Very Quick Lessons

Piedmontese for English Speaking People

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Lesson 10

Piedmontese Grammar

Auxiliary Verbs

Ve have seen that in Piedmontese there are verbs that make use of the auxiliary "avj" (to have) for composite tenses and other verbs that make use of the auxiliary "esse" (to be) in the composite tenses. This is for the active form (passive and reflexive forms make use of the auxiliary "esse". So we first give some information on this point.

Use of auxiliary verbs

In active form, transitive verbs, that can support a direct object, make use in their conjugation of the auxiliary verb avej (to have). Intransitive verbs, that can be only active, usually make use of the auxiliary verb esse (to be) but some of them use the auxiliary verb avej (to have). Some of the intransitive verbs can use both auxiliary verbs in different circumstances with different meaning. We use the following table:

..... aux. verb
form ............
esse (to be) avej (to have)
Active Intransitive verbs if not listed on the right
I have gone = mi i son andàit

Impersonal generical verbs
It has been decided = A l' stit decidù

Motion verbs related to a point of departure and/or arrival
I flew to Turin = I son volà a Turin

The verbs smijé (to seem)and dventé (to become)
It seemed to me = A l' smijame. - I became = Mi i son diventà

Transitive verbs
I have taken = mi i l'hai pijà

Intransitive verbs expressing an action of the body or of the spirit
to run, to belive. - I ran = Mi i l'hai corù . I belived = Mi i l'hai chërdù

Impersonal meteo verbs
It rained = A l'ha piovù

Intransitive verbs of movement if used in a srictly literal sense
I have flown = Mi i l'hai volà (expressing the action of my body that flew)

The verbs podej (to be able), vorej (to want), dovej (to have to)
I had to go = Mi i l'hai dovù and
All the passive verbs (transitive)
All the reflexive verbs (transitive)
All the reciprocal verbs

As usual we give some examples, also reporting the italian form, in order to underline some difference.

English Italian Piedmontese
I have drunk io ho bevuto i l'hai beiv (transitive)
I have slept io ho dormito i l'hai durm (intrans. it can be used also (seldom) as a trans.)
It has snowed nevicato a l'ha fioc (impersonal, intrans. and seldom trans. different with respect Italian)
I couldn't go non sono potuto andare i l'hai nen pod and (difference with respect Italian)
I have flown with a little plane ho volato con un piccolo aereo i l'hai vol con un cit avion (intransitive)
I was invited sono stato invitato i son ëstit anvit (passive)
we've written each other for one year ci siamo scritti per un anno i soma scrivusse për n'ann (reciprocal)
I've flown to you Sono volato da te I son vol da ti (intransitive)
It seemed (to) me mi sembrato a l' smime (used as intrans. )
we've felt (ourselves) well ci siamo trovati bene i l'oma trovasse bin (idiom - difference with respect Italian)

The verb "esse" (to be)

INDICATIVE MOOD (Meud indicativ)
Past (imperfect)
Past (pres. perf.
Past perfect
Past perfect remote
(futur sempi)
Future perfect.
(futur anterior)
mi i son
ti it ses
chiel a l'é
noi i soma
voi i seve
lor a son
mi i j'era
ti it j'ere
chiel a l'era
noi i j'ero
voi i j'ere
lor a j'ero
mi i son ëstàit
ti it ses ëstàit
chiel a l'é stàit
noi i soma stàit
voi i seve stàit
lor a son ëstàit
mi i fure
ti it fures
chiel a fur
noi i furo
voi i fure
lor a furo
mi i j'era stàit
ti it j'ere stàit
chiel a l'era stàit
noi i j'ero stàit
voi i j'ere stàit
lor a j'ero stàit
mi i fure stit
ti it fures ëstit
chiel a fur ëstit
noi i furo stit
voi i fure stit
lor a furo stit
mi i sarai
ti it saras
chiel a sarà
noi i saroma
voi i sareve
lor a saran
mi i sarai stàit
ti it saras stàit
chiel a sarà stàit
noi i saroma stàit
voi i sareve stàit
lor a saran stàit

SUBJUNCTIVE MOOD (Meud congiuntiv)
Past Perfect
che mi i sia
che ti it sie
che chiel a sia
che noi i sio
che voi i sie
che lor a sio
che mi i fussa
che ti it fusse
che chiel a fussa
che noi i fusso
che voi i fusse
che lor a fusso
che mi i sia stàit
che ti it sie stàit
che chiel a sia stàit
che noi i sio stàit
che voi i sie stàit
che lor a sio stàit
che mi i fussa stàit
che ti it fusse stàit
che chiel a fussa stàit
che noi i fusso stàit
che voi i fusse stàit
che lor a fusso stàit

CONDITIONAL MOOD (Meud condissional)
mi i sarìa
ti it sarìe
chiel a sarìa
noi i sarìo
voi i sarìe
lor a sarìo
mi i sarìa stàit
ti it sarìe stàit
chiel a sarìa stàit
noi i sarìo stàit
voi i sarìe stàit
lor a sarìo stàit

IMPERATIVE MOOD (Meud amperativ)
- - - -
sie (esse)
ch'a sia
sie (esse)
ch'a sio
- - - -
it saras
a sarà
i saroma
i sareve
a saran

IMPERSONAL MOODS (Meud ampersonaj)
..Infinitive (anfinì)... Participle (partissipi) ...Gerund (gerundi)...
Present (present) Past (passà).... Present (present) Past (passà).... Present (present) Past (passà)...
esse esse stàit - - - - stàit (stàita) essend (an essend) essend ëstàit

We note that the verb "esse" uses the euphonical particles l' e j' in front of voices beginning by vowel, the first particle at the third singular person of the Present and of the Imperfect (and in derived composite tenses), the second particle in the other voices of the same tenses. This changes if attached to the verb there is the locative adverbial particle i, that corresponds to the english "there, here" and to the italian ci, vi.
We have to see the corresponding english meaning of the verb "esse" with locative. "To be there" = "essie".
I am there, I am here, I am present, I will be there, I will be present, ... and so on, but also I am present with my mind, I've got it in a figurative sense, are all expressions that can be translated using the locative particle (adverb) "i". This locative is connected, in general, to the personal verbal pronoun with a hyphen. This happens also with the verb "esse", but the euphonical particle "l'" or "j' disappears. So, for example, the present of the verb "esse" with locative becomes:
mi i-i son, ti it i-i ses (euphonical addition of "i"), chiel a-i , noi i-i soma, voi i-i seve, lor a-i son..
the english expression "there is" is translated into "a-i "
The past imperfect of the verb "esse" with locative becomes:
mi i-i era, ti it i-i ere (euphonical addition of "i"), chiel a-i era, noi i-i ero, voi i-i ere, lor a-i ero..
For the other tenses the rule is the same as for all the verbs:
I will be there = mi i-i sarai, as for the other moods You would have been there = Ti it i-i sare stait.
We have already seen the use of the euphonical particle i after the pronoun it.
But there is another particularity: when in addition to the locative i also the partitive na is present. In this case the third singular persons of the present and imperfect maintain the "j'" (also for the present, instead of "l'"), according to the example:
he is = chiel a l' ; he is here, there is = (chil) a-i ; there is some = a-i na j' ; there are some = a-i na son
he was = chiel a l'era ; he was there, there was = (chil) a-i era ; there was some = a-i na j'era
Now we want to see the conjugation of "esse" with object complement "lo (la) = him, (her), it". The verb is then "to be ... him" = "ess-lo". We have seen that in simple tenses the pronoun "lo" is located between pers. verbal pronoun and verb. With the verb "esse" we have to take into account the euphonical particles. We have:
For the Present tense: I am it, you are it, etc. = mi i lo son, ti it lo ses chiel a 'l l', noi(utri) i lo soma, voi(utri) i lo seve, lor(utri) a lo son. For the Past imperfect tense: io lo ero, to lo eri, etc.mi i lo j'era, ti it lo j'ere, chil a 'l l'era, noi(utri) i lo j'ero, voi(utri) i lo j'ere, lor(utri) a lo j'ero. For the other tenses the general rules are valid.
Another particular situation is about the conjugation of "essje" = "to be ... to him". This is similar to the case of locative, where the adverbial particle i changes into the pronominal particle j. Then:
For present: I am ... to him, you are ... to him, etc = mi i-j son, ti it i-j ses, (ti it j ses), chil a-j , noi(utri) i-j soma, voi(utri) i-j seve, lor(utri) a-j son.
For imperfect: io gli ero, tu gli eri, etc = mi i-j era, ti it i-j ere, (ti it j ses), chil a-j era, noi(utri) i-j ero, voi(utri) i-j ere, lor(utri) a-j ero.
We still note that when the past participle "stit" is preceded by a word ending by consonant, assumes a prostethical ë. Example : you have been = ti it ses ëstit.
We have seen three particula conjugations of "esse" connected with pronominal or adverbial particles. Here we give a list of these cases, reporting only the infinitive:
  • To be ... it (to be that) = ess-lo
  • To be ... to him/(her)/it = essje
  • To be there = essie
  • To be ... oneself = ess-se
  • To be ... oneself ... of it = ess-s-ne
  • To be ... oneself ... it = ess-s-lo
  • and so on

The first singular person of the future can be mi i sarai or mi i sareu and this is always a correct Piedmontese.
THe gerund present has two forms: essend and an essend, and so is for the past: essend ëstit e an essend ëstit
The past participle is in agreement with the gender and the number of the subject. John has been = Gioan a l' stit , Mary has been = Maria a l' stita , Mary and Margareth have been = Maria e Ghitin a son stite, and so on.

The verb "avj" (to have)

INDICATIVE MOOD (Meud indicativ)
Past (imperfect)
Past (pres. perf.
Past perfect
Past perfect remote
(futur sempi)
Future perfect.
(futur anterior)
mi i l'hai
ti it l'has
chiel a l'ha
noi i l'oma
voi i l'eve
lor a l'han
mi i l'avìa
ti it l'avìe
chiel a l'avìa
noi i l'avìo
voi i l'avìe
lor a l'avìo
mi i l'hai avù
ti it l'has avù
chiel a l'ha avù
noi i l'oma avù
voi i l'eve avù
lor a l'han avù
mi i l'avire
ti it l'avires
chiel a l'avir
noi i l'aviro
voi i l'avire
lor a l'aviro
mi i l'avìa avù
ti it l'avìe avù
chiel a l'avìa avù
noi i l'avìo avù
voi i l'avìe avù
lor a l'avìo avù
mi i l'avire av
ti it l'avires av
chiel a l'avir av
noi i l'aviro av
voi i l'avire av
lor a l'aviro av
mi i l'avrai
....(mi i l'avreu)
ti it l'avras
chiel a l'avrà
noi i l'avroma
voi i l'avreve
lor a l'avran
mi i l'avrai avù
ti it l'avras avù
chiel a l'avrà avù
noi i l'avroma avù
voi i l'avreve avù
lor a l'avran avù

SUBJUNCTIVE MOOD (Meud congiuntiv)
Past Perfect
che mi i l'àbia
che ti it l'àbie
che chiel a l'àbia
che noi i l'àbio
che voi i l'àbie
che lor a l'àbio
che mi i l'avèissa
che ti it l'avèisse
che chiel a l'avèissa
che noi i l'avèisso
che voi i l'avèisse
che lor a l'avèisso
che mi i l'àbia avù
che ti it l'àbie avù
che chiel a l'àbia avù
che noi i l'àbio avù
che voi i l'àbie avù
che lor a l'àbio avù
che mi i l'avèissa avù
che ti it l'avèisse avù
che chiel a l'avèissa avù
che noi i l'avèisso avù
che voi i l'avèisse avù
che lor a l'avèisso avù

CONDITIONAL MOOD (Meud condissional)
mi i l'avrìa
ti it l'avrìe
chiel a l'avrìa
noi i l'avrìo
voi i l'avrìe
lor a l'avrìo
mi i l'avrìa avù
ti it l'avrìe avù
chiel a l'avrìa avù
noi i l'avrìo avù
voi i l'avrìe avù
lor a l'avrìo avù

IMPERATIVE MOOD (Meud amperativ)
- - - -
àbie (avèje)
ch'a l'àbia
ch'a l'àbio
- - - -
it l'avras
a l'avrà
i l'avroma
i l'avreve
a l'avran

IMPERSONAL MOODS (Meud ampersonaj)
..Infinitive (anfinì)... Participle (partissipi) ...Gerund (gerundi)..
Present (present) Past (passà).... Present (present) Past (passà).... Present (present) Past (passà)...
avèj (avèje) avèj avù - - - - avù avend (an avend) avend avù

We've see, while speaking about pronominal particles, their "interference" with the euphonical l' of the verb "avj". The verb avj has this consonant in all its voices. Here we gove a summary of these particularities and then we will note some possible variation in the conjugation.
With particle lo/la (singular object complement), the particle itself becomes 'l (ël) and the euphonical l' remains: I have it = mi i 'l l'hai
With particle je (plural object complement), the particle itself becomes -j(ël) and the euphonical l' becomes j': I have them = mi i-j j'hai , He has then = chil a-j j'ha, etc.
With particle na (partitive), the particle itself becomes 'n(ën) and the euphonical l' becomes n': I have some = mi i 'n n'hai
The situation changes if the verbal pronoun is it (second sing. pers.):
With the singular pronoun lo this latter becomes ël: you have it = ti it ël l'has
With the plural pronoun j an euphonical i is added: so you have them = ti it i-j j'has but also ti it j'has
With the partitive pronoun na this latter becomes ën: so you have some = ti it ën n'has

Variations for the verb "avj" that are part of the correct piedmontese language:
  • The first singular person of the Present Indicative can be: mi i l'hai or mi i l'heu
  • The first singular person of the Future Indicative can be: mi i l'avrai or mi i l'avreu
  • The Subjunctive Imperfect has also the form: che mi i l'hissa, che ti it l'hisse, che chil a l'hissa, che noi i l'hisso, che voi i l'hisse, che lor a l'hisso
  • The Present Infinitive has two forms: avj or avje
  • The second singular person of the Present Imperative can be: abie, or avj, or avje
  • The second plural person of the Present Imperative can be: avj, or avje
  • The Present Gerund can be: avend, or an avend or avenda
  • The Past Gerund can be: avend av, or an avend av

The mount Rca la Meya
   in Maira valley

. (photo B. Garmondi)

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