Cumbraek

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Cumbraek
Cumbraek
Pronunciation [kʌmˈbɾaːk]
Created by Neil Whalley
Setting
Spoken natively in England, Scotland
Region Great Britain
Language family
Early forms:
Writing system Latin script
ISO 639-3

Cumbraek /kʌmˈbɾaːg/ is a modern reconstruction of the lost medieval language of Cumbric, a Brythonic Celtic tongue once spoken in parts of southern Scotland and northern England.

History

Development

Cumbraek started life in 2007 as an attempt to validly reconstruct the lost language of Cumbric as it was spoken before its demise in about the 12th century. Cumbric was the descendant of Common Brittonic spoken in the region known in Welsh as Yr Hen Ogledd "The Old North", which covers much of modern day Scotland south of the Firth-Clyde isthmus and parts of England north of the Humber-Mersey line. That language, believed to have been closely related to Welsh, has been completely lost and comes down to us only through secondary sources, the most significant of which is the place names of the region. However, it was at one time a thriving language which produced some of Britain's earliest literature including the works attributed to the 6th/7th century bards Taliesin and Aneirin, whose words come down to us through Medieval Welsh manuscripts, and it must have been a language of power and the law at least until the demise of Strathclyde in the 11th century.

At the start of the reconstruction project it was hoped that the information available to us about historical Cumbric would be enough to create a valid picture of the language, which would illuminate the world of the Old North and stand alone as an academic work of value. Though there are no direct sources of Cumbric, there is a significant amount of secondary evidence from place names, personal names, dialect words and the Medieval Welsh poetry that is capable of yielding clues about Cumbric's phonology, grammar and lexis. By comparing this to the related Medieval languages of Welsh, Breton and Cornish (and to a lesser extent Old Irish) a picture of Cumbric began to develop, though it was perhaps closer to early Medieval Welsh than originally anticipated. This early incarnation, a Medieval language, was called Cymbraġec.

As work on Cymbraġec continued, however, it became clear that the actual evidence of Cumbric was too limited and often too opaque to permit an accurate reconstruction. As the project progressed more and more relatively arbitrary (though informed) decisions had to be taken about vocabulary and syntax and as the language became more detailed it also moved further away from the original aim of the project. Eventually, it had to be admitted that Cymbraġec could not be considered an accurate estimation of the historical language of Cumbric. The evidence we have is simply not sufficient to create anything more than a very broad picture of Cumbric.

At this point, with a considerable amount of research undertaken, it was decided that the Medieval, reconstructed language of Cymbraġec should be abandoned in favour of a more creative Modern language, which was eventually named Cumbraek. Whilst the basis for Cumbraek remained rooted in the historical evidence for Cumbric and it was developed with constant reference to the other Celtic languages (particularly Welsh), this was a far more creative and personal endeavour than Cymbraġec was ever intended to be. As such Cumbraek can only really be described as a constructed language and it cannot claim to be an accurate representation of the historical language in any real sense.

With greater creative freedom, Cumbraek developed gradually over the years. Two major milestones in its development were the (online) publication of the first Geryadour (Dictionary) and the first comprehensive grammar, both in 2015. It also has an online presence with its own website and Facebook page.

Neither Cumbraek nor its predecessors have ever been intended to facilitate a language revival along the lines of Cornish or Manx, which have seen varying degrees of success. The creation of the language has no political motivations whatever and it does not presuppose the existence of a shared 'Cumbrian' identity. The fact is that our knowledge of Cumbric is far too limited to permit a revival and, unlike in Mann or Cornwall, there has been no genuine continuity of the historical 'Cumbrian' community up to the present day so there is no common identity which would act as a catalyst for revival.

Internal History

Cumbraek's predecessor, Common Brittonic, was spoken across much of Great Britain from prehistory up until the coming of the English and Gaels in the 5th century. That language underwent substantial phonological and syntactic changes in the first half of the first millennium AD, resulting in an entirely new form of Brittonic which subsequently diverged into the languages of Cumbraek, Welsh, Cornish, Breton and (arguably) Pictish.

In the 6th century, the emergent Cumbraek was spoken across much of central Britain between the Forth-Clyde isthmus and the Humber-Mersey line and it was within this linguistic sphere that the Priv Verdh ("great bards") Aneirin (Cu. Aneyrin) and Taliesin (Cu. Talyessin), among others, composed their great works of literature. But within a relatively short space of time the political advance of English-speaking kingdoms pushed the Cumbraek heartlands back towards the Kingdom of Al Clout (later Strathclyde), the influence of which waxed and waned over the coming centuries though it remained the strongest pillar of Cumbraek's continued existence. Pressure from the English language to the east and from Gaelic in the north and west eroded at the peripheries but Cumbraek remained very much a living and reasonably thriving language.

In the 11th and 12th centuries Strathclyde was absorbed into Scotland and its southern portion annexed by England, at which time Cumbraek ceased to be a language of law and power but remained vital in the mouths of ordinary people. Events of the following centuries, including the 'Davidian revolution' and wars between Scotland and England, initially threatened Cumbraek's survival but the constant uncertainty of life in the borderlands encouraged the people of that region to disassociate themselves with national politics and to think of themselves as a distinct group. In the west, particularly among the middle-ranking local nobility, the surviving Cumbrian identity and language were used to assert this sense of distinctness and, as a result, Cumbraek was revitalised. The Reiving culture which developed in the borders, based on family ties and cattle raiding, appeared to be reflected in the poetry of the Priv Verdh and a new but considerably less sophisticated period of the bardic craft developed.

The heroic lifestyle of the Reivers was brought to an end following the Union of the Crowns in 1603 but Cumbraek remained in increasingly limited use up until the end of the 18th century, at which point it ceased to be spoken. However, a number of late texts and antiquarian interest prior to and following its demise meant that Cumbraek was able to be preserved.

Phonology, Grammar and Lexis

From the end of the Common Brittonic period (c.6th century AD) to about the 12th century, Cumbraek remained relatively indistinct from its closest relative, Welsh and probably retained considerable intelligibility with Cornish and Breton, though it was isolated from its sister languages from the 8th century.

The main divergences between Cumbraek and Welsh dating from this period are:

  • Proto-Brythonic (PBr.) */ɛː/ becomes Cu. /əi̯/, W. /oi/ (cait vs. coed)
  • PBr. */ɔː/ remains in Cu. but becomes W. /au/ (moar vs. mawr)
  • PBr. */ɔu/ remains in Cu. but becomes W. /əɨ/ ~ /aɨ/ (cogow vs. cogau)
  • PBr. */p, t, k/ remain after nasals in Cu. but are assimilated in W. (hanter vs. hanner)
  • Word initial PBr. */sC/ remains in Cu. but develops epenthetic /ə/ in W. (strat vs. ystrad)
  • Word initial PBr. */l, r/ lose their fortis pronunciation in Cu. but not in Welsh (lann vs. llan, ri vs. rhi)
  • PBr. pretonic /i, u/ remain distinct as Cu. /ʌ, ə/ but merge as W. /ə/ (Cumbraek vs. Cymraeg)
  • Internal epenthesis is phonemicised in Cu. but not in W. (cenedhil vs. cenedl)
  • Conversely, Cu. syncopates originally unstressed vowels between l, r, n, m and another consonant (galnas vs. galanas)
  • PBr. */lg, rg/ become Cu. /ɫ(ː), r(ː)/ but W. /lV, rV/ (lorr vs. llory, dall vs. dala, daly)

Also during this early period, Cumbraek is subject to influence (mainly lexical) from Norse, Gaelic and Old English/Scots.

Following this period, Cumbraek diverged considerably from its sister languages, though partly through being more conservative. There was a general trend towards simplification in both grammar and phonology, which resulted to some degree in the loss of distinctions in meaning but since Cumbraek was less a language of government and literature than of everyday communication, a complex literary language was not required.

Some of the features of later Medieval and Modern Cumbraek are:

  • the merger of some diphthongs, triphthongs and vowel sequences into long vowels
  • the merger of Cu. /i, ɪ, ə, ɛ/ into /i, ɛ/
  • the development of some marginal phonemes such as /ʃ, t͡ʃ, d͡ʒ/, partly through borrowing
  • change of word initial /tl/ and /dl/ to /kl/ and /gl/
  • simplification of geminate consonants in most environments
  • analogical spread of vowel alternation and affection
  • loss of the article en in favour of er in all environments
  • reduction in number of plural endings and increase in the use of certain endings according to semantics
  • loss of numerative noun forms
  • loss of almost all plural adjective forms
  • reduction in verb conjugation, with almost total loss of the subjunctive, plus analogical levelling of inflexions
  • increased borrowing from English and the Classical languages

Phonology and Orthography

Consonants

The consonant inventory for Cumbrek is as follows:

Bilabial Labio-dental Dental Alveolar Post-alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal      m      n      ŋ
Plosive p    b t̪    d̪ k    g
Fricative f    v θ    ð s      ʃ      x      h     
Affricate t͡ʃ    d͡ʒ
Approximant ʍ    w j
Trill      r
Flap or tap      ɾ
Lateral app.      l      ɫ

Vowels & Diphthongs

Cumbrek can be described as having three groups of vowel sounds:

  1. the variant vowels, which have long and short forms
  2. the long vowels, which arose historically from vowel sequences
  3. the diphthongs

The variant and long vowels are represented by the following inventory:

Front Central Back
Close iː           ʉ(ː)      u(ː)
Near-close ɪ             ʊ
Close-mid eː           oː
Mid ə
Open-mid ɛ      ʌ    ɔ(ː)
Near-open
Open a(ː)     

All of Cumbrek's true diphthongs are falling and consist of a vowel + either /i̯/ or /u̯/.

+ i̯ + u̯
Near-close ɪu̯
Mid əi̯
Open-mid ɛi̯    ɔi̯ ɛu̯    ɔu̯
Open au̯

Variant Vowels

Variant vowels may be long or short according to their environment. In most cases, except /a(ː)/, the short forms are more open than their long counterpart, much as in English. Both long and short sounds are represented by the same graph(s) (a, e, i, o, oo, ou or u) and vowel length must be determined by environment:

  • Long vowels occur only in monosyllables where the syllable ends in a single consonant or no consonant (-VC, -V), e.g. da /daː/, tek /teːk/.
  • Short vowels occur in all polysyllables; in monosyllables ending in more than one consonant (-VCC(C)) and in proclitics, e.g. gware /gwarɛ/, darn /daɾn/, in (proclitic) /ɪn/.

Additionally, the vowel written u has a third variant form /ʌ/, which occurs in non-final syllables of polysyllablic words and in proclitics, e.g. Cumbrek /kʌmbrek/, du (proclitic) /dʌ/. In other short environments, the sound is /ʊ/, e.g. cumm /kʊm/, parun /paɾʊn/.

Note that the digraphs th, dh and ch are considered to be single letters, so monosyllables ending with these sounds have long vowels, e.g. cath /kaːθ/.

Long Vowels

The long vowels /aː/, /eː/ and /oː/ are always long and derive from the merger of earlier vowel sequences. Where the sequences ae, ee, oe occur in word-final position they take the primary stress.

Long /ɔː/, which is sometimes realised as [oa], is usually only permitted to occur in monosyllables and is replaced by /ɔ/ in other environments (e.g. skoat "shadow" /skɔːt/, skodyon "shadows" /skɔdjon/).

Orthography

Cumbraek is written with the Latin alphabet and uses the following letters.

a b c/k ch d dh e f g h i j l m n o p r s t th u v w y

The table below shows the correspondences between letters and pronounciation.

Graph IPA Comments
Consonants
b /b/
c, k /k/ c occurs word initially and in the digraph ck, k occurs everywhere else
/g/ word-finally, before a voiced sound in the next word
ch /x/
d /d/
dh /ð/
f /f/
g /g/
h /h/ word-initially
Ø between vowels
j /d͡ʒ/
l /l/
m /m/
n /n/
p /p/ in most environments
/b/ word-finally, before a voiced initial
r /ɾ/
rr /r/
s /s/ generally written <ss> between vowels
t /t/ in most environments
/d/ word finally, before a voiced initial
v /v/ v is a weak consonant, liable to be lost in final position unless a vowel initial follows
w /w/
y /j/ before vowels
Consonant Combinations
hw /ʍ/
ll /ɫ(ː)/ geminated between vowels when following the stress
lht [l̩t] l is devoiced before ht
ng /ŋ(ː)/ geminated between vowels when following the stress
nng, ngg /ŋg/
rr /r(ː)/ geminated between vowels when following the stress
rht [r̩t] r is devoiced before ht
sh /ʃ/
tsh /t͡ʃ/ mostly borrowed words
Variant Vowels
a /aː/ long
/a/ short
e /eː/ long
/ɛ/ short
i /iː/ long
/ɪ/ short
o /oː/ long
/ɔ/ short
oo /uː/ long
/ʊ/ short
ou /ʉː/ long
/ʉ/ short
u /uː/ long
/ʊ/ short, in monosyllables & word-final syllables
/ʌ/ in non-final syllables and proclitics
y /ɪ/ in word-final, unstressed syllables only
Long Vowels
ae /aː/ takes stress in final syllables
ay /aː/
ee /eː/ takes stress in final syllables
oa /ɔː/
oe /oː/ takes stress in final syllables
uw /uː/
Diphthongs
ai /əɨ̯/
aw /au̯/
ei /ɛɨ̯/ takes stress in final syllables
ey /ɛɨ̯/
ew /ɛu̯/
iw /ɪu̯/
oy /ɔɨ̯/
ow /ɔu̯/


Diacritics

Cumbraek makes occasional use of three diacritics:

  • the acute accent is used to show an unexpected long vowel (e.g. bónt 'they may be'); when it occurs in the final syllable, it also marks stress (e.g. cantín 'canteen')
  • the grave accent is used to show an unexpected stressed syllable (e.g. gràvity 'gravity'); it is also used to mark a short vowel in monosyllables (e.g. bùs 'bus')
  • the trema is used to mark diaeresis and is place on the second vowel of a sequence (e.g. troäv 'I turn', troöun 'I was turning')

Sound Changes

Consonant Mutations

As with all modern Celtic languages, Cumbraek makes extensive use of initial consonant mutations to help signal grammatical and syntactic information. Cumbraek has three main mutations: lenition (mootthei), spirantisation (anadhlolhei) and nasalisation (troonolhei). There is a fourth type of mutation called aspiration (anadhleth) in which word-initial vowels take an h'- before them.

The changes caused by the mutations are summarised in the following table.

Radical Lenition Spirantisation Nasalisation
p b f
t d th
c g ch
b v m
d dh n
g h / w / - ng
gw w (w) nw
j ny
m v

Lenited g disappears before a consonant, becomes w before words in go-, gu-, goo- and becomes h- before other vowels, e.g. gre "flock" → i re "his flock", gur "man, husband" → i wur "his husband", geryadour "dictionary" → i heryadour "his dictionary".

Examples:

  • Lenition: i benn "his head", de dat "your dad", i gi "his dog", er vanon "the lady", du Dhin Edin "to Edinburgh", war hat "on a road", i wrek "his wife", a vamm! "mum!".
  • Spirantisation: i fenn "her head", tri that "three dads", teyr chath "three cats".
  • Nasalisation: naw manon "nine ladies", in Nin Edin "in Edinburgh", mu ngat "my road"
  • Aspiration: i h'ewidir "her uncle", an h'oungorn "our unicorn".

For brevity, words routinely causing mutations will be marked with superscript letters in this article: L for lenition, S for spirantisation, N for nasalisation and H for aspiration.

Vowel Mutations

Cumbraek also has two vowel mutations, which occur regularly. Feminisation is generally restricted to adjectives and causes an i to become e and a u to become o. Alternation is common in the formation of plurals and in certain verb forms, and causes the following changes:

Radical Alternate
a e
e i
o
ae ei / ie
ay ey
oy oo
a...a e...e
a...e e...i
a...o
o...o
a...u

In some cases, these changes work backwards (e.g. gwrek 'woman' has the plural form gwragedh).

Vowel Affection

I-affection and Y-affection are changes caused when a syllable containing either <i> or <y> is added to a word. I-affection causes the following changes to sounds in the original final syllable: a → e, ae → ie, ay → ey and o → e. Y-affection causes only the changes a → e and ay → ey.

Morphology

Articles

There is no indefinite article in Cumbraek, the noun alone is indefinite (e.g. gur 'man, a man', gwrek 'woman, a woman').

The definite article is er, sometimes reduced to 'r after a preposition ending in a vowel or after the locative verb ema (e.g. er gur 'the man', du'r egloos 'to the church').

The definite article causes lenition to feminine nouns (e.g. er wrek 'the woman').

Nouns

Nouns are either masculine or feminine in gender. Grammatical gender is an inherent fact of the noun and cannot always be deduced from the form or meaning of the word. Colloquially, nouns referring to persons sometimes alter their grammatical gender to reflect the natural gender of the person, for example the masculine noun er postidh "the postman, postal worker" could be rendered as er bostidh to mean "the postwoman".

Plurals may be formed in one of several ways:

  • by adding an ending, most commonly -ow, -yow, -yon, -on, -edh, -ot (e.g. cadow 'battles', dinyon 'people, men', cathot 'cats')
  • by alternation (e.g. bran 'raven' → bren, oyn 'lamb' → oon)
  • by adding an ending plus alternation (e.g. gwrek 'woman' → gwragedh, map 'boy, son' → mebyon)
  • irregularly (e.g. ci 'dog' → cun, didh 'day' → diow, ti 'house' → tei, hwair 'sister' → hwioredh, broadur 'brother' → brodir)

A number of words, including many plant and tree names and many animals, have a base form with a collective meaning to which the singulative endings -inn (masc.) or -enn (fem.) are added (e.g. deriw 'oak trees' → derwenn 'oak tree', moch 'pigs' → mochinn 'a pig').

Nouns are not formally marked for case, but the following observations may be noted:

  • the genitive of possession is shown by placing the genitive noun after the thing possessed (e.g. ti Neven 'Neven's house', gwrek mu tat 'my father's wife')
  • some intransitive verbs such as devot 'come' and munet 'go' permit the indirect object to behave as if it were the direct object of a transitive verb, allowing the preposition to be dropped (e.g. compare mi carav Yowann 'I love John' with mi av Lounnen 'I am going (to) London').
  • nouns in the vocative are preceded by the particle aL (e.g. a Vathow! 'Matthew!'). This particle may be dropped in speech, particularly before a vowel, but lenition is always retained (e.g. oucher da, Vathow 'good evening, Matthew').

Adjectives

Most adjectives follow the noun they qualify and must agree in gender and number with that noun.

A few adjectives are regularly preposed, notably henL "old" and pennL "chief, head". These adjectives always cause lenition to a following noun (e.g. hen wur "old man").

Adjectives following feminine singular nouns undergo lentition (e.g. gwrek voar 'large woman'). Monosyllables containing either i or u as their main vowel also undergo Feminisation, i.e. the change of ie and uo (e.g. ci gwinn, cath wenn "white dog, white cat", gur druk, gwrek dhrok "bad man, bad woman'"). Certain adjectives with i resist this change, e.g. gwir "true", dir "certain", hir "long", trist "sad".

A few adjectives retain old plural forms, used following a plural noun. These are bechan "small" pl. bechen, yowank "young" pl. yowenk and maruw "dead" pl. meriw.

An exclamative adjective can be formed by adding -het to the positive (e.g. gwinnhet "how white!, so white!", glanhet "how clean!, so clean!"). The adverb mar "how, so" can also be used with longer adjectives to produce an exclamative (e.g. mar dhiwedhar "so late").

Comparison

The equative is formed with the adverb cenL "as" + the positive adjective (e.g. cen winn ag err "as white as snow").

The comparative adjective is formed by adding -ach "-er" to the positive adjective, and the superlative takes -hav "-est" (e.g. gwinnach "whiter", gwinnhav "whitest", caledach "harder", calettav "hardest").

The following adjectives are compared irregularly:

Positive Equative Comparative Superlative
near agos cen agos nes nessav
small bechan cen vechan le lehav
good da custadhul gwell gorow
bad druk cunruk goeth goetthav
old hen cen hen hin hinhav
large moar cumment moy moyhav
young yowank cen yowank yow yohwav

Numerals

Cardinals

Masculine Feminine
1 oun ___ ounL ___
2 dowL ___ duwL ___
3 triS ___ teyrL ___
4 pedwar ___ peder ___
5 pimp ___
6 hwech ___
7 seythN ___
8 ooth ___
9 nawN ___
10 dekN ___
11 oun ___ ar dhek ounL ___ ar dhek
12 dowdhekN ___
13 triS ___ ar dhek teyrL ___ ar dhek
14 pedwar ___ ar dhek peder ___ ar dhek
15 pimthek ___
16 oun ___ ar bimthek ounL ___ ar bimthek
17 dowL___ ar bimthek duwL ___ ar bimthek
18 triS ___ ar bimthek teyrL ___ ar bimthek
19 pedwar ___ ar bimthek peder ___ ar bimthek
20 ougent ___

Notes:

  • Numerals 1-4 have both masculine and feminine forms that must agree with the following noun (e.g. dow wur "two men", duw wrek "two women").
  • Most nouns follow the numeral in the singular form, except singulatives in -inn, -enn which lose this ending (e.g. naw ngolow "nine lights").
  • The line ___ indicates the position of the noun in each case. Numerals above 11 are generally formed by compounds and the noun always follows the first element (e.g. teyr chath ar dhek "13 cats").
  • Numerals 21-29 are formed from the unit + ar hougent (e.g. pimp ci ar hougent "25 dogs").
  • The decades are trigunt "30", dowgent "40", pimpunt "50", triwgent "60", seythunt "70", pedwargent "80", nawunt "90", cant "100".
  • Above 30 units follow the pattern unit + aS + decade (e.g. teyr chastell a thrigunt "33 castles").

Ordinals

The ordinals from 1-10 are centav, élL, tredidh (m.)/trededh (f.), pedweridh (m.)/pedwaredh (f.), pimpet, hwechet, seythvet, oothvet, nawvet, degvet. These are placed before the noun with only él causing lenition.* The numerals for "3rd" and "4th" have masculine and feminine forms, which must agree with the following noun (e.g. er pedweridh gur "the fourth man", er bedwaredh gath. Centav is an ordinary superlative adjective and may also follow the noun in the normal order (undergoing any mutations as necessary) meaning "earliest, soonest". As an ordinal is generally precedes.

*NB: under certain circumstances, such as following the feminine singular article or in construction with the number "2", both the ordinal and the following noun will undergo lenition (e.g. er bimpet verch "the fifth girl", er gentav dhow wur "the first two men").

For ordinals 11 and above, the pattern follows that for cardinals replacing the unit with the equivalent ordinal. In these compound ordinals, centav "first" is replaced by ounvet (e.g. ounvet ar dhek "11th"). As with the cardinals any noun must follow the first element (e.g. er pedweridh ti ar dhek "the 14th house"). Special forms to note are dowdhegvet "12th" and pimthegvet "15th". The decades are formed from the cardinal plus the suffix -vet (e.g. ougentvet "20th", triwgentvet "60th").

Pronouns

Personal

Subject Object Possessive Infixed
1sg. mi -m mu(n)N 'mN
2sg ti -thL deL (jeL) 'thL
3sg m. ev -yH iL 'yL
3sg f. hi -sH iSH 'ySH
1pl ni -nH anH
2pl hwi -ch ach
3pl oo -sH owNH


The subject pronouns are used:

  • optionally before a personal verb to express the subject (e.g. mi carav 'I love')
  • as auxiliary pronouns, added to the end of a verb by a hyphen for clarity (e.g. eth welas-ev 'he saw you')
  • as auxiliary pronouns, in conjunction with possessive adjectives (e.g. i nen-hi 'her grandmother')
  • independently following prepositions and conjunctions (e.g. mi a thi 'me and you')
  • as the object of an imperative verb (e.g. ladh oo 'kill them')

The object pronouns indicate the direct object of the verb and must be attached to a preverbal particle (e.g. eth garav 'I love you').

The possessive pronouns are used:

  • as possessive adjectives, before the noun they qualify (e.g. i thi 'her house', ow nwely 'their bed')
  • as the object of a verb noun (e.g. de welet 'seeing you', i gano 'singing it')
  • with -houn to produce reflexive pronouns (e.g. mu-houn 'myself', an-houn 'ourselves')

NB: mu is used before a consonant and mun before a vowel. The form je is a colloquial spelling of de, representing a more general pronunciation.

The infixed pronouns are contracted forms of the possessive pronouns used following prepositions and conjunctions ending a vowel (e.g. a'm tat 'and my father', o'y wlat 'from his country').

Possessive pronouns proper only exist in the first and second person singular: mow 'mine' and tow 'your'. The so-called 'genitive particle' now is used with the subject pronouns to produce possessive pronouns in the other persons (e.g. now-hi 'hers', now-ni 'ours').

Demonstrative

The demonstrative pronouns display a three-way distinction, with hunn referring to objects close at hand, hunnedh referring to objects out of sight or abstract and hunnunt referring to objects in sight but distant. Each of these has masculine, feminine and plural forms.

Masc. Fem. Plural
this hunn honn hinn
that hunnedh honnedh hinnedh
that yonder hunnunt honnunt hinnunt

The hunn and hunnedh forms may be used as demonstrative adjectives following a definite noun (e.g. er gur hunn 'this man', er cestill hinnedh 'that castle'). Hunnunt is replaced by hunt 'yonder' in this function, which does not change for gender or number (e.g. er wragedh hunt 'those women').

Interrogative

what peth
pebeth
pronouns + a + verb / + copula
peL adjective + noun
who puwL + a + verb / + copula
which one(s) p'oun singular + a + verb / + copula
p're plural + a + verb / + copula
how many petL + singular noun
where cuS, cud + verb
when p'oar + e(dh) + verb
how pe dhel' + e(dh) + verb
why per + verb
how much pe vent + e(dh) + verb / oL + noun

Verbs

Verbs are conjugated for person, number, tense/aspect, and mood. Regular verbs have 4 simple tenses in the Indicative (i.e. Present, Imperfect, Preterite, Pluperfect) plus an Imperative mood. The irregular verb bot "be" also has a conjugated Future Indicative and a Subjunctive Present and Past. Bot may be used as an auxiliary to form Present and Past Continuous tenses and, less commonly, Future and Subjunctive Past tenses for regular verbs.

Regular Verbs

The conjugation of regular verbs follows the pattern of caro (stem: car-) "love":

Indicative Imperative
Present Imperfect Preterite Pluperfect
1sg
2sg
3sg
1pl
2pl
3pl
Imp
carav
ceridh*
car
caren
caret
carant
cerir*
carun
carout
care
carem
carewch
carent
cerit*
ceres*
cerest*
caras
carsam
carsawch
carsant
carat
carsun
carsout
carse
carsem
carsewch
carsent
cersit*
-
car
caret
carem
cerit*
carent
-

Notes:

  • Verbs with a in the stem undergo I-Affection in forms marked with *, including the Preterite endings -es, -est.
  • The Present tense can also convey a future sense, e.g. mi canav "I'm singing" and "I will sing".
  • Some verbs undergo alternation in the 3sg. Present, e.g. per "causes" < par-, ettip "answers" < atteb- etc.
  • A number of verbs do not follow the regular pattern of conjugation in the Preterite singular:
    • Some verbs with a in the stem take -is in the 3sg and undergo I-Affection, e.g. peris "caused", levris "spoke".
    • A few verbs have Preterite singular forms in -t or -th. These follow the pattern of either cano "sing" or cumbrit (stem: cummer-) "take":
      • cano: cent "I sang", centost "you sang", cant "he/she/it sang".
      • cumbrit: cummirth "I took", cummirthest "you took", cummerth "he/she/it took".
    • A few verbs with a stem ending in -ed or -edh have a 3sg Preterite ending in -ot or -odh. The most important of these are dewot "said", gwoat "said" (< gwedo), estodh "sat", gorwodh "lay down".
    • The verb cluwet "hear" has an irregular 3sg Preterite ciglow beside regular cluwas.
  • Verbs with stems ending in a vowel undergo contraction with the endings, e.g. glanháv "I clean", troes "I turned".

Bot "Be"

The most important irregular verb is bot "be":

Indicative Subjunctive Imperative
Present Future Imperfect Preterite Pluperfect Present Past
1sg
2sg
3sg
1pl
2pl
3pl
Imp
oov
oot
iw, ais, ema
imm
ich
int, emant
is
bidhav
bidhidh
bidh
bidhen
bidhet
bidhant
bidhir
aidhun
aidhout
aidh
aidhem
aidhewch
aidhent
aidhit
boum
bouest
bou
bouam
bouawch
bouant
bouat
boussun
boussout
bousse
boussem
boussewch
boussent
boussit
bov
boi
bo
bóm
boch
bónt
boer
beun
beout
be
beem
béwch
beent
beit
-
bidh
bit
bidhem
bidhit
bidhent
-

Notes:

  • There are three separate words for the 3sg of bot:
    • iw is the copula used with definite subjects whenever the complement precedes, e.g. Hen iw Dewidh "David is old"
    • ema means "there is" and is a locative verb used whenever a subject is linked to an adverbial phrase indicative location, including with the interrogative cud "where", e.g. Ema cath war er loar "There is a cat on the floor", Cud ema'r egloos? "Where is the church?". Ema is also used in the progressive idiom (see below).
    • Ais is used in negative, interrogative and conditional sentences with an indefinite subject, e.g. Ned ais cath war er loar "There is not a cat on the floor".
  • 3pl emant is used as a locative verb when the subject is the 3pl pronoun "they".
  • Impersonal is is used as a copula with a definite subject when the complement follows the verb, e.g. Dewidh is hen "David is old".
  • Bot has a special present relative form, essidh "who is/are", used when the antecedent is the subject, e.g. Er din essidh mu mroadur "The man who is my brother".
  • Unlike with regular verbs, the Present tense of bot is present in meaning only, the Future tense being required to indicate future time.
  • The Present Subjunctive is rare to the point of obsolescence but does occur in archaic, particularly religious, texts and idioms.

Other Irregular Verbs

Goobot "know (a fact)" has a very irregular Present tense: gunn, gudhost, goor, gudhen, gudhet, gudhant, gwis. The Imperfect is formed from goodh- with regular Imperfect endings (goodhun, goodhout etc). The Preterite, Pluperfect and Imperative are formed with goo- + the relevant form of bot (gooboum, gooboussun, goobidh etc.).

Anawbot "know (a person)" is relatively regular but formed on two stems. The Present and Imperfect use adoyn- with the regular endings (adoynav, adoynun etc.). The Preterite, Pluperfect and Imperative use anaw- with the relevant part of bot (anawboum, anawboussun, anawbidh).

Devot "come" is similarly formed with regular endings on the stem dow- in the Present and Imperfect (dowav, dowun etc.) and follows the conjugation of bot in the Preterite and Pluperfect, but with v for b (devoum, devoussun etc.). The Imperative is regularly formed on dow-, except for the 2sg. forms dos and deret.

Munet "go" has three separate stems. The Present, Imperfect and Imperative use the stem a-, which is contracted with regular endings (av, aun etc.); the 2sg. Imperative is written á to distinguish it from several other words written a. The 3sg Preterite is ayth and the other persons are formed on this regularly (eythes "I went", aytham "we went" etc.). In the Pluperfect the stem is el- with regular endings (elsun, elsout etc.).

Gwreyth "do, make" follows the conjugation of munet in the Present, Imperfect, Imperative and Pluperfect, using the stems gwra- and gwrel- (gwrav, gwraun, gwra, gwrelsun). The Preterite is formed regularly on the stem gwroug- but with 3sg forms gorow and gwrayth.

Verb Noun

The verb noun is an important feature of Cumbraek grammar with functions of both a noun and a verb. As a noun, all verb nouns are masculine except bot "be" and its compounds (e.g. devot "come", goobot "know", cuvarvot "meet" etc.), which are feminine. Like any other noun, a verb noun may be:

  • preceded by a determiner such as the article er "the", a pronoun or a possessive or interrogative adjective, e.g. er dadlo "the arguing", i gluwet "his hearing".
  • qualified by an adjective, e.g. cano didon "tuneless singing".
  • the subject or object of a sentence, e.g. muko is druk "smoking is bad", a hellidh gano? "can you sing?"

The main function of the verb noun as a verb is in the progressive idiom, which denotes specifically ongoing action. This is formed using the present or imperfect of bot + the particle in + the verb noun, e.g. mi oov in péntya "I'm painting", edh aidh in tuvo "it was growing". 3rd person subjects use ema, emant in this structure, e.g. ema'r gur in dringo "the man is climbing", emant in gwreyth marak "they are making haggis". The future and subjunctive tenses of bot may also be used in this structure, but this is less common.

Another function of the verb noun as a verb is to replace a finite verb when the tense and subject have already been stated, e.g. Ni aytham du'r trayth a novya in er mor ag esset houven-ya "We went to the beach and swam in the sea and ate ice-cream".

The object of a verb noun is in the genitive case, i.e. a noun object follows the verb noun directly and a pronoun object precedes as a possessive adjective, e.g. Mi mennun de welet "I would like to see you" (i.e. "your seeing"), Hi gall lavro Cumbraek "she can speak Cumbraek".

Verbal Particles

Verbal particles are key to Cumbraek syntax, indicating subordination, negation, interrogatives and more.

Affirmative
e
edh
'dummy' particle at the start of a sentence E levir Melik Cumbraek 'Melik speaks Cumbraek'
infixes object pronouns Es gweles 'I saw her'
in place of a relative after adverbials Ar er mor e trigant '[It is] by the sea that they live'
meaning 'that' before subordinate clauses Ema govnok warnav ey prenidh 'I hope that you buy it'
aL the relative pronoun when the subject or object is antecedent Er din a garav 'The man whom I love'
the genitive relative Er verch a dheskidh i that 'The girl whose father you teach'
follows a focussed subject or object Mi ath gar 'I love you'
ruSL used before the preterite to form the perfect tense:
  • at the start of a sentence (spirantising)
  • in place of relative a (leniting)
Ru chuskus-ev er didh oll 'He has slept all day'
Er prit r'edes en newidh 'The meal which I have just eaten'
nuwS affirmative, somewhat emphatic particle Nuw adwoynav de dat 'Indeed, I know your father'
Negative
neSL
ned
used at the start of a sentence (spirantising) Ne chassa Yowann Maylok 'John doesn't hate Maylok'
negative relative (leniting) Er ti ne leskis du'r loar 'The house that did not burn down'
naS used before subordinate clauses Mi medhulyav ne do 'I think he won't come'
naS used in replies Am ceridh? Na charav 'Do you love me? No'
negative imperative Na sill a-vri 'Don't look down'
Interrogative
aL used at the start of a direct question A dhowidh amm Dhiw Gwener? 'Are you coming on Friday?'
introduces indirect questions Hi erchis a oot lessowur 'She asked if you are a vegetarian'
ay used at the start of a focussed sentence Ay Frankek a lavrant? 'Is is French that they speak?'
paneS
paned
introduces a direct or indirect question expecting an affirmative answer Panem credidh? 'Don't you believe me?'

Prepositions

Many common prepositions are 'conjugated' according to person and number, i.e. there are individual personal forms for each of the personal pronouns (e.g. amdanav "about me", in i vlen "in front of him". There are two forms of preposition which undergo this 'conjugation':

  1. simple prepositions, which are single word prepositions that take personal endings
  2. compound prepositions, which consist of a simple preposition + a nominal element and are 'conjugated' by infixing possessive adjectives

Simple

The simple prepositions belong to one of three stem classes (a-, o- or i-stem), which govern the endings added to the stem. The preposition du "to" is irregular.

A-Stems I-Stems O-Stems Irregular

stem:
1sg
2sg
3sg m
3sg f
1pl
2pl
3pl
amm 'about'
amdan-
amdanav
amdanat
amdano
amdeni
amdanamm
amdanach
amdandhou
gant 'with'
gan-
geniv
genit
gantho
genthi
geninn
genich
ganthou
heb 'without'
heb-
hebov
hebot
hebdho
hebdhi
hebonn
heboch
hebdhou
is 'below'
iss-
issov
issot
isto
isti
issonn
issoch
istou
du 'to'
du-
dum
dut
dudho
dudhi
dun
duwch
dudhou

Other prepositions follow the same patterns:

  • A-stems: wodan 'under' (wodan-), a 'of, from' (an-), war 'on' (warn-)
  • I-stems: wurth 'against' (wurth-)
  • O-stems:
    • like heb: er 'for' (er-), idhir 'between' (idhr-), in 'in' (inn-), rak 'before' (rag-), truw 'through' (truw-)
    • like is: ouch 'above' (ouch-), troas 'across' (tross-)

Compound

Compound prepositions are generally written as a single word divided by an apostrophe and are stressed on the second (nominal) element, e.g. im'misk "amongst", du'vri "up". The word erbinn "against" is an exception to this rule.

Compound prepositions are 'conjugated' by separating the elements and infixing a possessive adjective before the nominal element. The forms of im'misk would therefore be: im mu misk, in de misk, in i visk, in i misk, in an misk, in ach misk, in ow misk. The main compound prepositions are shown below, with their meaning and separate elements:

Compound Meaning Element 1 Element 2
amm'gerchin around ammL cerchin
du'bant down duL pant
du'vri up bri
du'woeret down goeret
er'moon for the sake of er moon
erbinn against arL penn
im'medhun inside, within inN medhun
im'misk among misk
im'mlen in front of blen
in'le instead of le
in'woodh before goodh
in'edrip because of edrip
o'benn from against oL penn
o'rann on behalf of rann
o'vedhun from within medhun
o'visk from amongst misk
tra'chevin behind traS cevin
war'benn on top of warL penn
war'lorr after, behind lorr

Syntax

Simple Sentences

The basic word order for Cumbraek is [Verb] + [Subject] + [Direct Object] + [Indirect Object/Adverbial].

  • Gwelas Pedir Neven
    "Peter saw Neven"
  • Le Tomas livir amm er Ayr Voar
    "Tomas is reading a book about the Great War"

The verb may be preceded by a particle.

  • Ru welas Pedir Neven
    "Peter has seen Neven"
  • Edh edew er wrek
    "The woman was leaving"

Pronoun subjects are encoded within the verb itself and may be dropped, affixed to the end of a verb for clarity or placed before the verb (replacing the particle edh) with no particular emphasis:

  • E hoolyen avory or E hoolyen-ni avory or Ni hoolyen avory
    "We're sailing tomorrow"

Pronoun objects (direct) must be attached to a preverbal particle:

  • Eth dhuges
    "I carried you"
  • Rus celas-ev
    "He has hidden her"

Simple sentences are negated with the preverbal particle neS (n' before vowels, ned before vowel-initial forms of bot and munet).

  • Ned oov ri Alban
    "I am not the king of Scotland"
  • Neth gar-hi
    "She doesn't love you"
  • Ne cassam er Gral Glan
    "We didn't find the Holy Grail"

Coordinate Sentences

Coordinate sentences consist of two or more simple sentences joined with aS "and" (ag before vowels), no'L "or", or eythir "but".

  • Car Pedir Neven ag es gwil pownidh
    "Peter loves Neven and he sees her every day"
  • Hi sellas truw er fenestir eythir ne welas nebot
    "She looked through the window but didn't see anything"

Focussed Sentences

Cumbraek makes considerable use of the ability to focus information by moving a word or phrase to the beginning of a sentence. This can be used for emphasis, in the same way English uses stress, but it is also a common way to introduce new information into a conversation. For example, a response to the question peth iw de anuw? "what is your name?" would naturally be Riwallon iw mun anuw "Riwallon is my name" rather than the normal order Is Riwallon mun anuw.

When the subject of the verb (a noun or pronoun) is focussed, the order of elements is [Subject] + aL + [3sg Verb].

  • Cundiarn a drigas ing nGlaskow
    "Kentigern lived in Glasgow"
  • Hwi a gulm er lovan
    "You are tying the rope"
  • Merthin am hurdhas
    "Martin pushed me"

To focus the direct object the order is [Direct Object] + aL + [Personal Verb] (+ [Subject]). Here the verb must agree with the subject.

  • Ev a garav
    "I love him"
  • Er gurthdroidhon a worchuvugsant
    "They defeated the rebels"
  • Pel a dewlis er map
    "The boy threw a ball"

In sentences like the final one, where there is possibility of confusion over whether the object or subject is being focussed (this sentence could equally be interpreted as "A ball threw the boy"), an object pronoun can be infixed agreeing with the preceding object, e.g. Pel as tewlis er map.

When an indirect object or an adverbial is focussed, the order is [Indirect Object/Adverbial] + e(dh) + [Verb] (+ [Subject] + [Direct Object]).

  • In er ti em gwelas Yossef
    "Joseph saw me in the house"
  • Pop didh e can-hi òpera
    "She sings opera every day"
  • War er roudh ey pogyas Youdhas
    "Judas kissed him on the cheek"

All focussed sentences are negated by placing ned at the start.

  • Ned Cundiarn a drigas in Nin Edin
    "Kentigern did not live in Edinburgh"
  • Ned pel as tewlis er map
    "The boy did not throw a ball"
  • Ned pop didh e can-hi òpera
    "She does not sing opera every day

Questions and Replies

Yes-No questions are formed by prefixing a simple sentence with the preverbal particle aL. A response is made by repeating the main verb in the relevant person and tense. Negative answers are preceded by naS (nag before vowels).

  • A aet Laskow sethoun nessav? Aen
    "Are you going to Glasgow next week? Yes"
  • A gant-hi in er egloos? Na chant
    "Did she sing in church? No"
  • A vidhidh eman avory? Bidhav
    "Will you be here tomorrow? Yes"

To focus some other part of the sentence, the particle ay comes at the beginning of a focussed sentence. In response, the words ihev "yes" or nagev "no" are used.

  • Ay Dewidh a dal? Ihev
    "Is David paying? Yes"
  • Ay de vamm a guvarvouam? Nagev, mu hwair aidh
    "Was it your mother we met? No, it was my sister"

Wh-Questions are formed using the Interrogative Pronouns at the start of a focussed sentence; the type of sentence used depends on the pronoun (see above for details).

  • Pebeth a vedhidh?
    "What do you say?"
  • Puw ay menggis?
    "Who told him?"
  • Puw essidh enayth?
    "Who is there?"
  • Cud ema i h'archenn?
    "Where is her shoe?"
  • Pe vodh em gudhet?
    "How do you know me?"

Negative questions (i.e. those phrased to expect a negative answer) are introduced with a neS (a ned before vowel-initial forms of bot/munet). Responses consist of the main verb repeated in the relevant person and tense. Negative answers are preceded by naS (nag before vowels).

  • A nem ceridh, a vaban? Na charav
    "Don't you love me, baby? No"
  • A ne devou o Dhin Edin? Devou
    "Didn't he come from Edinburgh? Yes"
  • A ned aen? Nag aen
    "Aren't we going? No"

Tag questions may be formed with the addition of ayev? "yes?" or andev? "no?" to the end of a statement. Both may be used with affirmative statements but only ayev can follow a negative statement. In response ihev is used to confirm the original statement as true (whether affirmative or negative), nagev is used to deny the original statement.

  • Ti trigidh in Evrok Newidh, andev? Ihev
    "You live in New York, don't you? Yes" (i.e. I live in New York)
  • Hi addow henoyth, ayev? Nagev
    "She will come back to night, will she? No" (i.e. She won't come back)
  • Nem ceridh, ayev? Ihev
    "You don't love me, do you? No" (i.e. I don't love you)

Indirect questions are formed with aL "if, whether" followed by a simple sentence or with an interrogative pronoun in a focussed sentence.

  • Hi erchis a wunn i mamm
    "She asked if I know her mother"
  • Oo mennant woobot cu thrigidh
    "They will want to know where you live"

Conditional Sentences

In Predicative conditionals, where two statements of fact are made, the if-clause is preceded by oS (od before vowels) and the verb is in the present or perfect tense.

  • Od oov lawen, mi carav
    "If I am happy, I will sing"
  • O chredidh hunnedh, ti oov ankuwir
    "If you believe that, you are wrong"
  • Eth venggav o ruy gwelsamm
    "I will let you know if we have seen it"

The negative is o neS.

  • O nes gudhet, ti oot vantach
    "If you don't know her, you are stupid"
  • Gwra rewbeth o ner essest edoyth
    "Make something, if you have not eaten yet"

In Speculative conditionals, which express hypothetical situations, the if-clause is preceded by pe and the verb of both clauses may be imperfect (present conditions) or pluperfect (past conditions).

  • Pes care, ev eryodhe
    "If he loved her, he would stay"
  • Pe aidhoun in er ti, mi gwraun voy
    "If I was at home, I would get more done"
  • Pe reboudhsout, ey loudhsem
    "If you had warned us, we would have stopped him"

The negative is pe naS (pe nad before vowel-initial forms of bot/munet).

  • Pe nad aidhun glav, mi dowun
    "If I were not ill, I would come"
  • Pe na lettrasse-hi mu teyssenn, es carsun edoyth
    "If she had not stolen my cake, I would still love her"

Subordination

Relative Clauses

Relative clauses are formed in much the same way as focussed sentences, with the particles aL or e(dh).

Where the antecedent to the relative clause is the subject of the sentence, the word order is [Antecedent] + aL + [3sg Verb] + [Rest of Sentence]. The clause that follows the relative particle is in the normal word order and must begin with a 3sg verb.

  • Hunn iw er din a warot er ci
    "This is the man who saved the dog"
  • Mi adoynav rewoun a lavur Goodhelek
    "I know someone who speaks Irish"

If the antecedent is the direct object of the verb, the word order is [Antecedent] + aL + [Personal Verb] + [Rest of Sentence]. Here the verb expresses or agrees with the subject.

  • Honn iw er wrek a dhewedhies
    "This is the woman (whom) I married"
  • Yoan iw er ci a warot er din
    "The dog that the man saved is fine"

As with focussed sentences, there may be some ambiguity where both the object and subject are nouns or 3rd person pronouns. The last example might also be interpreted as "The dog that saved the man is fine". This ambiguity can be resolved by using an infixed object pronoun agreeing with a preceding object:

  • Yoan iw er ci ay gwarot er din
    "The dog that the man saved is fine"

Where the antecedent is an indirect object, governed by a preposition, Cumbraek uses a normal object relative sentence then uses a personal preposition to refer back to the antecedent. The word order is therefore [Antecedent] + aL + [Personal Verb] + [Rest of Sentence] + [Personal Pronoun].

  • Hunn iw er ti a duvun indho
    "This is the house in which I grew up" (lit. "This is the house which I grew up in it")
  • Hi gwelas er wrek a rodhas-hi er get dudhy
    "She saw the woman to whom she gave the present" (lit. "She saw the woman who she gave the present to her")

Again there is potential for ambiguity in the last example. The most basic sentence Hi gwelas er wrek a rodhas er get dudhy could mean either "She saw the woman who gave the present to her" or "She saw the woman to whom she gave the present". The use of auxiliary -hi is the only means to signal that the "she" is the subject of the relative clause.

Cumbraek does not have a specific possessive relative akin to English "whose", so sentences of this type are constructed with an object relative sentence, followed by a possessive pronoun referring back to the antecedent and the relevant object of possession. The word order is [Antecedent] + aL + [Personal Verb] + [Possessive Pronoun] + [Object of Possession].

  • Hunn iw er din a dhewedhies i verch
    "This is the man whose daughter I married" (lit. "This is the man who I married his daughter")
  • E carav er wrek a gahas-ev i h'archenn o widir
    "He loves the woman whose glass slipper he found" (lit. "He loves the woman who he found her glass slipper")

All of these types of relative clause may be negated by replacing aL with neSL.

  • Mi adoynav rewoun ne lavur Goodhelek
    "I know someone who does not speak Irish"
  • Honn iw er wrek ne dhewedhies
    "This is the woman I did not marry"
  • Hi trige gant din n'ankas o'r Nazis i dat
    "She lived with a man whose father did not escape from the Nazis"

Indirect Clauses

Derivation

Prefixes

Prefix Mutation Meaning Examples
ad- L re-, second, again adverth "he recovered"
an- N un- anvoon "unkind"
ced- L together, common, co- cedvridya "agree"
cuv- L equal, with cuvalht "join"
dad- L un-, dis- dadwreyth "undo"
di- L without, -less digour "careless"
emm- L reflexive, mutual emmeskousso "excuse oneself"
go- L sub-, hypo-, under goredek "jog, canter"
gor- S/L super-, hyper-, over gorlivo "overflow"
gurth- L against, opposite, contra-, anti-, counter- gurthdroidh "rebel"
idr- L between, inter-, intra- idrhilol "interracial"
led- L half, semi- ledlumm "half naked"

Suffixes

Nouns

Suffix Meaning Gender Plural Examples
-adour agent, tool ← noun, verb masc. -adouron marchadour "merchant"
-an diminutive ← noun masc/fem. -anot maban "baby"
-ant abstract noun ← verb masc. -antow gadant "permission"
-as abstract noun ← noun fem. -assow poblas "republic"
-at abstract noun ← verb masc. -adow provat "test"
-der abstract noun ← adjective masc. ouchelder "height"
-dot abstract noun ← adjective masc. -dodow oundot "union"
-dy place, building ← noun, adjective, verb masc. -dei cofidy "café"
-ek language name ← people, place fem. Cumbraek
-ell tool ← noun fem. -ellow padell "pan"
-es "-ess" fem. -essow mayles "princess"
-et "-ful" masc/fem. -ededh genowet "mouthful"
-eth "-logy, -ism", abstract noun ← noun fem. Marxeth "Marxism"
-he agent, seeker of ← noun masc. -heyon anterhe "adventurer"
-idh agent, "-ist", "-er" ← noun, verb masc. -idhon reolidh "ruler"
-ik diminutive ← noun fem. -igot skovernik "tab, label"
-le place ← noun, adjective masc. -leedh cedle "junction"
-ny abstract noun ← noun, adjective masc. fougny "forgery"
-ok title, position ← noun, verb masc/fem. -ogyon marchok "knight"
diminutive ← adjective masc. -ogyon draenok "hedgehog"
-olgeth "-ology" fem. biwolgeth "biology"
olgidh "-ologist" masc/fem. -olgidhon biwolgidh "biologist"
-or agent ← noun masc/fem. -oryon porthor "janitor"
-ret abstract noun ← verb, noun masc. gweythret "activity"
-ur "-man", "-er", agent ← noun, verb masc. -wir caredhur "criminal"
-us inhabitants of ← place plural Eftus "Egyptians"
-va place, verb noun ← verb fem. -vei devodva "entrance"
-wrek "-woman" ← noun, verb fem. -wragedh magwrek "nanny"
-yat agent ← verb masc. -yet goolyat "guard"

Adjectives

Suffix Meaning Examples
-ediw "-able", "-ible", "-worthy" ← verb covyediw "memorable"
-ik ← noun, adjective ounik "only"
-in made of, like (material) ← noun prennin "wooden"
-lit covered with ← noun goydlit "bloody"
-lon "-ful" ← noun fidhlon "faithful"
-ok ← noun, adjective argelok "hidden"
-ol ← noun, adjective, verb gohanol "separate"
-ot past participle ← verb pobot "baked"
-ous ← noun, verb periglous "dangerous"

Verbs

Suffix Meaning Examples
-et verb noun ← verb stem cusket "sleep"
-hei making, becoming ← adjective (stem -ha-) moyhei "increase"
-i verb noun ← verb stem pebi "bake"
-o verb noun ← verb stem talo "pay"
-ya verb noun ← noun hoolya "sail"

Compounds

Example Texts

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Is ganot pop din en ridh a gant barch a chuvreythyow custadhul. Ema resun a dirbooll dudho a gli poap emdhoon du'y gilidh in spirit brodoreth.

"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."

The Tower of Babel

(Genesis 11: 1-9)

  1. A lavre er oll vit oun yeth ag er oun lavrant.
    And the whole earth was of one language and of one speech.
  2. A pann deythyent dhiamm er dooren, oo cassant wostat in tir Shinar a thrigent enayth.
    And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.
  3. A gwoat poap du'y gilidh "Dowit, gwraem bridhveyn ag ow pebi in tan". Ag aidh pridhveyn in'le meyn a fik in'le morhtell.
    And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar.
  4. A gwedent "Dowit, adeylem dhin a thur a estinn i benn du'r nev; a chuhaitthem an anuw rak an skaro truw oll diredh er bit.
    And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.
  5. A diskennas er Reen du welet er dhin a'r tur a adeylent vebyon Adhav.
    And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men built.
  6. A gwoat "Sleman! Edh int oun bobul ag ema oun yeth dudhou; a ru chuhwinnsant i wreyth a ne difegyant ow emchen cuhit e cuwlheir ow gweyth."
    And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.
  7. "Dowit, diskennen ag adrisso ow yeth mal nar jalht poap lavrant i gilidh."
    Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.
  8. Mal hunn es skaras er Reen o'r le hunnedh truw oll diredh er bit; a difegsant adeylet er dhin.
    So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.
  9. Mal hunn edh aidh Babel i hanuw, in'edrip edh adrissas er Reen yeth er oll vit ag o'r le hunnedh es skaras er Reen troas enep pop wladedh.
    Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

Comparison of the Brythonic Languages

The Lord's Prayer

Cumbraek Welsh Cornish Breton English
An Tat essidh in er Nev
Bit seyth de anuw
Dowet de diarnas
Bit gwrayth de vodh
War dhaer mal in er Nev
Ridh an bara pownidhol dun hedhiw
A madhow an gleedow
Mal e madhowen an gleedwir
A na thuwis ni du dentot
Eythir gwaret ni rak maloonder
Is tow er Diarnas
Er cuvoyth ag er gogonyant
In ais aissow
Amen
Ein Tad, yn y nefoedd
Sancteiddier dy Enw
Deled dy deyrnas
Gwneler dy ewyllys
Ar y Ddaear, fel yn y nef
Dyro i ni heddiw ein bara beunyddiol
A maddau i ni ein troseddau
Fel maddeuwn rhai a droseddwyd yn ein herbyn
A phaid a’n dwyn y brawf
Ond gwared ni rhag drwg
Oherwydd eiddo ti yw’r deyrnas
Y nerth a’r gogoniant
Am fyth ac am fyth
Amen
Agan Tas ni, usi y’n nev
Bennigys re bo dha Hanow
Re dheffo dha Wlaskor
Dha vodh re bo gwrys
Y’n nor kepar hag y’n nev
Ro dhyn ni hedhyw agan bara pub dydh oll
Ha gav dhyn agan kammweyth
Kepar dell avyn nyni
Dhe’n re na usi ow kammwul er agan pynn ni
Ha na wra agan gorra yn temptyans
Mes deliver ni a-dhiworth drog
Rag dhiso jy yw an wlaskor
Ha’n galloes ha’n gordhyans
Bys vykken ha bynari
Amen
Hon tad a zo en neñv
Hoc’h anv bezet santelaet
Ho rouantelezh deuet dimp
Ho polontez bezet graet
War an douar evel en Neñv
Roit dimp hiziv hor bara pemdeziek
Pardonit dimp hor pec’hedoù
Evel ma pardonomp d’ar re
O deu manket ouzhimp
Ha n’hon lezit ket da gouezhañ en tempadur
Met hon diwallit diouzh an droug
Evel-se bezet graet!
Amen
Our Father who art in Heaven
Hallowed be thy name
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done
On Earth as it is in Heaven
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us
Lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil
Thine is the kingdom
The power and the glory
Forever and ever
Amen

Vocabulary


No. English Cumbric
1Imi
2you (singular)ti
3heev
4weni
5you (plural)hwi
6theyoo
7thishunn, honn
8thathunnedh, honnedh
9hereeman
10thereenayth
11whopuw
12whatpeth
13wherecu
14whenp'oar
15howpe dhel'
16notne
17alloll
18manylawer
19somerew
20fewbuchot
21otherarall
22oneoun
23twodow, duw
24threetri, teyr
25fourpedwar, peder
26fivepimp
27bigmoar
28longhir
29wideledan
30thicktew
31heavytrumm
32smallbechan
33shortberr
34narrowcoul
35thintenow
36womangwrek
37man (adult male)gur
38man (human being)din
39childgweridh
40wifegwrek
41husbandgur
42mothermamm
43fathertat
44animalmil
45fishpisk
46birdedhin
47dogci
48louselowenn
49snakenedir
50wormpriv
51treegwidhenn
52forestcait
53sticklorr
54fruitfrooth
55seedhedinn
56leafdelenn
57rootgwredhinn
58barkrisk
59flowerblodinn
60grassgwelht
61ropelovan
62skincroyn
63meatcik
64bloodgoyt
65boneaskurn
66fatblonek
67eggoy
68horncorn
69taillost
70featherplouvenn
71hairgwalht
72headpenn
73earcloust
74eyelugat
75nosetroon
76mouthgenow
77toothdent
78tonguetavot
79fingernailewin
80foottroet
81legcoys
82kneeglin
83handloav
84wingaden
85bellyboll
86gutscoloudhyon
87neckgudhuw
88backcevin
89breastbronn
90heartcalonn
91liveravou
92drinkevet
93eatesset
94bitebratho
95sucksougno
96spitheliwi
97vomithwedo
98blowhwetho-
99breatheanadhlo
100laughhwerthin
101seegwelet
102hearcluwet
103knowgoobot
104thinkmedhulya
105smellcluwet
106fearbot own war
107sleepcusget
108liveaissi
109diemaruw
110killladh
111fightemwano
112hunthello
113hittarwo
114cuttrucho
115splithelhti
116stabgwano
117scratchcravo
118digclodhi
119swimnovya
120flyechedek
121walkcerdhet
122comeduvot
123liegorwedh
124sitestedh
125standsevil
126turntrei
127falledi
128giveredhi
129holddall
130squeezegwasko
131rubslipo
132washgwalchet
133wipesecho
134pulltenno
135pushhurdho
136throwtawlo
137tieculummya
138sewgwriet
139counterivo
140saygwedo
141singcano
142playgware
143floatnovya
144flowbero
145freezerewi
146swellhoodho
147sunhowl
148moonloyr
149starserenn
150waterduwr
151rainglaw
152riveravon
153lakelinn
154seamor
155salthaloon
156stonemayn
157sandtewot
158dustpulur
159earthpridh
160cloudcummul
161fogniwl
162skyoobur
163windgwint
164snowerr
165iceya
166smokemuk
167firetan
168ashlouduw
169burnleski
170roadgat
171mountainmunidh
172redroudh
173greenglas
174yellowmelin
175whitegwinn
176blackdouv
177nightnos
178daydidh
179yearbloodhin
180warmtoomm
181coldyen
182fullloan
183newnewidh
184oldhen
185goodda
186baddruk
187rottenbrayn
188dirtyhalok
189straightsith
190roundcrunn
191sharpegir
192dullpul
193smoothlivin
194wetgwlip
195drysich
196correctcuwir
197nearagos
198farpell
199rightdechow
200leftcledh
201atwurth
202inin
203withgant
204anda
205ifo
206becausein'edrip e
207nameanuw