Kanys ta shiu? How are you?

“Without a tongue, without a country”

Yesterday I promised some more basic Manx phrases and vocabulary. As we’ve already covered basic greetings —

Laa mie or Good day
Moghrey mie or Good morning
Fastyr mie or Good afternoon or evening

— I think it’s time to take the next step and ask how the person we’ve just met is getting on.

Here I’ll give you three ways to ask “How are you?” for the price of one.

Kanys ta shiu? Literally “How are/is you?” – this is the polite or plural form used with strangers, your elders or more than one person.

Kys t’ ou? This is a more familiar way to ask the question that you would use with friends, family and children. It also is singular, not plural.

Cre’ naght ta shiu? This translates more as “What’s your condition?” and is used in the same circumstances as “Kanys ta shiu?” Think of the many ways we ask this question in English — “How are you?” “How’s it going?” etc.

t’ou is “are you.” oo or ou is the familiar form of “you”; shiu is the plural or polite form.

We call oo and shiu personal pronouns. It’s good to know who we’re talking about, so:

mee (me, I); oo (you); eh (him); ee (her); shin (we); shiu (you); ad (they).

Ta is the present tense of the verb “to be” in Manx, meaning “is” or “are”. Remember that in Manx, unlike English, the verb comes first in a sentence. The sentence order is Verb, Subject, Object, rather than Subject, Verb, Object : Ran I to the Store instead of I Ran to the Store.

So if someone asks you “Kanys ta shiu” your reply would begin:

Ta mee — I am … Ta shin — we are.

And now to add some detail:

Feer vie — Very well
Mie dy-liooar — Well enough
Goll as gaccan — “Going and grumbling”
Castreycair — Middling
Braew — fine

Now for an example:

Kanys ta shiu, Illiam? Ta mee feer vie. Kanys ta shiu, Avril? Ta mee goll as gaccan.
Now, if Avril asked me how I was, another way for me to put the same question to her in response would be Kanys ta shiu hene? or “And how’s yourself?”

And don’t forget to thank the other person for enquiring. In the polite/plural form, we would say:

Gura mie eu

In the informal or familiar, singular form:

Gura mie ayd

They both mean “May there be good at you,” a fine sentiment on which to end our lesson.

Here’s another link to a Manx learning site: Yn Cheshaght Ghailckagh, The Manx Gaelic Society, founded in 1899. That’s their motto at the top of the blog post.

Gura mie eu!