In Manx, as in the other Gaelic languages, thereâs no verb for 'to have', but thereâs an idiom thatâs used in Manx English.
To say, I have a son, we say, Thereâs a son at me. Itâs still fairly common to hear some of the older people in the Island say that thereâs something or other at them â“ thatâs a fine horse at yer, thereâs a big dog at him, thereâs a slogh oâmoney arrem, or whatever it might be, and this construction is straight from Manx Gaelic. We use this sentence construction to ask someone if they speak Manx.
Vel Gaelg ayd? [Vel Gaelg ayd?] ---------- Vel Gaelg ayd? This translates word-for-word in English as, Is there Manx at you? To which the reply, we hope, is -
Ta, ta Gaelg aym. There is, thereâs Manx at me. Vel Gaelg ayd?
Ta, ta Gaelg aym. So the word for âat meâ is âaymâ [aym] ---------- aym.
For âat youâ, we say âaydâ [ayd] ---------- ayd. The word for a house is âthieâ. Vel thie ayd? Is there a house at yer? Do have a house? [Vel thie ayd?] ---------- Vel thie ayd?
Ta, ta thie aym. Vel thie ayd?
Ta, ta thie aym.
But what if thereâs not? The answer then would be Cha nel, cha nel thie aym. The word for a dog is moddey [moddey] ---------- moddey. Iâll ask Maralyn if she has a dog, moddey.
Vel moddey ayd?
Ta, ta moddey aym. Vel moddey ayd?
Cha nel, cha nel moddey aym. Vel Gaelg ayd?
Ta, ta Gaelg aym.
If you spoke a little Manx you could say:
Beggan, which means a little.
But I hope youâd say, Beggan, agh ta mee gynsaghey, a little, but Iâm learning. Ta mee gynsaghey, Iâm learning. [Ta mee gynsaghey.] ---------- Ta mee gynsaghey.
Vel Gaelg ayd?
Beggan, agh ta mee gynsaghey.
If we ask about our imaginary friends, Juan and Mary, we need to know that echey means âat himâ: Ta moddey echey, He has a dog, [Ta moddey echey.] ---------- Ta moddey echey.
âAt herâ is eck: Ta thie eck, she has a house. [Ta thie eck.] ---------- Ta thie eck.
She Juan eshyn. Ta moddey echey.
Vel Gaelg echey?
Beggan, agh tâeh gynsaghey. Quoi ish?
Taân ennym urree Mary. Ta thie eck.
Vel Gaelg eck?
Ta, ta Gaelg eck. Quoi eshyn? Vel Gaelg echey?
Cha nel, cha nel Gaelg echey.
Scammyltagh, thatâs scandalous! Scammyltagh!
Vel eh gynsaghey.
Ta, tâeh gynsaghey.
Yindyssagh! Wonderful! Yindyssagh! Vel Gaelg eck?
Ta, ta Gaelg eck.
Yindyssagh! Vel ram Gaelg eck? Is there a lot of Manx at her? Vel ram Gaelg eck?
Ta, ta ram Gaelg eck.
We could also ask: Vel Gaelg ec Mary? Does Mary speak Manx? The answer could possibly be either, Ta, ta Gaelg ec Mary or Ta, ta Gaelg eck, or it might be Cha nel, cha nel Gaelg ec Mary, or Cha nel, cha nel Gaelg eck.
In the case of Juan, we could ask, Vel Gaelg ec Juan? and get the answer Ta, ta Gaelg echey, or Ta, ta Gaelg ec Juan, or on the other hand, Cha nel, cha nel Gaelg ec Juan, or Cha nel, cha nel Gaelg echey.
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