Tiny questions with quick answers - continuing thread


Helo, Gisella-Albertini

I struggled with too for awhile then it clicked. Aran describes it well, but this is how I figured it out.

In the first example, Using ‘were’ in English is proper but not so in Welsh. The event being described hasn’t happened yet. You have not started yet, merely you were supposed to start. If the speaker wanted to clarify the starting was supposed to begin in the past, he/she could add, ‘ddoe’ for example, indicating the beginning point.

For the second sentence the ‘wanting to speak with you’ has already occurred in the past. It’s over, hence the past tense.

Does that help?


The past to present thing clicked with me as the reported speach being in the present at the time when it was said, even though in the past now.

Also, if we miss out the "that’ in English it matches, sort of -. He said THAT he WANTED to go, but he said I WANT to go. :wink:

Tbh i find it easier in Welsh as you only have to use past tense at the stsrt of the sentence, then the easier present after that.


Thanks @aran, RichardBuck, @rich, @delawarejones, @JohnYoung - it all helped me understand what’s going on in Welsh with this kind of sentences. :slight_smile:

While I wait for exposure and usage to take effect…:grin: I’d just ask one more question:

Does this mean that, as a general quick rule, I could use:
(if) same subject (then) inherit time marker?


As a slight tangent, this just popped into to my head as I was reading the excellent responses above, is there any subtle difference in meaning between these two:

dwedodd y llall wrtha i a oeddet ti’n mynd i ddechrau


Dwedodd y llall wrtha i bo ti’n mynd i ddechrau

(Is the first one even a proper Welsh sentence? :laughing:) If it is, is the “a” the right form of “that” or should it be y / yr? I’d say “bo ti’n” but I’ve read the other linking thats and they haven’t quite solidified themselves in my head yet.


I believe that it should be, yes. Although I can’t believe anyone would bat an eye…and somebody is going to say ‘dont worry about it’ anytime now!


Ummmm, not sure. I’m not very good with that sort of stuff. If you could give me an example, I can say if it works or not… :slight_smile:

That’s a nah, not really, sorry… :wink:


I had a feeling…

Just those pesky “thats”


Righto… I thought I got this, but I wasn’t entirely sure, so I’ve just been checking back in Gareth’s grammar and:

  • In your example, as far as I can see, the literary version is just the same as the colloquial one, but with the posher ‘fod ti’ or even ‘dy fod’ instead of bo’ ti : Dywedodd y llall wrthaf i dy fod yn mynd i ddechrau.

  • I don’t think you could put either y or a in there – they’re used for ‘who’/‘whom’ sentences.

  • You can stick y or a into your who/whom sentences to look more formal, but then it gets tricky. As well as Gareth’s grammar – which is essentially of spoken Welsh – I also looked at a grammar that covers more literary language, and they basically said two slightly different things. I’m not wholly clear on this, though, because the way that they distinguish between the different examples doesn’t match up entirely. (We might have to page @garethrking here.)

  • Where your relative (‘who’) is the subject of the verb that follows, and that verb is mae, Gareth and the literary grammar both agree on sydd, with none of your a/y shenanigans.

  • Where your relative (‘who’) is the subject of the verb that follows, and that verb is not mae, Gareth and the literary grammar both agree on a, although as Gareth points out (and as we know anyway) you will normally not hear it in spoken Welsh. So you can have Dwedodd e fod e’n nabod rhywun a oedd etc.

  • Where your relative (‘whom’) is the direct object of the verb that follows, my literary grammar still has a, but Gareth has y (although, again, he points out that people don’t actually say it). He gives us Dyna’r dyn (y) mae Fred yn nabod ‘That’s the man (whom) Fred knows’ while the literary grammar has Hwn yw’r llyfr a brynais ‘That’s the book (which) I bought’. (But note that Gareth also says that it’s always (a) when the verb isn’t mae, which matches the example from the other grammar, and the other grammar doesn’t give any examples with mae that would contradict Gareth. What it does say is that you can often omit a before forms of bod even in literary Welsh.)

  • Where your relative is in some other construction (genitive, adverbial, after a preposition, etc.), the literary grammar has y(r) – Gareth just gives spoken Welsh examples without any linking word, as you would expect to hear them. So, based on examples in the more literary grammar such as Pwy yw’r ferch y torrwyd ei braich? (‘Who is the girl whose arm got broken?’) I think you could write Dywedodd e fod e’n nabod rhywun yr oeddet ti’n moyn siarad gyda fe, although I’m sure you’d say it without the yr.

But I’m really rather sorry I started all this subject/object hare running now, as I think if it’s got me thumbing through grammars for literary forms it’s got us all increasingly far from the One True SSi Path. My point was really just that despite them superficially looking more similar in Italian and English than they do in Welsh, @gisella-albertini’s original examples were really pretty distinct in all the relevant languages.

Maybe a better way to think about ‘inheritance of tense’ in those ‘that’ clauses is this:

  • it works a bit like the ‘accusative and infinitive’ construction in Latin, which is also used in the King James Bible in English of a post-resurrection appearance of Jesus: the two Marys bump into Jesus and “thinking him to be the gardener” they ask him what has been done with the body of their Lord. We would usually say “thinking that he was the gardener,” but the biblical version with the infinitive works just fine, too.
  • when we say in English “But I thought that you wanted to do X”, we have to use a past tense (‘wanted’) because we’ve started off in the past (‘thought’). The fact that we say ‘wanted’ doesn’t actually tell us whether the person still wants to do X or not – maybe they did, but have changed their mind, maybe they still do – it just has to be past tense because that’s how English does it (a bit like ‘Sequence of Tenses’ in Latin – or, worse still, ‘Sequence of Moods’ in Ancient Greek). Welsh, using the verb-noun, doesn’t mark tense for us – but English often doesn’t, either.


My question was inspired by your post, @RichardBuck’s and various doubts about sentences starting with “that” (and who, which, etc.) - probably too much stuff at the same time to be able to write a clear question!

But no worries. For now, I’m going to read @RichardBuck’s new post and browse through more examples and figure out a way a different way to ask the question - or maybe I’ll just decide to wait until it just clicks and becomes clear by itself! :smiley:


I don’t know if this is relevant or not, but I was reading something yesterday on Irish-English and the use of “and” in Irish English. It’s above my pay grade in terms of grammar, but I have the feeling that it is linked to this discussion.

https://www.academia.edu/37576943/The_Irish_English_adnexal_AND_constructionThe_Irish_English_adnexal_AND_constructi.pdf.pdf.pdf (367.2 KB)


…and me slightly out of my depth, too :slight_smile:


Going for a hopefully tinier question today - I still have to recover from the consequences of the last one. :wink:

I found this:
(…) mae’n dychwelyd, ac yn gofyn “Ydi’r car yn barod?”.
Yr ateb, yw “Ydi, mae’r car yn barod”

Why does the second sentence start with “yr”?
I’m assuming the actual reason is just to avoid repetition in the written text, but I thought “yr” meant “the”! :thinking:
And why is there that “yw” as well, after?


Yr ateb yw “Ydi, mae’r car yn barod” = “Ydi, mae’r car yn barod” yw’r ateb.

The order has been changed for emphasis (the bit being emphasised moves to the front).
Y becomes yr in front of a vowel.
Yw = is and is the form of bod here (you could also hear ‘ydy’, more so perhaps in the North).

Does that help?


Yes, it helps!

I think I got confused for such a simple thing because…I was just starting to feel as more natural what I perceived as an oddly reversed order (of components in the sentence).
Then I saw this and my brain went “Oh no, why? Oh why?!” :joy:


For anyone who happens to be bang up to date with the learning content, here - There’s an interesting little item on the Y Wenhwyseg account on Twitter, if you happen to follow it.

It seems to be a letter written by a young boy in 1898 in broad Wenhwyseg (SE Wales) dialect.

There are only a few words left that I can’t seem to crack. Any ideas on these? I’m guessing them so far, but I’m not too confident.



Dou is dau - the two of us, both of us. Cywilydd is cwilydd ( + arno fe,shame on him) and no idea on bothti - I was thinking bothered or poverty, but they don’t seem to work.

I am a bit stuck trying to understand what he was trying to say at the end to be honest.


Yes, I guess that he is trying to convince himself that he’s not envious or bothered about being left behind by others or developments? Now, I’m not sure about smelo, I suppose it must be hear, rather than smell.

After seeing how many loan words there were, I thought it was going to be easy. But it didn’t quite turn out that way :frowning:


smell as in guess - maybe you can’t smell who it is without me saying - “Mr Hoolby”.

??? - well thats my guess anyway

edit Mr Hoolby is Mr Who will be. This ones quite interesting - the meaning becomes clearer after reading several times - its a bit cryptic/riddly having a bit of a jibe at the “who will bes” - social climbers?? - the ones who regard people like him as old fashioned in their ways and poor. It says bachan ifanc, but I guess that’s just part of the jibe as well and probably doesn’t mean a little boy actually wrote this.


My previous question was about someone answering that the car was ready. Well, of course, a guy had to take it to the garage first, and the reason was:
am fan drwsiad officially translated as “for a minor repair”.

However, if I try to understand what is what in the sentence, the dictionary tells me:
drwsiad - or better, trwsiad - is “repair” (actually also dress, garment, clothes, attire, robe, habit, covering, ornament; aspect, appearance, condition; preparation, a setting in order; fertilizer, manure - but I will pretend to ignore all that stuff not to make things even more complicated!)

So first question would be: why noun after adjective?
But let’s find what fan means, first.

On Modern Welsh Dictionary they all seem related to here and there - that’s actually in line with another sentence, elsewhere (Rwy’n hapus fan yma), but don’t seem related to this one.
Trinity Saint David not very cooperative as usual (no results).
GPC has a crazy list, including 2 fan, 6 ban, 5 man+men+myn, 2 pan - but before trying to read them all I decided to ask here! :grin:

Does anybody here have any idea?

p.s. Google would translate it as: “for a wait fan:rofl:
And if I add the full sentence to provide context, it becomes “for a straight place:neutral_face:


This one is pretty much designed to trip you up - man, as a noun, is a place or spot - ‘y fan’ - often shortened as a suffix to ‘fa’, so that’s swyddfa, meddygfa, etc.

But mân, as an adjective, it’s kind of small/brief/little - so ‘glaw mân’ isn’t a very serious downpour, etc. So that’s your ‘am fân drwsiad’… :slight_smile: