Use of “Bos”(to be) in statements and questions


Use of “Bos”(to be) in statements and questions

The indicator in Cornish as to whether a sentence is a question or a statement when using short form “Bos” is the position of the verb, remember “Bos” is an auxiliary or helper verb and used to indicate who is being discussed and also the tense,

Bos short form present tense

If it comes before the subject/verb it is a question;

Os ta Lowen – Be you happy (Are you happy)

If it follows the subject/verb it is a statement;

Lowen ov vy – Happy I be (I am happy)


Remember when using question form if you are asking a question you may have to switch the person to answer, for example in English if you ask,” are you wet” (glёb) the answer would be “I am wet”. In the same way if you were asking about “you” plural the answer would be, “we are wet”

In Cornish this would be

Os ta glёb? – Be you wet?

Glёb ov vy – I be wet

Or

Owgh why glёb? – Be you wet?

Glёb on ny – We be wet


If you wished to add “yes” or “no to your answer above there is a set way of doing this when using short form Bos;

Yw is yes

So in the examples above to add yes you would say;

Yw,glёb ov vy – Yes, wet I be (yes, I am wet)

Yw, glёb on ny – Yes, wet we be (Yes, we are wet)


If you wished to answer the question in the negative there is also a set way of doing this;

“Nag Yw, nyns ” is used, and this means;

Nag Yw– no

Nyns  – not

In this context these are always used together for example;

Nag yw, nyns ov vy glёb – No not I be wet (No, I am not wet)

Nag yw, nyns on ny glёb – No not we be wet (No, we are not wet)


Full examples:

Yw, glёb ov vy – Yes, I be wet

Yw, glёb osta – Yes, you be wet

Yw, glёb yw ev – Yes, he be wet

Yw, glёb yw hy – Yes, she be wet

Yw glёb on ny – We be wet

Yw, glёb owgh we – Yes, you be wet

Yw, glёb yns y – Yes, they be wet


Nag yw, nyns ov vy glёb – No, not I be wet

Nag yw, nyns os ta glёb – No. not you be wet

Nag yw, nyns yw ev glёb – No, not he be wet

Nag yw, nyns yw hy glёb – No not she be wet

Nag yw, nyns on ny glёb – No, not we be wet

Nag yw, nyns owgh why glёb – No, not you be wet

Nag yw, nyns yns y glёb – No, not be they wet


Therefore bearing mind these principles the translations for page 15 are as follows;

Den ov vy – I be a man

Benyn osta – You be a woman

Maw yw ev – He be a boy

Mowes yw hy – Girl she be

Den ha benyn on ny – Man and woman we be

Maw ha mowes owgh why – Boy and girl yw be

Mowes ha maw yns hy – Girl and boy be they


If you wished to make these questions you would move ov vy, os ta etc to before Den Benyn etc.


Note you do not use personal pronouns e.g. Me, Te, Ev, Hy, Ny, Why and Y with shotform present Bos .


If you wished to extend your answer to the question above

Os ta glёb?

You could combine the elements by saying;

Nag yw, nyns ov vy glёb, sёgh ov vy

No not I be wet, dry I be