SSi Forum

Tiny questions with quick answers - continuing thread


Not quite true. I use “five and twenty to” and “five and twenty past” when telling the time. And, no, I’m not old enough to draw my pension. Not even close.


This is obviously a dialect thing because I am well past pension age and I would never tell the time that way.

I’d either say “twenty five past five” or “five twenty five”.


I would say five and twenty occasionally - a throw back from growing up in South Wales as although we did not speak Welsh there was a lot of Welsh syntax. Think it would be a shame to lose that really.


As the word ‘teachers’ has both a masculine and feminine version, what would you use for a mixed group? Or is it like French where you always revert to the masculine :roll_eyes: :joy:


There’s a nice article here in Spanish about Mesoamerican vigesimal arithmetic - claiming that counting up to 20 was more natural because everyone wore sandals :smile:


Famous astronomers! :+1:


But if you’re going to observe the stars while counting on your toes, how come Yoga was invented in India?


Good point well made, Richard.


You’re all wrong anyway. The most sensible counting system is base 12 for the simple reasons that 12 is divisible by 2, 3, 4 and 6 and because you can count to 12 using only the toes of one foot. That’s why it’s the main system here in Somerset.


Lots of South Asian (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh etc.) countries, and Brits of South Asian origin, use the thumb of one hand to count on the finger-bones of the same hand, meaning that you can count up to 12 on one hand. Wikipedia says you do the same on both hands, counting up to 144, but the version I’ve come across is that you just count the 12s using the digits of the other hand, making 5 x 12 = 60. Sumerian and Babylonian maths was base 60, and is ultimately why we have 60 minutes in an hour and 360 degrees in a circle, and I’d be willing to make a small bet that they may have counted the same way. But this is getting increasingly off-topic…


Opting for a simpler life, the Amazonian Yanomami people’s counting system is “one”, “two”, “many” :slightly_smiling_face:


I can only ever recall hearing “athrawon” used as a plural. Although athrawesau exists as the the feminine plural, I’ve never heard it used in everyday speech myself (but then again, I don’t recall ever having to talk about a group of only women teachers!), so yes, I would say it’s pretty likely that in these instances it’s a revert to the masculine.


If you use binary notation, you can count up to 1023 on two hands, or up to 31 on one.


Sorry to leave the number topic, but i have a question about the past tense. As far as I can see, there are three ways of making the past tense. Pardon spellings if you’re struggling to read them.

  1. Nes i ddechrau, nes i gwyrdd a etc
  2. O’n i’n moyn, o’n i’n trio etc
  3. Weles i, dwedes i etc
    My question is, are these interchangeable? I don’t know why there seem to be these different ways, so don’t know if you have to learn which one of these to use for each verb, or if you can use any. So could I say nes i dwaid or o’n i’n dwaid instead of dwedes i for example? Thanks


Yes, the 3 ways (+auxiliary verb, long form using bod, short form using verb stem) are kind of all interchangeable although there are some subtle ‘rules’ (and rules always have exceptions, of course! :wink: )

  1. Any verb can be used with the auxiliary (i.e. forms of gwneud), but this construction is really for completed actions in the past. as in your examples I (did) start, I (did) meet.
  2. Any verb can be used with the long form of bod, but this construction is really for ongoing actions in the past, as in your examples I was wanting (I wanted) / I was trying (I tried)
  3. Most verbs have a short form where the stem is conjugated according to the tense and I think (open to support here!) that these generally correspond with no.1

Yes, -ish! but bear in mind the subtle differences:
nes i ddweud = I said = I (did) say
o’n i’n dweud = I said = I was saying
dwedais i = I said


Thank you! That is interesting though - there are a few schools around here with only female teachers.


Brill, that’s really helpful, i understand that. I can make my own now, like o’n i’n meddwl , i was thinking.

I just did a lesson and learned that we wanted is o’n ni’n moyn - how do you tell the difference between that and ‘i wanted’ when it’s not written down?


just context I’m afraid! They sound identical.


Diolch siaron x


Thanks @siaronjames! In the thread I linked above there is a short video by @Nicky about tenses and a bit further down Aran explains, that just like siaron said her options 1 and 3 are interchangeable.