Here is the setext version of this lesson.

Lesson 7. My Perfect Thing to Have: Imperatives


Revision 1.10 of this page, last updated on 2003/02/17.
(C)opyright 1995-2003 Mark H. Nodine

Note: This lesson introduces the nasal mutation, which is presented in Appendix A. For the benefit of those who are using the ASCII version of the lessons and who do not have Appendix A in front of them, here's the summary of the nasal mutation:

Original Mutated Example
"cwm" (valley) becomes "nghwm"
"Pen-y-bont" (a place) becomes "Mhen-y-Bont"
"ty+" (house) becomes "nhy+"
"gwraig" (wife) becomes "ngwraig"
"brawd" (brother) becomes "mrawd"
"drws" (door) becomes "nrws"

7.1. How to Say "My" (and Other Nasally Mutated Things)

Back in Section 6.4, you learned how to create possessives where one noun possesses another. Now we'll take possessiveness to its logical extreme by teaching you how to say something is "my something". The Welsh word for "my" is fy. It comes before the noun. In spoken Welsh, the personal pronoun "i" is also tacked on after the noun. Thus, the overall pattern is

fy x i my x (I hope she doesn't see this.)

Unfortunately, there's a little bit more to it than that, or I'd have presented this material back in about Lesson 4:

  1. The noun labeled "x" undergoes the nasal mutation.
  2. As mentioned back in Section 1.6, "f" is considered a weak consonant in Welsh. Thus, in spoken Welsh, it becomes simply "y", at least before consonants. Before vowels, it tends to become "yn" (no, they didn't do this just to confuse learners).
  3. The "i" at the end is sometimes dropped.
Some examples:

fy nghar i
yn 'y marn i
yn afal i
my car (car = car)
in my opinion (barn = opinion)
my apple

Actually, as long as we're learning the nasal mutation, we might as well learn the other two places it comes up.

yn nhy+ fy mrawd
ym marn yr athro
yng Nghymru
in my brother's house
in the teacher's opinion
in Wales

There, now you have seen all there is to know about the nasal mutation. All you need now is mhractice.

7.2. The Perfect Tense

The perfect tense is not a description of a situation that's guaranteed to make you nervous. It's a form of a verb indicating that an action has completed in the past. In English, we form the perfect tense by using the present tense of "have" as a helping verb:

I have studied grammar for too many years.

Welsh forms the perfect tense in exactly the say way as you learned to make the present tense in Section 3.2, except that the preposition "wedi" is substituted for the particle "yn".

Rydw i'n astudio'r Gymraeg. I am studying (study, do study) Welsh.
Rydw i wedi astudio'r Gymraeg. I have studied Welsh.
(lit. "I am after studying Welsh").

7.3. How to Have Things

Welsh, like Russian, has no verb "to have". [1] I guess they're very generous. Both Welsh and Russian express having something using the same periphrastic: saying that the something is with them. Here's how it looks in Welsh: [2]

Mae llyfr gyda fi. I have a book. (lit. "there is a
book with me")
Oes arian gyda fe? Does he have money?

The word order can also be changed to put the thing being had last, but this rearrangement causes a soft mutation of the thing:

Mae gyda fi lyfr. I have a book.

The rule here is that any noun phrase (any group of words you could replace with a pronoun) causes a soft mutation of the following word:

Mae gyda'r dyn wrth y drws lyfr. The man by the door has a book.

since you can replace "'r dyn wrth y drws" with "fe":

Mae gyda fe lyfr. He has a book.
According to a Welsh teacher I spoke with, there are certain contexts where using the soft mutation is not particularly important in spoken Welsh. This soft mutation, however, is not one of them; if you fail to mutate, it will be noticed.

7.4. Be Imperative!

Sometimes people fail to take the hint when you make suggestions, so you have to order them around. The way to do that is using imperatives. Welsh has imperatives for every person and number except first person singular (you can't boss yourself around). In this section, we will learn only the second person plural and formal. These imperatives are easy to recognize, because they end in "-wch".


There are, of course, irregular verbs:

Come! (from "dod")
Go! (from "mynd")
Let! (from "gadael")

You can say "let someone do something" by putting an "i" before the "someone" (which gets softly mutated -- see Section 5.5) and putting the "something" after the "someone" (the "something" also gets softly mutated -- see Section 7.3). Thus,

Gadewch iddo fe fynd.
Gadewch i ni ddechrau.
Let him go.
Let us begin.

7.5. How to Say "Another" or "Else"

We needed something else for this chapter. To get something else, all you need to do is put the word "arall" after the word you wanted something else of.

Rhywbeth arall?
Oes afal arall yma?
Something else?
Is there another apple here?

"Arall" can also be used as a pronoun:

Oes arall yn y gegin? Is there another (one) in the kitchen?

The plural of "arall" is "eraill".

Mae afalau eraill ar y coed. There are other apples on the trees.

Ymarfer 7

1. Practice making sentences from the following patterns:

Mae fy nghyfnither
i yng Nghaernarfon
yng nghefn y ty+
ym Mhorthmadog
yn nawns y dysgwyr
yn ngardd fy nghymydog drws nesa i
yn nhy+ fy mam i
ym Metws-y-Coed
yng Ngogledd Cymru


Sgwrs 7

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

Geirfa 7

anghyfforddus - (adj.) uncomfortable
annheg - (adj.) unfair
arall (eraill) - (adj. & pron.) other, another, else
astudio - (v.) study
athro [-awon, m.] - (n.) teacher
barn [-au, f.] - (n.) opinion
coeden [coed, f.] - (n.) tree; (pl.) woods
cyfnither [-oedd, f.] - (f.) female cousin
cyfforddus - (adj.) comfortable
Cymraeg [f.] - (n.) Welsh language
Cymru [f.] - (n.) Wales
cymydog [cymdogion, m.] - (n.) neighbor (neighbour)
dosbarth [-iadau, m.] - (n.) class
gogledd [m.] - (n. & adj.) north
nesa - (adj.) next
tad [-au, m.] - (n.) father
teg - (adj.) fair

Exercises 7

[The answers can be found in a separate file.]

1. Translate the following sentences into English.

a. This sentence is already in English.

Footnotes 7 (for the terminally curious)

Technically, both Welsh and Russian have verbs meaning "to have"; however neither routinely uses it in the present tense.

This construction can also be done using the preposition "gan" instead of "gyda". "Gyda" is the way to do it in S. Wales. I am not teaching the "gan" version at this point, since "gan" has personal forms that you don't know yet. But if you're really terminally curious, you can check out Section C.6.1.

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14 June 2003 at 23:33:32