The page of Brithenig
`Yn nediwn seint yn llinghedig, yn nediwn seint yn cor'
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
Canhar to sing
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':
Perdder to lose
Dorfir to sleep
Eo wa per yn turn inawant gweddir a'll lleith, `I
go for a walk before going to bed'
It is also used to replace the past tense:
Dibws rher-mi eo bran, `After getting up I have
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
|eo gant||eo berdd||
|ty gant||ty berdd||ty ddwrf|
|ys cant||ys perdd||ys dwrf|
|sa gant ||sa berdd||sa ddwrf|
|nw chanhan||nw pherdden||
|gw chanhath ||gw pherddeth||
|ys/sa chanhant|| ys/sa pherddent||
Brithenig distinguishes different endings to go with each person and
and number. The singular forms are unmarked, -n goes
with nw, -nt goes with
ys and sa when they are plural, and
-th goes with gw, and
-nt goes with ys and
sa when they are plural. 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||nw nw 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 `gwoo'.
Sometimes `myself', etc are used for emphasis and not as the object of a
reflexive verb. In such cases it is translated as
Eo fedissif widd llo char, I see the cars myself.
the present participle by replacing the infinitive ending with
It forms a progressive tense with the verb ystar,
Eo yst canhan: I am singing
The present participle can also be an adjective:
Ys ystafant dorfin: they were sleeping
ill of dorfin, the sleeping man
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.
Lla ffwyn ganhan, the singing woman
The past participle has the ending -d:
Some past participles are irregular:
ffaeth, done, made, from
ffager, to do, to make;
The forms of the imperfect are:
dith, said from diger,
yscrith, written from
yscrifer, to write;
dwyth, led from duger, to
gwist, seen from gwidder,
rhuth, broken from rhumper,
clos, closed from clodder,
mwrth, dead from morir,
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'.
|eo ganhaf||eo berddef||eo ddorfif|
|ty ganhaf||ty berddef||ty ddorfif|
|ys canhaf||ys perddef||ys dorfif|
|sa ganhaf||sa berddef||sa ddorfif|
|nw chanafan||nw pherddefan||nw
|gw chanafath||gw pherddefath||gw ddorfifath|
|ys/sa chanafant||ys/sa pherddefant||ys/sa
`I was singing' can also be translated as eo ystaf
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:
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.
|eo ganhaf||eo berddef||eo ddorfif|
|ty ganhast||ty berddest||ty ddorfist|
|ys canhaf||ys perddef||ys
|sa ganhaf||sa berddef||sa ddorfif|
|nw chanafan||nw pherddefan||nw ddorfifan|
|gw chanhast||gw pherddest||gw
|ys/sa channarent||ys/sa pherdderent||ys/sa
There are a small number of verbs where the past definate is irregular,
one such verb is diger, to say:
Other irregular verbs are:
|eo ddis||nw ddisen|
|ty ddisist||gw ddisist|
|ys dis/sa ddis||ys/sa ddisirent|
Clws from clodder, to
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:
Cymhrwys from cymmrêner, to
Cyrs from cyrrir, to run;
Dwys from duger, to lead;
Lleis from lleir, to read;
Mis from mither, to send;
Tens from tener, to
For the immediate future tense Brithenig can use gweddir,
`go' with the infinitive tense of the verb:
|eo ganarai||eo berdderai||eo ddorfirai|
|ty ganara||ty berddera||ty ddorfira|
|ys canara||ys perddera||ys dorfira|
|sa ganara||sa berddera||sa ddorfira|
|nw chanaran||nw pherdderan||nw ddorfiran|
|gw chanarath||gw pherdderath||gw ddorfirath|
|ys/sa chanarant||ys/sa pherdderant||ys/sa
wenir cyngwsc, 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
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:
The conditional tense is also used in a sentence after an `if'
|eo ganarew ||eo berdderew|| eo ddorfirew|
| ty ganarew|| ty berdderew||ty ddorfirew|
|ys canarew ||ys perdderew ||ys dorfirew|
|sa ganarew ||sa berdderew ||sa ddorfirew|
|nw chanarewn ||nw pherdderewn|| nw ddorfirewn|
|gw chanarewth ||gw pherdderewth||gw ddorfirewth|
|ys/sa chanarewnt||ys/sa pherdderewnt||ys/sa ddorfirewnt|
S'eo 'w h-er, eo ffagerew rhen If I were you, I
would not do it.
If the second clause does not have the sense of an action not
happening then another tense replaces the conditional:
S'eo ai gwist-llw, eo afrew parlad a lle If I
had seen him, I would have spoken to him.
S'ys gwen eo barlarai 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 nw h-amlarewn 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 llwg
Brithenig uses disjunctive pronouns in dependent clauses:
Lla garth (k') eo yscrifef lla, The letter that I
The subjunctive tenses are no longer productive in modern Brithenig.
They only survive in proverbial phrases such as:
Lla ffwyn (k') eo barlaf cyseg, The
woman that I spoke with
Can in Rhwfein, ffâ si llo Rhwfan ffegiant, 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, or e is the stress is not on the stem vowel, 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
ia, while for -ar verbs it becomes
The past subjunctive is simpler and is made by infixing
-ss(e) between the normal stem and the ending:
|eo gant||eo beirdd||eo ddeirf|
|ty gant||ty beirdd||ty ddeirf|
|ys cant||ys peirdd||ys deirf|
|sa gant||sa beirdd||sa ddeirf|
|nw chenhien||nw pherddian||nw dderfian|
|gw chenhieth||gw pherddiath||gw
|ys/sa chanhent||ys/sa pherddiant||ys/sa
Compound tenses are made with two new verbs, esser,
`to be' and afwyr, `to have'. They
are irregular and do not conform to the three conjugations that have
been given so far.
|eo ganhas||eo berddes||eo ddorfis|
|ty ganhas||ty berddes||ty ddorfis|
|ys canhas||ys perddes||ys dorfis|
|sa ganhas||sa berddes||sa dorfis|
|nw chanassen||nw pherddessen||nw
|gw chanasseth||gw pherddesseth||gw
|ys/sa chanassent||ys/sa pherddessent||ys/sa
|eo su||nw sun||eo ai||nw h-afen|
|ty es||gw h-es||ty a||gw
|ys/sa es||ys/sa sunt||ys/s' a||ys/sa
|essen||ystad (from ystar, `to
|eo er||nw h-eran||eo afef||nw 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|
|eo ffew||nw ffewn||eo afew||nw
|ty ffewst||gw ffewth||ty
|ys/sa ffew||ys/sa ffewrent||ys/sa
|eo serai||nw seran||eo afrai||nw h-afran|
|ty sera||gw serath||ty afra||nu h-afrath|
|ys/sa sera||ys/sa serant||ys/sa
Sia is pronounced as sha in the present
subjunctive of 'to be'.
|eo sia||nw sian||eo ai||nw h-aian|
|ty sia||gw siath||ty ai||gw
|ys/sa sia||ys/sa siant||ys/sa ai||ys/sa
|eo ffews||nw ffewssen||eo afews||nw
|ty ffews||gw ffewsseth||ty afews||gw
|ys/sa ffews||ys/sa ffewssent||ys/sa
Gweddir, to go is irregular in the present
|eo serew||nw serewn||eo afrew||nw h-afrewn|
|ty serew||gw serewth||ty afrew||gw h-afrewth|
|ys/sa serew||ys/sa serewnt||ys/sa afrew||ys/sa h-afrewnt|
Otherwise the verb is regular and uses the longer stem.
|eo wa||nw wan|
|ty wa||gw wath|
|ys gwa/sa wa||ys/sa want|
The word for `not' is rhen. It comes after the verb
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
Eo nghant rhen, I do not sing.
Similar to rhen is nonc,
`never'. In questions 'ever' is translated as
Gw mherddefan rhen, you did not lose.
Ys norfira rhen, he will not sleep.
E'gw ystad nonc ci inawant? 'Have you ever been here
Rhen is also used before nouns,
rhen llaeth, `no milk'.
No, eo su ystad nonc ci inawant,
No, I have never been here before.
`There is' or `there are' is sa es:
Sa es di llo 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 llo char, 'There aren't any cars'
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