Skeealyn Ned Beg

Posted on August 17, 2010


The following is what I hope to develop into a sort of Book Club: Stories in Manx with assistance on the grammar.

This is the first extract from one of Ned Beg’s stories from the 19th Century. It is aimed at the very good learner and fluent speaker. The sound file is for the whole story and over the next few weeks I’ll add to the story with further assistance on the grammar.

The references are to both Robert Thomson’s First lessons in Manx and Brian Stowell’s  Y Coorse Mooar.

A Night in a Fishing Boat

I’m now going to tell you about a night I spent on the sea in a fishing boat. All the crew except myself were lying drunk all night long so they couldn’t move, and I strove many times to wake them, but I was forced to let them lie. It was in the autumn, about the time we’d be accustomed to make the herring for home, and the herring had been very scarce for a week or two about that time, as they often would be. We got as much one night as did for one of the men, and when the herring was put away in the cart, the skipper said that he ought to give a bottle of rum to the crew, as he had got his stock home, and that everyone would be obliged to give a bottle also when they’d got their stock of herring home. And so the first night we were out after that we got as much herring as would satisfy all the crew.

Ned Beg

Oie ayns Baatey-eeastee

Ta mee nish goll dy insh diu mychione oie ren mee ceau er yn cheayn (1) ayns baatey-eeastee. As va ooilley ny deiney ny lhie (2) scooyrit agh mee hene fud ny h-oie nagh voddagh (3) gleashagh, as ren mee streeu dy ghoostey (4) ad ymmodee cheayrtyn, agh va mee eginit dy lhiggey daue lhie. V’eh ayns yn ouyr (5) mysh yn traa veagh shin  cliaghtey (6)  jannoo skeddan nyn dhie, (7) as va yn skeddan er ve feer ghoan (8) son shiaghtin ny jees mysh yn traa shen, myr veagh dy mennick. Hooar shin wheesh (9) un oie as ren jannoo (10) da fer jeh ny deiney, as traa va yn skeddan currit (11) ersooyl ayns yn chaart (12) dooyrt yn Mainshtyr dy row (13) eh cairagh da dy coyrt (14) boteil dy (15) rum da yn sheshaght, (16) er yn oyr dy row eh er gheddyn (17) yn stock thie, as dy beagh dy chooilley ghooinney (18) eginit dy chur boteil myrgeddin tra yinnagh eh geddyn skeddan e hie. Myr shen, y chied oie va shin mooie ny lurg shen, hooar shin wheesh dy skeddan as va shirveish ooilley yn çheshaght.(19)

(1) Keayn = sea. If you have a preposition (er) followed by the definite article (yn) the first letter of the next word lenites or aspirates:   k becomes ch = er yn cheayn (Thomson p62; Stowell p 196).

(2) A handful of Manx verbs such as lhie make a distinction between performing an action and being in a particular state. (Thomson p34) For these such as lhie you have to insert either my/dty/ny or nyn and change the initial letter if appropriate.

(3) The conditional of  foddym / can (Thomson p61; Stowell p 178).

(4) they did strive to waken them. dy here means ‘in order to’ and causes regular lenition (Thomson p62; Stowell p 184).

(5) Fouyr = autumn or harvest in Manx but again after preposition and yn there is a letter change. See (1) above. There is a strong tendency  in Manx not to drop the f in many cases.

(6) Good phrase – veagh shin  cliaghtey = we would usually

(7) idiomatic phrase with possessive article nyn  (our/your/their)
Other possessive articles cause lenition = my hie (my house); dty hie (Your house); e hie (his house); but nyn causes nasalisation = nyn dhie (Thomson p63; Stowell p 198).

(8) goan = rare/scarce. Feer also causes lenition (Thomson p62; Stowell p 184).

(9) wheesh = as much of

(10) note use of ren jannoo instead of just ren. This was very common.

(11) currit (from cur) – This is the passive tense (it is written/done/said etc) There are different ways to form this including this way which involves an ‘it’ ending (Thomson p38; Stowell p176).

(12) Caart (cart) usually spelt cairt in modern Manx. For ayns yn chaart see (1).

(13) dy row – clauses that include ‘that’ are formed by ‘dy’ (positive) ‘nagh’ (negative) and the question/dependent form of the verb eg. Row/vel etc (Thomson p10).

(14) Coyrt – often just ‘cur’ in modern Manx.

(15) ‘dy’ here corresponds to the English ‘of’.

(16) da yn sheshaght should in (1) above become da yn çheshaght. You’ll also note that da yn etc doesn’t get contracted to da’n in these stories.

(17) er yn oyr dy row eh er gheddyn – Er yn oyr is followed by ‘dy’/’nagh’ and dependent as in (13) above. For the perfect tense (Thomson p25; Stowell p 175) we would now expect er ngeddyn/ngheddyn.

(18) dy chooilley causes regular lenition (Thomson p81).

(19) Sheshaght is a feminine  noun which lenites after the definite article ‘yn’ (Stowell 189).

listen to the sound file here: ned beg oie ayns baatey eeastee

Posted in: Book Club, lessoonyn