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welch language

Enter subhead content here


Chao + obligatory pronoun: ong/ba, etc.

Hello/Goodbye... Mr./Mrs., etc.








Miss or Mrs. (used to address the chambermaids and hotel workers)


Mr. (for taxi drivers, porters, bus drivers.)


For children, teenage students.





Ong/ba/..(pronoun) ten g?

What is your name?

Toi ten ______.

My name is _____.

Xin loi _____.

Excuse me ____.

Cam n _____.

Thank you ___.

Cam n ____ nhieu.

Thank you  ____ very much.

Da khong co g.

You're welcome (it's nothing).

Xe buyt

City bus

Xe taxi



to go



Xe buyt i Saigon au?

Where is the bus going to Saigon?


I (pronoun, first person)


to need


the price

bao nhieu

how much?

khach san


My kim/o la

US dollar(s)

Toi can xe buyt i Saigon/Hanoi.

I need the bus going to Saigon/Hanoi.

Xe buyt i Saigon/Ha noi gia bao nhieu My kim?

How much is price of the ticket to go to Hanoi/Saigon by bus?






















(You don't need to spend more than ten dollars by taxi; so large numbers will follow in the Day 2 Lesson)

phong ve sinh

toilet (room)

Phong ve sinh au?

Where is the toilet room?

ang kia

over there

Ben tay mat

on the right

Ben tay trai

on the left

Da khong


Da co


Da cha

Not yet

Da roi

Yes. (already done)


to know

tieng Viet

Vietnamese language


to speak


to be able, can

mot chut

a little bit



lap lai

to repeat


to understand

khong hieu

don't understand

Toi noi c tieng Viet mot chut thoi.

I can speak Vietnamese a little bit.

Toi khong hieu.

I don't understand

Xin Ong/Ba...(pronoun) noi cham hn.

Please speak slowly

Xin Ong/Ba... lap lai.

Please repeat slowly

khach san

At the hotel

khach san





reserve, keep

Toi co gi mot phong khach san nay.

I had a reservation for one room in this hotel.



cha khoa


phong an

dining room/restaurant

Co phong an khong?

Is there a dining room?

phong an

In the dining room

em cho

bring to

mot da

one plate

cha gio

spring rolls/Imperial rolls

mot to/bat

one bowl


beef noodle soup

xup mang cua

asperagus and crab soup

mot da xa lach

one plate of salad

mot tach ca phe

one cup of coffee

mot chai bia

one bottle of beer

em cho toi mot to xup mang cua, mot da xa lach va mot tach ca phe.

Please bring me one bowl of asperagus soup, one plate of salad and one cup of coffee.

tnh tien

the bill (add the bill)

Xin tnh tien

The bill, please

Ngay th hai

Day 2:


Cho oi tien

Handling Vietnamese currency and currency exchange


cho nao?



ngan hang/nha bang



oi tien

to exchange money


bao nhieu?

how much?


mot my kim

one dollar


hai mi



ba mi



bon mi



nam mi



mot tram

one hundred


mot ngan

one thousand


hai ngan

two thousand


nam ngan

five thousand


mi ngan

ten thousand


hai mi ngan

twenty thousand


nam mi ngan

fifty thousand


mot trieu

one million


Chao ong, toi muon oi ______ My kim/ o la ra tien Viet Nam.

Hello, I would like to change _______$US to Vietnamese money.


nha Bu ien

At the post office


nha bu ien/nha giay thep

post office





bu thiep

post card



to send


bc th



bu kien

postal package


bao am

to insure



by means of


bang tau thuy

by boat/ship


bang may bay

by air mail


i bao lau?

How long does it take?


hieu an

At the restaurant


hieu an/tiem an







inexpensive, cheap





Co tiem an nao gan ay khong?

Is there a restaurant nearby?






to sit


ban nay

this table



to use/eat





banh cuon

Vietnamese meat crepe (steamed rice wrapper filled with meat and mushrooms)



cooked rice


ga xao sa t

chicken cooked in caramel with lemon grass and hot pepper











oi ua

a pair of chopsticks


khan an



Cho toi xin cai muong/na/dao/...

Please give me a spoon/fork/knife..


Cho toi xin mot oi ua

Please give me a pair of chopsticks



hot (pepper)





bia [333 beer - Vietnamese beer]



nc suoi

spring water


nc ngot

soft drink


ca phe sa a

iced coffee


trang mieng



trai cay



banh ngot



tien nc

tip money


Xin co/anh/ong tnh tien.

Please Miss/Mr.?...(substitute appropriate pronoun) the bill.


ay la tien nc.

This is the tip.



Ngay th ba

Day 3

Mn xe ap/xe gan may

Rent a bike

xe ap


xe gan may


mot ngay

one day

t may gi ti may gi?

from what time to what time

tien at coc

deposit money


to rent


to want

Toi muon mn _____ mot ngay.

I'd like to rent _______ one day.

Gia bao nhieu?

How much is it?/What is the price?

May gi roi?

What time is it?

mot gi

one o'clock

hai gi

two o'clock

sang the morning

chieu the afternoon

toi the evening

Mn xe hi co tai xe

Rent a car with driver

xe hi




tai xe

chauffeur, driver

i tham quan

to go sightseeing


to pick up someone

may lanh

air conditioner/ing

Xe hi co tai xe.

car with driver

Toi muon mn xe hi nho co tai xe e i tham quan.

I'd like to rent a small car with a driver to go sightseeing.

Xe co may lanh khong?

Does the car have air conditining?

Noi chuyen vi anh tai xe

Small talk with the driver

gia nh







big (in age)


small (in age)

may tuoi

How old?/What age?

Anh co gia nh cha?

Do you have a family? / Are you married?

Anh co may con?

How many children do you have?





may trai

How many boys?

may gai

How many girls?

Anh co may trai,may gai?

How many boys, how many girls do you have?

i hoc

to go to school

i hoc cha?

go to school yet?

Con anh i hoc khong?

Do they go to school?

Y-Te can thiet

Medical emergencies

Bac s

medical doctor



benh vien/nha thng



to help

Xin giup toi

Please help me

tai nan


au bung


tieu chay


trat xng

dislocate the bone

nha thuoc tay


Toi b au bung/tieu chay/trat xng.

I have a stomachache/diarrhoea/dislocated a bone.


to snatch

b git bop

to be victim of a purse/bag/back pack snatching

Toi b git bop

I'm the victim of a purse/bag/back pack snatching.

cong an/canh sat


Xin keu canh sat

Please call the police.


i mua sam

Go shopping

ca hang

shop, store

pho, hieu

shop, store


to sell


things, articles

lu niem


o sn mai


t lua


Co ca hang ban o lu niem gan ay khong?

Is there a store selling souvenirs near here?

Toi muon mua o sn mai va t lua lam ay.

I would like to buy lacquerware and silk from this area.


to buy

mac qua

too expensive

re hn


Cai nay gia bao nhieu?

How much is this? /What is the price?

Cai nay mac qua.

This thing is too expensive.

Co cai nao re hn khong?

Do you have a cheaper one?

cai o

that thing

cai nay

this thing

cai mau

the colored one

cai trang

the white one

cai ang kia

the one over there

Toi muon cai o/cai nay/cai ang kia......

I like that one/this one/the one over there....

Xa giao

To be social, to be nice with the Host

lam phien, phien anh/ ba/.....

To disturb someone, to ask someone to do something

Toi phien anh lam cai nay dum toi.

May I trouble you to ask you to do this for me?

pha ray, pha quay


Xin loi nhieu.

Please excuse me.

Xin tha loi cho toi.

Please forgive me.

vui lam

very interesting

rat thch

like something a lot, like it very much

de chu

easy to get along


to smile

than mat


vui tnh

happy, genial, jovial



co dp

to have the occasion to

hien lanh

to be kind, good-natured, good-hearted

t te

to be kind, decent

hien hau

kind, gentle, kind-hearted

trung thanh


biet n

thankful, grateful

tr lai

to return

nhieu lan

many times

de lam ban

easy to make friends


to like, to love

ngi ngoai quoc



i tham quan vung ngoai o bang xe buyt.

A tour/visit to the suburbs of Saigon City.

du lch/tham quan



to run, to depart

may gi?

what time?

i au?

go where?



xe toc hanh

express bus

i kh hoi/ca i ca ve

round trip/to go and to come back

ben xe du lch/toc hanh

bus depot/station

Ben xe nay la ben xe du lch i ngoai o, phai khong?

Is this the inter-city bus depot for touring the other provinces?











Tay Ninh

Tay Ninh is the name of a province in the South of Viet Nam.

Toa Thanh Cao ai

Cao ai Church (A religious sect in Viet Nam)


Pagoda/Buddhist church

Toi muon i xem Toa Thanh Tay Ninh.

I wish to go sightseeing at The Cao ai Church.

Ve/Giay i kh hoi bao nhieu?

How much is a round trip ticket?

Cho nay vung Tay Bac, phai khong?

This place is in the Northwest region, isn't it?

May gi xe chay?

What time does the bus leave?

Ben xe du lch co gan Toa Thanh Tay Ninh khong?

Is the bus station near the Cao ai church?

i mat bao lau?

How long is the trip?

Noi chuyen xa giao

Small talk with people on street

sinh vien



to study


branch of study

bao gi


ra trng

to graduate

ai hoc


trung hoc

middle school

tieu hoc

elementary school









tieng Anh

English language

lch s


kinh te


chnh tr

Political Science

y khoa


dc khoa


nha khoa


Anh la sinh vien, phai khong?

You are a student, aren't you?

Anh hoc g?

What are you studying?

Nam th may?

What year?

Bao gi anh se ra trng?

When will you graduate?

Nha anh au?

Where is your house/Where do you live?

Gan bien hay gan nui?

Near the beach or the sea?

Co vn/on ien trai cay khong?

Is there fruit tree plantations?

Second person replies: Da vung nay co nhieu vn trai cay.

Yes, this area has many fruit tree orchards.

Trai cay g?

What kind of fruits?

Co ngon khong?

Are they delicious?


sour (in taste)


sweet (in taste)

Trai cay o chua hay ngot?

Those fruits are sweet or sour?



trai cay

fruits (click to learn the names of fruits)

on ien


ca phe






Mien/Vung o co g?

What do you have in that area?

Co on ien g?

What kind of plantations?

on ien ca phe hay tra?

Coffee plantations or tea plantations?

Second person replies: Da, on ien cao su.

There are rubber plantations.

Contents prepared by Dan Dan Tu

.1. How to say "I am", "you are", etc.

The verb "to be" is more important in Welsh than in most languages, since it is often used as a helping verb, as it is in English when we say "I am going". We will explain more about this in Section 3.2, but for now we will concentrate on just the verb "to be". Here is the conjugation of the present tense of "bod", the verb "to be" [1].










Rydw i

I am

Rydyn ni

We are


Rwyt ti

You are

Rydych chi

You are


Mae e
Mae hi

He is
She is

Maen nhw

They are

Welsh adopts the position that the verb comes first, followed by the subject, which in this case is the personal pronoun.


The personal pronouns actually vary somewhat. The most important distinction to recognize is with respect to the third person singular masculine pronoun "e". The form given is for the dialect of Welsh spoken in the South; the Northern form is "o". Many of the pronouns also differ in literary Welsh; we concentrate in this course on spoken Welsh (unless asked, of course).

Notes on pronunciation

  • The "y"s follow the normal rule so that, for example, in "Rydyn", the first "y" is obscure and the second is clear.
  • The "wy" diphthong in "Rwyt" is a falling one (i.e., it is prounounced ROO-eet).

Important point

The "maen" form is only used with the pronoun "nhw". A plural or compound subject uses the "mae" form:

Mae afalau yma
Mae Tom a Mary

Apples are here
Tom and Mary are

Like many Indo-European languages, Welsh makes a distinction between the familiar form of "you" ("ti") and the polite form ("chi") which doubles as the plural. The rule of thumb is that you use "ti" when talking to friends whom you know well (peers), children, animals (except maybe those bigger than you that you don't want to offend, like that bull over there), and Deity. However, there is a great deal of variation among speakers as to which form to use, and even sometimes a discrepancy between what a person thinks they use in various situations and what they actually use. There may be a somewhat different standard between young people and old people as to when you know somebody well enough to start using "ti", with the young people tending to be more informal. I know one person who called his wife "chi" through 50 years of marriage, using the "ti" form only when addressing Deity. You should use "chi" towards anyone to whom respect is due, either because that person is older than you, is a complete stranger (like a shopkeeper), or has some authority over you, like being your boss or the person who is examining you for fluency in Welsh. Which form to use is a matter of society, not of language.

Failure to use the formal form when you should could make you appear to be pushy or American or both; it could also be construed as insulting. Using the formal form with someone to whom you would normally say "ti" comes across as coldness or anger.

2.2. How to say "Am I?", etc.

One of the first things one learns in another language is how to ask questions, presumably so that one can enquire things of the natives. Never mind the fact that most of the time, you won't understand the answer anyway.



Ydw i?

Am I?

Ydyn ni?

Are we?

Wyt ti?

Are you?

Ydych chi?

Are you?

Ydy e?
Ydy hi?

Is he?
Is she?

Ydyn nhw?

Are they?

Notice that in the first and second persons, you just drop the "R" [2] and add a question mark. In speaking, there is a rising inflection for questions (the question mark is not completely decorative).

You should notice that there is an underlying pattern exposed in the interrogative form that is broken only by the "ti" form.

2.3. How to say "Yes" and "No"

So far, so good. Now we come to the issue of answering the questions posed in the previous section. I wish I could just tell you the Welsh word for "yes", and then you could all go home feeling like you'd accomplished something. Unfortunately, Welsh does not have a word for "yes". Or rather, Welsh has many dozens of words for "yes", each of which is reserved for and applicable only to a small set of circumstances. I figure some of you guys are wondering how you can pick up a Welsh girl, if it's so complicated for her to figure out the right word to use to say "yes". But don't despair: it's equally difficult for her to say "no".

Anyway, since there is no general word for "yes", you indicate a positive answer by affirming what was asked (at least the verb part). So we have:




Yes I am.


Yes we are.


Yes you are.


Yes you are.


Yes he/she is.


Yes they are.

So, for example, if someone asks you "Wyt ti?", you could answer "Ydw". If asked "Ydyn ni?", the answer would be either "Ydyn" or "Ydych", depending on whether the person answering the question considered himself/herself part of the "ni" in the original question.

To say "no", just use the word "Nag" followed by the word "yes" [3]:



Nag ydw.

No I'm not.

Nag ydyn.

No we aren't.

Nag wyt.

No you aren't.

Nag ydych.

No you aren't.

Nag ydy.

No he/she isn't.

Nag ydyn.

No they aren't.

The great advantage of this way of saying "yes" and "no" is that it avoids potential ambiguities in the answer, especially when dealing with negative questions. For example:


You don't beat your wife?



Lawyer (to jury)

You heard it yourself.

But what has the jury heard? Has the defendant said, "Yes, I don't beat my wife," or "Yes, I do beat my wife"? In Welsh, if he says, "Ydw," you've extracted an unambiguous confession from him.

2.4. How to say "I am not", etc.

Since we cannot be all things to all people, it is inevitable that we sometimes need to say we are not something. Here's how:



Dydw i ddim

I am not

Dydyn ni ddim

We are not

Dwyt ti ddim

You are not

Dydych chi ddim

You are not

Dydy e/hi ddim

He/she is not

Dydyn nhw ddim

They are not

These forms are just like the interrogative forms from Section 2.2, with the letter "d" stuck in front of them [4] and the word "ddim" taped on behind.

Vocabulary 2

chi - you (plural and polite)
e (fe) - he
gartre - at home
hi - she
i (fi) - I
mewn pryd - in time
nhw - they
ni - we
ti - you (familiar)
yma - here
yna - there
yn Aberystwyth - in Aberystwyth

The forms "fi" and "fe" are used in some contexts.

3.1. How to say "a" and "the"

In English, we have two kinds of article: a definite article ("the") and an indefinite article ("a", "an"). Welsh has no word for "a" (you can still say "uh", though, when you're trying to think of what to say next). The Welsh language thus proves the indefinite article to be superfluous by omitting it. (Some languages, such as Russian and Latin, omit both articles, but that's for a different set of lessons.) Thus, the word "car" can be translated either "car" or "a car", depending on the context.

The definite article in Welsh has three different forms, just as the English indefinite article has two forms. They are summarized in the table below:



If the preceding word ends in a vowel


Else if the next word starts with a vowel





An "h" at the beginning of a word is considered a vowel. Contrarily, sometimes a "w" at the beginning is not considered a vowel.

Some examples:

y gwely
yr achos
yr haf
Mae'r gwely yma.

the bed
the cause
the summer
The bed is here.

Although most place names do not use the definite article, there are a few that do, including:

yr Affrig
yr Alban
yr Eidal
y Swistir


Note on pronunciation

The "y"s in the definite article go against the normal pronunciation of "y" in monosyllabic words, and are obscure.

3.2. How to say "I am reading"

As mentioned back in Section 2.1, the verb "to be" is used as a helping verb in making the present tense of other verbs. The particle "yn" is used to do the linking. (The "y" sound in "yn" is obscure.) Here's the general sentence pattern:

Mae Alun yn darllen.

Alun is reading.

After pronouns ending in vowels, the "yn" is contracted:

Mae hi'n darllen.

She is reading.

The sentences in this can be translated "is reading", "reads", or "does read". A direct object can be placed after the verb:

Rydyn ni'n darllen llyfr.

We are reading a book.

Negative sentences can be constructed in a similar fashion:

Dydy hi ddim yn darllen.

She doesn't read.


The singular form of the verb is always used with a compound or plural subject. The "maen" form only occurs with the pronoun "nhw". Thus, we have

Mae Alun a Mari yn mynd.
Mae llewod yn mynd.
Maen nhw'n mynd.

Alun and Mari go.
Lions go.
They go.

3.3. Adjectives I

No language would be complete without adjectives (although I am told Hebrew has only a few), and Welsh is no exception. Welsh is like French in that it places the adjective after the noun that it modifies:

gwely bach

a little bed

The adverb "iawn" (very) goes right after the adjective it modifies:

da iawn

very good

3.4. "This" and "that"

"This" and "that" can be expressed by putting the definite article before the word and either 'ma or 'na (respectively) after the word:

yr achos 'ma
y ty+ 'na

this cause
that house

Ymarfer 3

Make up sentences by picking one item from each column

Mae Sia+n a fi yn
Dydyn ni ddim yn
Rydw i'n
Mae llewod yn
Maen nhw'n

meddwl yn y ty+ 'na.
gweld gwely yma.
byw yn yr Eidal.
darllen llyfr bach.
osgoi'r plentyn 'ma.

Sgwrs 3

[A translation of this conversation can be found in a different file.]

Plentyn bach

Ble mae'r ci mawr yn byw?


Mae'r ci yn byw yma yn y ty+.


O. Ble mae llewod yn byw?


Maen nhw'n byw yn yr Affrig.


Ydw i'n byw yn yr Affrig?


Nag wyt. Dwyt ti ddim yn byw yn yr Affrig.


Chi a Dadi, ydych chi'n byw yn yr Affrig?


Nag ydyn. Dydyn ni ddim yn byw yn yr Affrig.




Achos rydyn ni'n osgoi llewod.

Geirfa 3

a (ac) - (conj.) and
achos - (conj.) cause, because
Affrig, yr - Africa
bach - (adj.) small
ble - where
byw - (v.) to live
ci - dog
da - (adj.) good
darllen - (v.) to read
Eidal, yr - Italy
gadael - (v.) to leave, to let
geirfa - vocabulary
gweld - (v.) to see
gwely - bed
haf - summer
iard - yard
iawn - (adv.) very
llewod - lions
llyfr - book
mam - mother
mawr - (adj.) large
meddwl - (v.) to think
mynd - (v.) to go
osgoi - (v.) to avoid
pam - why
plentyn - child
sgwrs - talk, chat, conversation
Swistir, y - Switzerland
ty+ - house
yma - here
ymarfer - practice
yn - (prep.) in
yn - <untranslatable particle>


1.     The "ac" form is used before vowels.

2.     The word "osgoi" is pronounced with the stress on the final syllable.

3.     The "y" in both forms of "yn" is obscure.

Note: This lesson refers to the soft mutation and limited soft mutation that are presented in Appendix A. For those who do not have Appendix A in front of them, I review the changes of the limited soft mutation here:






"cath" (cat) becomes "gath"
"porth" (port) becomes "borth"
"teg" (fair) becomes "deg"
"gardd" (garden) becomes "ardd"
"bore" (morning) becomes "fore"
"do+l" (meadow) becomes "ddo+l"
"merch" (girl) becomes "ferch"

In addition to these changes, the (full) soft mutation adds:



"llyn" (lake) becomes "lyn"
"rhestr" (list) becomes "restr"

4.1. Gender of Nouns

Welsh falls within the majority of the Indo-European languages (of which English is an exception in this regard) in assigning an often arbitrary gender to every noun. Welsh has only two genders: masculine and feminine. You can always tell feminine nouns, because they're the ones that wear fingernail polish.

More seriously, those nouns for which the gender is obviously intrinsic to the noun (e.g., girl, son) have the obvious gender (unlike in German, which considers girls, for example, to be neuter), but there remain many nouns for which assignment of gender is simply a linguistic convention. The long and short of is that you need to learn the gender for nouns at the time you learn the noun itself. Consider it part of knowing the word itself.

4.2. Plurals

Welsh nouns can be either singular or plural. (This is a marked simplification over Homeric Greek, which has a dual number to indicate two of something [1], or even over Russian, which puts two, three, and four into a special class when counting.) There are a number of different ways that nouns in Welsh form plurals:

1.     Addition of -(i)au to the stem. For example: "mamau" (mothers), "tadau" (fathers), "pethau" (things), "hetiau" (hats).

2.     Addition of -oedd to the stem. For example: "lleoedd" (places), "niferoedd" (numbers).

3.     Addition of -i to the stem. For example: "bisgedi" (biscuits), "basgedi" (baskets).

4.     Dropping a final -yn or -en. That's right: these nouns actually get shorter when you make the plural. These nouns seem to be generally the names of plants (or plant parts) and animals that are normally encountered collectively rather than individually. For example, "rhosyn" (rose) becomes "rhos" (roses); "malwoden" (snail) becomes "malwod" (snails).
Note: Nouns in this category that end in "-yn" are masculine and those that end in "-en" are feminine.

There are many other "regular" ways that Welsh nouns form the plurals (though none quite so regular as the "add -s or -es" in English); in fact there are too many to list them all here.

Occasionally, the formation of the plural causes a modification of the vowels. For example: "mab" (son) becomes "meibion" (sons); "aderyn" (bird) becomes "adar" (birds).

And, of course, there are nouns with irregular plurals like "brawd" (brother) becoming "brodyr" (brothers).

Since there have been nouns presented in previous lessons, all of those nouns are repeated in this lesson, along with their genders and how to form their plurals (where applicable).

Note on pronunciation

When a plural is formed by adding -(i)au, the "au" part is pronounced as a short "e" in S. Wales and as "a" in N. Wales. (It is sometimes even spelled that way informally: there is a shop in Aberystwyth with the word "pethe" in its name.) It can, of course, be pronounced the normal way.

4.3. Agreement of Pronouns

When a pronoun refers back to a noun, it must agree in gender and number with that noun. Thus, we have:

Ble mae'r gwely?
Ble mae'r stafell?
Ble mae'r tai?

Mae e yn y stafell.
Mae hi yn y ty+.
Maen nhw yn y dre.

"Nhw" is used for any plural noun, regardless of gender.

4.4. Mutation of Feminine Nouns after "y"

The definite article "y" causes a limited soft mutation in feminine nouns. Thus, we have the following:

basged (basket)
mam (mother)
gardd (garden)
llen (sheet)

y fasged (the basket)
y fam (the mother)
yr ardd (the garden)
y llen (the sheet)

Masculine nouns do not suffer mutation after "y":

mab (son)

y mab (the son)

Plural nouns are also not mutated (even if they are feminine):

basgedi (baskets)
tadau (fathers)

y basgedi (the baskets)
y tadau (the fathers)


The word "pobl" (people) is a feminine singular noun with a collective meaning, so it does mutate: "y bobl".


The plural of "pobl" also mutates after "y": "y bobloedd".

4.5. The Number "One"

The Welsh word for the number "one" is "un" (if you'll pardon my French [2]), pronounced (roughly) "een". It precedes the noun it modifies, and causes a limited soft mutation in exactly the same places that "y" does, i.e., for feminine, singular nouns:

un fasged
un mab

one basket
one son

Of course, it is not used with plural nouns!

4.6. Adjectives with Feminine Nouns

Feminine nouns are not only mutated by "y" and "un", but they also spell trouble for adjectives that modify them. Specifically, they cause a full (not limited!) soft mutation of any following adjectives:

y ferch fach
y llen resog

the little girl
the striped sheet


The adjective "braf" (fine) is never mutated:

y mab braf
y ferch braf

the fine son
the fine daughter

4.7. How to Say "I want"

One of the major uses for any language is to get what you want, so you need to know how to say it. (Of course, being polite also helps.) The word used to express wanting in Welsh is "eisiau". However, it is not treated like a normal verb in that it is not preceded by "yn" when combined with "bod" [3]:

Mae Tom yn dysgu.
Mae Tom eisiau coffi.

Tom is learning.
Tom wants coffee.

You can put a verb right after the "eisiau":

Mae Tom eisiau mynd i'r dre.

Tom wants to go to the town.

Note on pronunciation

The "ei" is pronounced like Welsh "i", the "si" like English "sh" and the "au" like Welsh "o" (in the North) or "e" (in the South). It is common to see the word spelled "isio" by authors from N. Wales.

Ymarfer 4

1. Masculine nouns. "The big x and the little y."

y llew
y plentyn
y llyfr
yr achos

mawr a'r


bach .

2. Feminine nouns. "The big x and the little y."

yr anrheg
y ferch
y stafell
y ddawns

fawr a'r


fach .

3. Make sentences by choosing one item from each column.

Rydw i'n
Ydy Sia+n yn
Dydyn nhw ddim yn
Rydyn ni'n
Mae e'n

mynd i'r
dod i'r
aros yn y



4. Make sentences by choosing one item from each column.

Mae Tom
Rydych chi
Dydw i ddim
Ydyn ni


mynd i'r gwely
dod gyda fi
darllen llyfr
aros gartre


Sgwrs 4

[A translation of this conversation can be found in a different file.]


Bore da, Alun.


Bore da, Elwyn. Rydw i'n meddwl mynd i'r dre heddiw. Ydych chi eisiau mynd gyda fi?


Pam rwyt ti'n mynd?


Rydw i eisiau prynu un peth bach.


Ydy Nerys yn mynd, hefyd?


Dydw i ddim yn gwybod. (i Mrs. Hughes) Mam, ble mae Nerys?

Mrs. Hughes

Mae hi yn y gwely o hyd ar o+l y ddawns fawr neithiwr.

Alun (i Elwyn)

Dydw i ddim eisiau aros. Ydych chi'n dod gyda fi?


Ydw. Rydw i eisiau prynu anrheg fach i Nerys.

Geirfa 4

achos [-ion, m.] - cause
allan - (adv.) outside
anrheg [-ion, f.] - present, gift
ar o+l - (prep.) after
aros - (v.) wait, stay
basged [-i, f.] - basket
bore [-au, m.] - morning
braf - (adj.) fine
ci [cw+n, m.] - dog
dawns [-iau, f.] - dance
dod - (v.) come [4]
drws [drysau, m.] - door
dysgu - (v.) learn
eisiau - (n.) want
gardd [gerddi, f.] - garden
gwely [-au, m.] - bed
gwybod - (v.) know
gyda - (prep.) with
haf [-au, m.] - summer
heddiw - (adv.) today
hefyd - (adv.) also, too
i - (prep.) to, in order to, for
llew [-od, m.] - lion
llyfr [-au, m.] - book
mam [-au, f.] - mother
merch [-ed, f.] - girl, daughter, woman
neithiwr - (adv.) last night
o hyd - (adv.) still
peth [-au, m.] - thing
plentyn [plant, m.] - child
pobl [-oedd, f.] - people
prynu - (v.) buy
rhesog - (adj.) striped
sgwrs [sgyrsiau, f.] - talk, chat, conversation
stafell [-oedd, f.] - room
tre [-fi, f.] - town [5]
ty+ [tai, m.] - house
un - one

. How to Say You are Happy

We will take it on faith that you actually are happy, and need to express that fact. Back in Section 3.2, we learned that we could express the present tense of a verb by using "bod" as a helping verb together with "yn", as in

Mae Tom yn siopa.

Tom is shopping.

But what if we want to describe what Tom is rather than what he does? To do that, we can place either an adjective or a noun in place of the verb in the above construction:

Mae Tom yn hapus.
Mae Tom yn helpwr.

Tom is happy.
Tom is a helper.

There is one critical difference between these two constructions and the one with the verb: any adjective or noun used after "yn" suffers from the limited soft mutation (i.e., "ll" and "rh" do not mutate):

Mae Tom yn bell.
Mae Tom yn blismon.

Tom is distant.
Tom is a policeman.


The word "braf" ("fine") is not mutated in this (or any other) context (as mentioned in Section 4.6). Thus, we have

Mae'r tywydd yn braf.

The weather is fine.


1.     This construct is known grammatically as a predicate adjective or a predicate noun.

2.     The word "bell" looks like an English word, but the pronunciation is quite different!

5.2. How to Say Something is "Too Hot" or "So Hot"

We learned in the previous section how to say that the kettle is hot (except for vocabulary). To say that something is too something, you insert the word "rhy" between the "yn" and the adjective:

Mae'r tegell yn boeth.
Mae'r tegell yn rhy boeth.

The kettle is hot.
The kettle is too hot.

The English word "so" becomes "mor" and completely replaces the "yn":

Mae'r ferch yn garedig.
Mae'r ferch mor garedig.

The girl is kind.
The girl is so kind.

Like "yn", both "mor" and "rhy" cause a limited soft mutation.

5.3. How to Say "There is/are"

So far, we have stuck with sentences where the subject is definite, in other words, it is either a noun with the definite article or a proper noun. However, a sentence may have an indefinite subject (like this sentence). There are many examples of sentences that fall into this category (like this sentence, or the title of this chapter). You might be tempted to think that a subject is a subject, and you should just go ahead and use it with "mae", just as you would do with a definite subject. For example, you might try to extend from

Mae'r bobl yn dod.

The people are coming.


Mae pobl yn dod.

People are coming.

You would be correct (congratulations!). What you might not expect is that the latter sentence can also be translated "There are people coming." Likewise,

Mae'r dyn yma.
Mae dyn yma!

The man is here.
There is a man here!

However, the biggest differences between a definite subject and an indefinite one come either when you want to ask a question (or answer it), or when you want to say there isn't something.

To ask a question, the verb form to use is "oes" rather than "ydy":

Ydy'r tegell yn y gegin?
Oes tegell yn y gegin?

Is the kettle in the kitchen?
Is there a kettle in the kitchen?

To say there is not something, you use "does dim" [1]:

Does dim lle i eistedd.

There is no place to sit.

The answer to questions starting with "oes" is "oes" (yes-there-is) or "nag oes" (no-there-is-not) [2].

Oes gwely yn y gegin?
Oes gwely yn yr ardd?

Nag oes. Does dim gwely yn y gegin.
Oes. (Gwely blodau - a flower bed)

5.4. How to Say "It"

As mentioned back in Section 4.3, when you need to pick a pronoun to refer back to a previously-mentioned noun, you need for it to agree in gender and number with that noun. Since all nouns are either masculine or feminine, if the noun is singular, you wind up using either "e" or "hi". But what do you do if you need to say "it" and there isn't a noun to refer back to? Do you use "e"? Do you use "hi"? (Or do you rephrase your sentence to avoid using either?) Well, why don't we just flip a coin to decide between "e" and "hi"? Here goes ... it's tails. I guess we'll use "hi" in that situation:

Mae hi'n braf heddiw.
Mae hi'n bwrw glaw.

It's fine today.
It's raining.

Notice that if the noun is explicit, you still use the appropriate pronoun:

Sut mae'r tywydd?
How is the weather?

Mae e'n braf.
It (he)'s fine.

It is also common to leave out the pronoun completely:

Mae'n iawn.

It's all right.

5.5. Soft Mutation after "i"

The preposition "i" ("to") causes a contact mutation. No, this is not related to corrective lenses that change your eye colo(u)r. A contact mutation means that a word causes the next word, whatever it is, to mutate. The soft mutation is the particular mutation "i" causes:

i Bwlleli
i Gaerdydd

to Pwlleli
to Caerdydd (Cardiff)

The range of a contact mutation is only a single word, so it's more like hitting the "shift" key than the "caps lock". This range contrasts with that of the functional mutation caused by feminine nouns, which can propagate considerably: e.g., "y fasged bicnic goch fawr", "the large red picnic basket".


Peoples' names are not mutated by contact mutations. Thus, you would say "i Tom". Also, non-Welsh place names are generally not mutated, so you "mynd i Paris" [3].

5.6. How to Say "Many Things"

There are many times when you need to say "many something". The Welsh word for "many" is llawer. It is used with the preposition "o" (which causes a soft contact mutation) followed by the plural of the noun. For example,

llawer o bethau
llawer o afalau

many things
many apples

Other words that are used in this context are ychydig ("(a) few"), digon ("enough", "plenty"), gormod ("too much"), rhagor ("more") and nifer ("a number") [4]. Numbers can also be used in this way, especially large numbers and special numbers like "dwsin" ("dozen"). Finally, words that indicate a measured quantity take this construction, like "paned" (cupful) and "llwyed" (spoonful).

Since all of these subjects are indefinite, they can be combined with the ideas from Section 5.3:

Oes digon o afalau yn y fasged? Oes.

Thus, to say "There are Many Things in this Lesson", you write

Mae llawer o bethau yn y wers 'ma.


This construction is known as the partitive genitive in many languages.

5.7. Future Using "Mynd"

In Welsh, "mynd" means "go". There is one place that all of us are constantly going, and that is to the future, so I guess it's appropriate that future action can be expressed using "mynd". We can actually say the same thing in English:

Rydw i'n mynd i aros yma.

I am going to stay here.

As before, the preposition "i" causes a soft contact mutation on the word that follows it.

Ymarfer 5

1. Adjectives in the predicate. Practice making sentences by choosing a line from each column.

Mae Tom yn
Wyt ti'n
Dydyn nhw ddim yn
Rydyn ni'n
Mae'r ferch yn
Ydy'r plismon yn



2. Fit the words below into the pattern "Ydy'r A yn B? Ydy, mae e/hi'n rhy B."







3. Repeat exercise 2 using the pattern "Ydy'r A yn B? Ydy, mae e/hi mor B."

4. Say "You are going to X, but I am coming from X".


Llanelli. Rwyt ti'n mynd i Lanelli, ond rydw i'n dod o Lanelli.
Rhydychen (Oxford).
Caerdydd (Cardiff).
Abertawe (Swansea).
Pentre Ifan.
Tre'r Ceiri.

5. Make up patterns from the following table.


ychydig o
digon o
nifer o
llawer o
dwsin o
rhagor o


yma? Oes, mae gormod o



Sgwrs 5

[A translation of this conversation can be found in a different file.]


Mae'r tywydd yn braf heddiw, ar o+l y storm fawr neithiwr.


Ydy. Mae'n fendigedig. Dydy hi ddim yn rhy boeth, nac yn rhy oer. Dydy hi ddim yn mynd i fwrw glaw heno, chwaith. I ble rydyn ni'n mynd?


Mae gwersi yn mynd i ddechrau cyn bo hir. Rydw i eisiau prynu'r llyfrau.


Wel, does dim llawer o siopau yn y dre i brynu llyfrau. Rydw i'n ceisio meddwl beth i brynu i Nerys. Ydy hi'n hoffi blodau?


Nag ydy. Maen nhw'n hardd, ond mae hi'n dechrau tisian pan mae hi gyda nhw.


O. Ydy hi'n hoffi caws Caerffili?


Ydy, yn wir. Dydy hi ddim yn bosib i gael gormod o gaws i Nerys.


Mae e'n syniad da, 'te.


Ydy. Mae caffe ar y ffordd. Ydych chi eisiau cael 'paned o de?


O'r gorau. Mae te yn beth da yn y pnawn. Oes lle i eistedd yma?


Oes, mae llawer o lefydd i eistedd.




Ydych chi eisiau rhywbeth yn y te? Ychydig o laeth? Siwgr?


Llwyed o siwgr, os gwelwch yn dda.


O'r gorau.



Geirfa 5

afal [-au, m.] - apple
ar - (prep.) on
bendigedig - (adj.) wonderful
beth - what
blodyn [blodau, m.] - flower
braf - (adj.) fine
bwrw glaw - (v.) rain
cael - (v.) have, receive, get
caffe [m.] - cafe
caws [m.] - cheese
cegin [-au, f.] - kitchen
ceisio - (v.) try
coch - (adj.) red
cyn bo hir - (adv.) soon
chwaith - (adv.) either, neither
dechrau - (v.) begin
digon - (adj.) enough, plenty
diolch [m.] - thanks
dwsin [-au, m.] - dozen
eistedd - (v.) sit
ffordd [ffyrdd, f.] - way, street
gormod - too much, too many
gwan - (adj.) weak
gwers [-i, f.] - lesson
hapus - (adj.) happy
hardd - (adj.) beautiful, handsome
helpwr [helpwyr, m.] - helper
heno - (adv.) this evening, tonight
hoffi - (v.) like
llaeth [m.] - milk [5]
llawer - much, many
lle [-fydd, m.] - place
llwyed [llwyeidiau, f.] - spoonful [6]
mor - (adv.) so
na, nac - (conj.) nor
nifer [-oedd, m.] - number
o'r gorau - OK
oer - (adj.) cold
ond - (conj.) but
os gwelwch yn dda - please
pan - (conj.) when
'paned ['paneidiau, mf.] - cupful [7]
pell - (adj.) distant, far
picnic [m.] - picnic
plismon [plismyn, m.] - policeman
pnawn [-au, m.] - afternoon [8]
poeth - (adj.) hot
posib - (adj.) possible [9]
rhagor - (adv.) more
rhy - (adv.) too
rhywbeth [m.] - something
sa+l - (adj.) sick, ill
siop [-au, f.] - shop
siopa - (v.) shop
siwgr [m.] - sugar
storm [-ydd, f.] - storm
sut - how
syniad [-au, m.] - idea
te [m.] - tea
'te - (adv.) then
tegell [-au, -i, m.] - kettle
tisian - (v.) sneeze
tywydd [m.] - weather
ychydig - few, little
yn wir - (adv.) indeed

1. Emphatic Subjects

There are times when you need to be emphatic. Crashing your hand on the table may achieve this effect, but that method is limited in its applicability, since you may not happen to have a table handy (not to mention that it's totally out of the question for written communication). Not to worry! In Welsh, you can emphasize part of a sentence by putting it first. Unfortunately, changing the word order also changes the verb that is needed. In this section, we concentrate on sentences where the subject of the sentence is what is emphasized.

The normal word order has a form of "bod" first, followed by the subject, followed by the complement:

Mae Aled yma.
Rydw i'n darllen.

Aled is here.
I am reading.

To emphasize the subject, place it first in the sentence, and use the special verb "sy" (or "sydd"):

Aled sy yma.
Fi sydd yn darllen.

Aled is here (i.e., not Elwyn).
I am reading (i.e., not you).

As far as I can tell, "sy" and "sydd" may be freely interchanged, and are not related to such things as whether the following word begins with a vowel, with the former probably being more common in spoken Welsh. As we will see in Section 0.0, these sentences can actually be thought of as containing a simple form of a relative clause.

Emphatic subjects are common in "who" and "what" questions and in the answers to those questions (in fact, there is no other way to ask them):

Pwy sy'n dod i fwyta heno?
Aled sy'n dod.
Beth sy'n digwydd yma?

Who's coming to eat tonight?
Aled is coming.
What's happening here?

6.2. Emphatic Complements

No, I'm not talking about statements like "Wow, that's absolutely the most fantastic hair style I've ever seen; how'd you get it to stick like that?". I'm talking about a grammatical complement, not a compliment. The common thread among these sentences is that the subject comes after the verb, which is itself preceded by something that needs emphasis. So, for example, in the following two sentences, the second is emphatic.

Rydw i'n ddysgwr.
Dysgwr ydw i.

I am a learner.
I am a learner. (i.e., not a teacher)

Notice that "dysgwr" is no longer mutated in the emphatic sentence, since it does not follow "yn". Also notice that the form of "bod" used in the emphatic form is the kind we associated with questions (see Section 2.2). That observation holds all the way through, except that in the third person singular, where either the form "ydy" or "yw" may be used [1]:

Problem ydy e.
Problem mawr yw Aled.
Problem mawr iawn ydyn nhw.

He is a problem.
Aled is a big problem.
They are a very big problem.

Note on pronunciation

The "w" in "yw" is a consonant; thus, the "y" has the clear sound.

6.3. Emphatic Questions and Answers

Emphatic questions are easy. Just take your emphatic sentence and pass it through the "sed" program with the following script "s/\./?/". In English, this means to substitute a question mark for the period at the end of the sentence. In spoken Welsh, it means to end the sentence with a rising inflection. Thus,

Bachgen yw e.
Bachgen yw e?
Fi sy'n achosi'r broblem.
Fi sy'n achosi'r broblem?

He is a boy.
Is he a boy?
I'm causing the problem.
Am I causing the problem?

So how does one answer these questions? To say "yes", use "ie". "No" is "nage". So

Bachgen yw e? Nage.
Fi sy'n achosi'r broblem? Ie, wrth gwrs.

6.4. Possessive Nouns

Being possessive isn't always a bad thing. People have things, and things have things. To say that noun A has noun B, just put A after B. Thus, we have

drws y ty+
siop Wil Jones

the door of the house
Will Jones's shop

What could be simpler, right? Well, there is one caveat: in this construction, noun B always winds up being a definite noun, and therefore to use the definite article with it is superfluous (can you say "wrong"?). Thus, you can say

drws ty+
drws y ty+

the door of a house
the door of the house

but not

*y drws y ty+ [2]

as we would be tempted to do in translating from English. Part of the problem is that we have three ways in English to express possessives:

1.     True possessives, which all have a "'s" or "s'" in them: "the house's door", "the students' complaint".

2.     A periphrastic construction using a prepositional phrase beginning with "of": "the door of the house".

3.     Glomming nouns together: a "foreign language communication skills training program" (taken from an actual radio advertisement) is a "program of training of skills of communication of (in) a foreign language". "Glomming" is used in its technical sense of "putting next to each other".

If you think of the Welsh possessives as true possessives, you should have no trouble remembering which definite article doesn't belong. In English, you could say

a house's door (i.e., the door of a house)
the house's door (i.e., the door of the house)

but you would never say

*the house's the door.


This leaving out of the article often exposes a noun to mutations that would otherwise have been "blocked" by the article:

Rydw i wrth y drws.
Rydw i wrth ddrws y cefn.

I am by the door.
I am by the back door.

(Notice that "wrth" causes a soft contact mutation