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Piedmontese for English Speaking People

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Lesson 5

Piedmontese Grammar


Descriptive and possessive Adjectives

The adjective is the speach's part that describes a quality or a characteristic of the entity, defined by a substantive which is associated to. Usually it is a word, but sometimes there are locution, having value of adjective, that are more complex, ant that we will see later.
We've seen as the adjectives in general, form masculine and feminine, singular and plural, in agreement with the associated substantive. Adjectives are classified into six classes as "descriptive, possessive, demonstrative, indefinite, interrogative, numeral".

Descriptive Adjective

It assigns a quality, in general sense, to the substantive which it is associated to. The forms of the verbal past participle, also them in agreement with the substantive, in Piedmontese, can be considered as belonging to this class of adjectives. We note here that in Piedmontese does not exists the verbal form of the present participle, but, when required, this is substituted by an opportune correspondent adjective. Also for Piedmontese, as in all the other tongues, the descriptive adjectives can have a simple, comparative and superlative forms. These forms are called the "degrees of the adjective" = "grdl'agetiv".

The simple form

In the simple form, a descriptive adjective assigns a quality to an entity, and it can come before or after the substantive, in an often equivalent way. When put after the substantive, often it underlines the expressed quality. It is anyway easier to find itbefore the substantive.
  • Na bela fija = a nice girl
  • Na fija bela = A girl nice
The second expression, not usual in English, recalls the attention on the fact that the girl is nice.

Adjectival forms

Some locutions, having a value od adjective, in Piedmontese assume the character of "idiomatic expression" and are of more or less common use.
The italian adjective "facile" that in English is "easy", has a piedmontese correspondent in "fcil". In some cases, and in particular when there is an impersonal expression and the adjective is followed by a vebal infinitive, the adjective "facil" becomes "bel f a ..." (literally "fine to do at ..."). So:
  • "a l' bel f a parl, ma ..." = "it is easy to speak, but ..." also it is correct : "a l' facil a parl, ma ..."
In a similar way the adjective "difcil" = "hard, difficult", in Piedmontese can become also "mal f a ..." (literally "not well to do at ..."). So:
  • "a l' mal f a studi e travaj" = "it is difficult to study and work" also it is correct : "a l' difcil a studi e travaj"
These two forms, being referred to a verb having value of substantive, are invariant.

The italian adjectie "capace" in sense of ability, can be translated in English into "able" or "good at...." or "capable". In Piedmontese, when it is followed by a verb, there is a unique idiomatic form that translates it: "bon a ...", equivalent to the english "good at ...". So we have, for example:
  • "i son bon a flo sa sol" = " I am able of doing it by myself" (in Italian the sentence would be: "Sono capace a farlo da solo")
The adjective "bon" is in agreement in gender and number with the associated substantive or pronoun. The same italian adjective "capace", if the action is unexpressed, is translated simply into "bon":
  • "chi a s flo? - Mi i son bon" = "Who is able to do it? - I am able" (in Italian the sentence would be: "Chi s farlo? - Io sono capace")
If a specific action is not supposed and the meaning is in sense of skill, then usually other locutions are used, also idiomatic:
  • "a l' na prson-a an pita, a l' na prson-a ch'a s, etc." = "He is a skillful preson" (in Italian the sentence would be: "È una persona capace")

Another expression of this type is related to the adjective possible when used as a noun, in the sense of "what is possible". In piedmontese the form is: ln ch'as peul. For example: We do not know if we will arrive, but we will do all the possible = I savoma nen se i rivroma, ma i faroma tut ln ch'as peul.
Other particularities can be found in Syntax.

The comparative forms

At this grade a quality is compared between two entities, or two qualities of the same entity are compared, and it is possible also to generalize the form for comparing two different qualities of two different entities (this last, literaly acceptable, is an insubstantial logical proposition, and we have usually different and complex expressions).
Comparative forms are subdividet into: comparative of majority, comparative of equality, comparative of minority. The logical subdivision criteria are the same for all the languages. For each of these groups we will see the three types of comparison above (a quality between two entity, two qualities about one entity, two qualities between two entities).

The comparative of majority - comparativ d magioransa

While comparing two entities about the same quality, English uses the form "more ... that ..." while in Italian the most used form is "pi ... di ..." (= more ... of ...). Also in Italian, while comparing two qualities of a same entity the most used form is "pi ... che ..." (which is not exactly the english "more ... than ...", but literally "more ... that..."). For comparing different qualities of differen entities there are some italian locutions, and among them :"(sbject1)(verb) pi ,,, di quanto (subject2) (verb) ...". The negation is not a true negation of the verb, but is redundant (there is not in Piedmontese). We have already said that this last is not a logical comparison, since the two terms are not comparable, but it has its own semantic meaning.
In Piedmontese the usual form for this comparison, in the first two cases, is "p ... che ...", and the expression "p ... d ... " is used only in few cases where it sounds better. In the third case a common piedmontese form is "(subject1) (verb) p ... d ln che (subject2) (verb) ...". Probably all will be more clear with some examples:
  • Vigio a l' p furb che Pero = Louis is more clever than Peter
  • Gioan a l' p grand che svcio = John is more tall than smart
  • Sto bsch a l' p robust che 'l fer = This wood is stonger than the iron
  • A l' p busiard d'un gavadent = He is more lying than a tooth drawer (idiomatic sentence)
  • A l' p furb chl d ln che chila a fasa atension = He is more astute of what she can pay attention
We note that also in Piedmontese, as it is for other languages, the adjective can be stregthened or weakened, as in the following examples:
  • Vigio a l' motobin p furb che Pero = Louis is very much clever than Peter.
  • Vigio a l' un pch p furb che Pero = Louis is a little more clever than Peter
Then this comparative can be negated, and assume the meaning the other way round
  • Vigio a l' nen p furb che Pero = Louis is not more clever than Peter.
  • Vigio a l' p p furb che Pero = Louis is not more clever than Peter.
The second form of negation can be a bit stregthened with respect the first. About the negative conjugation we will speak later.
The term of comparison can be unexpressed and understood:
  • J'utri a fan parj, ma chil a l' p drito = The others do like that, but he is more astute.
We note, at this point, a particular comparison having value of an adverb, which is also an idiomatic expression:
  • P lst che ampressa (pron. \ p'i lest ke &mpr'es& \ ) = quicker than fast (very fast)
We will see later the comparison of majority havin irregular forms.

The comparative of equality - comparativ d'ugualiansa

English makes use of forms like "as ... as ...", ("so ... as ...") and Italian uses " ... come ...", "tanto ... quanto ... ", "tanto ... che ... " and so on. The first italian form si mainly used for comparing two entities about the same quality, while the others are of more general use. All of these forms are useful for comparing different qualities of different entities.
In Piedmontese there is a quite good correspondence with Italian, and the used forms are " ... coma ...", "tant ... quant ... ", "tant ... che ... ", "parj ... coma ... ", " ... parj ëd ...", and so on. Also in this case we have negative comparisons, while strengthened or weakened qualities, in this case would be not logical. As usual we give some examples for a better expanation:
  • a l' lst coma ti = he is as fast as you
  • a l' tant brava che bla = she is as good as she is fine, she is as good as fine
  • a l' tant lest coma chila a l' garga = he is as hasty as she is lazy
  • it ses fl parj ëd mi = you are as stupid as I am.
  • ti it ses nen fl com a smija = you are not so stupid as it seems.
We underline that the piedmontese form "tant ... quant ... " even if formally correct, is not so much used since often it doesen't sound good.

The comparative of minority - comparativ ëd minoransa

The used forms are "manch ... che ..." and "meno ... che ..." (both similar to "less ... then ...." , but literally "less ... that ..."). Sometimes also the forms "manch ... d ..." and "meno ... d ..." ("less ... of ...".) are used.
  • a l' meno fl che ln ch'a sma = he is less stupid than what it seems
  • t can a l' manch fabich d s padron = your dog is less fool than its master
  • toa gata a l' manch fabica che s padron = your she-cat is less fool of its master
Also in this case the quality can be negated, strengthened or weakened as it is repoted in the following examples:
  • i son nen manch ut che j'utri = I am not less tall than the others
  • i son motobin meno gargh che tanti d'utri = I am very largely lazy than many others
  • i son motobin meno gargh ëd tanti d'utri = I am very largely lazy than many others (this sounds better than the previous one)
  • i son pch manch grass che j'utri = I am a little less fat than the others
Also in this case the comparison term can be unexpressed, as before:
  • J'utri a fan parj, ma chil a l' manch lst = the others do that, but he is less fast
We will see later the comparative of minority havin irregular forms.

The superlative forms

In this degree of the adjective the difference between Piedmontese and Italian is more remarked. At superlative degree a quality is stressed in absolute sense or with respect all the other entity of a given group or set of entities. This give rise to two types of superlative: the absolute one and the relative one.

The relative superlative - Superlativ relativ

In a strictly logical sense we could speak about a superlative relative of majority and a superlative relative of minority expressed by "the most ... (of) ..." and respectively "the least ... (of ...". Often the group of comparison or the set of entities among which the quality is expressed, is not expressed, or understood or not required by the sentence, In Italian the used forms are "il (lo, la, i, gli, le) pi ... (di) .... (oppure il (lo, la, i, gli, le) meno ... (di) ....).". The article is in agreement with the substantive which the adjective is referred to.
In Piedmontese it is possible to use a construction similar to the italian one, "l (l, l', 'l, i, le, j, j') p .... (che) ...." or "l (l, l', 'l, i, le, j, j') manch .... (che) ...." or "l (l, l', 'l, i, le, j, j') p .... (d) ...." but the more classical is similar to the fernch one, with repetition of the article and particular position of the subject: "l (etc.) ... (subiect.) ... l (etc.) p ... (adjective.) ... (che) (d) .....". As usual some examples will clarify this point:
  • a l' la fija la p bela (preferred construction) = she is the most beautiful girl
  • a l' la p bela fija (italian like) = she is the most beautiful girl
  • a l' la p bela che tute = she is the most fine of all
  • l p cit dla ni = the smallest of the brood = idiomatic sentence indicating "the child the last born"
  • l manch adat = the least suitable
  • la csa la manch adata = the thing the least suitable, the least suitable thing
In Piedmontese, more than in Italian, the form using partitive is also used: "(one) of the most ...." or "(one) of the least ..." that in Piedmontese are: "dij p ... , dij manch ... , dij meno ...". In Italian it would be "dei pi ... , dei meno ... " (We recall here that in Piedmontese "manch" and "meno" are synonyms standing for "less, least"). The adjective is at plural.
  • sn a l' dij p robust = this is (one) of the strongest
  • a l' dle manch grassiose = she is (one) of the least graceful
For this superlative there exist the negative form:
  • a l' nen dij p bj = it is non (one) of the finest
  • a l' nen dij manch prepar = he is not one of the least prepared (so: he is prepared)
  • a l' nen la p bela che tute = she is not the most beautiful of (among) all
  • a l' nen la fija la p bela = she is not the finest girl
We will see later the irregular forms of superlative, that in Piedmontese are less than in Italian..

The absolute superlative - Superlativ assolut

In Italian the absolute superlative made with the desinence "...issimo" is very common, and sometime the used desinence is "...errimo". In Piedmontese there is only one desinence in "...issim", but it is very few used (is an italianism). Then in Italian the absolute superlative is also obtained by adding to the adjective (usually before) some adverbs like "molto, tanto, etc.". The latter is also the english way of doing absolute superlatives.
In Piedmontese the addition of adverbs is largely the most used way. The adverbs "motobin, bin, tant, prpi, prpi tant, etc." are added in fron fo the adjective. Another way of obtaining a superlative is, in Piedmontese, to repeat twice the adjective (this mode is not so used in Italian). Still a piedmontese way of doing absolute superlative is to put after the adiective the locution "com tut" (having a literal value of "as all"
Finally in Piedmontese, much more than in Italian, a quality can be stressed by means of comparatives (of majority and equality). These can be true idiomatic sentences, and for that see also the Syntax and the Idiomatic sentences. Some examples:
  • chil a l' bin fl = he is very stupid
  • a l' motobin car = it is extremely expensive
  • a l' prpi brav = he is really good
  • a l' brav brav, ma a l' brut com tut = he is very good, but he is very ugly
Some examples of comparative commonly used with value of absolure superlative:
  • brut coma la neuit = literally: ugly like the night = very ugly
  • p fl che na mica = literally: more stupid than a loaf = very stupid
Here below we will seethe irregular forms of superlative, that in Piedmontese are less than in Italian.

The irregular degrees

As it happens in English for adjectives like "good, bad, great, high, little, low" corresponding to the italian ones" buono, cattivo, grande, alto, piccolo, basso", also in Piedmontese there are adjectives that have irregular comparatives and superlatives. The difference is that in Piedmontese the use of these irregular forms is nearly always limited to those cases in which they have a value of substantive. The common use, while adjectives, is the regular form even if the irregular form can be used in some cases.

The english "good" has a comparative "better" and a relative superlative "(the) best" while the absolute superlative can be regularly "very good". The correspondent italian adjective is "buono", with a comparative "migliore" or "meglio", relative superlative "il migliore" and absolute superlative "ottimo". In Piedmontese the adjective is "bon", the common comparative is "p bon", a possible irregular comparative could be "milior, mijor", which is never used, while it is more used the form "mj". Also the relative superlative is "ël p bon", (sometimes also "ël mj"), while the absolute superlative can be "tim", usually used as a substantive, and the commonly used forms are "motobin bon, tant bon, prpi bon, vreman bon etc.". Below there are some examples.

Similarly the english "bad" has a comparative "worse" and a relative superlative "(the) worst" while the absolute superlative can be regularly "very bad". The correspondent italian adjective is "cattivo", with a comparative "peggiore", relative superlative "il peggiore" and absolute superlative "pessimo".In Piedmontese the adjective is "gram", the common comparative is "p gram", a possible irregular comparative could be "pegior", which is not so used, while it is more used the form "ps". Also the relative superlative is "ël p gram", or, sometimes "ël ps" and only seldom "ël pegior" while the absolute superlative can be "pssim", usually used as a substantive (few as adjective), and the commonly used forms are "motobin gram, tant gram, prpi gram, vreman gram etc.". Below there are some examples.

The english "great" has a comparative "greater", and in some cases "major"and a relative superlative "(the) greatest" or also "(the) major", while the absolute superlative can be regularly "very great" or "maximum". The correspondent italian forms are "grande" for the simple adjective, "pi grande" or "maggiore" for comparative. The second comparison form is very much used. For relative superlative the form can be "il pi grande" or "il maggiore", and finally the absolute superlative can be "molto grande, grandissimo, massimo, etc.". In Piedmontese the adjective is "grand". For the comparative the largely usual way is "p grand". There is also the form "magior" but only very seldom it is used as adjective, while it is used when the value is substantive. In this way the relative superlative will be nearly always "ël p grand" and only in few cases "ël magior. The absolute superlative is "motobin grand, tant grand, prpi grand, etc.". There is also the form "massim", mainly used with value of substantive.. Below there are some examples.

Similar considerations apply to the english adjective "little", with comparative "less" or "minor" and relative superlative "(the) least" or "(the) minimum", while the absolute superlative will be "very little" or "minimum". The corresponding italian forms are "piccolo" for the simple adjective, "pi piccolo" or "minore". The second comparison form is very much used. For relative superlative the form can be "il pi piccolo" or "il minore", and finally the absolute superlative can be "molto piccolo, piccolissimo, minimo, etc.". In Piedmontese the adjective is "cit". For the comparative the largely usual way is "p cit". There is also the form "minor" but only very seldom it is used as adjective, while it is used when the value is substantive. In this way the relative superlative will be nearly always "ël p cit" and only in few cases "ël minor. The absolute superlative is "motobin cit, tant cit, prpi cit, etc.". There is also the form "minim", mainly used with value of substantive.. Below there are some examples.

The english "high" has a comparative "higher", and in some cases "superior"and a relative superlative "(the) highest" or also "(the) superior", while the absolute superlative can be regularly "very high" or also"maximum" (as for "great"). The correspondent italian forms are "alto" for the simple adjective, "pi alto" or "superiore" for comparative. The second comparison form is quite used. For relative superlative the form can be "il pi alto" or "il superiore", and finally the absolute superlative can be "molto alto, altissimo, etc." or sometimes "massimo" (as for "grande"). In Piedmontese the adjective is "ut". For the comparative the largely usual way is "p ut". There is also the form "superior" which is not so much used as adjective, while it is used when the value is substantive. In this way the relative superlative will be often "ël p ut" and only in less cases "ël superior. The absolute superlative is "motobin ut, tant ut, prpi ut, etc.". Below there are some examples.

Similar considerations apply to the english adjective "low", with comparative "lower" or "inferior" and relative superlative "(the) lowest" or "(the) inferior", while the absolute superlative will be "very low" or "minimum" (as for "little"). The corresponding italian forms are "basso" for the simple adjective, "pi basso" or"inferiore". For relative superlative the form can be "il pi basso" or "l'inferiore", and finally the absolute superlative can be "molto basso, bassissimo, etc." or "infimo". In Piedmontese the adjective is "bas". For the comparative the largely usual way is "p bas". There is also the form "minor" which is not so much used as adjective, while it is used when the value is substantive. In this way the relative superlative will be often "ël p cit" and only in less cases "l'inferior. The absolute superlative is "motobin cit, tant cit, prpi cit, etc.". Below there are some examples.

............................Italian........................... ...........................English.......................... ......................Piedmontese......................
il mio migliore del tuo mine is better than yours ël m a l' p bon dël t
una cosa ottima an excellent thing na csa tima
na csa vreman bon-a
l'ottimo sarebbe.... the best would be.... l'tim a sara....
ël p bon a sara....
ël mj a sara....
questo migliore di quello this is better than that sn a l' mj che ln
il maggior vantaggio con la minore spesa the greater advantage with the least cost ël p gran vantagi con la spisa p cita
questo prezzo superiore this price is higher sto pressi a l' p ut
ha fatto un lavoro minore he did less work a l'ha fit un travaj p cit

Possessive Adjectives

As it happens in the other neo-latin tongues, the piedmontese possessive adjectives are in agreement in gender and number with the owned thing and not with the owner, as for example happens in English. This fact produces a singular series and a plural series each including the six persons (three sing. plus three plur.)

With the exception of the masculine plural, as a rule these adjectives are not preceded by the article: this rule is simlar to english one, while in italian there is not such a rule, and often italian possessive adiectives are preceded by the article. The exception of the plural masculine is given by the fact that in Piedmontese plural and singular have the same form usually for both the adjective and the substantive which it is teferred to. It is necessary to pay attention to this difference with respect Italian and English.
The following table reports the possessive adjectives for the three singular and plural persons, both at masculine and feminine (we remember that there is not a neuter gender in Piedmontese, and the related english words become, in Piedmontese either masculine or feminine:

. singular masculine singular feminine plural. masculine plural masculine
my

mè gat = my (male) cat
mia
mia gata = my (female) cat
mè (mèi)
(ij) mè gat = my (male) cats
mie
mie gate = my (female) cats
your

tò gat = your (male) cat
toa
toa gata = your (female) cat
tò (tòi)
(ij) tò gat = your (male) cats
toe
toe gate = your (female) cats
his
her
its

sò gat = his, her, its (male) cat
soa
soa gata = his, her, its (female) cat
sò (sòi)
(ij) sò gat = your (male) cats
soe
soe gate = his, her, its (female) cats
our
nòstr
nòstr gat = our (male) cat
nòstra
nòstra gata = our (female) cat
nòstr(i)
(ij) nòstr(i) gat = our (male) cats
nòstre
nòstre gate = our (female) cats
your
vòstr
vòstr gat = your (male) cat
vòstra
vòstra gata = your (female) cat
vòstr(i)
(ij) vòstr(i) gat = your (male) cats
vòstre
vòstre gat = your (female) cats
their

sò gat = their (male) cat
soa
soa gata = their (female) cat
sò (sòi)
(ij) sò gat = their (male) cats
soe
soe gate = their (female) cats

For the plural masculine, as underlined in the table, the series exists of singular pronouns mi, ti, si and the third plural person pronoun si. They are equivalent to the corresponding pronouns of the normal series. The difference is that when used, they do not require the article. Still we note that the first and second masculine plural persons can have or not the ending "i". If the ending "i" is used, they do not require the article.
Then we note that in Piedmontese, as in other languages, a strengthened form exists, which is obtained by adding before the adjective the word "prpi", and so we have, for example:
  • a l' prpi m lber = it is really my book
  • a l' prpi t lber = it is really (effectively, certainly, etc.) your book
  • etc.
We give some use's examples of these adjectives:
  • His wife and his son = Soa fomna e s fieul (concordance with the owned entity and not the owner)
  • My wife and my sons = Mia fomna e ij m fieuj (at plural masc. the article is allowed, and usually required)
  • My wife and my daughters = Mia fomna e mie fije (at plural femin. the article is not allowed)
  • His child and her child = s cit e s cit (concordance with the owned entity and not the owner)
  • Mie ciav a deurbo nen toa prta = My keys do not open your door
  • M ideal: na casta tranquila = Mi ideal: a little quiet house (verse of a piedmontese song)
  • I vado a serch m amis = I go to look for my friend.
  • I vado a serch (ij) ti amis = I go to look for your friends.(with the masc. plur. series ending by "i" the article is not required)
  • etc.






lago5
An alpine lake
   in Maira valley

.
. (photo B. Garmondi)
.


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