Verbs in Brithenig

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Brithenig verb conjugations are supported by [Verbix|]

Verb endings change for person, number and tense. The infinitive is indicated with endings -ar, -er, -ir. The -r is usually left unpronounced. Brithenig verbs are divided into three conjugations according to which infinitive ending the verb takes:

Canhar to sing

Perdder to lose

Dorfir to sleep

In a sentence the infinitive is mutated more often than not due to the preposition a before the verb. The preposition is then dropped but the mutation is preserved. With auxiliaries the infinitive is unmutated. It is the unmutated form that is recorded in the lexicon. It used with other prepositions where English prefers to use '-ing':

Eo wa per yn turn inawant gweddir a'll lleith, I go for a walk before going to bed

Dibos rher-mi eo bran, After getting up I have breakfast

It is also used to replace the past tense:

Eo fi ref a ffôner-lla, I got up and phoned her

The preposition subr, on, is translated as 'about to' before the infinitive:

Eo er subr ffôner-gw, I was about to phone you.

The present indicative describes an action happening at the present time:

eo gant eo berdd eo ddorf
ty gant ty berdd ty ddorf
ys cant ys perdd ys dorf
sa gant sa berdd sa ddorf
nu chanhan nu pherdden nu ddorfen
gw chanhath gw pherddeth gw ddorfith
ys/sa chanhant ys/sa pherddent ys/sa ddorfent

Brithenig distinguishes different endings to go with each person and and number. The singular forms are unmarked, -n goes with nu, -nt goes with ys and sa when they are plural, and -th goes with gw. The '-t' on the third person plural ending is silent, in the spoken language there is no difference between this and the ending of the first person plural verb. Also the initial consonant undergoes soft mutation in the singular verb (except after ys) or spirant mutation in the plural verb. Just as standard English always indicates the third person singular with the ending -s (he carries), so these endings must also always be used in Brithenig. If an object pronoun is inserted before the verb, then the verb always undergoes mutation, soft before a singular pronoun, spirant before a plural pronoun.

A verb is reflexive when when its subject and object are the same person: eo fi law, I wash (myself); in Brithenig the object is not omitted.

Llawarsi, to wash oneself:

eo fi law nu nu lawan
ty dy law gw 'w lawath
ys/sa si law ys/sa si lawant

In speech the first 'w' on gw 'w loses it vocalic quality and the combination is pronounced /gwu/.

Sometimes 'myself', etc are used for emphasis and not as the object of a reflexive verb. In such cases it is translated as medissif:

Eo fedissif widd llo char, I see the cars myself.

Brithenig makes the present participle by replacing the infinitive ending with -n:

canhan singing

perdden losing

dorfin sleeping

It forms a progressive tense with the verb ystar, 'to stand':

Eo yst canhan: I am singing

Ys ystafant dorfin: they were sleeping

The present participle can also be an adjective:

ill of dorfin, the sleeping man

Lla ffuin ganhan, the singing woman

The Latin gerund ending in -nt, still exists in a handful of words in Brithenig that are used as adjectives and nouns, such as afent, wealthy, and president, president. But the survival of these is an historic feature and not a productive one, in Brithenig the present participle has taken over the role of the gerund.

The past participle has the ending -d:

canhad sung

perdded lost

dorfid slept

Some past participles are irregular:

ffaeth, done, made, from ffâr, to do, to make;

dith, said, from dîr, to say;

yscrith, written, from yscrifer, to write;

duith, led, from dûr, to lead;

gwist, seen, from gwidder, to see;

rhuth, broken, from rhumher, to break;

clos, closed from clodder, to close;

morth, dead from morir, to die.

The forms of the imperfect are:

eo ganhaf eo berddef eo ddorfif
ty ganhaf ty berddef ty ddorfif
ys canhaf ys perddef ys dorfif
sa ganhaf sa berddef sa ddorfif
nu chanafan nu pherddefan nu ddorfifan
gw chanafath gw pherddefath gw ddorfifath
ys/sa chanafant ys/sa pherddefant ys/sa ddorfifant

The imperfect is used to describe an action that happened in the past that is not concluded at this point due to it being an ongoing action, an interpreted action or an habitual action. So Eo ganhaf can be interpreted as either 'I sang', 'I was singing', or 'I used to sing'.

'I was singing' can also be translated as eo ystaf canhan.

Remember that the final -f on the singular verb is silent.

The past definite describes a completed and unrepeatable action that happened in the past. Some verb endings have been lost and replaced with the imperfect, or with a compound past tense:

eo ganhaf eo berddef eo ddorfif
ty ganhast ty berddest ty ddorfist
ys canhaf ys perddef ys dorfif
sa ganhaf sa berddef sa ddorfif
nu chanafan nu pherddefan nu ddorfifan
gw chanhast gw pherddest gw ddorfist
ys/sa channarent ys/sa pherdderent ys/sa ddorfirent

The past definate is used particularly to describe an historical event; or in connection with a temporal adverb or adverbial phrase; or a `when' phrase; or a conclusive and final action.

There are a small number of verbs where the past definate is irregular, one such verb is dîr, to say:

eo ddis nu ddisen
ty ddisist gw ddisist
ys dis/sa ddis ys/sa ddisirent

Other irregular verbs are:

Clos from clodder, to close;

Compruis from comprêner, to understand;

Cyrs from cyrrir, to run;

Duis from dûr, to lead;

Lleis from lleir, to read;

Mis from mither, to send;

Tens from tener, to stretch.

The future tense is translated 'I will' or 'I shall'. It is formed by adding the endings -ai, -a, -a, -an, -ath, -ant to the infinitive. All Brithenig verbs use these endings in the future tense:

eo ganarai eo berdderai eo ddorfirai
ty ganara ty berddera ty ddorfira
ys canara ys perddera ys dorfira
sa ganara sa berddera sa ddorfira
nu chanaran nu pherdderan nu ddorfiran
gw chanarath gw pherdderath gw ddorfirath
ys/sa chanarant ys/sa pherdderant ys/sa ddorfirant

For the immediate future tense Brithenig can use gweddir, go, with the infinitive tense of the verb:

Eo wa wenir cungwsc, I am going to come with you.

The conditional tense translates to mean 'might', 'could', 'would' or 'should'. It is formed by adding a -ew ending to the infinitive:

eo ganarew eo berdderew eo ddorfirew
ty ganarew ty berdderew ty ddorfirew
ys canarew ys perdderew ys dorfirew
sa ganarew sa berdderew sa ddorfirew
nu chanarewn nu pherdderewn nu ddorfirewn
gw chanarewth gw pherdderewth gw ddorfirewth
ys/sa chanarewnt ys/sa pherdderewnt ys/sa ddorfirewnt

The conditional is used to indicate a future tense to a past action. It is used in indirect speech after a verb used to communicate ideas:

Ys yscrifera yn garth He will write a letter

Ys digef (ke) ys yscriferew yn garth He said that he would write a letter

The conditional tense is also used in a sentence after an 'if' clause:

Se eo w h-er, eo ffagerew rhen If I were you, I would not do it.

Se eo ai gwist-llo, eo afrew parolad a lle If I had seen him, I would have spoken to him.

If the second clause does not have the sense of an action not happening then another tense replaces the conditional:

Se ys gwen eo barolarai a lle If he comes I will speak to him.

The conditional is also used in describing non-specific repetative action in the past:

I llo ddiwrn llâ nu h-amblarewn sempr a'll castr, In those days we would always walk into town, or, In those days we always used to walk into town.

The relative pronoun ke, 'who, what, which, that' is often omitted in Brithenig, especially the spoken language. Ke is the most common form of the relative pronoun. The alternative ill cal is used to avoid ambiguity in a sentence. It is variable in gender and number and cannot be omitted. Ke is more often encountered in speech.

'Whose' can be translated by ke sew before the noun or by di'll cal after it. 'When' and 'where' are translated respectively as can and ill llog (ke).

Brithenig uses disjunctive pronouns in dependent clauses:

Lla garth (k') eo yscrifef lla, The letter that I wrote

Lla ffuin (k') eo barolaf cunseg, The woman that I spoke with

The subjunctive tenses are no longer productive in modern Brithenig. They only survive in proverbial phrases such as: Can in Rhufein, ffâ si llo Rhufan ffeigant, When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

There are two subjunctive tenses, past and present. The present tense is distinctive that it includes i-mutation in all three conjunctions, if only partially in the -ar conjunction. A, e, and o in the stem become ei, u becomes y, and aw, when it occurs, becomes ew; i is unaffected. The vowels in the ending also change, for -er and -ir verbs it becomes a, while for -ar verbs it becomes e.

eo gant eo beirdd eo ddeirf
ty gant ty beirdd ty ddeirf
ys cant ys peidd ys deirf
sa gant sa beirdd sa ddeirf
nu cheinhen nu pheirddan nu ddeirfan
gw cheinheth gw pheirddath gw ddeirfath
ys/sa chanhent ys/sa pheirddant ys/sa ddeirfant

The past subjunctive is simpler and is made by infixing -ss(e) between the normal stem and the ending:

eo ganhas eo berddes eo ddorfis
ty ganhas ty berddes ty ddorfis
ys canhas ys perddes ys dorfis
sa ganhas sa berddes sa dorfis
nu chanassen nu pherddessen nu ddorfissen
gw chanasseth gw pherddesseth gw ddorfisseth
ys/sa chanassent ys/sa pherddessent ys/sa ddorfissent

Compound tenses are made with two new verbs, esser, to be, and afer, to have. They are irregular and do not conform to the three conjugations that have been given so far. Present tense:

eo su nu sun eo ai nu hafen
ty es gw h-es ty a gw h-afeth
ys/sa es ys/sa sunt ys/s' a ys/sa h-ant


Present: Past:
essen ystad (from ystar, to stand)
afen afyd


eo er nu h-eran eo afef nu h-afefan
ty er gw h-erath ty afef gw h-afefath
ys/sa er ys/sa h-erant ys/s' afef ys/sa h-afefant

Past Definite:

eo ffew nu ffewn eo afew nu h-afewn
ty ffewst gw ffewth ty afewst gw h-afewth
ys/sa ffew ys/sa ffewrent ys/sa afew ys/sa h-afewrent


eo serai nu seran eo afrai nu h-afran
ty sera gw serath ty afra nu h-afrath
ys/sa sera ys/sa serant ys/sa afra ys/sa h-afrant


eo serew nu serewn eo afrew nu h-afrewn
ty serew gw serewth eo afrew gw h-afrewth
ys/sa serew ys/sa serewnt ys/sa afrew ys/sa h-afrewnt

Present Subjunctive:

eo sia nu sian eo ai nu h-aian
ty sia gw siath ty ai gw h-aiath
ys/sa sia ys/sa siant ys/sa ai ys/sa h-aiant

Sia is pronounced as 'sha' in the present subjunctive of 'to be'.

Past Subjunctive:

eo ffews nu ffewssen eo afews nu h-afewssen
ty ffews gw ffewsseth ty afews gw h-afewsseth
ys/sa ffews ys/sa ffewssent ys/sa afews ys/sa h-afewssent

Gweddir, to go is irregular in the present tense:

eo wa nu wan
ty wa gw wath
ys gwa/sa wa ys/sa want

Otherwise the verb is regular and uses the longer stem.

The word for 'not' is rhen. It comes after the verb phrase:

eo su rhen, I am not

With verbs beginning with p, t, c, b, d, g, the nasal mutation is used on all verbs beginning with these letters when they are followed by a negative adverb:

Eo nghant rhen, I do not sing.

Gw mherddefan rhen, you did not lose.

Ys norfira rhen, he will not sleep.

Similar to rhen is nonc, never. In questions 'ever' is translated as nonc:

E'gw ystad nonc ci inawant? Have you ever been here before?

No, eo su ystad nonc ci inawant, No, I have never been here before.

Rhen is also used before nouns, rhen llaeth, `no milk'.

'There is' or 'there are' is sa es:

Sa es yn char, There are some cars.

When an object follows a negative verb then the preposition di is inserted between the verb and the following noun. Literally this would be translated as 'none of':

Sa es rhen di yn char, There aren't any cars.