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Piedmontese for English Speaking People

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Lesson 13

Piedmontese Grammar

Observations on verbs - Verbs "Fosonant" and defective
Interrogative and negative conjugations - Passive and reflexive forms

In order ti finish the speech on verbs we do some observations on some particularuty in the various conjugations. Then we will see the Impersonal forms, Interrogative and Negative conjugations, the Passive and Reflexive forms.

For the first conjugation we observe:

Observations on the first conjugation.
We note that the main part of piedmontese verbs belong to the first conjugation (this is true also for italian and french).
1) - Desinences for the future indicative and present conditional, in the considere verb start by e (parl-erai, parl-eras, etc.). This is true for roots ending with two consonant (as in the considered case, but in other cases this e is not present as for example in the verb but (to put) where the voices are but-rai, but-ras, etc. (present conditional but-ra, etc.).

2) - Verbs of this conjugation ending in ...c, ...g (pronounced \ [ch]'e , j'e \) maintain this sound along the conjugation, and therefore if the desinence starts with a, o, u they add a i after the root. If the desinence starts in consonant, they add a c- , g- after the root (see Phonology). Examples:
verb mang (to eat): mi i mangio (I eat), mi i mangg-rai (I will eat).
verb marc (to walk): mi i marcio (I walk), mi i marcc-rai (I will walk).
These rules are valid also for other conjugations.

3) - For some verbs that have a vowel o in the last but one syllable, when, in the conjugation this syllable is stressed (tonic accent), the o is changed into (with a change of pronunciation), while other verbs in the same situation do not do this change. Examples:
verb dovr \ duvr'e \ (to use) : mi i dvro \ d'ovru \ (I use) ; mi i dovrava \ duvr'&v& \ (I used)
verb tacon \ t&cun'e \ (to patch) : mi i tacon-o \ t&c'u[ng]u \ (I patch)

4) - There are verbs, in the first conjugation, like rabl (to drag) that seem to have lost a vowel e between the last two consonants. In their conjugation this vowel re-appear in some voices, with the stress of the word. Example:
... chiel a rabla, noi i rabloma, voi i rable, lor a rablo (the stressed vowel is in bold)

5) - The transitive verbs of this conjugation, when are used as reflexive, at the present imperative, second singular person and first plural person, drop the last vowel. Example:
verb lav (to wash): imperative = ... lava, ..... lavoma , imperative riflessive = ..., lav-te, ..., lavom-se.
In the same conditions of imperative, but only at the second singular person, the verbs cogsse (to lie down) and dsgagsse (to hurry up) change the "...gia" into "j", so they become coj-te, dsgaj-te, and the verb arangsse (to get along) drops completely the "gia", becoming arante.

For the second conjugation we observe:

... that there is a given quantity of verbs that can have also, at the present infinitive, the desinence "", of the third conjugation. We can distinguish six different groups of these verbs, that are called "Verb fosonant (literally verbs "that have a good rendering"), whose we give some examples:

1) - Verbs that have all the voices of the second conjugation and only the present infinitive with both the forms. Examples:
tase, tas = to be silent ; sven-e, sven = to faint

2) - The verbs ten-e, tn = to keep ; ven-e, vn = to come for which also the indicative imperfect has two forms:
mi i tena, ti it tene, chel a tena,.....etc. = I kept, you kept, he kept, .... etc. or
mi i tnisa, ti it tnise, chel a tnisa,...... etc.
mi i vena, ti it vene, chel a vena,..... etc. = I came, you came, he came, .... etc. or
mi i vnisa, ti it vnise, chel a vnisa,......etc.

3) - Verbs with also the past participle ending in as unique form of the past participle. Example:
parte, part = to leave, to depart --> past part. : part = left, departed

4) - Verbs with also past participle that can have both forms. Examples:
riesse, riuss = to succeed -> past part. riess, riuss = succeeded
sente, sent = to ear -> past part. sent, sent = eared

5) - Verbs with also the past participle ending in as unique form of the past participle, but that can use the two forms in all the other tenses and moods. Examples:
averte, avert = to point out, to notify ; veste, vest = to dress
The past part. is always, respectively, avert, vest = notified, dressed but for all the other voices we can have:
Mi i averto, ti it averte, ..., etc.... = i notify, you notify, ... etc. or mi i avertisso, ti it avertisse, ..., etc..., and so on.

6) - Verbs of this type (infinitive of 2nd and 3rd conjug.) which in the 2nd conjug. have the last syllable but one with the dyphtong
In the conjugation of these verbs the second one is used if the tonic stress is on the root of the verb, and the third one for voices having the tonic stress on desinence: Examples:
seurte, surt = to exit ; beuje, buj = to boil
mi i seurto = I exit stress on root (2nd con.) ; ti it surtiras = you will exit stress on desinence (3rd con.).
lor a beujo = they boil stress on root (2nd con.) ; mi i buja = I boiled stress on desinence (3rd con.).
Some of these verbs:
to absorb = asseurbe, assurb
to collect = cheuje, cuj
to sleep = deurme, durm
to open = deurbe, durb

Rule that applies to all the verbs:
In analogy with the preceding rule, we note that:
When the last syllable but one, contains "", if the stress is held by the desinence, then the "" changes into "...u...".
a pieuv = it rains : a piuva = it rained
When the root, at the infinitive, contains a "o" as the last vowel, in the voices in which this vowel has the tonic stress, usually this changes into "eu"
dsbroj, dsbreujte = to disentangle, disentangle yourself.

Nothing relevant for third conjugation

Defective verbs

Defective verbs are used only at the third singular person (or at the infinitive), as it is in Italian , English, etc.
Among them there are the "metereological verbs" (and we remember that these verbs, in Piedmontese, use the auxiliary "avj").
to rain = pieuve to snow = fioch to hail = tempest to lighten = lozn to greeze = gel, geil, zeil to frost = brin to thunder = tron etc. (see vocabulaty)
Of coures, in a figurative sense, these verbs are available for a usual conjugation.
Then there are the verbs "to be necessary, to need = vent, toch, bzogn" often used in impersonal way.
a pieuv motobin = it rains heavily (very much)
a fiocava, a l'ha fioc tuta la neuit = it snowed, it has snowed all the night
a venta, a toca = it is necessary, it must
a venta desse d'ardriss = it is necessary to engage oneself (idiom)

About "to need, to be necessary", we do a little digression in ordre to indicate how the concepts connected with these verbs are expressed.
The need is expressed in two ways, not always interchangeable. One is the impersonal form that we've seen, usually indicating the need of an action: it is necessary to do something, and so it is necessary to say..., it is necessary to go ..., etc.. The piedmontese form is then "a venta... " or the others "a toca..., a bzogna..., " (the latter is very few used).
But, also in Italian, there is another equivalent expression, still impersonal, which is: there is the need of.... (in Italian: c' bisogno di .....). This expression, in Piedmontese, is stranslated into the locution: "a-i da manca 'd ......", referred to a required action or to a required things. This form can also be conjugated, so it can be not impersonal. Some examples:
it is necessary to go, it is needed to go = a venta and
there is the need of money = a-i da manca 'd sld
I need some money = i l'hai da manca 'd sld
I need to change air = i l'hai da manca 'd cambi aria

Interrogative conjugation

There are two possibilities for asking a question. The first one uses the positive clause with an interrogative tone of voice (in writing that is indicated by question mark), the second one, as we have already mentioned, makes use of personal interrogative pronouns after the verb, and is the more correct. As we have already seen, the personal verbal pronouns drops (sometimes it is still present for euphonical reasons, against the rule).
For simple tenses (without auxiliary), the interrogative pronoun is put after the verb, for composite tenses is put after the auxiliary:
what do you do? = cos fas-to? ; what have you done = cos l'has-to fit?

We note that with this form the verbal desinences are modified and "adapted" (for example: drop of the last vowel), while the voices of imperfect indicative and present conditional become the ones most archaic. We have also seen that the interrogative personal pronoun of the second plural person is no more used, and so this voice uses the simple interrogation, as in Italian.
The interrogative forms of auxiliary verbs can drop the euphonical consonant, since the related function is no more required, in particular if the preceding word ends by consonant.
We note that this interrogative form is only related to Indicative and Conditional moods. In the following we report some examples and the complete interrogative conjugation of the verbs avj = to have and f = to do, to make.

Verb esse = to be, present indicative:
son-ne ... ?, ses-to ... ?, -lo ... ? (also l'-lo ... ?) (femin. l'-la ... ?),, som-ne ... ?, i seve ... ?, son-ne ... ? (also son-lo ... ?)

Verb esse = to be, imperfect indicative:
j'er-ne ... ?, j'erës-to ... ?, j'er-lo ... ? (femin. j'er-la ... ?), j'er-ne ... ?(also j'erom-ne ... ?), i j'ere ... ?, j'er-ne ... ? (also j'er-lo ... ?)

Verb avj = to have (complete interrogative conjugation):

---- Present Imperfect Future Past Past perf. Future perf.
1st sing. pers. (l') hai-ne (l') avij-ne? (l') avri-ne? (l') hai-ne av? (l') avj-ne av? (l') avrai-ne av?
2nd sing. pers. (l') has-to (l') aviës-to? (l') avras-to (l') has-to av? (l') aviës-to av? (l') avras-to av?
3rd sing. pers. (l') ha-lo (l') avij-lo? (l') avij-lo? (l') ha-lo av? (l') avij-o av? (l') avr-lo av?
1st plur. pers. (l') om-ne? (l') aviom-ne? (l') avrom-ne? (l') om-ne av? (l') aviom-ne av? (l') avrom-ne av?
2nd plur. pers. i l'eve? i l'ave? i l'avreve? i l'eve av? i l'ave av? i l'avreve av?
3rd plur. pers. (l') han-ne? (l') avij-ne? (l') avran-ne? (l') han-ne av? (l') avij-ne avu? (l') avran-ne av?

----- Present Past
1st sing. pers. (l') avrij-ne? (l') avrij-ne av?
2nd sing. pers. (l') avriës-to? (l') avriës-to av?
3rd sing. pers. (l') avrij-lo? (l') avrij-lo av?
1st plur. pers. (l') avriom-ne? (l') avriom-ne av?
2nd plur. pers. i l'avre? i l'avre av?
3rd plur. pers. (l') avrij-ne (l') avrij-ne av?

Note that the interrogative personal pronoun of the third plural person can be "-lo" or "-ne".
We still note that the interrogative personal pronoun of the third singular person is "-lo" for the masculine and "-la" for the feminine.

we report here the interrogative conjugation of the verb f = to do, to make.
---- ---- Present Imperfect Future Past Past perf. Future perf.
1st sing. pers. cosa faccio?, ... etc... cs fas-ne cs fasij-ne? cs farai-ne? cs l'hai-ne fit? cs i l'ava fit? cs l'avrai-ne fit?
2nd sing. pers. cosa fai?, ... etc... cs fas-to cs fasies-to? cs fars-to cs l'has-to fit? cs l'aviës-to fit? cs l'avras-to fit?
3rd sing. pers. cosa f?, ... etc... cs fa-lo cs fasij-lo? cs far-lo? cs l'ha-lo fit? cs l'avij-lo fit? cs l'avr-lo fit?
1st plur. pers. cosa facciamo?, ... etc... cs fom-ne? cs fasiom-ne? cs farom-ne? cs l'om-ne fit? cs l'aviom-ne fit? cs l'avrom-ne fit?
2nd plur. pers. cosa fate?, ... etc... cs i feve? cs i fase? cs i fareve? cs i l'eve fit? cs i l'ave fit? cs i l'avreve fit?
3rd plur. pers. cosa fanno?, ... etc... cs fan-ne? cs fasij-ne? cs faran-ne? cs l'han-ne fit? cs l'avij-ne fit? cs l'avran-ne fit?

----- Present Past
1st sing. pers. farj-ne? (l') avrj-ne fit?
2nd sing. pers. fariës-to? avriës-to fit?
3rd sing. pers. farij-lo? avrij-lo fit?
1st plur. pers. fariom-ne? (l') avriom-ne fit?
2nd plur. pers. fare? (l') avre fit?
3rd plur. pers. farij-ne (l') avrij-ne fit?

We note that when the interrogation is governed by the words cos ... ? = what ... ?, chi ... ? = who ... ?, përch ... ? = why ... ?, andova ... ? = where ... ?, ln ... ? = what, which ... ?, the piedmontese interrogative conjugation can be used, and often it is. But if the word che is added (as it oftrn happens), then the interrogative form cannot be used and the interrogation has to be made by means of the tone of voice and question mark. So we have:
what do you do? = cos fas-to? or cos ch'it fas? (cos che it fas?)
why he has gone? = përch l'-lo andait or përch che a l' andit?
what do you want? = ln ch'it veule? there is not a corresponding expression without "che".
what do you want? = cs veus-to? or "cs che it veule?".
Last note: In the piedmontese interrogative form, at the second singular person the verb ends always by "s".

We conclude with some examples that compare the two interrogative forms.
English sentence Interrogation with only "?" Interrogation with interr. pers. pron.
Would you have gone instead of me? It sare andait ti a m pst? - Sariës-to andit t a m pst?
Was it hot in Turin A fasa cod a Turin? Fasij-lo cod a Turin?
Do you enter or stay outside?? It intres it ëstas fra? Intrës-to stas-to fra?
If he went, would we go as well? Se chiel a andisa, i andro 'dc noiutri? Se chiel a andisa, andrij-lo 'dc noiutri?
When he will arrive, would you have exited? Cand che a rivr, ti it saras surt? Cand che a rivr, ti saras-to surt?
Do we go inside and see? I introma a vëdde? Introm-ne a vëdde?

We note that between groups of consonants, when necessary an euphonical ë is introduced, as for the verb intr = to go in, to enter, which is, for example:ntrës-to? = do you enter?

If there are pronominal particles or the locative particle associated to the verb, in case of simple tense (without auxiliary) the piedmontese interr. conjug. is not used. It is instead possible to use it if the tense is a composite one (with auxiliary). For example:
do you do this? ; do you do it? = fas-to sn? ; it lo fas?
have you finished it? have you give it to him?= l'has-to finlo? l'has-to dajlo?

Negative conjugation

It follows a different construction with respect both English and Italian. It is made by adding a negative particle (as it is in Italian) but the negative particles (adverb) nen or p ("not") is put after the verb (for simple tenses) or after the auxiliary (cor composite tenses):
They do not drink = Lor a bivo nen ; They did not drink = Lor a l'han nen beiv
You do not go = Ti it vade p ; I am not stupid = I son p fl
The use of the particle p produces a negation a bit underlined with respect the use of the particle nen, even if in some part of Piedmont the two are completely interchangeables.
We note that this mechanism is different also from the french one. Indeed the french uses the two negations non... p but in a different way, and the piedmontese "p" is not equivalent to the french one.
We will come back on this point in Syntax.
We note the second singular person of the imperative, which in Italian is particular: va, non andare = go, don't go In Piedmontese also this voice behaves regularly: "v, v nen".
In the infinitive and in gerund, the piedmontese negation "nen" can assume the place in front of the verb (as in Italian) but it is correct also to put it after the verb: not to do = nen f, f nen : not doing it = nen fasend, fasenda nen With the negation after the verb, the gerund uses the form ending by ...a. Some examples: To be or not to be = esse nen esse or esse esse nen
not going you will not meet him = nen andand it lo ancontreras nen or andanda nen it lo ancontreras nen
Nothing changes if there are pronominal particles or the locative particle:
I don't tell you it = i tlo diso nen
I haven't told you it = i l'hai nen ditlo
he there is not = chil a-i nen

Interrogative-negative conjugation

Also in this case there are two possibilities: negation with tone of voice and grafically with only question mark, or association of the piedmontese interrogation (interrogative personal pronouns) with the negation. In this case the negation follows the interrogation. The negative particle always assumes the position after the verb or after the auxiliary:
don't you do? = fas-to nen? : didn't you do? = l'has-to nen fait?
didn't you go? = j'ers-to pa andit?
don't we go in? = introm-ne nen?
In the cases in which the piedmontese form is not used, the negative form is still the same:
don't you want to go? = i veule nen and?
didn't you want to go? = i l'eve nen vors and?
In the interrogative-negative form the differences between "nen" and "p" nearly disappears.
Also in this case the presence of pronominal particles does not allow the use of interrogative personal pronouns, that would be very complex in the simple tenses. This is instead allowed with composite tenses. Example:
don't you do it? = it lo fas nen? the form "lo fas-to nen?" wuould be at least unusual.
didn't you give it to him? = l'has-to nen dajlo? this form, instead, is usual.

Passive and reflexive forms

They are not so different from the italian and french ones. For the passive form (transitive verbs) the auxiliary "esse" is used.
The construction is like the italian one, paying attention to interrogations and negations, as usual. The reflexive personal pronouns are used. Since there is always an auxiliar, the piedmontese interrogation can always be used. We give some example:
mi i son frm dai civich, ti it ses frm dai civich, chiel a l' frm dai civich, ... and so on (transl. I am stopped by the policemen, you are stopped by the policemen, he is stopped by the policemen, ... etc. ....)
I drink the "Nebieul" ; the "Nebieul" is drunk by me = mi i bivo l "Nebieul" ; l "Nebieul" a l' beiv da mi. (a wonderful wine).
I don't drink the "Nebieul" ; the "Nebieul" is not drunk by me = mi i bivo nen l "Nebieul" ; l "Nebieul" a l' nen beiv da mi.
Then interrogative and interrogarive-negative sentences with the negative particle in the classical piedmontese position:
do I drink the Nebieul? = mi i bivo l nebieul? ; is the Nebieul drunk by me? = l nebieul l'-lo beiv da mi?
is not the Nebieul drunk by you? = l'-lo p beiv da ti 'l nebieul?
So, there are not relevant particularities to be noted. We do the following examples of a sentence positive, interrogative, negative and interrogative-negative, for the active and passive form of an imperfect indicative:
English ........................................... Piedmontese
we gave the ticket i daso 'l bijet
the ticket was given by us ël bijet a l'era dit da noiutri
did we give the ticket? dasj-ne 'l bijet?
was the ticket given by us? ël bijet l'er-lo dit da noiutri?
we did not give the ticket i daso nen ël bijet
the ticket wasn't given by us ël bijet a l'era nen dit da noiutri
did we not give the ticket? dasj-ne nen ël bijet
wasn't the ticket given by us? ël bijet l'er-lo nen dit da noiutri?

Also for the Reflexive form (transitive verbs) the auxiliary "esse" is used.
We have already noted what could be the differences with respect Italian, French, English, mainly connected to the way of using pronouns.
chiel a grata = he scratches. --> chiel a ()s grata = chiel as grata = he scratches himself.
The only point that can give problems is the reflexive form of the second singular person (verbal pronoun "it"), that can produce some confusion.
ti it grate = you scratch. -> ti it t grate = you scratch yourself.
With the composite tenses things are simplified, since the reflexive pronoun is after the verb and do not interfere with the verbal pronoun:
ti it ses gratte = you have scratched yourself.
So, in simple tenses the reflexive personal pronoun precedes the verb and collapse (usually) in a pronominal particle with the verbal personal pronoun, while in composite tenses the reflexive personal pronoun follow the verb and is connected to it (if the pronoun starts by "s", this latter becomes twin "ss" in order to keep the sound (see Phonology).
We have done a number of examples while speaking about the reflexive pronouns.
In the interrogative form, the observations made above are always valid also in this case. Besides here there is always the reflexive pronominal particle, and so the interrogative conjugation with related pronouns is only usable in composite tenses. This is valid also for the reflexive interrogative-negative forms.
We do some examples with the verb: "dsvijsse" = to wake (oneself) up
English ........................................... Piedmontese
he wakes up (himself) as dësvija
he has woken up (himself) a l' dësvijsse
does he wake up (himself)? as dësvija?
has he woken up? l'-lo dësvijsse?
we dake up (ourselves) i j'ero dësvijsse
we did not wake up is dësvijavo nen
you will not have woken up it saras nen dësvijate
will you not have woken up? saras-to nen dësvijate?

 Winter in High Maira

. (photo B. Garmondi)

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