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Lesson 5. There are Many Things in this Lesson


Revision 1.13 of this page, last updated on 2003/02/17.
(C)opyright 1994-2003 Mark H. Nodine

5.1. 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.

Oes ychydig o
digon o
nifer o
llawer o
dwsin o
rhagor o
yma? Oes, mae gormod o afalau

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

Exercises 5

[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
sugar, please.
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.

Footnotes 5 (for the terminally curious)

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" .

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14 June 2003 at 23:33:27