb-noun to indicate a direct object. But in the case of a bos clause, exceptionally, the possessive pronoun will refer to the grammatical subject. For instance:

Hy a leverys y vos tavas bew.

‘She said that it (Cornish) was a living language.’

(Literally, ‘She said its being a living language.’)

For greater clarity we often prefer to use special personal forms of verb-noun bos instead.


Hy a leverys dha vos ow côwsel Kernowek yn tâ.

may also be expressed as

Hy a leverys y bosta ow côwsel Kernowek yn tâ.

‘She said that you speak Cornish well.’

Here are all the personal forms of verb-noun bos. The initial y in these forms is a merely a ‘dummy’ that causes no mutation. It is not the affirmative particle y that is regularly followed by Fifth State mutation.

bosaf vy or y bosama 'that I am / was'

y bosta 'that you are / were'

y bos ev 'that he is / was' or 'that it is / was' (masculine reference)

y bos hy 'that she is / was' or 'that it is / was' (feminine reference)

y boson ny 'that we are / were'

y bosowgh why 'that you are / were' (plural or stranger)

y bosans y 'that they are / were'

So putting all this together:

Hy a leverys, “Th’eroma colhy ow blew.”


Hy a leverys hy bos ow colhy hy blew.


Hy a leverys y bos hy ow colhy hy blew.

Bos clause in other situations

A bos clause may replace an infinitive construction in any situation where the reference is present as opposed to future or past. So we might for instance say either res yw ty dhe vos muscok or res yw dha vos muscok ‘you must be mad’. Contrast the examples with govenek, otham, whans and res in Lesson Fifteen, where in each case the reference was either future or past, so a bos clause would not be a possible alternative.

Indirect statement expressed with affirmative particle y

Whenever the actual words begin with affirmative particle (yth), we are permitted to retain them as an indirect statement, adjusting the pronoun and optionally adjusting the tense as usual. So a further possibility will be Hy a leverys yth esa (or yma) hy ow colhy hy blew.

Indirect statement with fronted subject

There is another way of tackling indirect statement when its subject is positioned before the verb (connected by link particle a) and the actual words are future or preterite (or employ any inflected tense of the principal verb). If the actual words are for instance “Me a vydn (or wra) golhy ow blew” or “Me a wrug golhy ow blew” or “Me a wolhas ow blew”, then we can simply retain these words as an indirect statement (adjusting the pronoun), saying Hy a leverys hy a vydn (or wra) golhy hy blew or Hy a leverys hy a wrug golhy hy blew or Hy a leverys hy a wolhas hy blew as appropriate.

This way of forming an indirect statement is shunned by many speakers of Cornish today, perhaps because it is too reminiscent of English grammar. Certainly it will be poor style to express every relevant indirect statement in this manner, to the exclusion of other possibilities. But there can be no harm in using the method judiciously.

Very limited interchangeability of short and long forms

If the predicate is an adjective, yma and ymowns may be substituted for usual yw / yns. Imperfect esa / esens may not be substituted for o / êns. But we do sometimes encounter o / êns where esa / esens would more strictly be required.


Here are some more new words.

dystrôwy destroy, genesyk native, kepar dell2 just as / like, porth harbour (also cove), prowt proud, settya set

Practys Tredhek ha Try Ugans – Exercise Seventy Three

An teylu Tonkin yw devedhys in Sèn Malow.


A allaf vy mos ow honen oll dhe’n dre in mes?


Na yllyth. Kepar dell in Trûrû, res yw dhe jy mos gèn Mabm pò Tas pò Demelsa pùpprës. Naneyl ny allama vy mos ow honen oll, saw in cres an dre yn unsel.


Pandr’yw dhe weles obma?


Wèl, an mor, ha’n porth. Ha cals istory. Fosow settys adro dhe’n dre goth. Ny a yll kerdhes warnodhans. Yma an dre teg – mars yw dâ genes tyleryow a’n par-na. Tas a lavaras tell yw Sèn Malow udn dre a veu dystrôwys in Secùnd Gwerryans an Bÿs. Ha leverel y bosans y prowt a’y byldya arta dres lies bledhen.


A yllyn ny côwsel Sowsnek orth an bobel?


Ymowns y oll ow côwsel Frynkek. Me a wor nebes geryow deskys i’n scol. Yma darn a’n dus ow côwsel Bretonek kefrës, saw ma meur moy Bretonek i’n pow dhe’n west. Demelsa a dhescas tabm Bretonek. An kensa chaptra a’y lyver hy! Ma hy ow leverel bos res dysqwedhes revrons dhe bobel ha’ga thavas genesyk mars eson ny ow qwetyas revrons dhe’n Kernowek. A wosta? Bretonek ha Kernowek yw kenderow an eyl dh’y gela.


Now kenderow yw dhe wil revrons dhodho. Mabm a leverys hedna lower mis alebma, i’n carr, ow mos dhe vysytya Jûlyan in Keresk. Orth pobel obma i’n dre dhana – my a vydn côwsel Kernowek.

Le meaning ‘place’

Le ‘less’ should not be confused with le ‘place’. The usual words for ‘place’ are tyller and plâss, but the old word le ‘place’ is still employed in certain fixed expressions. We have already met py le ‘where’ and in le ‘instead of’. To these we can add in neb le ‘somewhere, anywhere’ and in pùb le ‘everywhere’. And may ‘where’ is regularly strengthened to le may whenever it has no specific antecedent. For example:

Ev êth le may hylly ev cafos dewas.

‘He went where he could get a drink.’

Likewise, we employ le na if the ‘where’ clause is negative. For example:

Ev êth le na wodhyn ny y gafos.

‘He went where we could not find him.’

We sometimes find le may / le na used when may alone, or ma na in a negative context, would be enough. In these cases, a comma is appropriate in writing.

Ev êth dhe’n tavern, le may hylly ev cafos dewas.

‘He went to the pub, where he could get a drink.’

Ev êth dhe Loundres, le na yllyn ny y gafos.

‘He went to London, where we could not find him.’

Colloquially le may can become le’ma, lebma or leba.

Conjunction pàn

We cannot use may to mean ‘when’ or ma na ‘when not’ if there is no specific antecedent. Instead we employ the conjunction pàn. This is followed by Second State mutation. The negative equivalent is pàn na, followed by Second State, or pàn nag before forms of bos beginning with a vowel. For example:

Pàn wrussyn ny vysytya Trûrû, pòr dhâ veu an beneglos genen.

‘When we visited Truro, we really liked the cathedral.’

Me a gemeras marth pàn na wrug ev dos adermyn.

‘I was astonished when he did not arrive on time.’

Occasionally pàn / pàn na is used even though may / ma na would also be possible. For example, we might say either of the following:

An kydnyaf yw an sêson may ma an del ow codha dhywar an gwëdh.

An kydnyaf yw an sêson pàn usy an del ow codha dhywar an gwëdh.

‘Autumn is the season when the leaves drop from the trees.’

When the action or state of the verb is continuous, pàn is equivalent both to ‘when’ and also to English ‘while’. For example, ny a wrug gweles lies gùlan pàn esen ny ow kerdhes wàr an âls ‘we saw many gulls when (while) we were walking on the cliff’.

For now, you should employ pàn with past tenses only. You will need a little more grammar to handle pàn correctly in other situations. That will come in Book Three. And you must be careful not to confuse pàn ‘when’ (short vowel) with pan ‘what’ (longer vowel).

Colloquially pàn is often heard as pà, and it can be so written. Note also the irregular particle that may be inserted in idiomatic phrases like pàn th’esa dyweth an vledhen ‘at the end of the year’.

Practys Peswardhek ha Try Ugans – Exercise Seventy Four

How would you say the following in Cornish?

When there was a lot of snow last winter, we couldn’t drive on these roads at all. I met your friend Alys while I was visiting Truro. That must be the time I had flu. Once they had finished their supper they sat and watched a film. I was shocked when they told me what they had done.


Here are some more new words.

Eglos Melan Mullion, Kembra Wales, peneglos cathedral, sans holy, semlant appearance

Practys Pymthek ha Try Ugans – Exercise Seventy Five

Yma an teylu Tonkin ow vysytya an Beneglos in Sèn Malow.


Kerys dhybm yw an beneglos-ma. Hy yw meur cotha ès an beneglos in Trûrû.


Nebes radnow inhy a veu byldys i’n dêwdhegves cansbledhen. Byldyes o an beneglos in Trûrû i’n nawnjegves. Onen a’n nowetha peneglosyow in Breten Veur yw hodna.


A wrug Malow, an den sans, byldya an eglos-ma pà veuva devedhys in mes a Gembra?


Hèn o pell kyns, i’n wheffes cansbledhen.


Ha pàn nag o va devedhys dhe’n Vreten Vian na whath, yth esa ev trigys in Eglos Melan in Kernow.


Hèn yw whedhel coth, Danyel, adar an gwir.


Gesowgh ny dhe gerdhes le may hyllyn ny miras wàr an Fenester Rosen.


Arnowyth yw, mès pòr deg hy semlant.

Model answers for the exercises in this Lesson Sixteen

Click or tap here




Negative indirect statement

A negative indirect statement is always introduced by na (occasionally dell na with transposed noun subject – see Lesson Fourteen). We apply Second State mutation after na and dell na. Before a vowel in forms of bos we use nag (dell nag). For example:

Hy a leverys, “Nyns yw Kernowek tavas bew.”

Hy a leverys nag o Kernowek tavas bew.

or occasionally

Hy a leverys Kernowek dell nag o tavas bew.

Sequence of tenses and changing of pronoun as for fatell and dell.

Hy a leverys, “Nyns esof ow colhy ow blew.”

Hy a leverys nag esa hy ow colhy hy blew.

‘She said that she was not washing her hair.’

or more colloquially

Hy a leverys nag usy hy ow colhy hy blew.

‘She said she isn’t washing her hair.’


Here are some more new words.

arvor coast, fram frame, Gwengamp Gwengamp (French, Guingamp), Lanuon Lannuon (French, Lannion), qwartron part of town (also direction), Sèn Briek Sant-Brieg (French, Saint-Brieuc)

Saying 'nor' 

Na means ‘nor’. It combines with possessive pronouns just like ha ‘and’. It likewise becomes nag – optionally but very frequently – when the next word begins with a vowel.

Practys Whêtek ha Try Ugans – Exercise Seventy Six

Udn jëdh a howl tobm, an teylu Tonkin êth i’n carr tro ha’n west. Anjy a erviras nag esa whans brâs dhedhans sevel in Sèn Briek pò Gwengamp. Y a wrug pêsya bys in Lanuon. An lies chy fram predn in qwartron coth an dre-na o pòr sêmly dh’aga syght; dell o kefrës an eglos wàr an vre awartha. Acordys veu Elen ha Demelsa nag o Sèn Malow hanter mar dhynyak. Wosa prës ly an pymp a lewyas dhe’n arvor in rag. Ena yth esa Elen ha Demelsa owth omhowla gà honen yn lowen, ha Danyel a dhalathas byldya castel treth. Mark a leverys na vydn maw fur gwil an eyl tra na’y gela, hag yth esa ev ow qwary gwyls lowr gans y das i’n mor.

Chy fram means ‘timber frame house’.

Conjunction kyn(th)

To say ‘though’ or ‘although’ introducing what is called a ‘concessive clause’ we use kyn. This is followed by Fifth State mutation. But before a verb beginning with a vowel or h the form is kynth. For example:

Kyn whrug ev ûsya mappa, ev êth bytegyns wàr stray.

‘Although he used a map, he still got lost.’

Kynth esen ny ow coslowes gans rach, ny wrussyn ny clôwes tra vëth.

‘Though we were listening carefully, we didn’t hear anything.’

After kynth we employ eus, usy, usons as appropriate. We do not say kyn yma or kyn ymowns.

We use kyn na if the concessive clause is negative. This is followed by Second State mutation. Before a form of bos beginning with a vowel kyn nag takes its place. For instance:

Kyn na allama bos i’n class an dhyw seythen usy ow tos, me a wra studhya an lessons chy.

‘Although I can’t attend class the next couple of weeks, I’ll study the lessons at home.’

Kyn nag eus lies ehen coref i’n tavern-ma, an re usy obma yw fest dâ.

‘Though there aren’t many beers in this pub, the ones they have are very good.’

Practys Seytek ha Try Ugans – Exercise Seventy Seven

How would you say the following in Cornish?

Although he is older than me, I’m wiser than he will ever be. Though there are plenty of buses, she chose to walk home, all the way from the city centre. There are only three toppings on this pizza though I certainly ordered four. We’re convinced they’re under a lot of stress although no one knows the reason. Though I studied three years at university, finding work is very hard.

Coordinating versus subordinating conjunctions

So far we have learned eight coordinating conjunctions: ha ‘and’, () ‘or’, poken ‘or else’, na ‘nor’, saw ‘but’, mès ‘but’, rag ‘for’, ytho ‘[and] so’. And by now we have also learned quite a number of subordinating conjunctions: mar ‘if’ and its negatives mar ny and (less often) mar na; dell (der, dr’) ‘as, also that’; fatell (tell, ter, tr’) ‘that’; na (occasionally dell na) ‘that … not’; may ‘so that’ and its negative ma na ‘so that … not’; pàn ‘when’ and its negative pàn na ‘when … not’; kyn ‘although’ and its negative kyn na ‘although … not’.

There is an essential difference between these two different types of conjunction. After a coordinating conjunction any kind of word may appear, depending entirely on the sense of what we wish to say. But a Cornish subordinating conjunction is always followed immediately by a verb, subject to just one exception that we shall learn in Cara Kernowek Book Three. If you ever find yourself saying or writing a noun, a pronoun, an adjective, an adverb or a preposition immediately after a subordinating conjunction, you can be sure straightaway that you are not employing Cornish grammar correctly.


Here are a couple more new words.

cresosek mediaeval, derivadow information (told or available for telling)

Practys Êtek ha Try Ugans – Exercise Seventy Eight

Kynth esa an howl ow spladna in Lanuon i’n jëdh kyns, an nessa myttyn o leun a law. An teylu Tonkin a wrug vysytya an hendrajy in castel cresosek Sèn Malow. Istory an dre yw hir. Yma lowr a dherivadow anodho i’n hendrajy, kyn nag yw va brâs y les dhe flehes martesen. Danyel a leverys y vos sqwith glân. Ogh soweth!

Saying ‘before’ and ‘after’

In English ‘before’ and ‘after’ may be used either as prepositions or as conjunctions. But Cornish kyns [ès] ‘before’ (occasionally dhyrag ‘ahead of’), wosa ‘after’, warlergh ‘after’ are only employed as prepositions. They may be used with a verb-noun when there is no change of subject. Otherwise they may be followed by an infinitive construction, and in this usage they are equivalent to the corresponding English conjunctions.

Here are a couple of examples with a verb-noun.

Me a wrug alwhedha an daras kyns [ès] mos dhe’n gwely.

‘I locked the door before going to bed.’

Wosa vysytya lies gwiasva ev o moy ancombrys vëth.

‘After visiting a lot of websites he was even more confused.’

Here are a couple of examples with an infinitive construction.

Yth esen vy solabrës ow wherthyn kyns ès ev dhe worfedna an ges.

‘I was already laughing before he had finished the joke.’

Warlergh my dhe bassya an apposyans oll an teylu a wrug gôlya gans kyffewy.

‘After I passed the exam the whole family celebrated with a party.’

Here are a couple of examples with a bos clause.

Wosa bos y das marow ev a werthas an chy.

‘After his father died he sold the house.’

Hy a dheuth ajy kyns y vos parys.

‘She came in before he was ready.’

Though we can employ either kyns or kyns ès with a noun (including a verb-noun) and a bos clause, we may only use kyns ès with a pronoun or an infinitive construction. Kyns ages occurs rarely instead of kyns ès.

Kyns has an alternative clipped form kyn that is optionally used in the compound preposition kyn[s] pedn ‘by the end of, within (a period of time)’. Be careful not to confuse kyn[s] ‘before’ with kyn (kynth) ‘although’.

Kyns is a busy word. We have also encountered it when it is used as an adverb meaning ‘previously’; and in the phrase kyns oll ‘first [of all]’ (also ‘most importantly, above all’); and adjectivally to mean ‘former’ (always in First State).

Practys Nawnjek ha Try Ugans – Exercise Seventy Nine

How would you say the following in Cornish?

Didn’t you check the price before hurrying to order all that kit on-line? Will your brother be showing her the photos before she departs. I’ll do it before the end of the month. The police investigated the matter carefully after receiving your letter. We can get supper ready after this programme has finished.


Here are a couple more new words.

a verr spÿs soon, tour tower

Scon (also yn scon) and a verr spÿs both mean ‘soon’. Scon carries the idea of something happening quickly; a verr spÿs highlights the brevity of the intervening time. Spÿs has a parallel form speyss that some prefer.

Practys Peswar Ugans – Exercise Eighty

Kyns ès an teylu dhe dhybarth orth an hendrajy, y êth wàr an tour awartha rag aspia an vu. Yth esa an glaw ow codha whath yn fen. Glëb êns y dredhans a verr spÿs, wosa anjy dhe gerdhes dhe’n treth bian in dadn fosow an dre. Scant nyns eus den vëth dhe weles, drefen an gewar uthyk. Ervirys veu Elen bos otham mos muscok yn tien. In hy sagh yth esa oll an dyllas neyja. Ytho y a wrug lebmel, aga fymp, i’n todnow. Warlergh gwary ena yn whyls, nyns o Danyel sqwith màn namoy.

Model answers for the exercises in this Lesson Seventeen

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Asking ‘why’

Cornish says prag to ask ‘why’. In Book One we encountered it as a quick question on its own. It can also be built into a full sentence, in which case it must be followed by affirmative particle y (yth) in formal Cornish (for which link particle a may be substituted in more colloquial registers – it will then drop out before forms of bos beginning with a vowel). Remember that y causes Fifth State mutation; causes Second State mutation. For example:

Prag y whrug ev mos dhe Bosvena?

or more colloquially

Prag a wrug ev mos dhe Bosvena?

‘Why did he go to Bodmin?’

But prag is always followed by yma and ymowns (which have affirmative particle embedded in them), never by eus, usy or usons. For example, prag yma kebmys pobel obma? why are there so many people here?

When prag is used on its own, or comes at the end of a sentence, an extended form praga can optionally be used instead. For example:

Hy a wrug govyn praga.

‘She asked why.’

In Book One we encountered prag na ‘why not’ used as a question on its own. When this forms part of a sentence na is followed, as usual, by Second State mutation and nag is substituted for na before forms of bos beginning with a vowel. For example:

Prag na vydnowgh why côwsel Kernowek?

‘Why won’t you speak Cornish?’

Prag nag usons y i’n rom desky?

‘Why aren’t they in the classroom?’

Finally, we should note colloquial variants [rag] fraga and [rag] fra for both prag a and praga; colloquial variants [rag] fraga na and [rag] fra na for prag na.


Here are some more new words.

astel ober strike (industrial dispute), pobas bake, sens a ges sense of humour, slynk slippery (also masculine noun ‘slide’), trebuchya stumble, tu side, tùlla disappoint (also cheat, deceive), yar hen, chicken

Practys Onen ha Peswar Ugans – Exercise Eighty One


Prag y whrug an yar mos dres an fordh?

Cothman scol:

Na woram. Fraga rug hy nena mos dres an vor?


Rag dos bys i’n tu aral.

Cothman scol:

Dha sens a ges yw a’n lacka oll, a wosta?

Saying ‘because’

To give a reason we employ drefen, dre rêson, rag and awos. While any of these prepositions can mean ‘because of’, each one has its own peculiarities that must be observed.

Drefen is used with nouns (including verb-nouns), nominal clauses (that is, infinitive constructions and bos clauses), and na (nag) clauses. It may also be used like rag as a coordinating conjunction meaning ‘for’.

Dre rêson is used with ordinary nouns (not verb-nouns), nominal clauses, and na (nag) clauses. Dre rêson a is used with pronouns.

Preposition rag in the sense ‘because of’ is employed with infinitive constructions and with na (nag) clauses. And in the phrase rag hedna ‘therefore’. Otherwise it usually means ‘for’ (benefit or purpose). With a verb-noun its meaning is nearly always purpose – as in Danyel’s chicken joke (Exercise 81); but very occasionally we may encounter rag + verb-noun with some other meaning.

Awos is used in the sense ‘because of’ with nominal clauses, but not with na (nag) clauses, nor is it found before verb-nouns other than bos. With ordinary nouns and pronouns awos means ‘concerning’, ‘because of’, ‘in spite of’ according to context.

Practys Dew ha Peswar Ugans – Exercise Eighty Two

What do these sentences mean?

Ny a vydn kemeres kyttryn dre rêson an trainow dhe vos in astel ober. Contentys on ny dre rêson nag usy an kyttrynyow in astel ober. Hy a godhas awos bos an leder pòr serth. Why a vëdh saw teg drefen nag yw an stappys serth. Anjy a dheuth ha vysytya awos my dhe bobas tesen. Y coodh dhedhy mos dhe’n clojy drefen hy bos pòr glâv. Tùllys êns y dre rêson na wrug vy pobas tesen. An maw a drebuchyas rag yth esa rew slynk wàr an cauns. Me a wor bos an rew slynk, rag an maw a drebuchyas warnodho. An golsowysy a vëdh sqwith glân, drefen nyns eus tra vëth nowyth i’n performans-ma.


Here are some more new words.

Carrek Loos i’n Coos St Michael’s Mount, el angel, Dowr Tamar the River Tamar, empîr empire, Frank Frenchman, Meneth Myhâl Mont Saint-Michel, mytern king, Roman Roman

Practys Try ha Peswar Ugans – Exercise Eighty Three

Wosa dëdh a law uthyk, an howl re dheuth ha spladna arta. An teylu Tonkin yw gyllys tro ha’n ÿst, dhe vysytya Mont Saint-Michel.


Meneth Myhâl, prag yma ev in Normandy, adar Breten Vian?


Drefen an tyller dhe vos kemerys gans an Francas Coth orth dyweth an Empîr Roman.


Ha prag yth yw Meneth Myhâl y hanow?


Dre rêson an el Myhâl a wrug dysqwedhes y honen lies cansbledhen alebma hag erhy byldya eglos warnodho.


In gwrioneth?


Wèl, martesen. Yth esa an bobel ow cresy indelma.


Ha Carrek Loos i’n Coos a veu rës dhe eglos Meneth Myhâl gans an mytern a’n tu aral dhe Dowr Tamar. Hèn yw skyla hy hanow Sowsnek. Saw an meneth-ma yw meur brâssa, heb dowt.

Francas Coth: Demelsa is referring here to the Franks, a Germanic tribe that founded Neustria, one of the forerunners of modern France.

Conjunction abàn

To say ‘since’ with a clause we use abàn. Mutation and negative as for pàn (Lesson Sixteen). In English we can use ‘since’ to speak about time or to give a reason, and Cornish abàn can be used in both these ways too.

English can also employs ‘as’ to give a reason, but Cornish does not use dell in this sense. You should either use abàn or one of the ‘because’ words that were explained earlier in this Lesson.


Here are some more new words.

cler clear, desîr desire, kentrevak neighbour, tregas stay (in a place)

Kerdhes in mes gans means ‘see, date, go out with’ in the romantic sense.

Lawl is a conversational form of leverel ‘say’.

Practys Peswar ha Peswar Ugans – Exercise Eighty Four

What do the these sentences mean?

Meur moy lowen yw ow hentrevogyon abàn wrussons y dallath desky Kernowek. Convedhes ny wòn prag esta whath ow kerdhes in mes gèn an maw, abàn yw cler lowr y vos wor’ dha dùlla jy. Abàn na wra glaw ma’s yn scav, pàr hap y hyllyn ny ponya dy pòr uskys. Abàn esta ‘covyn, me ’ra leverel dhys. Wèl, dhe lawl an gwir, ha te ow covyn …

Practys Pymp ha Peswar Ugans – Exercise Eighty Five

Ogas yw dyweth degolyow an teylu in Breten Vian. Abàn veu gà thregas i’n pow pòr blesont, yma desîr dhodhans vysytya a verr spÿs arta, ha whythra moy a’n tyleryow yw mar byctùresk. Demelsa yw ervirys dhe dhesky Bretonek yn sad rag an nessa tro. An apposyansow TODN, scant ny wrug hy predery anodhans abàn yw hy devedhys i’n wlas-ma leun a daclow dhe les. Saw remembrys yns y lebmyn! A wrug hy gà fassya? Ha’ga fassya yn tâ? Warlergh nebes dedhyow hy a wra worteweth y wodhvos ...

Dhe les (literally, ‘to [one’s] interest’) is broader than English ‘interesting’. Depending on the context it may mean ‘useful’ or ‘valuable’. Frequently the sense embraces all these ideas.

Colloquial Cornish

Do not be shy to elide weak vowels. The a in an ‘the’ is weakest of all because it is purely a spelling convention: it is hyper-correct to pronounce it a and, if you do, you will create confusion with a’n ‘of the’. Though we may write yma an, for example, we nearly always say yma’n.

Likewise the vowel of dhe is often too weak to be heard in rapid speech. So although we might write dhe ev, we will generally say dh’ev.

Formal written Cornish marks only a few specific elisions. The reality of easy-flowing conversation is rather different. As well as words being run together, some words and phrases that begin with an unstressed vowel are often clipped, so that you may hear ’vell for avell, ’vorow for avorow, ’saya for assaya, ’dro-ma for an dro-ma ‘this time’, and so on.

Model answers for the exercises in this Lesson Eighteen

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The listing is comprehensive for what has been covered specifically in Books One and Two. 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.

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

a2 pron who / which (introducing adjectival clause)

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 verr speyss See a verr spÿs

a verr spÿs phr soon

a’y vodh phr willingly, gladly

abàn2 conj since

abarth prep on behalf of, in favour of (with nouns)

abarth dhe2 prep on behalf of, in favour of (with pronouns)

abecedary alphabet

abrës adv early

acordya agree

acordyng dhe2 prep according to

acowntyades f acowntyadesow female accountant

acowntyas m acowntysy accountant

adâl prep opposite (with nouns)

adâl dhe2 prep opposite (with pronouns)

adar prep apart from

addys adj additional, extra

adermyn adv on time

adhelergh dhe2 prep behind

adhevîs adv first class

adhewedhes adv late

adrëv prep behind (with nouns)

adrëv dhe2 prep behind (with pronouns)

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)

ages See ès

airêwnans air conditioning

ajy adv in(side)

ajy dhe2 prep inside

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

alwhedha lock

alwheth m alwhedhow key

alwheth know m alwhedhow spanner

amanyn butter

amary m amarys cupboard

amendya put right, mend

amêthyans agriculture

amowntyor dêwlin m amowntyoryon laptop (computer)

amowntyor legh m amowntyoryon tablet (computer)

an(2) definite article the

an Bardh Meur the Grand Bard

an eyl hy ben phr one another, each other (feminine reference)

an eyl y gela phr one another, each other

an jëdh See dëdh

an jëdh hedhyw phr the present day

an keth adj the same

an keth hedna phr the same [one / thing]

an kethsam adj the very same

an Norvÿs the Earth

an pëth pron what (followed by adjectival clause)

an ragwel wàr an awel phr the weather forecast

an Tir Uhel North Cornwall

ancombra embarrass; confuse

ancombrus adj embarrassing; confusing

anjy personal pron they, them

anken adversity, stress

antarlyk m antarlyckys pantomime

anwos chill; cold (illness)

ap m appyow app

apposyans m apposyansow examination

aral adj (pl erel) other

arayans m arayansow arrangement; layout

arbednyk adj particular, special

arbenygya specialize

areth f arethyow speech; lecture

arethor m arethoryon speaker (someone who gives a talk or lecture)

argemydnans advertising, publicity

argya argue (a case)

arhadow order(s)

arhanty m arhantiow bank (financial)

arnowyth adj modern

arta adv [back] again

arvor coast

Arwednak Falmouth

arweth f arwedhyow signal

asclas col asclejen chips, fries

ascorn m eskern bone

asen m & f asenas ass, donkey

askel f eskelly wing aspia catch sight of

ass See assa2

assa2 part exclamatory particle

assaya try (exercise, effort)

assayva f assayvaow gym

astel ober strike (industrial dispute)

astell f estyll board

astell wydn f estyll gwydn whiteboard

aswon know, recognize

atorny m atornys solicitor

attês adj comfortable

attêsva f attêsvaow toilet

a-ugh prep above

Austol St Austell

aval m avallow apple

aval kerensa m avallow tomato

avarr adv early

avauncya advance, progress

avell prep as, like; than

avês dhe2 prep outside

avorow adv tomorrow

awartha adv at the top

awedhya influence

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

Awhêr vëth! phr Don’t worry!

awoles adv at the bottom

awos prep because of; in spite of

aysel vinegar

badna m banahow drop

bàn See in bàn

bara bread

bara cogh brown bread

bara nowyth fresh bread

bardh m berdh bard See also an Bardh Meur

bargen m bargenys bargain

bargen tir m bargenys farm

barr m barrys bar

basnet m basnettys helmet

Be name of letter B

bedh m bedhow grave, tomb

ben See an eyl hy ben

Benatuw! interj Goodbye!

benthygya borrow

benyn f benenes woman

bern concern

berr See a verr spÿs

bès See mès

bew adj living

bêwnans life

bian adj small, little

biologieth biology

bledhen f bledhydnyow year

blòg m bloggys blog

bloodh year of age

blou adj blue

bò See

bodh See a'y vodh

bogh f bohow cheek

bohes quant little, not much

bohes venowgh phr seldom, rarely

boll adj see-through

bolla m bollys bowl

boneyl conj either … or

bonkya knock (single blow)

boosty m boostiow restaurant, café

bord m bordys table

borger m borgers burger

Bosvena Bodmin

botas col botasen boots

botel m & f botellow bottle

boton m botodnow button

box m boxys box

brâs adj big, large See also dre vrâs

brâs y hanow phr famous, renowned

brathy bite (wound)

brav adj fine

bre f breow hill

bregh f brehow arm

breghtan m breghtanow sandwich

Breten Vian Brittany

Bretonek Breton (language)

bro f broyow area, district

broder m breder brother

Bròn Wenyly Brown Willy

brow coffy m browyow coffee grinder

bryntyn adj noble

Brystow Bristol

bùcket m bùckettys bucket

budhek adj victorious

budhy drown

bufê m bufês buffet

bùly bian col bùlien vian pebbles

bùs See mès

buwgh f buhas cow

bycken See bys vycken

bykîny m bykînys bikini

byldya build

bys prep up to

bÿs world

bÿs-efan adj worldwide, global

bys dhe2 prep + pron up to, all the way to

bys in prep + noun up to, all the way to

bys vycken phr for ever

bysy adj busy

bytegyns adv however

Bÿth na lavar a’n dra phr Don’t mention it

bythqweth adv ever past reference

byttele adv nonetheless

cabm adj crooked; wrong

cachya catch

caderyor m caderyoryon chair[person]

cafos find; get

Cala’ Mê May Day

calcorieth mathematics

cales adj hard; difficult

caletter m caleterow difficulty

cals a2 quant loads of

Cambron Camborne

camdyby be mistaken

cân f canow song

cana m canys can (of)

cana sing

canel f canolyow channel

cans m/num a/one hundred

cansbledhen f cansbledhednow century (100 years)

canstel f canstellow basket

cappa m cappys cap; topping

capten m captenow captain

cara love; conditional tense used to mean 'would like to'

cara warbarth phr make love

caradow adj likeable, friendly

caregek adj rocky

cares f caresow girlfriend

caretys col caretysen carrots

cargor m cargoryon charger

carnak adj rocky

carr m kerry car

carrek f carygy rock

Carrek Loos i’n Coos St Michael’s Mount

carten f cartednow card

carven f carvenow van; carriage (train)

caryans transport

carygel f carygellow trolley

cast m castys trick

castel m castylly castle

cath f cathas cat

cauns pavement

cawlvlejen f cawlvlejednow cauliflower

Ce name of letter C

cent m centys cent

certan adj certain

chair m chairys chair

chalynjya challenge

chambour m chambours bedroom

charj task, responsibility; electric charge

chaunjya change

chauns m chauncys chance, opportunity

checkya check

chocklet m chocklettys chocolate

chy adv at home

chy m treven house

chy bian toilet, loo (room)

chy fram m treven timber frame house

chyffar (commercial) deal(ing)

chyffar dyscowntys (discount) sale(s)

class m classys class

classyk adj classic(al)

clâv adj sick, ill

cledh adj left (side)

cler adj clear

cleves clun sciatica

cleves strewy hayfever

client m cliens client

clojior m clojioryon nurse

clojiores f clojiores nurse

clojy m clojiow hospital

clôwes hear

clùb m clùbbys club

codha fall; see Book One Lesson 14 for ‘should’ / ‘ought to’

codna m conaow neck

codna bregh m conaow wrist

codnek adj clever

codnek skill

coffy coffee

coffyva f coffyvaow café

cogh adj scarlet

côla cola

collel f kellyl knife

collverk m colverkys apostrophe

colm codna m colmow [neck]tie

comolek adj cloudy

composa straighten

compressa oppress, bully

comptya count

comptyer m comptyers counter

comyck m comycks comic

content m contens content

contentya satisfy

convedhes perceive, understand

copy m copiow copy

coref beer

corf m corfow body

corn m kern horn

cornet m cornettow corner

coronal m coronals colonel

cors m corsow course

cort f cortys court

cortes adj polite

cosel adj quiet, peaceful

cot adj short

côta m côtys coat

coth adj old

cothman m cothmans friend

covyd covid

cowas f cowosow shower

coweth m cowetha companion

cowethas f cowethasow society

cowethyades f cowethyadesow female colleague

cowethyas m cowethysy colleague

cowl soup

cowl-dhyfygys adj exhausted, burnt out

cowntnans attitude

cows talk[ing]

côwsel speak

cowsor m cowsoryon speaker

crambla climb

cras adj parched; toasted

creft craft

creftus adj artificial

cres adj middle, medium See also in cres

cresen f cresednow centre (for some activity)

creslu police

cresor m cresoryon midfielder

cresosek adj mediaeval

creswas m creswesyon policeman

cresy believe

crev adj strong

cria call; shout

cria in mes phr shout out; exclaim

cris m crisyow shirt, blouse

croglen f croglednow curtain

crow m crowyow shed

crowd m crowdys violin

cubmyas m cumyasow permission

cudha cover, hide

cudyn m cudydnow difficulty, problem

cùsca sleep

cùsk sleep

cùssulya advise

cuv adj kind

cynema m cynemas cinema

cyta f cytas city

cyvyl adj civil

adj good

dâ lowr phr good / well enough, okay

da weles phr be seeing you

dadhel f dadhlow discussion, debate

dadn See in dadn

daffar kit, equipment

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

dasvêwor m dasvêworyon revivalist

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

degea close

degolyow pl holiday, vacation

degrê m degrêdegree (temperature)

degves num tenth

dehen cream

dehen rew ice cream

del col dêlen leaves

dell2 conj as; that

dell hevel phr apparently

dell wosta phr as you know

dell yw ûsys phr as usual

delycyùs adj delicious

demedhy marry

demedhyans marriage

den m tus man

den vëth pron anyone; no one (when negative implied)

der2 See dell2

der2 prep through

derevel rise

derivadow information (told or available for telling)

derivas report, tell

descador m descadoryon teacher

descadores f descadoresow female teacher

descryvyans description

desempys adv abruptly; immediately

desînor m desînoryon designer

desîr desire

desky learn; teach (to someone)

despît See in despît dhe2 / wàr2

devedhys See dos

dew2 num two

dew cans num two hundred

dewas m dewosow drink

dêwdhegves num twelfth

dêwdhek num twelve

dewetha adj latest, last

dewfrik du nose

dewheles return

dêwla du (pair of) hands

dewlagas du (pair of) eyes

dêwlin du (pair of) knees

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

dhana adv then

dhe2 prep to

dhe’n dor phr down

dhe’n lyha phr at least

dhe dybmyn phr to pieces

dhe le phr less; the less

dhe ves phr off, away (motion)

dhe voy phr more; the more

dhe well phr better

dhia2 prep from (place or point in time)

dhort See dhyworth

dhy See dy

dhyrag prep in front of

dhywar2 prep off

dhyworth prep from (person or place)

dianowy yawn

diegrys adj shocked

dien adj entire See also yn tien

dobyl adj double

dohajëdh adv/m [in the] afternoon

dollar m dollars dollar

don carry

dor ground See also dhe’n dor

dorn m dornow hand (in action)

dorydhieth geography

dos come

dôtys wàr2 phr mad (passionate) about

down adj deep

dowr m dowrow water

Dowr Tamar the River Tamar

dowt m dowtys doubt See also heb dowt

dôwys choose

dr’ See dell2

drâma drama, stage play

dre2 See derprep

dre lycklod phr probably

dre rêson prep because of

dre rêson a2 prep because of (with pronouns)

dre vrâs phr on the whole, mostly

drefen conj for

drefen prep because of

dres prep across; past

dres ehen phr extremely

dres ena phr over there

dres kynda phr extraordinarily

dreth See treth

drîvya drive

drog adj bad, evil (not used attributively)

drog dens toothache

drog pedn headache

droglam m droglabmow (unfortunate) accident

dry bring

du adj black

Dùrda dhe why! phr Good day!

Dùrdala dhe why! phr Thank you!

durya endure

Duw genes / genowgh! phr Goodbye!

dy adv (to) there

dybarth separate; depart

dydhemedhy divorce

dydo adj homeless

dydro adj direct

dyghtyor kebmyn m dyghtyoryon gebmyn general manager

dyharas apologize

dyhow adj right (side)

dyllas m dylajow clothes

dynar m denerow penny

dynyak adj attractive, tempting

dyrêwl adj out-of-control

dyscans elvednek primary education

dyscans nessa secondary education

dyscans tressa tertiary education

dyscor m dyscoryon learner

dyscores f dyscoresow female learner

dyscowntya discount

dysert desert

dysqwedhes show

dysqwedhyans m dysqwedhyansow display, exhibition

dystowgh adv immediately

dystrôwy destroy

dyvers adj diverse, different

dyvlâm adj blameless, innocent

dyw2 num two (with feminine noun)

dyweth end

dywros f dywrosow bicycle

dywros jyn f dywrosow motorcycle

dywros saya f dywrosow exercise bike

dywscoth du (pair of) shoulders

dywvregh du (pair of) arms

dywweyth adv twice

dywyêthek adj bilingual

dywysyk adj eager

E name of letter E

e See ev

interj yes

edhen m ÿdhyn bird

edrek regret

Ef name of letter F

effethus adj effective, efficient

egery open

eglos f eglosyow church

Eglos Melan Mullion

ehen f ehenow kind See also dres ehen

El name of letter L

el m eleth angel

Em name of letter M

empîr empire

En name of letter N

en See in

ena adv there; then See also dres ena

enef f enevow soul

entra enter

entrans m entransow entrance

enys f enesow island

Er name of letter R

erbydn See warbydn

erel See aral

ergh snow

erhy order; book

ervira decide

Es name of letter S

ès prep than

ès dell2 conj than

esedha sit (down)

esedhva f esedhvaow sitting-room, lounge

eseth f esedhow seat

eskys f eskyjyow shoe

estyll col estyllen shelves

êsy adj easy

et See in

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

evredhyon pl disabled people

evreth adj disabled

êwnans m êwnansow repair

Ewny Redrudh Redruth

ewon col foam

ewon omwolhy col bubble bath

ewrô m ewrôeuro

Ex name of letter X

eyl See an eyl hy ben, an eyl y gela

fakel briansen sore throat

fardellyk m fardelygow package

fâss m fâssow face

fast adj firm

fatell adv/conj how; that

fatla adv how

Fatla genes / genowgh? phr How are you?

fav coffy col faven coffee beans

fav pebys col baked beans

fay faith

felshyp friendship

fenester f fenestry window

fest adv very, really

Fethys glân ov vy! phr I give up!

flapjack m flapjacks flapjack

flogh m flehes child

floghcovia babysit

flour m flourys flower

flû flu

fol m felyon fool

folen f folednow page, sheet

fon m fônow phone

fordh f fordhow way; road

forgh f fergh (also ferhy) fork

formya form, make

fos f fosow wall

fowt lack

fra See prag and praga

fra na2 See prag na2

fraga See prag and praga

fraga na2 See prag na2

fram frame

frank adj free

Frank m Francas Frenchman

fresk adj fresh

freth adj eager, energetic

frig m frigow nostril

frôsek adj fluent

frût m frûtys fruit

Frynkek French (language)

fùgen Dhanek f fùgednow Danek Danish pastry

fur adj wise, sensible

fylm m fylmys film

fystena hurry

fysyk physics

fyt m fyttys match (sport)

fytty adj (very) suitable

3 See aga3

gaja m gajys pledge See also Ow gaja dhe why

gallos be able to

galwans m galwansow profession

gàn See agan

gans prep along with; by

gans rach phr carefully

garow adj rough

garr f garrow leg

gàs See agas

Gas cavow dhe wandra! phr Stop worrying!

gasa leave, let

gasa dhe godha phr drop

gass gas

Ge name of letter G

gela See an eyl y gela

gelwel call; invite

gèn See gans

genesyk adj native

genys adj born

ger m geryow word

gerva f gervaow vocabulary

ges joking

glân adj clean

glân adv very, completely

glas adj See Book One Lesson 1

glaw rain

glëb adj wet

glebyor moisturizer

glin m glinyow knee

gnas character

gobonya trot; jog

gocky adj silly, stupid

godhvos know (facts); know how to

gohebyth m gohebydhyon reporter

gol m gôlyow goal (football etc)

goles m golesow bottom, base

golf golf

golghva f golghvaow bathroom

golhy wash

golok look; scene

Golowan Midsummer

golsowes listen [to]

golsowyas m golsowysy listener

gôlya celebrate

gonysegeth culture

goodh f godhow goose

gool m golyow festival

gordhuwher adv/m [in the] evening

gorfedna finish

gorher m gorheryow cover, lid

gormynadow commandment

gorra put; take (to a place)

gorsaf m gorsavow station

gortheby answer

gortos wait (for)

gorwel m horizon

gour m gwer husband

govel f govelyow workshop, garage (for repairs)

govyn enquiry; request

govyn ask, enquire, request

gradhyans graduation

grâss m grassow grace; thanks

grassa dhe2 phr thank

grassyans gratitude

greun olew col greunen olives

gromercy interj thank you

gul See gwil

gùlan f gùlanas gull

gwag adj empty; blank; hungry

gwainya win

gwandra wander

gwara goods, merchandise

gwarior m gwarioryon player; actor

gwary game; stage play

gwary play

gwary bord m gwariow board game

gwas m gwesyon assistant; waiter

gwasca press

gwâv m gwavow winter

gwaya move

gwaynten spring (season)

gweder glass; mirror

gwederjy m gwederjiow greenhouse

gwëdh col gwedhen trees

gwedren f gwedrednow glass, tumbler

gwedrow howl pl sunglasses

gwelen f gwelyny stick

gweles see

gwelha adj best

gwelhe improve

gwell adj better See also dhe well

gwels col grass

gwely m gweliow bed

Gwengamp Gwengamp (French, Guingamp)

gwer adj green

gweres help

gwerrya make war

gwerryans m gwerryansow war

gwertha sell

gwerthjy m gwerthjiow store, retail outlet

gweryn folk

gwetha See gwitha

gwethyas m gwethysy keeper

gwetyas expect

gwe’us f gwessyow lip

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

gwitha keep

gwlanek m gwlanegyon jumper

gwlas f gwlasow country (political)

gwreg f gwrageth wife

gwrës See gwil

gwrioneth See in gwrioneth

gwycor m gwycoryon trader

gwycores f gwycoresow female trader

gwydhyô m gwydhyôs video

gwydn adj white

gwydnrudh adj pink

gwyls adj wild

gwyns m gwynsow wind

gwynsak adj windy

gwysca put on (clothing); dress

gwythresek adj active

gyllys See mos

Ha name of letter H

ha conj/prep and; with

hag See ha

hager adj ugly (not used attributively)

hàm ham

hanaf m hanavow cup

haneth adv tonight, this evening

hanow m henwyn name

hanter m hanterow half

hanter-broder m hanter-breder half-brother

hanter-cans m/num fifty

hanter-dëdh midday

hanter-nos midnight

hardh adj ‘able and bold’, competent, decisive

hast haste

hâtya hate

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

Hellës Helston

hèm See hebma

hèn See hedna

hendrajy m hendrajiow museum

hevleny adv this year

hir adj long; tall (of people)

hobma this [one] (feminine)

hodna that [one] (feminine)

holan salt

holergh adj late

holyor m holyoryon follower

hòm See hobma

hòn See hodna

honen self

hot m hottys hat

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 gwelha prës phr fortunately

i’n gwetha prës phr unfortunately

i’n kettermyn phr at the same time

in bàn phr up

in cres prep in the middle of

in dadn2 prep under

in dadn gel phr secretly

in despît dhe2 prep in spite of

in despît wàr2 See in despît dhe2

in gwir phr indeed

in gwrioneth phr really, actually

in kever prep in respect of, in relation to

in le prep instead of

in le a2 prep + verb-noun, demonstrative pronoun instead of

in mes phr out

in mes a2 prep out of

in mesk prep among

in neb le phr somewhere

in pan vaner phr in what way

in pùb le phr everywhere

in rag phr forwards

indelma adv like this

injynor m injynoryon engineer

injynores f injynoresow female engineer

injynorieth engineering

inter prep between

intra See inter

inwedh adv also

iredy adv indeed

is- prefix sub-

iscarg m iscargow download

isel adj low

iselbris adj cheap

is-starneth infrastructure

istory history

Italek Italian (language)

Italy Italy

Italyan adj/m Italyans Italian

Japanek adj Japanese

Je name of letter J

jel gel

jel cowas shower gel

Jovyn Jove

jorna m jornys day

joy joy

jùnya join

jy pron you singular (subject or with inflected preposition)

jyn m jynys engine; machine

jyn dywros See dywros jyn

Ke name of letter K

kebmyn adj common

kedhow mustard

kedrydn row, (violent) quarrel

kefrës adv too (also)

kegyn f kegynow kitchen

kel See in dadn gel

kelly lose; miss

Kembra Wales

Kembrek Welsh (language)

kemeneth f kemenethow community

kemeres take

kemeres marth phr be astonished

kempen adj tidy

kemyk chemistry

ken adj other

ken adv otherwise

kenderow m kenderewy male cousin

kensa num first

kensêwha a.m.

kentrevak m kentrevogyon neighbour

kenytherow f kenytherewy female cousin

kenyver onen pron every one

kepar dell2 conj just as / like

ker adj dear, expensive

kerdhes walk

kerdhes in mes gans phr see, date, go out with

kerdhfôn m kerdhfônow mobile phone

kerens pl close relatives, parents

kerensa love

Keresk Exeter

kerhes fetch

Kernow m Kernowyon Cornishman

Kernow Cornwall

Kernowegor m Kernowegoryon Cornish speaker

Kernowek Cornish (language)

Kernowes f Kernowesow Cornishwoman

kert hir m kertys lorry

keschaunjya exchange, swap

kescows conversation

kescôwsel have a conversation

kescùssulyans conference

keser col keseren hail

keslowena congratulations

kesobery co-operate

kestaf m kestavow contact

keth adj See an keth

keth kethyon slave

kethsam See an kethsam

kettep pedn phr everyone

kettermyn See i’n kettermyn

keur m keuryow choir

keus cheese

keus lefans toadstools

kevarwedhor m kevarwedhoryon director

kever See in kever

kevren kevrenyon link

kevres m & f kevresow series

kewar weather

keyn m keynow back

kig meat

kig yar chicken (meat)

Kilgoodh Ust Cape Cornwall

kîlogram m kîlogramow kilo[gram]

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

kyfeth preserve (jam or marmalade)

kyffewy col party

kyn conj though, although

kyn See kyns [ès]

kyn na2 conj though / although … not

kyn nag See kyn na2

kyn pedn prep by the end of, within (a period of time)

kynda See dres kynda

kyns adv previously; former (adjectivally)

kyns ages See kyns ès

kyns [ès] prep before

kyns napell phr before long

kyns oll phr first [of all]; most importantly, above all

kyns pedn See kyn pedn

kynth See kyn conj

kyttryn m kyttrynyow bus

lacka adj worse

lagas m lagasow eye

laghyades f laghyadesow female lawyer

laghyas m lahysy lawyer

Lanuon Lannuon (French, Lannion)

Lanust St Just

Lanwedhenek Padstow

larj adj generous

lavrak m lavregow (pair of) trousers

lavrak cot m lavregow (pair of) shorts

lawl See leverel

le m leow place See also in le, in le a2, in neb le, in pùb le

le quant less; fewer See also dhe le

le’ma5 See may5

le may5 See may5

leba5 See may5

lebma5 See may5

lebmel jump

lebmyn adv now

leder f ledrow slope; bias

lêdyor m lêdyoryon leader

lemyga sip

lendya lend

lent adj slow

lenwel fill

lergh See warlergh

les m interest

les’hanow m les’henwyn nickname

lesky burn

lesson m lessons lesson

lesson tre m lessons homework

lestry pl dishes

leth milk

leth shakys milkshake

leun adj full

leur m leuryow floor

leurneth area (measurement)

leuv hand

lev m levow voice

level m levelyow level

leverel say

lewyas steer; drive

lewyor m lewyoryon driver

lewyores f lewyoresow female driver

lewyth m lewydhyon governor (school)

lien literature

lies quant many

lies gweyth phr many times

lies huny phr many people

lies torn phr often

lînen f lînednow line

loder m lodrow stocking

longya belong

losk pengasen heartburn

losow col losowen vegetables

lost m lostow tail; queue

losten f lostednow skirt

Loundres London

lovan f lovonow rope

lowarth m lowarthow garden

lowen adj happy

Lowena dhis / dhywgh! phr Hello! Hi!

lower quant quite a few

lowr adv enough; quite

lowr a2 quant lots of

lows adj loose; relaxed

lugarn m lugern lamp

lus col lusen bilberries, blueberries

lus rudh col lusen cranberries

ly f lîvyow lunch

lycklod See dre lycklod

lydn liquid

lydn golhy lestry washing up liquid

lyftya lift

lyha adv least See also dhe’n lyha

lyther m lytherow letter

lyver m lyfryow book

lyver termyn m lyfryow magazine

lyverva f lyvervaow library

’m See ow3

-ma part this (with definite article)

mab m mebyon son

mabm f mabmow mother

mainys socyal pl social media

ma na2 conj where not; when not; so that not

ma nag See ma na2

màn adv at all (with negative)

màn num zero

maner f manerow manner, way See also in pan vaner

manerow pl manners, habits

maneuryow pl small hours

mappa m mappys map

mar2 adv so, as

mar4 conj if See also heb mar

mar mydnowgh phr if you like

mar mynta phr if you like

mar pleg phr please

mar plêk See mar pleg

mara4 See mar4

maras See mar4

margh m mergh horse

margh horn m mergh bike

marhas f marhajow market

marhogeth ride

marnas prep except [for]

marow adj dead

mars See mar4

martesen adv maybe, perhaps

marthys adj amazing, wonderful

ma’s See marnas

mater m maters matter

mavy personal pron me (emphatic)

maw m mebyon boy, lad

may5 conj where; when; so that

mayth See may5

me personal pron I

me a’th pës phr please

medheges f medhegesow female doctor (medical)

medhegneth medication

medhegva f medhegvaow infirmary; GP’s surgery

medhek m medhygyon doctor (medical)

medhel adj soft

melen adj yellow

mellya interfere

men adj vigorous

men m meyn stone

mencyon See gwil mencyon a2

menestrouthy (small) orchestra, band

meneth m menydhyow mountain

Meneth Myhâl Mont Saint-Michel

menowgh adj frequent

menystra administer, manage

meras See miras

mernans m death

mery adj merry

mes See in mes

mès conj but

mès prep See marnas

mes See dhe ves, in mes, in mes a2

mes a2 See in mes a2

mesk See in mesk

messach m messajys message

mêster m mêstrysy master, boss

Mêster title Mr

Mêstres title Mrs, Ms, Ma’m

Mêstresyk title Miss

metya meet

meur adj great

meur adv much, a lot

meur [a]2 quant much, 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

modryp f modrebeth aunt

mona money

mor m morow sea

mordardhya surf

mos go

mos wàr stray phr get lost

mothow pl disaster

mowes f mowesow girl

moy quant more See also dhe voy

moyha adv most

moyha kerys phr favourite

munys adj tiny

mùrder murder

muscok adj mad

mûsyk music

my See me

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

mynysen f mynysow minute

myrgh f myrhas daughter

mytern m myterneth king

myttyn adv/m [in the] morning

na conj nor

na2 conj that … not

na2 part expresses certain negatives

na2 pron who / which … not (introducing adjectival clause)

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)

Nadelyk Christmas

nag See na and na2

namna2 part almost

namnag See namna2

namoy adv any more (in negative sentence) See also heb namoy

nampëth See neppëth

naneyl adv either (in a negative sentence)

naw num nine

nawnjegves num nineteenth

nawnjek num nineteen

nawves num ninth

neb adj some, any

neb pron someone, anyone

neb tra pron something, anything

nebes quant a little; a few

nebonen pron someone, anyone

nefra adv ever present / future reference

negedhek adj negative

negys m negycyow business

nen m nenow ceiling

nena See i’n eur-na

neppëth pron something, anything

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

Normandy Normandy

Norvÿs See an Norvÿs

nos f nosow night

nos dâ phr good night

nos jùnya m nosow hyphen

nosweyth ilow (evening) concert

now interj now

nowodhow pl news

nowyth adj new

nùmber m nùmbers number

ny2 part expresses negative statements

ny personal pron we, us

nyns See ny2

nyver m nyverow number

O name of letter O

ober m oberow task, job

obma adv here

ogas adj/adv near; almost

ogas dhe2 prep near to

ogas ha prep almost (with nouns, pronouns and numerals)

ogas hag See ogas ha

ogasty adv almost

ogh interj oh (emotion)

olew olive oil

oll adj all

ombarusy prepare oneself

omdava contact (one another)

omdhesky teach oneself

omdhon behaviour

omdhon behave

omdhyscor m omdhyscoryon self-study learner

omfydhyans confidence

omhowla sunbathe

omladha kill oneself

omlath fight (one another)

omsensy feel (emotionally, mentally)

omvetya meet up

omwolhy wash (oneself)

omwysca get dressed

ôn m ên lamb

onen num/pron one

onester decency

only adv only

onyon col onyonen onion(s)

optycyan m optycyans optician

opynyon m opynyons opinion

organek adj organic

orkestra m orkestras (large) orchestra

ort See orth

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 employed with verb-noun

Ow gaja dhe why phr I’m willing to bet

ôwnter m ôwntras uncle

owraval m owravallow orange

owth See ow4

2 See pàn2

packet m packettys packet

pad m paddys pad

padel f padellow pan

pain m painys pain

pal f palyow spade

pan adj what

pàn2 conj when

pan lies quant how many

pan termyn [a]2 adv when

pan vaner adj what kind of See also in pan vaner

pana2 adj what

pana dermyn [a]2 phr when

pana lies quant how many

pandrapron what

panes col panen parsnip

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

parra m parrys team

parusy prepare; cook

parys adj ready

passya pass

pasty m pastys pasty

Pe name of letter P

peb See pùb pron

pebor m peboryon baker

peder num four (with feminine noun)

pedn m pednow head; end

pedn bloodh anniversary; birthday

pedn êhel m pednow pole (of planet)

pel f pelyow ball

pel droos football

pel gowel basketball

pel neyjys volleyball

pel roos netball

peldrosyor m peldrosyoryon footballer

pelednyk f pelenygow pill

pell adj far

pellwolok television

pendescadores f pendescadoresow female head teacher

pendom adj extreme (in attitude)

pendra f pendrevow village

peneglos f peneglosyow cathedral

pens m pensow pound

penvenyster m penvenysters prime minister

Penzans Penzance

perfeth adj perfect

performans m performansow performance

performya perform

perna See prena

person m persons person

personek adj personal

perthy cov phr remember

perthyans patience

perthynas m perthynasow relationship

peryl m perylyow peril, danger

peryllys adj dangerous

peswar num four

peswarden quartet

peswardhegves num fourteenth

peswardhek num fourteen

peswora num fourth

pêsya continue

pëth pron what See also an pëth

peur5 adv when

pîbel f pîbellow pipe

pil m pîlyow battery

pînaval m pînavallow pineapple

planet m planettys planet

plâss m plâcyow place

plastyk plastic

plat adj flat

plât m plâtyow plate

ple5 adv where

plegadow wish, inclination

plegya bend

plegya please

plêkya See plegya ‘please’

plenta quant plenty (of)

plesont adj pleasant

pleth See ple5

plobm lead (metal)

plos adj dirty

pluv col pluven feathers

pluvak f pluvogow cushion

pluven f pluvednow pen

pluven blobm f pluvednow plobm pencil

Plymoth Plymouth

conj or

pob See pùb pron

pobas bake

pobel people

poblans population

poblek adj public

podcast m podcastys podcast

poken conj or else

poll neyja m pollow swimming pool

pols moment (very short duration, not point in time)

polyshya polish

polytygor m polytygoryon politician

pons m ponsow bridge

ponya run

poos adj heavy

poos m posow weight

popty m poptiow bakery

pòr2 adv very

porcyon m porcyons portion

porhel m porhelly pig

porpos purpose, intention, plan

porth m porthow harbour; cove

Porth Ia St Ives

Porth Towan Porthtowan

Por’treth Portreath

pory v browse

posa worth phr lean against

possybylta m possybyltas possibility

posyjyon depression, despair

pot m pottow pot

pôtya kick

pow m powyow country

Pow Densher Devon

Pow Rësohen Oxfordshire

powes rest, pause

powes rest

pows f powsyow dress, frock

poynt m poyntys point

poyntyans m poyntyansow appointment, fixture

practys m practycyow practice; exercise

prag adv why

praga See prag

prag na2 phr why not, why ... not

predery think

predn wood

prena buy

prenas m prenasow purchase

prenassa go shopping

prës m prejyow time See also i’n gwelha prës, i’n gwetha prës

prës ly See ly

present adj present

presentya present

presentyans presentation

prevy try (test)

pris m prîsyow prize; price

problem m problemow problem

profya offer

profyans m profyansow offer

prow advantage

prowt adj proud

pryntya print

pryntyor m pryntyoryon printer

pùb adj every

pùb pron everyone

pùb eur oll phr always

pùb huny pron everyone

pùb termyn phr always

puber pepper

pùbonen pron everyone

pùpprës adv always

pùptra pron everything

pur adj pure

pur2 adv very (emphatic)

py adj which, what

py5 adv where

py eur5 adv what time, when

py hanow phr who (asking someone’s name)

py le5 adv where

py lies quant how many

py seul quant how much; how many

py tyller adv where

pyctour m pyctours picture

pyctùresk adj picturesque

pydn See warbydn

pygebmys quant how much; how many

pyle See py le

pymp num five

pympes num fifth

pymthegves num fifteenth

pymthek num fifteen

pyneyl pron which one (of two)

pynta m pyntys pint (of)

pysk m pùscas fish

pyth adv where

pytsa m pytsas pizza

pyw pron who

Pywdô Cluedo®

qwalyta quality

qwartron m qwartronys direction; part of town

qwestyon m qwestyons question

qweth f qwethow piece of fabric, garment

Qwo name of letter Q

qwylkyn m qwylkydnow frog

radn f radnow part

radna divide; share

rag conj for

rag prep for; in order to; because of

rag See in rag

rag fra See prag and praga

rag fra na2 See prag na2

rag fraga See prag and praga

rag fraga na2 See prag na2

rag hedna phr therefore, that’s why

raglavar m raglavarow foreword

ragwel See an ragwel wàr an awel

ranjy m ranjiow flat, apartment

ras m rasow favour

re adv too; too much, too many

re pron ones

re2 part completive particle used with preterite tense

re2 prep by (in exclamations)

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

re nebes phr too little

Redrudh See Ewny Redrudh

redya read

remainya remain, stay

remembra remember

ren See re2 prep

res necessity

rës See ry

Rësohen Oxford

rêson See dre rêson, dre rêson a2

rêsonus adj reasonable

restryn m restrydnow file

revrons respect

rew ice

rêwlys adj regular

Ria reva! interj Gosh! Wow!

rial adj royal

rîvbost email

rol f rolyow roll; list

rol prîsyow f rolyow price list

rolya roll

rom m rômys room

rom desky m rômys classroom

rom kydnyow m rômys dining-room

rom studhya m rômys study

Roman adj Roman

roosweyth m roosweythow network

ros col rosen roses

rowtor m rowtors manager (football)

rudh adj red

ry give

ryb prep beside

ryver m ryvers river

sad adj serious

sagh m seghyer bag

sagh keyn m seghyer knapsack

salad m saladys salad

salow adj safe and sound

sampyl m samplys sample

sans adj holy

sant melys m sandys dessert

sarf f syrf snake

savla m savleow position; (bus) stop

saw conj but

saw prep save [for]

sawor m saworyow fragrance; flavour

saworek adj fragrant

sawya recover (after illness)

scant adv barely, hardly, scarcely

scappya get away, escape

scav adj light (weight)

scavel [cronak] f scavellow mushroom

scavel serth f scavellow bar stool

sciens m sciencys science

scodhya support

scol f scolyow school

scol elvednek f scolyow primary school

scolor m scoloryon (school) pupil

scon adv soon See also yn scon

sconya refuse

scoodh f scodhow shoulder

scot bill

scovarn f scovornow ear

screfa See scrifa

scrifa write

scryvynyades f scryvynyadesow female secretary

secùnd num second

sëgh adj dry

sehes thirst

sehyk m sehygow sachet

selsyk col selsygen sausage(s)

selwel save

semlant appearance

sêmly adj handsome, pretty

sempel adj simple

Sèn Briek Saint-Brieg (French, Saint-Brieuc)

Sèn Malow Sant-Maloù (French, Saint-Malo)

sens a ges sense of humour

sensy hold

seny sound, play (music etc)

serth adj steep

servyour m servyours tray

sêsnans dressing (for salad)

settya set

sevel stand up; stand still, stop

sevur adj severe

sewt stanch wetsuit

sewya follow

sewyans m sewyansow consequence, result

seytegves num seventeenth

seytek num seventeen

seyth num seven

seythen f seythednow week

seythves num seventh

shakya shake

shoppa m shoppys shop

showr a2 quant loads of

shùgra sugar

skeusen f skeusednow photograph

skit diarrhoea

skydnya v descend, alight (from vehicle)

skyjyow sport pl trainers

skyla reason

sley adj skilful

slynk adj slippery

slynk slide

sodhva f sodhvaow office (place)

solabrës adv already

solas solace; entertainment

sôlô adj/m sôlôs solo

son m sonow charm

soper supper

soweny prosper, succeed

soweth interj oh dear

sows cogh tomato ketchup

Sowsnek English (language)

Spaynek Spanish (language)

specyfyk adj specific

spêda success

spêna spend

spessly adv especially

speyss See a verr spÿs

splat m splattys plot of ground

spladn adj splendid

spladna shine

sport m sportys sport

spot a2 phr a spot of

spÿs See a verr spÿs

sqwardya tear

sqwith adj tired

sqwîthus adj tiresome, boring

staga fix

stalla m stallys stall

stap m stappys step

stât m stâtys state

stevel f stevelyow room

stoppyans constipation

stowt adj stubborn

stranjer m stranjers stranger

strêt m strêtys street

strêt arâg fore / high street

strethassay m strethassayes lateral flow test

studhya study

studhyans study, studies

studhyor m studhyoryon student

styfa squirt

sùgan juice

sur adj sure

surhe ensure; insure

sy See jy

syger adj idle

syght sight

syra sir

tabm m tybmyn bit See also dhe dybmyn

tackya dêwla phr clap, applaud

taclow pl things

talkya talk

tan m tanow fire

tanow adj thin

tas m tasow father

tatty m tettys potato

tava touch

tavas m tavosow tongue; language

tavern m tavernyow pub

tawesek adj silent

Te name of letter T

te personal pron you


tecter beauty

tedha melt

tednva tension, stress

tednvos attraction

teg adj beautiful, pretty

teg adv very, really

tejy personal pron you (emphatic)

tell2 conj that

ter2 See tell2

tergweyth adv three times

termyn m termynyow time

terrys adj broken

tesen f tesednow cake

testen f testednow subject, topic

tesyans warming

tevy grow

tevysak adj/m tevysogyon grown up, adult

tew adj thick; fat

tewas col sand (as material)

Tewyn Plustry Newqua

text m textow text (all senses)

teylu m teyluyow family

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

tobma heat, warm up

todn f todnow wave


tôkyn m tôknys ticket

tomals quant ample amount

toos dough

top m topyow top

torr f torrow belly

torrva breakdown

toth speed

tour m tourow tower

towal m towellow towel

towan m tewednow sand dune

tôwlel throw

tôwlel towl phr make a plan

towlen f towlednow plan; program(me)

tr’ See tell2

tra neuter thing, stuff

tra vëth pron anything; nothing (when negative implied)

train m trainow train

trainow munys pl model railway(s)

traweythyow adv sometimes, occasionally

tre adj home

tre adv home; back

tre f trevow town

trebuchya stumble

tredanek adj electric

tredh See inter

tredhegves num thirteenth

tredhek num thirteen

trega See triga

tregas stay (in a place)

tregys See trigys

trehy cut

tremenyades f tremenyadesow female passenger

tremenyas m tremenysy passenger

tremil num three thousand

tressa num third

treth m trethow sand; (sandy) beach

Treth Fystral Fistral Beach

treusva f treusvaow crossing

triga dwell, stay

trigva f trigvaow address

trigys adj resident (in a place)

trist adj sad

tro f troyow turn; time (occasion)

tro ha prep towards

tro hag See tro ha

trobel trouble

troblus adj troublesome

trog dyllas m trogow suitcase

trog tedna m trogow drawer

troos f treys foot

tros noise

trouvya discover, find

truan adj poor (to be pitied)

trûlergh m trûlerhow path

Trûrû Truro

trùssa pack

try3 num three

tryhans num three hundred

tu m tuyow side

tùchyng prep about, concerning

tùlla cheat, deceive; disappoint

tùrnypen f tùrnypednow swede

ty See te

tyby think (an idea)

tybyans idea

tyller m tyleryow place

tyly pay; see Book One Lesson 14 for ‘should’ / ‘ought to’

Û name of letter U

udn(2) num one (with noun)

udn jëdh See dëdh

udnek num eleven

udnyk See yn udnyk

ufern m ufernyow ankle

ugans num twenty

ugansves num twentieth

ugh-clojiores f ugh-clojioresow sister (senior nurse)

uhel adj high See also an Tir Uhel

unegves num eleventh

unsel See yn unsel

unweyth adv once

unweyth arta phr [once] again

unyêthek adj monoglot

ûnyversyta f ûnyversytas university

uskys adj quick

ûsya use

uthyk adj dreadful, terrible

uthyk tra phr a lot

vas adj useful

Ve name of letter V

very nebes phr very little

vëth adj/adv any (in negative sentence); even (after comparative)

viaj m viajys journey, trip

viajya travel

vlòg m vloggys video blog (‘vlog’)

vôtya vote

voydya avoid

vu m vuys view

vysytya visit

vytamyn m vytamynow vitamin

vytel col food

‘w3 See ow3

war adj wary, cautious

wàr2 prep on; on to

wàr an eyl tenewen phr on the one hand

wàr an eyl tu phr on the one hand

wàr an tenewen aral phr on the other hand

wàr an tu aral phr on the other hand

wàr neb cor phr in any way, at all (with negative) 

warbarth adv together

warbydn prep against

warlergh prep after

We name of letter W

wèl interj well

west adj/m west

whans m whansow wish, desire

whar adj humane; civilized

wharvedhyans m wharvedhyansow event

wharvos happen, take place

whath adv still; even (before comparative)

whe num six

whedhel m whedhlow story

wheffes num sixth

wheg adj sweet

whegh See whe

whej ha skit phr gastro-enteritis

whel m whelyow work

whelas See whilas

whêlva laboratory

wherthyn laugh

whêtegves num sixteenth

whêtek num sixteen

whilas seek, look for

why personal pron you (plural or stranger)

whybonel f whybonellow flute

whyst interj hush

whythra explore, research, investigate

whythror m whythroryon explorer, researcher

wolcùm adj welcome

worteweth adv at last

worth See orth

wor’tu ha prep towards

wor’tu hag See wor’tu ha

wosa prep after

y5 part affirmative statement particle

y personal pron they

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

‘y2 See y2

‘y3 See hy2

yagh adj well (referring to health)

yahus adj healthy (good for health)

yar f yer hen, chicken

Ye name of letter Y

yêhes health

yet m yettys gate

yêth f yêthow language

yêyn adj cool, cold

yêyner m yêyneryow refrigerator

yn5 part forming adverb from adjective

yn scon adv soon

yn tien adv entirely, totally, completely

yn udnyk adv uniquely; only

yn unsel adv only (reinforcing saw)

yogùrt yoghurt

ÿs wheg col ÿsen sweetcorn

ÿst adj/m east

yth See y5

ytho adv [and] so, therefore

Zed name of letter Z