Like many European languages, Cumbraek nouns have gender and are either masculine or feminine. The gender of a noun is usually fixed and must be learned, e.g:
- Masculine: gur man, ehok salmon, diwedh end, anuw name, truwidh smell
- Feminine: gwrek woman, oobur sky, Denvro Denmark, gwen smile, daer earth
The basic form of most Cumbraek words (i.e. the form given in the dictionary) is singular. Plurals may be formed in one of the following ways:
- By adding a plural endings such as -ow, -yow, -yon, -on, -edh, -ot, -i, -en, -et, -ent.
- By vowel alternation, e.g. march horse ~ merch horses.
- By dropping the singulative endings -inn (masc.) or -enn (fem.) to form a collective, e.g. derwenn oak tree ~ deriw oak trees.
The most important irregular plurals are bloodhin year ~ blinedh, broadur brother ~ brodir, ci dog ~ cun, didh day ~ diow, gur man ~ gwir, hwair sister ~ hwioredh, ti house ~ tei, troet foot ~ traet.
Cumbraek has no equivalent to English a, an so a noun like ci can mean dog or a dog depending on context.
The word er means the and is used much like in English, e.g. er gur the man, er ti the house.
After some short words ending in a vowel, er is contracted to ‘r, e.g. du’r egloos to the church, a’r skol and the school.
Feminine nouns undergo lenition when they follow er, e.g. gwrek a woman but er wrek the woman, cath a cat but er gath the cat.
Possession is indicated in English by attaching ‘s to the end of the possessor noun and following it with the possessed noun, e.g. John’s house, Anne’s mother or the Queen’s cat. In Cumbraek this order is reversed (i.e. possessed + possessor) and neither of the words are marked, e.g.
ti Yowann John’s house
mamm Ann Anne’s mother
cath er Rien the Queen’s cat
Notice that in English we can say the Queen’s cat and not **the Queen’s the cat. The same is true in Cumbraek, so only the possessor (second) noun can have er before it. So The Dark Side of the Moon (i.e. The Moon’s Dark Side) would be Tou Tewooll Er Loyr and not **Er Tou Tewooll Er Loyr.
Most adjectives are placed after the noun they relate to, e.g. gur moar a large man, oobur loot a grey sky. An important exception to this rule is the word hen old, which always comes before the noun and causes lenition, e.g. er hen wur the old man.
Adjectives following feminine nouns undergo lenition, e.g. gwrek voar a large woman, er oobur dewooll the dark sky. Many short adjectives with i or u as their main vowel also change this to e or o respectively following feminine nouns, e.g. er gur gwinn the white man but er wrek wenn the white woman, er ci trumm the heavy dog but er gath dromm the heavy cat.
The English endings -er and -est (as in harder, hardest or redder, reddest) are translated with -ach and -hav, e.g. caledach harder, calettav hardest, roudhach redder, rouddhav reddest.
Like in English, some adjectives have irregular forms:
- da good, gwell better, gorow best
- druk bad, goeth worse, goetthav worst
- moar great, moy more, greater, moyhav most, greatest
- bechan small, le smaller, less, lehav smallest, least