Very short notes on

Piedmontese syntax - Second part

Just underlining some differences with Italian

indice casa
indietro
Syntax of the speech's parts
The article

In classical Piedmontese the article is not allowed in front of person's name, as it happens, istead, with Italian and with some italian dialects.

With the names of the rivers >Po and Dora there are some particularities (we remember that in Piedmont there are two rivers called "Dora", that are Dora Riparia (Susa's valley) and Dora Baltea (Aoste's valley). The article is used for rivers' names in general, but the Po can have the article when it is referred as the actual river. If the name is referred to the place, then the article is not used. An example, trying to be more clear:
The Po is the longest river in Italy = Ël Po a l' 'l p longh fium d'Italia.
I go to the Po for a bit of fresh air = I vado a Po për un pch d'ria frësca.
In piedmontese the two rivers Dora have two possible names: Dra and Djra. With the first name the article is used, with the second it is not used. The word "djra" is used also, in general, for torrent, stream.

Then we notice that the article is often required for distinguishing the number of masculine names and adjectives. These are, in fact, usually invariant at plural. In the Grammar we have seen that possessive pronouns reject the article (this is also in English), but not at the plural masculine. The reason is this possibility of distinguishing the number. If we look at the words:
My dog = m can ; my dogs = Ij m can. The difference is just in the article.

Another use of the article, very common in Piedmontese and not in Italian or English, is in the introduction of the direct speech :"Excuse me sir...." etc. which in Piedmontese is: Ch'a da, l sgnor .... = Say the sir.... with the verb at subjunctive mood.

The noun

With collective noun, that have singular form, in Piedmontese is possible (not mandatory) to use the verb at the plural person. For example the english word people has in Piedmontese the correspondent gent. While in english people is plural, in piedmontese gent is singular (even if the plural wuold have the same writing). Nevertheless it is possible to write. la gent a capisso nen përch = People do not understand why, as well as la gent a capiss nen përch. The first form is "more piedmontese".

We have already seen the particolar use of the nouns madama, madamin, tta, moss, sgnor, sgnora, sor, sora and so we do not repeat here this item. (see Grammar)

Another particularity is the way of indicating the hours of the day. First of all, hours are from 1 to 12 in the night or in the morning (ëd neuit, ëd matin) and in the afternon or evening (dpmesd, ëd sira), and so in Piedmontese there are not the ours from 13 to 24. Then for one and two (sometimes also three), the hour is called bt (masculine), for all the others is called ore (feminine) (plural of ora, pron. \ ur& , ure \). So we have for example:
It is 1 a.m. = a l' an bt (ëd neuit)
It is 2,15 a.m. = a son doi bt e 'n qurt (ëd neuit)
It is 1,30 p.m. = a son doi bt e ms (ëd dpmesd). Note that ms is half at masculine (bt is masculine).
At 7 a.m. = a set ore ('d matin)
At 7,30 p.m. = a set e mesa ('d sira). Note that mesa is half at feminine (ore is feminine).
If the time is not a complete hour, the word "ore" is suppressed, while the word bt is not suppressed.:
from 1,25 up to 5.20 = da un bt e vintesinch fin-a a sinch e vint.
Time that is not a complete hour, with minutes over 30, is expressed referring to the next full hour:
It is 4.40 = a l' sinch meno vint (five minus twenty) or better a l' vint minute a sinch ore (twenty minutes to five hours)
It is 4.45 = a l' sinch meno 'n quart (five minus a quarter) or better a l' un quart a sinch ore (a quarter to five hours)
Noon is mesd, and midnight is mesaneuit.
For indicating a time interval the word bt is not used, and the words ora, ore are instead used. It will take one hour and half = A-i andr n'ora e mesa.

The adjective
Something has been seen in the Grammar), and here we want just to add something on superlative and adjectival locutions.

We noted that in Piedmontese the absolute superlative making use of the desinence -issim, that corresponds to the italian -issimo, is not nuch used, even if grammatically correct. There are expressions having value of superlative that can be obtained, for example, by doubling the adjective, or by associating two different adjectives, or using comparisons some times as a paradox, but anyway of common use. So they sound absolutely normal. For example:
A l' fol fol = He is very stupid
A l' casc longh e tir = He fell down "completely" literally: He fell down long and stretched.
Esse anfreid com un can = To have a bad cold literally: To have a cold like a dog.
Esse borgno com un pom = To be completely blind literally: To be blind like an apple.
These examples are not something to joke, but expressions commonly used by everybody (they are idioms)
An adjective that is very used for producing superlatives is bl, bela, bj, bele literally meaning fine (in the forms of masculine and feminine, singular and plural), also in the form p bl, etc... (more fine), according the following examples:
A l' bl vj = He is very old literally he is fine old
It ses un bel fl = You are very stupid literally you are a fine stupid
It ses ël bel fl dla pissa = You are the most stupid of the square literally you are the most fine stupid of the square
And still in the form dij bj = of the fine (plural). That means many. Example:
A-i na son dij bj = There are many literally There are of them of the fine. This also is a common way of saying, understood by everybody. That means it is an idiomatic expression. And we will see in the section "Idiomatic phrases" some other examples.

For the relative superlative we remember the two possible ways of doing it. One has a construction similar to Italian, and the other one has a construction similar to French:
The most clever person = La p inteligenta person-a or la person-a la p inteligenta

Another very common idiom, and one of the ways of obtaining absolute superlatives governed by the verb "esse" (to be) is "verb esse + d'un + adjective" according to the following examples:
Chila a l' d'un bel ... = She is very fine ...
And we have to note, about this expression, that "bel" is masculine even if it is referred to a woman. The reason is that in this case "fine" is an idealized "fine" and acts as a masculine substantive. In the same way we can have:
Chil a l' d'un brut.... = He is very ugly....

There are two particular adjectives that can be also pronouns and adverbs. They are motobin (much, many, very) and pch (little, few, not very, etc.). We have already seen the use of motobin as an adverb for doing an absolute superlative. In this way also pch has the same behaviour.
He is very clever = chil a l' motobin furb, he is not very clever = chil a l' pch furb.
In Italian, and in English as well, they are often used as indefinite adjectives. In many of these cases, in Piedmontese, they support a partitive complement, as it happens also in French. They are not similar since motobin behaves as an adverb and is invariant, while we have pch, pchi, pca, pche according the use. We note the following examples:
much bread = motobin ëd pan (literally: very (much) of bread)
you got many enemies = It ses fte motobin ëd nemis
The word "motobin" is invariant, and so also in this use the behaviour is similar to the one of the adverb.
The word pch has a behaviour a bit more complex. If the following partitive is plural, then pch maintains the indeterminative singular article un, but it agrees in gender and number with partitive:
few sheeps = un pche ëd fje (fje is feminine)
few appless = un pchi ëd pom (pom is masculine)
Il the following partitive is singular, pch is singular, of course, and if the partitive is masculine, pch is masculine. If the partitive is feminine, then both pch and pca are allowed, i.e. it can be used either mascoline or feminine.
a bit of bread = un pch ëd pan (pan is masculine)
a bit of cheese = un pch ëd toma or un pca ëd toma (toma is feminine).
The short form po' is invariant, and therefore there aren't these problems.

Among the indefinite adjectives we note "vire" (invariant in gender and number) whose main meaning is "much, many" but, it it is associated to the conjunction "che" ("that") it take a value of "how much, how many" and often (when logically possible) governs a partitive complement, as in the question : "how old are you?" (that in Piedmontese sounds "how many years you have"), translated into: "vire d'agn che il l'has?". Another case: "I don't know how many they are, translated into: "i sai nen vire che a sio." and in this case there isn't a partitive.

As a last point we note the adjective "gnun " ("none, nobody"), that in Italian is used only at singular, while in Piedmontese is often used also at plural. This is evident at feminine, since the masculine is invariant at plural: "a-i son gnun-e cirese has value "there are no cherries, there is no one cherry.

The pronoun
In piedmontese, in many cases, pleonastic repetition of pronouns at the dative is a rule (not always mandatory), even if when the indirect object is explicit.:
I tell it to my father = I-j lo diso a m pare or I lo diso a m pare.
In the first translation there is a pleonastic -j (to him) that is not present in the second translation. Both are correct, but the first is "more naturally piedmontese".

We have already spoken about the position of personal pronouns when complements. (previous page).
Then we spoke about verbal personal pronouns and interrogative personal pronouns, that are not present in italian and in english (and not even in french). We also spoke about all the composite particles produced by associating personal pronouns.
Finally, also in the previous page, we noticed the particulatities of the pronoun che.
We do still some considerations about this last point:
This pronoun, used without prepositions for different kinds of complement, could produce confusion. At the same time the use of the pronouns qual. quala, quai, quale with the prepositions, is very limited, since it does not sound like a good piedmontese. In piedmontese style, along the centuries, the problems was differently solved. We have seen above that in piedmontese there exist the trend of adding pleonastic pronouns. By adding some pronominal or adverbial particle in sentences using che, we can avoid indetermination and maintain the piedmontese style. The sentence becomes clear and natural. For example we can consider the sentence :
The person to whom we spoke = The person whom we spoke to = La person-a che i l'oma parlaje (this construction is not so different from the english second one. Literally it is "the person whom we've spoken to him").

Some considerations about the pronoun "what", its italian use and its piedmontese use. In Italian, according the specific cases, in can be translated into "quello che ... , cosa ... , che cosa ... ,". The two latter forms are mandatory in interrogative sentences. For example: "What do you say? - What I say has no relevance" in Italian is translated into "Cosa dici? - Quello che dico non ha importanza". In Piedmontese, both in affirmative or interrogative sentence, "ln che..." can be used (and in this case the question does not use the interrogative pronouns, so the Piedmontese translation can be "Ln ch'it dise? - Ln ch'i diso a l'ha nen d'amportansa.". Otherwise it can also be "Cs dis-to? - Ln ch'i diso a l'ha nen d'amportansa."

As a last thing we note a form of stressing the affirmation "yes" or the negation " not", when the meaning is: it's yes for mi, it's yes for you, etc. as in the example;
do you like cheese? - Yes I do (for me is certainly yes) the piedmontese anwer is: mi s mi where the pronoun mi is doubled. This is valid also for the possible negation mi n mi.

The verb
First of all we refer to what has been told about the predicate (previous page).

We underlined already the absence of the perfect tense, even if it is better to consider that this tense exists, but it is not used (sometimes in poetry is still used, anyway). The meaning of the piedmontese tenses and the continuous tenses are depicted in grammar (Generality on Verbs).

We recall here something about continuous tenses, underlining a particular and very used piedmontese form.:
(engl.) I am doing, you are doing, ...etc.
I was doing ; you were doing, .... etc.

The italian way of translating there forms is:
Io sto facendo, tu stai facendo, ... etc.
Io stavo facendo, tu stavi facendo, ... etc.

The particular (and the most common) piedmontese translation is:
I son an camin che i faso, ti it ses ancamin ch'it fase, ... etc.
I j'era an camin che i fasa, ti it j'ere ancamin ch'it fase, ... etc.

Literally the piedmontese form is I am on the way (in path) that i do, ... etc. ... I was on the way that i did, ... etc ..., where both the verb "esse" ("to be") and the main verb are conjugated, and the gerund is not used. There is also another possibility, less used, in which the main verb is used at the infinitive governed by the preposition "a" ("to"). In this case "I son ancamin a f, ... etc.".
It exists, anyway, also in piedmontese, a form similar to the italian one: I stago fasend ; i stasa fasend. this last is not the most common form. It is anyway quite similar to the english form, where the verb "to be" is substituted by the verb "to stay", this latter, both in Italian and Piedmontese, can assume a meaning very close to the english verb "to be".
Another piedmontese form (also this one quite used) is i son mentre che i faso where the "ancamin" is substituted by the word "mentre, antramentre" whose value is "while". In this form is not possible to use the main verb at the infinitive.

The optative form is expressed with the subjunctive tenses, making use of the interrogative personal pronoun (this is another use of it, not for questions, as we already mentioned).
May he go to hell really = andiss-lo a col pais dabon (literally: .... to that country really.
(how fine) if he really went away! = andiss-lo via dabon!.
A similar construction is found in the similar situation:
Even if she were the best .... = fuss-la pura la p bon-a......
Even if she were the queen of the steam, for me she can go to the devil = fuss-la bele l'argin-a dl vapor, pr mi ch'a vada a fsse frise (literally: .... to to make herself fry.
In this case where the interrogative personal pronoun is present, the verbal pronoun is not required.

Actions immediately consecutive in Piedmontese are expressed in a way that recalls the latin "absolute ablative". This form is also used in Italian (at least by piedmontese persons), but in Piedmontese is the most common way of saying. For example:
Immediately after having payed it, he broke it = pag ch'a l'ha avulo, a l'ha romplo (literally: payed that he had it, he broke it)
as soon as you will have taken it, come back = pij ch'it ël l'avras, torna andar

Constructions similar to French very used. We report a couple of constructions that are very used in Piedmontese, since they are very natural, which are very similar to the corresponding french sentences having the same meaning:
It is me that ... = A l' mi che.... (in French: c'est moi que ....) (in Italian: sono io che - literally I am I that... -)
What do you want? = Ln che a l' ch'it veule? (literally: what that it is that you wand?) (in French: qu'est ce que tu veux?) (in Italian: Cosa vuoi?)

The forms it is necessary, it is required, to need, to matter (to care). We told about the first three while speaking of defective verbs. For the last, we sai that in piedmontese the verb f (to do) is used sometimes, more commonly the verb anf (to matter) , and associated to a partitive. The verbal locution is intransitive, and is used in an impersonal mode (3rd sing. pers.):
It does not matter to me = am n'anf nen = am na f nen (literally: it to me of it does not). The verbal locution can be na f (present.) ; na fasa (past imperfect), etc. or n'anf (present.) ; n'anfasa (past imperfect), etc. Since things are no so clear (I have to admit), we do some examples:
what I'm doing it doesen't matter to you = ln che i faso at n'anf nen.
They didn't care what I said = a-j n'anfasa gnente ëd ln ch'i disa.

When the verbs vëdde, savj, sente (see, know, ear) govern an infinitive, as in the first of the sentences I see him to run, I see him running, in Piedmontese they govern only the infinitive, preceded by the conjunction "a": "i lo vëddo a core". Examples:
I do not know to tell you his address = I sai nen a dite soa adressa.
I did not see anyone to come = I l'hai vist gnun a vn.
you have eared him to break dishes = it l'has sentlo a rompe ij pit

As a last point we report some verbs that can be transitive and intransitive, with two different meanings, and an example of verbs that are transitive in Piedmontese and intransitive in Italian. This mechanism exists also in Italian, but about different verbs. For example:
Rus (intrans.) = to quarrel for example: A ruso pr gnente = they quarrel for nothing.
Rus (trans.) = to scold for example: A l'ha rus s fieul = he scolded his son.
Rason (intrans.) = to reason for example: A rason-a bin = he reasons well.
Rason (trans.) = to make somebody reason for example: A-i gnun bon a rasonlo = no one is able to make him reason (literally: no one is good to reason him).
Then a verb which is intransitive in Italian and in English, and transitive in Piedmontese:
neuse = to be bad (for) (in Italian nuocere): a l'ha nosulo = (engl.) it was bad for him = (ital.) gli ha nuociuto
literally in Piedmontese : it was bad him. literally in Italian : it was bad to him.

The adverb
From what we saw about adjectives, we can say that the word "motobin (= much, many, very)" always behaves like an adverb, and often governs a partitive. In the same way behaves "p (= more), that follows the same rules. As an example:
I want more bread = I veulo p 'd pan (literally : I want more of bread - ...some more bread-)

We repeat something about affitmations and negations in Piedmontese:
We have four affirmative particles (adverbs) that are: s, , i, eui. The first two are equivalent and mean "yes" the other two are a bit strengthened ("yes of course, yes surely, etc.")
The corresponding negative particle is "no".
Tarticles for negating actions (negative conjugations) are two: "nen, p" that basically are equivalent to "not". The second negation is a bit strengthened, but it can always be used in substitution of the first.
The use of "nen, p" is different both from Italian and French (which has the negations n ... p used together).

The Piedmontese is very rich of adverbial locutions, often made up by two words, the first being a preposition and the second a substantive or adjective. See the vocabulaty for them.

There is an interesting strengthening use of the adverb "pro" that, by itself, has a value of "enough". In the use that we see it assumes a value of "certainly, yes of course, and so on", as it can be seen in the following examples:
I-i vado pro = of course I go there! - It is sure that I go there
I l'hai pro dijlo = Of course I said it to him, Oh yes, I said it to him
A sara pro bel = Certaily it would be fine
I l'hai pro mandalo al col pais, ma chil a l' p bogiasse = Certaily I sent him to the hell, but he didn't move.
First we note the position of "pro" used in this way, that is after the verb or after the auxiliary, And second we underline the last example. Often this use of "pro" supposes a following "but...", something like "of course I do, but (things are different)".

The english word "how" (in Italian "come"), when used as adverb, is translated into the piedmontese "coma che..., com che....," in particular, but not only, in interrogative forms. The english question "What is your name?", in Piedmontese sounds "How that they tell to you?" = "coma ch'at diso?" or also "coma ch'it s-ciame?= how that you have name, .... are called"
The same word "how" (in Italian "come"), in the sense of "in what a way, how much" in exclamative sentences like : "how much you are stupid!" or "how it is cold!", in Piedmontese is translated into "che" or into "se". So we have respectively "ch'it ses gadan!", "ch'a fa frid!", (literally "that you are stupid! etc.") or respectively "s'it ses gadan!", "s'a fa frid!", (literally "if you are stupid! etc.")

The preposition
Something about prepositions has been told while speaking of complements. Among what we did not seen, we note:
1) - The gerund (both present and past) is often preceded by the preposition an (in) so for example being gone can be tranlsted either essend andit or an essend andit; in the same way he doesn't come since he cannot. can be tranlsted either chl a ven nen, pairand nen or chl a ven nen, an pairanda nen (the gerund can finish by "a" or not, according the "sound" of the sentence).
2) - In complements of place that make use of the preposition "su" (on, over) and derived articled prepositions, very often, this preposition is preceded by the preposition "an" (in). For example: on the table = an sla tula (literally: in on the table)
3) - Speaking about partitive, we noticed that the preposition "" (of) in piedmontese is very used. We have already seen cases if its use in complements of place (previous page).
4) - Similar to the above point, the use of the preposition d partitive with the direct object, as in the example: to play piano = son dl piano
5) - The preposition an, that with article becomes ant, is used for indicaating about, more or less, when they are referred to time. For example I will come at about midday = I vnirai ant ël mesd (literally: I will come in the midday).
6) - While in italian sometimes the expression assieme con--- = together with... is used, in piedmontese this is not allowed and the correct form is ansema a... = together to...
7) - The preposition su (= on) (simple or connected with article) is very often preceded by the preposition an (= in), without changing its meaning. This is the most natural piedmontese way of usin it. So we have: an sla tula = on the table, and so on.
8) - Still about preposition d (= of), there is a similar mechanism. This preposition is sometimes associated to other prepositions still with a partitive meaning. So, for example: con d'utre person-e, da d'utri pst = with (some) other persons, from (some) other places
9) - Speaking about verbs we have already seen the verbs vëdde, savj, sente (to see, to know, to ear) that, while governing an infinitive, require the preposition a (= to, at) in front of this latter. Example : I am good at swimming = I sai a no bin (literally : I know to swim well)

The conjunction
There is a particular use of the conjunction che = that in the following expressions:
To say yes = D che 'd s (literally: to say that of yes) and To say not = D che 'd n (literally: to say that of not)

We will see in idiomatic expressions some way of expressing some conjunction. Here we note that often, in Piedmontese, two similar conjunctions are associated in the sentence. This is an error in Italian, not in Piedmontese. For example:
I will go after = i andrai peui dp (literally: i will go then after)
Similarly it is used: sich donca = so then ; ma per = but but ; etc.

The last remark is on the conjunction pëech that has value of because and of why. This is a composite conjunction made up by për and che. When in a negative sentences with the meaning of because ... not (like the latin ut non), usually in piedmontese it is broken into the two parts, with the negation in between the two:
I tell you because you don't go (in order you not to go) = it lo diso për nen che ti it vade.
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