Sunday, 5 March 2017

Taking a new look at Cornish grammar 34 (reflexive and intensive pronouns)

As the Cornish language evolved the –om prefix was used less and a second method of producing a reflexive verb increased. This was the use of the reflexive pronoun honan* self along with an appropriate possessive adjective. The reflexive pronoun used must always refer to the subject of the sentence.

honan
self, oneself
o honan
SWFM ow honan
myself
dha honan
thyself
y honan
himself, itself (m)
hy honan
herself, itself (f)
agan honan, gan honan
ourselves
agas honan, gas honan
yourself (formal)
yourselves
aga honan, ga honan
themselves
* Nicholas Williams uses honen.
These can be used in a variety of ways. They can be used as direct object of a transitive verb, with the same meaning as using a verb beginning with –om. (The object is the same as the subject.) If they are used with the reflexive verb as well they provide extra emphasis.
Thero vy o praysya o honan.
SWFM Yth esov vy ow praysya ow honan.
I am praising myself (blowing my own trumpet!).
Thero vy (owth) ombraysya o honan.
SWFM Yth esov vy owth ombraysya ow honan.
I am showing off!
Ev a wrüg divarva y honan.
SWFM Ev a wrug divarva y honan.
He shaved himself.
Ev a wrüg omdhivarva y honan.
SWFM Ev a wrug omdhivarva y honan.

He shaved his own beard off.
An gath a grav hy honan en fenowgh.
SWFM An gath a grav hy honan yn fenowgh.

The cat scratches herself/itself frequently/regularly.

They can also be used as part of an indirect object phrase, but not on their own. They need to follow the appropriate combination of preposition and pronoun (lesson 17).  Again the object (this time indirect) is the same as the subject.
“Coynt!” e’medh Alys dhedhy hy honan.
SWFM “Koynt!” yn medh Alys dhedhi hy honan.
“Curious!” said Alice to herself.
Ero whei o pobas oll an tesednow na raga whei gas honan?
SWFM Esowgh hwi ow pobas oll an tesennow-na ragowgh gas honan?
Are you baking all those cakes for yourselves?
Finally, the same words can be used as INTENSIVE PRONOUNS to draw attention to or emphasise the name, noun or pronoun that forms the subject of the sentence.  Positioning is a matter of style rather than grammar. The sentence still makes sense if they are left out.

Me a bernas an ro.
SWFM: My a brenas an ro.
I bought the present.
Me o honan a bernas an ro.
SWFM: My ow honan a brenas an ro.
Me a bernas an ro o honan.
SWFM: My a brenas an ro ow honan.
I myself bought the present.
I bought the present myself.
An pronter a dheuth.
SWFM: An pronter a dheuth.
The parson came.
An pronter y honan a dheuth.
SWFM: An pronter y honan a dheuth.
An pronter a dheuth y honan.
SWFM: An pronter a dheuth y honan.
The parson himself came.
The parson came himself.

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