Very Quick Lessons

Piedmontese for English Speaking People

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Lesson 6

Piedmontese Grammar


Demonstrative - indefinite - interrogative - numeral adjectives

In this part we conclude our short speeck about the piedmontese adjectives. We remember that in Piedmontese the various types of adjectives are: Agetiv qualificativ, possessiv, dimostrativ, andefin, anterogativ, numeraj. We already spoke about "qualificativ = descriptive" and "possessiv = possessive".

Demonstrative adjectives

They indicate the position or location of the entity they are referred to, or better, they act as a pointer to the entity. Anyway their functions, in Piedmontese, are the same they have in other languages.
Often in Piedmontese thee adjectives are strengthened with the adverbs "s, l, l" (respectively approx. here, there). In the sentence this adjective comes before the name which is referred to, and the possible adverb comes after the name. We note that not always this adjective can be apostrophized before words starting by vowel, in particular if it is plural masculine, since the deletion of the final vowel can delete also the plural meaning. We report in the following table the used forms, including the related pronunciation, compared also with the italian correspondent (and english, of course):

Italian English masc. sing. femin. sing. masc. plur. femin. plur.
Questo/a/i/e This / These cost, sto, st' \ cust, stu, st \ costa, sta, st' \ cust&, st&, st \ costi, sti \ custi, sti \ coste, ste \custe, ste\
Codesto/a/i/e That / Those 1 ës, së, s' 2 \ &s, s&, s \ sa, s' 2 \ s&, s \ si \si \ \ se \
Quello/a/i/e That / Those 1 col \ cul \ cola, col' \ cul&, cul' \ coj \cui\ cole, coj' \ cule, cui' \
1 - Both in Italian and Piedmontese there is a distinction between "THAT" when indicating something far from the speaker and near to the listener, which is translated into "Codesto" , "Ës" etc. and "THAT" when indicating something far from both the speaker and the listener, which is translated into "Quello" , "Col", etc. This distinction is not so much used nowadays, and often the only form is "Quello" , "Col". etc.
2 - The using rules of these forms are the same as for the article.

The table shows also the "limitation" in using the apostrophe, allowed in singular forms and not allowed in plural forms. As an example "st'aso = this donkey" (singular, it can be apostrophized), but "sti aso = these donkeys" (plural, it cannot be apostrophized, otherwise it would be identical to singular).
In Piedmontese the forms related to "That" -> (codesto) are also sometimes used for "This" and "That" -> (quello).
We told that often, after the name which is associated to, and follow the adjective the adverbs "s" = "here" or "l" = "there" or "l" = "there" are added. The first (s) is always pointing at something or someone near to the speaker. The second (l) is always pointing at something or someone near to the listener. The third (l) is always pointing at something or someone far from the speaker and the listener. This can be used for specifying the adjectives of the second row in the table, that can be used in different ways, as we said above. The use of these adverbs is not actually required but it is very frequent.
In order to clarify what we said, we give a number of examples:
  • Sta cadrega a l' rota = This chair is broken (the chair is near the speaker)
  • Sta cadrega s a l' rota = This chair (here) is broken (the chair is near the speaker)
  • Sa cadrega s a l' rota = This chair is broken (the chair is near the speaker)
  • Sa cadrega l a l' rota = That chair is broken (the chair is near the listener)
  • Sa cadrega l a l' rota = That chair is broken (the chair is far from speaker and listener)
  • Col fieul l a l' pa vire degord = That boy is not so much clever.
  • s liber s, s liber l = this book, that book
  • s liber, s liber l = that book (near to the listener)
  • Col'aqua, col'aqua l = That water (that water there)
  • Coj'aque = Those waters
  • Cole scle= Those schools
  • Coste scle= These schools
  • Sto caval= This horse
  • Cost anlev, costi anlev = This pupil, these pupils
There adjectives , of course, can be used non just related to physical space, but also for pointing at time or abstract objects. Still in this case the adverbs "s, l, l" can be used with an analogous meaning, where "s" is referred to some time with the idea of present, "l" and "l" are more or less equivalent, and the first can better express a time referred to the listener, or a precise point in time, but in this case the rule is quite loose.
  • I capisso nen sto discors ; i capisso nen sto discors s = I don't understand this speech
  • Coj temp a j'ero bin dur = Those times were quite hard
  • Mi i andrai prpi col d l = I will go just that day
  • An col'epoca l as andasa a p = In that period they went on foot
  • A mi cole cuche it jë conte nen = Don't tell me those fibs

Indefinite adjectives

They indicate, broadly speaking, the approximated quantity of the entity defined by the substantive they are referred to, or a generical cathegory of entities specified by the substantive.
We report in a table some of them and we will do some observations and examples after. We do not show the pronunciation since at this point it should be clear. For technical reasons (lazyness) we give them in italian alphabetic order (with english translation), and of course the table is not exhaustive (see the vocabulary).

Italian English masc. sing. femin. sing. masc. plur. femin. plur.
Alcuno, qualche Some, a few quàich, or quèich
or chich
quàich, or quèich
or chich
quàich, or quèich
or chich
quàich, or quèich
or chich
Altrettanto as much ...(as), as many ...(as)
so much ...(as), so many ...(as)
autërtant autërtanta autërtanti autërtante
Altro another, other àutr 1 àutra àutri àutre
Certo certain cert or certo 2 certa certi certe
Ciascuno every , each minca un, or ògni minca na, or gni   -----   -----
Medesimo same midem, or medesim midema, or medesima midem, or medesim
(sometimes medesimi)
mideme, or medesime
Molto much , many tant, or divers tanta, or diversa tanti, or diversi tante, or diverse
Nessuno no , not ... any gnun 3, or nsun gnun-a, or nsun-a gnun, or nsun gnun-e, or nsun-e
Ogni every ògni, or tut4 ògni, or tuta tuti tute
Parecchio quite a lot of .... divers or vaire5 diversa diversi diverse
Poco little , few pòch pòca pòchi pòche
Qualche some , a few quàich, or quèich
or chich
quàich, or quèich
or chich
----- -----
Qualunque whatever qualonque qualunque   -----   -----
Quanto how much , how many quant quanta quanti quante
Stesso same stess, or istess stessa, or istessa stessi, or istessi stesse, or istesse
Tale such (a) tal tala taj tale
Tanto so much , so many
as much, as many
tant tanta tanti tante
Troppo too , too much , too many tròp tròpa tròpi tròpe
Tutto all tut tuta tuti tute
1) - we remember that in this case the pronunciation is \&utr\.
2) - we remember that the pronunciation is \[ch]'rtu\.
3) - we remember that the pronunciation is \o[gn]'[ue]n\.
4) - as in the case: tut m = every man.
5) - it is invariant, but it is mainly used at plural. When possibly used at singular requires the genitive partitive. See also examples.

We note that the invariant adjective dontr = some has a plural sense (and plural is also the name which is referred to). Then in the current use, sometimes we find chica instead of chich, sometimes only as a pronunciation and sometime also written. This is not a bad error, just be careful that it is not a feminine form, since it is the same invariant form of "chich" and therefore valid for both the genders and both the numbers.
We note that in Piedmontese, with indefinite adjectives is very often used the partitive complement (in particular at singular). For example "so much bread" is translated into "tant ëd pan". About this point and about similar forms we will speak again in Syntax.
Some examples:
I l'hai tanta fam e autrtanta seugn = I am so much hungry and I am the same sleepy Lor a l'han trpi sld e pche grumele = They have too much money and too few seeds This is an idiom where the seeds are a representation of "cleverness" and "shrewdness". The "grumele" \gr[ue]m'ele\ are the seeds of fruits like orange or apple, little and not hard. The hard ones, and bigger, are called "os = bones" and correspond tothe english "stones". In Piedmontese the seed for sowing are called "smens". Another piedmontese idiom: when a nosy parker asks "what have you there?" or "what is that?", the answer is "(a son) smens ëd curios" = "(they are) seeds of curious".
We still note an exception due to the adjective "tal", which have the feminine in "tala", an so it does not follow the rule for adjectives ending by "".
Let's go back to examples:
  • minca 'n m a l' amportant, e gnun mo a serv a gnnte = each man is important, and nobody is no use.
  • Ij midem problema, l midem problema = the same problems, the same problem.
  • a l'ha arzolv vaire problema = he solved many problems
  • a l' mangisse vaire cirese = he ate many cherries
  • a l'ha p vaire 'd furbssia = he has not so much astuteness
  • i l'hai cat dontr pom e dontr tomatiche = I bought some apples and some tomatoes
  • i l'ava ciamate chich biarava ma sn a l' trpa rba = I asked you for some beet but this is too much stuff
  • a-i andran vaire person-e, ma pchi studios a capiran tut = many persons will go, but few learned men will understand all
We note that the adjective "vire" is very used in Piedmontese, not only with the meaning of "quite a lot" but also as "many" in particular in negative sentences.
The locutions "not so much" and "not so many" very often are translated into "nen vire" or "p vire", and this happens both when the value is adjective and when it is adverb. About this subject we note that when the plural name can be substuituted by a collective name, often the locution "vire + (plur. substantive)" is substituted by the locution "motobin ëe + (collective name), as for example:
"Vire person-e (= many persons)" often becomes "motobin ëd gent (= very much (of) people). This shows the piedmontese tendency for the use of the partitive, much less used both in Italian and English.
We will see particular uses of partitive in Syntax and in Idiomatic Sentences.

Interrogative Adjectives

In Piedmontese they are similar to the corresponding italian adjectives, and serve at asking for the identity or for the quantity. They usually appear in interrogative sentences, but they can appear also when the sentence is not explicitly an interrogative one, but it just have a question's meaning.

For the first type (request of identity) we have the two adjectives:

- che = what, which also similar to the italian "che". Example: "che tch (it) veus-to? = what piece do you want?". This adjective is invariant in gender and number (as it is also in Italian and English).

- qual = what also similar to the italian "quale". This adjective has the masc. plur. = quaj, the femin. sing. = quala, and the femin. plur. = quale. Also this adjective is an exception to the rule of adjectives ending by "". Example "quale part a son-ne da f? = what parts have to be done?".
The first of the two ("che") is the most commonly used whenever possible (in many cases the two adiectives are equivalent), the second is quite rare.

For the second type (request of quantity) we have the adjective:

- quant = how much also similar to the italian "quanto". This adjective has the masc. plur. = quanti= how many, the femin. sing. = quanta, and the femin. plur. = quante. This adjective is an exception to the rule of invariance at plural for masculine. Example: "quanta str a venta che a faso? = how much road they have to do?"

Numeral Adjectives

They are subdivided into four groups: cardinal (cardinaj), ordinal (ordinativ), collective (coletiv), multiplicative (moltiplicativ). Then we will speak about the fractional numbers and other mathematical expressions involving these adjectives.
We note here a piedmontese particularity: while in Italian and in French there is only the number "one" that have a masculine form and a feminine form, in Piedmontese the number one has a masculine and a feminine form, respectively "un, un-a", but also the number "two" has a masculine and a feminine form, respectively "doi, doe". So we have, for example: "Doi bero e doe fje = two lambs and two sheeps".
Another piedmontese particularity is the nearly complete lack of a specific form for ordinals, as we will see below. The existing ordinals have masculine and feminine, singular and plural, as it is for multiplicative adjectives. Collective adjectives have singular and plural.
We give the usual table, where in blue colour there are adjectives which are also used, but they are italianisms.
Number Cardinal Ordinal Collective Multiplicative
  1 un, un-a prim, prim-a, prim, prime   ------ sempi, sempia, sempi, sempie
  2 doi, doe scond, sconda, scond, sconde cobia, cobie
pàira, paira
dobi, dobia, dobi, dobie
  3 trè ters, tersa, ters, terse trien-a, trien-e tre vòlte
tre vire
  4 quatr - quat 5 quart, quarta quatren-a quat vòlte
quat vire
  5 sinch quint, quinta, quint, quinte sichen-a, sinchen-e   etc.
  6 ses sest, sesta, sest, seste mesa dosen-a, mese dosen.e
sesen-a, sesen-e
  7 set sétim, sétima, sétim, stime1   ------ 2   
  8 eut otav, otava, otav, otave1 4   ------   
  9 neuv nòno, nna noven-a, noven-e   
  10 des décim desen-a, desen-e   
  11 ondes ondicésim, etc. 1   ------   
  12 dodes dodicésim etc.1 dosen-a, dosen-e   
  13 tërdes   ------   ------   
  14 quatòrdes   ------   ------   
  15 quìndes   ------ quindzen-a, quindzen-e   
  16 sëdes   ------   ------   
  17 disset   ------   ------   
  18 disdeut   ------   ------   
  19 disneuv   ------   ------   
  20 vint vintésim, etc. vinten-a, vinten-e   
  21 vintun 3   ------   ------   
  22 vintedoi 3   ------   ------   
  30 tranta trantésim tranten-a, tranten-e   
  40 quaranta quarantésim quaranten-a, quaranten-e   
  50 sinquanta siquantésim sinquanten-a, sinquanten-e   
  100 sent sentésim senten-a, senten-e   
  123 sent e vintetrè   ------   ------   
  1000 mila milésim, milésima, milésim, milésime mili (invar.)   
  1548 milasichsentquaranteut   ------   ------   
1) - Ordinals, from 7 on, are not part of the piedmontese language (sometimes they are used as italianisms). Anyway there are the ordinals corresponding to complete tens (10, 20, 30, etc. up to 90) and complete hundreds (100, 200, 300, ...., up to 1000). Sometimes also 7 and 8 have anyway their ordinal. For the ordinal of a generic number, in classical Piedmontese, some locutions are used like: "col ch'a f + (cardinal number) = that one which does + (cardinal number)". So for example the "twentyfourth" will be "col ch'a f vintequatr". Other locutions can be:"col ch'a conta + (cardinal), col ch'a resta + (cardinal), col ch'a l' + (cardinal)", respectively "that one which counts + (cardinal number), that one which remains + (cardinal number), that one which is + (cardinal number)". When there is not ambiguity also the simple cardinal can be used. The simple cardinal is nearly always used for the sequence number of Kings, Popes, etc. as for: "Louis XIV" which is in Piedmontese "Luis quatrdes".
2) - Also for collectives there is a rule as for ordinals, without particular locutions, but there are the "dosen-a" = "dozen" and "qundzen-a" = "(set of) fifteen".
3) - The coniunction "e" is put between hundreds and tens and between tens and units, starting from twenty, with an exception if the ten is 80 and if the unit is 1 or 8 (beginning by vowel). For example: twentyseven = vinteset ; twentyeight = vinteut ; twentyone = vintun ; 135 = sentetrantesinch ; 184 = sentotantequatr.
4) - The word "otava" is also the musical octave
5) - The number "four" is "quatr" if the following word begins by vowel and "quat" if the following word begins by consonant.

Of course, the ordinals can be masculine or feminine, singular or plural, while the collectives can be singular or plural. In the table we reported the forms in the sequence: masc. sing., femin. sing., masc. plur., femin. plur. for ordinals, and singular, plural for collectives. In general the numeral adjectives follow the rules that we've seen for gender and number.
In mathematics, speaking about "units, tens, hundreds, thousands, etc", in Piedmontese we have respectively "unit, desen-e, senten-e, mili, etc.", but dor "thousands" there are also:"ij mila, la cifra dij mila, mij, milanta".

Fractional numbers and powers

We start from the simplest fraction: one half. In Piedmontese, as it is in Italian, two words translate "half". They are "met" which is invariant, and "ms, mesa, mesi, mese" (respectively for masc.sing., femin.ssing., masc.plur., femin.plur.). The two words not always are equivalent, and they can be adjectives or substantives (the first is more commonly substantive with a meaning of "one half"). See after some example.
Fractions whose denominator has an ordinal number are expressed "(cardinal of numerator) + (ordinal of denominator)". So, for example "3/4" is "tre quart". If the ordinal of the denominator does not exist, then in Piedmontese the expression is "(cardinal of numerator) of (cardinal of denominator)", or also "(cardinal of numerator) su (cardinal of denominator)". So, for example "7/19" is "set d disneuv" or also "set su disneuv".
For the powers, the exponent is espressed in cardinals. When there is an ordinal of the exponent it is also used the ordinal. For example "ten raised to the twentythird" will be in Piedmontese "des elev a vintetr" or "des a (la) vintetr", while "three raised to the fourth (power)" will be "tr a la quatr" or "tr a la quarta (potensa)".
For radicals the mechanism is the same, an we have "fourth root of x" or "x in fourth root" will be, in Piedmontese "radis quarta d' x" or "radis a quat d' x" but "fifteenth root of y" in Piedmontese will be only "radis a quindes d' y" or "y an radis a quindes".
With powers having fractional exponent we have, for example: "10 raised to 3/11" = "des a la tr d'ondes" or "des a la tr su ondes"
Some examples:
  • msa dosen-a = half a dozen
  • i pjo met dla mica = i take one half of the loaf
  • i l'hai spet tre quart d'ora = I waited for three fourth of hour
  • un ragg ëd sinch su sëddes ëd pless = a radius of 5/16 of inch

An alpine lake
   in Maira valley

. (photo B. Garmondi)

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