Brezhoneg Daoù/Lesson 3

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The Present Tense, Continuous Tense & Situation TenseEdit

Irregular verb: Bezañ / "To be"Edit

Personal form & impersonal formEdit

The Present Tense and the Continuous Tense have two forms : the personal form and the impersonal form.

These two forms allow to insist upon either the subject (impersonal form) or the complement, the attribute, the object (personal form).

For example :

The English sentence I am wise may be translated in two ways:

  • Me zo fur (impersonal form) to insist upon the subject (Me).
Since the subject already gives the notion of person, it is useless to give a personal form to the verb. Therefore the verb is invariant (here : a zo) and this form is called the impersonal form.
  • Fur on (personal form) to insist upon the attribute (Fur).
Here the verb varies according to the person since the notion of person is not present otherwise.

Continuous TenseEdit

The Continuous Tense is used for repetitive or continued actions.

Let's take the same example as before:

  • Fur e vezan means I am usually wise.
When translating from Breton to English, allow your native language instinct to sort out in which case the simple present (I speak Breton) or the present continuous (I am speaking Breton) is more appropriate and idiomatic.

Situation TenseEdit

The Situation Tense is used to indicate the place (in space or time) where the subject is or, in a wider meaning, its position (social, etc.).

Example:

  • Er skol emaon means I am (currently) at school.

Impersonal passiveEdit

This mode is used when the subject is not known or not precisely defined. In English, this would often be translated by "they".

For instance, "ez eur" would give they are, one is.

Verb Bezañ (To be) - Present
Present Tense
Personal form
Present Tense
Impersonal form
Continuous Tense
Personal form
Continuous Tense
Impersonal form
Situation Tense English meaning
ez on me a zo e vezan me a vez emaon I am
ez out te a zo e vezez te a vez emaout You are (sg.)
ez eo eñ a zo e vez eñ a vez emañ He is
hi a zo hi a vez She is
ez omp ni a zo e vezomp ni a vez emaomp We are
ez oc'h c'hwi a zo e vezit c'hwi a vez emaoc'h You are (pl.)
ez int int a zo e vezont int a vez emaint They are
oar, eur e vezer emeur Impersonal
passive

Regular verb: Skrivañ / "To write"Edit

Personal form & impersonal formEdit

The Present Tense and the Continuous Tense have two forms : the personal form and the impersonal form.

These two forms allow to insist upon either the subject (impersonal form) or the complement, the attribute, the object (personal form).

Auxiliary formEdit

A verb can also be used with an auxiliary (most often the verb Ober to do) to insist upon the action itself.

For instance, skrivañ a rin ul lizher (I will write a letter) will be used to insist upon the verb skrivañ, to write.

Regular Verb Skrivañ (To write) - Present
Present Tense
Personal form
Present Tense
Impersonal form
With auxiliary
Personal form
English meaning
ul levr a skrivan me a skriv ul levr skrivañ a ran ul levr I write a book
ul levr a skrivez te a skriv ul levr skrivañ a rez ul levr You write a book (sg.)
ul levr a skriv eñ a skriv ul levr skrivañ a ra ul levr He writes a book
hi a skriv ul levr She writes a book
ul levr a skrivomp ni a skriv ul levr skrivañ a reomp ul levr We write a book
ul levr a skrivit c'hwi a skriv ul levr skrivañ a rit ul levr You write a book (pl.)
ul levr a skrivont int a skriv ul levr skrivañ a reont ul levr They write a book
ul levr a skriver skrivañ a reer ul levr Impersonal
passive

Progressive FormEdit

To create the progressive form, add the continuous particle o (M! — Careful! The particle o causes Mixed mutations, as shown below.)

(M!) Mixed Mutations

The following letters are affected:
B becomes V bezañ (To be) o vezañ (being)
D becomes T dont (To come) o tont (coming)
G becomes C'H gortoz (To wait) o c'hortoz (waiting)
GW becomes W gwelout (To see) o welout (seeing)
M becomes V mont (To go) o vont (going)
  • Here are some verbal nouns:

kaozeal (speak/ing)komz (chat/ting, speak/ing)skrivañ (write/ing)ober (work/ing)chom (dwell/ing)gwerzhañ (sell/ing)mond (go/ing)kemer (take/ing)degemer (receive/ing)deskiñ (learn/ing)kas send/ing

Now all you need to do is put them together following this pattern:

{present of bezañ} + {o (M!)} + {verbal noun}

Emaon o komz brezhoneg (I am speaking Breton)
Emaout o skrivañ ul lizner You (sg.) are writing a letter
Emañ eñ o teskiñ kembraeg (He is learning Welsh

Caution : The progressive form may not always be translated by the construction "o" + (verbal noun). In some cases, other constructions are more appropriate:
1/ To mark a means: dre + (verbal noun)

  • Dre lenn kalz levrioù mat e teui da vezañ ur mestr war ar yezh (By reading lots of good books you will become a master in Breton language)
  • Dre soubañ va biz enni em bije merzet ne oa ket ar soubenn evit bezañ lonket ker buan (By dipping my finger in it I would have noticed that the soup was not to be swallowed so fast

2/ To mark simultaneous actions: en ur + (verbal noun)

  • En ur lenn al levr-se em eus merzet e oa an oberour un den a-zoare (While reading this book I noticed that the writer was a good man)
  • En ur lonkañ ma soubenn em eus merket e oa tomm-berv (While eating my soup I noticed that it was boiling hot)

3/ Evolution: mont war + (verbal noun) (To go toward + verbal noun) In the following sentences, this yields: war + (verbal noun) + ez a..., that is toward + (verbal noun) + goes

  • War greskiñ ez a ar prizioù (Prices are increasing, literally "On To increase go the prices")
  • War fallaat ez a an amzer (The weather is getting worse, literally "On To get worse goes the weather")

NegationsEdit

Since you want to be able to make negative statements as well as ask questions, here’s what you need to do: Take the long present tense of bezañ (to be) and replace the particle ez with ne (or ned or n' before a vowel) and add ket after the verb in order to make a negative statement:

  • ez on (I am) → ned on ket/n'on ket (I am not)
  • n'out ket (you (sg.) are) → ned out ket/n'out ket (you are not)


The 3rd person singular in negative statements has two special verb forms:

  • n'eus ket... (there is not...) when the subject of the verb is indefinite
  • n'eo ket... he/she/it is not... when the subject of the verb is definite
  • → ar c'hi n'eo ket... (the dog is not...), ar vugale n'int ket... (the children are not...)
  • n'omp ket (we are not)
  • n'oc'h ket (you (pl.) are not)
  • n'int ket (they are not)
  • n'eur ket (they are/one is not) → N'eur ket boas da gement-se (They are/One is not accustomed to that)


Now put the sentences together according to the template given above:

  • N'emaon ket o komz Brezhoneg. (I am not speaking Breton)
  • N'emaout ket o skrivañ ul lizher (You (sg.) are not writing a letter)
  • N'emañ ket o teskiñ kembraeg (He is not learning Welsh)

QuestionsEdit

To formulate a question simply use the affirmation form, generally with the conjunction ha (And) before the verb; ha is replaced by hag before a vowel for phonetic reasons:

Hag ez on ? Am I?
Hag ez out ? Are you? (sg.)
Hag ez eus ? Is there? when the subject of the verb is indefinite
Hag ez eo? Is he?
Hag ez eo? Is she?
Hag ez eo? Is it? when the subject of the verb is definite
Hag ez eo ar c'hi...? Is the dog...?
Hag ez omp? Are we?
Hag ez oc'h? Are you? (pl.)
Hag ez int? Are they?
Hag ez int ar vugale? Are they the children?
Hag emaon o skrivañ e brezhoneg? Am I writing in Breton?

Sometimes, a question will be preceded by Daoust ha (equivalent to Is is true that..., literally "To be known whether").

Daoust hag emaout o skrivañ ul lizher ?
Daoust hag emañ o teskiñ kembraeg ?

To ask a negative question, use the same principles:

Ha n'emaon ket o komz brezhoneg ? Am I not speaking Breton?
Ha n'emaout ket o skrivañ ul lizher ? Are you not writing a letter?
Ha n'emañ ket o teskiñ kembraeg ? Is he not learning Welsh?
  • Please note the difference in meaning between Ha n'emañ ket o teskiñ Kembraeg ? Is he not learning Welsh? and Ha ne zesk ket kembraeg ? Doesn't he learn Welsh?.

Exercises/PoelladennoùEdit

Self trainingEdit

  • Listen to the following dialogs which shows:
    • Imperative form
    • Auxiliary form
    • Progressive form

Now, you have seen how its done.

Take the verbs from Brezhoneg Daoù/Lesson 1 and write them down if you haven't already.

Now change them into their Present tense.

Then, make up some sentences for each verb, e.g. Me a zesk brezhoneg e Wikiversity (I learn Breton at Wikiversity—NOT I'm learning Breton at Wikiversity; how would you say that, by the way?).

QuizEdit

Go to the Quiz