Lesson 5. There are Many Things in this Lesson
Here is the setext version of this lesson.
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.
- This construct is known grammatically as a predicate adjective
or a predicate noun.
- The word "bell" looks like an English word, but the pronunciation
is quite different!
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.
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
| 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" :
| 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) .
| Oes gwely yn y gegin?|
Oes gwely yn yr ardd?
| Nag oes. Does dim gwely yn y gegin.|
Oes. (Gwely blodau - a flower bed)
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.|
Notice that if the noun is explicit, you still use the appropriate
| 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.
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"
| i Bwlleli|
| 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" .
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|
Other words that are used in this context are ychydig ("(a) few"),
digon ("enough", "plenty"), gormod ("too much"), rhagor ("more")
and nifer ("a number") . 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
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.
1. Adjectives in the predicate. Practice making sentences by choosing
a line from each column.
| Mae Tom yn|
Dydyn nhw ddim yn
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
| || A|| 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.|
5. Make up patterns from the following table.
| Oes|| ychydig o|
| yma? Oes, mae gormod o|| afalau|
[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
- 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
- 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.
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 
llawer - much, many
lle [-fydd, m.] - place
llwyed [llwyeidiau, f.] - spoonful 
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 
pell - (adj.) distant, far
picnic [m.] - picnic
plismon [plismyn, m.] - policeman
pnawn [-au, m.] - afternoon 
poeth - (adj.) hot
posib - (adj.) possible 
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
[The answers can be found in a separate file.]
1. Translate the following sentences into Welsh.
| This tea is too weak. Is there more tea?|
Is there a policeman in the house? Yes. Tom is a policeman.
Are you going to read that book today? No. It isn't possible.
There isn't any milk in the kitchen, but there is too much cheese.
Do you want some milk in the tea? No, but I want a spoonful of
It is going to rain tonight. There is a big storm coming here soon.
We are going to try to buy a dozen beautiful flowers in town this
There are no people at home. It's so hot in the house.
That cafe is very good. There are lots of helpers there.
It is not possible to see a lion in a kettle.
- As before, the "d" in "does" comes from the negative particle "nid".
- The standard written form of "nag" is "nac".
- In speech, there is a tendency to mutate the (non-Welsh) sound "ts"
into the (non-Welsh) sound "j". Thus, for "Tseina" (China), you might
hear people saying "mynd i Jeina". You will find people who do mutate
people's names (except those beginning with "G") and common place names.
The best rule is "wen in dowt li+f owt".
- You will run across people who use the word "lot" in a partitive
genitive, as in "Mae lot o bobl yma". I personally find this usage to
be an unnecessary borrowing from English, since Welsh has the
perfectly fine word "llawer" to express this thought.
- This word means "buttermilk" in N. Wales, where they instead use
the word "llefrith" to mean "milk".
- The written form of this word is "llwyaid".
- This word illustrates the annoying tendency in Welsh to drop
syllables from the beginning of a word. It also demonstrates the
tendency to change "ai" to "e" in the final syllable of a word. Thus, the dictionary form of this word is "cwpanaid".
- The written form of this word is "prynhawn".
- The written form of this word is "posibl" .
Mark.Nodine@mot.com -- Mark H Nodine,visitor
14 June 2003 at 23:33:27