Regular Verb Conjugation
Cumbraek verbs are conjugated, so have individual endings for 1st, 2nd and 3rd person singular and plural, plus an impersonal form (which is dealt with separately below). Regular verbs have one present tense, three past tenses (imperfect, preterite and pluperfect) and an imperative. The use of these tenses is explained in more detail below.
The dictionary form of Cumbraek verbs is called a verb noun, which is the equivalent to the English infinitive in to … or the gerund in …ing, e.g. the verb noun gwelet translates to see and seeing. In most cases, the verb noun is made up of a verb stem and an ending, such as -o, -ya, -i, or -et. These endings are dropped and the verb stem is used as the basis for the rest of the conjugation.
The present tense has a wider range of uses than the English equivalent. It is used to describe actions which are:
- current and ongoing, e.g. mi redav I am running
- generally true, e.g. can edhnot birds sing
- regular or habitual, e.g. ni cerdhen bownidh we walk every day
- in the future, e.g. oo ánt San Francisco they are going (will go) to San Francisco
Here are the forms of the present tense for the verb caro love:
carav I love
ceridh you love (sg)
car he/she/it loves
caren we love
caret you love (pl)
carant they love
Note that the a of car- becomes e before the ending -idh. This change affects all vowel stems with -a- in them. In many cases the stem vowel undergoes alternation in the 3rd person singular, e.g. per he/she/it causes (from par-), gwil he/she/it sees (from gwel-).
The imperfect tense is the equivalent of English was/were …ing as in I was walking, we were singing etc. It describes a past action which was ongoing or repeated for a period of time, so also includes phrases like mi cerdhun du’r gweyth I walked to work where the implication is that this was a habitual action.
The imperfect forms for caro love are:
carun I was loving
carout you were loving (sg)
care he/she/it was loving
carem we were loving
carewch you were loving (pl)
carent they were loving
Of course, in English, we rarely use was/were loving and prefer to use loved instead. However, because of the meaning of love, which is usually an ongoing state, the Imperfect would normally be used in Cumbraek.
The preterite tense might be called the ‘simple past’ and refers to actions which occurred at a specific point in the past, e.g. mi eth weles I saw you, ev redas adrev he ran home.
The preterite forms for caro love are:
ceres I loved
cerest you loved (sg)
caras he/she/it loved
carsam we loved
carsawch you loved (pl)
carsant they loved
Note the change of a to e in the first two forms. Verbs with a stem ending in -s simply merge with the plural endings, e.g. cossam we itched, danggossant they showed.
A handful of verbs have singular forms with a -t or -th inserted and these follow one of two patterns:
- cent I sang, centest you sang, cant he/she/it sang < can-
- cummirth I took, cummirthest you took, cummerth he/she/it took < cummer-
Like cano sing are gwano stab and emwano fight. Like cumbrit take are degumbrit accept, difrit protect, jovrit ban, forbid, edvrit restore and emmedvrit recover.
A few common verbs also change -ed or –edh in the stem into -ot or -odh in the 3rd person singular form only. Examples include dewot he said, gwarot he saved, estodh he sat, gorwodh he lay down. Irregular are gwoat quoth and ciglow he heard beside cluwas.
The pluperfect translates the English had …ed/en as in we had walked, you had given and refers to an action or state ongoing up until some point in the past, e.g. mi gwelsun er film cint gweth I had seen the film already.
The pluperfect forms for caro are:
carsun I had loved
carsout you had loved (sg)
carse he/she/it had loved
carsem we had loved
carsewch you had loved (pl)
carsent they had loved
This is not a commonly used tense and most cases of the English pluperfect would be translated with the Imperfect or Preterite tenses, e.g. mi gweles er film cint gweth I saw the film already.
The imperative is used to give commands or to make requests. There is no 1st person singular, but the remaining forms are:
car love! (sg)
caret let him/her/it love
carem let us love
cerit love! (pl)
carent let them love
Summary of Regular Verb Conjugation