Session 10

Language notes

In this section we examine some aspects of the use of nouns and adjectives in Welsh.

There is generally no simple way of determining the gender (masculine or feminine) of a Welsh noun. If in doubt, it is safest to assume masculine gender, as there are more masculine nouns in Welsh.  

There is often no logic to the gender system, for example:
    ci,   dog, is masculine, irrespective of whether the dog is actually male or female.
    cath, cat, is feminine, irrespective of whether the cat is actually male or female. 

Nouns made up by combining two simpler nouns take the gender of second word.  For example:
    awyrgylch (m)  atmosphere:   awyr  air + cylch (m) sphere
    tirwedd (f)  landscape:  tir  land + gwedd (f) texture

Nouns ending -fa, indicating a place, are feminine.  For example:
     mynedfa  entrance,   glanfa  wharf,  fferyllfa  pharmacy   
Occupations may use the endings -wr for male, -wraig for female, e.g.                   myfyriwr  student (male),  myfyriwraig  student (female) 

However there is a move towards the neutral ending -ydd, e.g.
    darlithydd lecturer ,  cyflwynydd  presenter ,  cadeirydd  chairperson, 
    either male or female.

As with gender, there is generally no simple way to determine the plural form of a noun.  Two common plural endings are -iau and -ion, e.g.
                   bryn  hill          bryniau  hills
                   dyn   man        dynion   men     
but a large number of Welsh plurals follow other patterns.  

An interesting group of nouns have a basic form which is plural, then add
-yn or -en for the singular, to denote 'one of them':
           coed        forest                coeden     tree
           pysgod     fish (plural)       pysgodyn   fish (singular)
           adar         birds                  aderyn      bird
Nouns with this pattern usually denote things which are found naturally in groups:
            a forest of trees,  a shoal of fish,  a flock of birds...
Some useful collective nouns are:
                     gyr o wartheg         herd of cattle
                     diadell o ddefaid    flock of sheep
                     haid o adar             flock of birds

Treigladau are applied when appropriate to Welsh place names, e.g.  
            i Bontypridd (Pontypridd),       i Gaerdydd  (Caerdydd: Cardiff),      
            i Ddolgellau  (Dolgellau)

Treigladau can also be applied to the names of towns in England with Welsh names:
      i Fryste  (Bryste: Bristol)    i Fanceinion  (Manceinion: Manchester)  
but not to English names, such as 'Durham' or 'Grimsby'.

Treigladau are generally not applied to the names of people:
             i Dafydd       am Gareth     o Mared   

Treigladau are generally not applied to very short nouns:
      Dw i'n mynd am gm o golff      I am going for a game of golf
      not   Dw i'n mynd am m o olff    

Some double nouns are used to identify objects. The use of singular and plural may differ between English and Welsh:
                 dish (singular) washer         peiriant golchi llestri (plural)
                 ticket (singular) machine     peiriant tocynau (plural)
                 dog (singular) food              bwyd cwn (plural)  

A 'to bach' accent (^) is seen on a number of nouns.  This has the effect of lengthening a vowel sound when the word is spoken.  For example:
         tan  (until) is pronounced with a short 'a'
         tn  (fire) is pronounced with a long 'aa'  
The accented syllabul is stressed when the word is spoken, for example:
         tatws (potatoes)  is pronounced (tatws)
         tatŵs (tatoos) is pronounced (tatŵs)

Other accents in Welsh, e.g. , , also specify the syllabul which is stressed, although the vowel sound is not lengthened.  For example:
            caniatd   (permission) is pronounced (caniatd)
Adjectives generally have the same form when describing masculine or feminine nouns.  However, some adjectives have gender variations:
                        gwyn (m)                gwen (f)         white
                        crwn (m)                 cron (f)           round
                        cryf  (m)                  cref (f)            strong

Singular or plural forms are generally the same, although there are a few adjectives with alternative plurals, e.g:
         bychan (singular)          bychain (plural)  small
and colours:       
         Ar lan y mr mae rhosys cochion         (coch  red)
         Ar lan y mr mae lilis gwynion ....         (gwyn  white)
These plural forms are generally only found in literary works.
Adjectives are usually placed after the noun, e.g.
         cawr mawr gwyrdd cyfeillgar         big green friendly giant  
Some exceptions which are placed before the noun are:
         hen  old            prif  main           ambell  occasional  
         holl   whole      pob every   
Welsh adjectives have comparative (cymharol) and superlative (eithaf) forms similar to English, e.g.  happier,  happiest.  
In addition, Welsh has an equivalence (cyfartal) form which would be represented in English as a phrase, e.g. happy as...

These can be produced in Welsh in two ways:
(a)  The endings  -ed-ach,   -af are added to the adjective, e.g.
                 hapused     as happy 
                 hapusach    happier
                 hapusaf       happiest
There are, however, a number of adjectives which have irregular forms:
              da            good                mawr         big         
              cystal       as good          cymaint     as big        
              gwell        better               mwy          bigger      
              gorau       best                 mwyaf        bigest    

              isel           low                   uchel          high
              isad          as low              uchad         as high 
              is              lower                uwch          higher
              isaf           lowest              uchaf          highest

 (b)  The alternative method is to precede the adjective with:
        mor, mwy, or y fwyaf, e.g.  

        hyderus                 confident
        mor hyderus          as confident 
        mwy hyderus         more confident
        y fwyaf hyderus     the most confident 

This method is generally used for longer adjectives containing a number of syllables.


In the previous session we examined the use of the word 'yn' in long form (cwmpasog) sentence patterns, as a way of distinguishing the subject.  For example:
        Roedd y myfyriwr yn darllen llyfr.
        The student (subject) was reading a book 

Notice that the verb noun darllen which follows 'yn' does not have a soft mutation.

Another possibility is that only a tense of 'bod' is used, but no verb noun is present.  For example: 
        Roedd yn athro.
        He (subject) was (verb)  a teacher 
        Bydd y ferch yn hapus.
        The girl (subject) will be (verb) happy 

In these cases, the verb is followed by a noun or adjective.  In Welsh, the sentence pattern again uses 'yn', but a soft mutation is usually applied to the noun or adjective which follows:
             Mae'n fws.                                                 Bws
             It is a bus.
             Roedd y dyn yn glyfar.                            Clyfar 
             The man was clever.

Unusually, the soft mutation is only applied in a limited way.  There is no mutation applied to words beginning with ll- or rh- :
            Mae'n llyfr.                                                Llyfr          
            It is a book.
            Roedd y dyn yn rhesymol.                      Rhesymol
            The man was reasonable.


The word 'hyd' can have several meanings:

as far as, to
     Gallwn yrru hyd at y llyn ac wedyn cherdded i'r castell.
     We can drive as far as the lake and then walk to the castle.

     Byddwch chi'n mwynhau cerdded ar hyd llwybr yr arfordir.
     You will enjoy walking along the coast path.

     Gwnathon ni weithio ar y cyfrifon hyd at ddiwedd y prynhawn.
      We worked on the accounts until late afternoon.

'hyd' appears in many commonly used phrases:

hyd yn hyn - yet
        Dydw i ddim wedi ymweld 'r amgueddfa newydd hyd yn hyn.
        I have not visited the new museum yet.

hyd hynny  - up until then
       Roedd y tywydd yn braf hyd hynny, ond na fyddai'n para.
       The weather was nice up until then, but it wouldn't last.

hyd y gwn i - as far as I know
       Mae gan y siop ddigon o fara, hyd y gwn i.
       The shop has plenty of bread, as far as I know.

hyd yma - up to now, so far
        Mae'r gwaith adeiladu yn mynd yn dda hyd yma.
        The building work is going well so far.

hyd yn oed - even
        Roedd hyd yn oed y cyngor yn gwrthwynebu'r ffatri newydd.
        Even the council was objecting to the new factory.

o hyd - still
        Mae'r teulu yn byw ar y fferm o hyd.
        The family still lives on the farm.

Translate the sentence:

Building more wind farms could destroy the Welsh landscape.

Suggested translation: (a number of alternatives acceptable)


The set of icons below was randomly selected, and has been used to write a story.

You are invited to translate the story into Welsh.


cutting trychfa  noun (f);  anxious  pryderus  adjective;
bad  gwael  adjective;  carriage  cerbyd  noun (m);
wonder  pendroni  verb;  trailer  treilar  noun (m);
destination  cyrchfan  noun (m);

Steven was travelling to a meeting by train.
Normally he would relax and enjoy a cup of coffee during the journey.
Today he was feeling anxious.
The train was slow and late because of bad weather.
He could see from the carriage window that the rain was getting heavier.
Just as he was wondering whether he would be late for his meeting, the train came to a sudden halt.
They had stopped in a deep cutting with steep sides.
He looked down and saw that the track was under water.
After a few minutes, the train manager walked through the carriage.
He said that a tree had fallen across the track ahead, and the train could not move.
They may be there for some hours.
Eventually, local farmers came with tractors and trailers.
They helped passengers to get from the train to dry ground.
The railway company arranged taxis to take people to their destinations.
Steven missed the meeting, but his manager knew what had happened from the television news.
Over the next couple of days, the railway engineers brought heavy equipment to repair and reopen the track.

Translate the sentence:

Steven was travelling to a meeting by train.

Suggested translation: (a number of alternatives acceptable)

Create your own story in Welsh

Click the button to randomly select a set of story icons:

Use of Welsh

Book review

A review has been written for the Welsh novel 'Ffydd, Gobaith, Cariad'.  
You are invited to translate this into Welsh.


survivor  goroeswr  noun;   innocent  diniwed  adjective;
rotten  pwdr  adjective;  monotonous  undonog  adjective;
upset   cynhyrfu  verb;   nostalgic  hiraethus  adjective;

Translate the sentence:

The story begins with flashing blue lights and a dreadful accident.

Suggested translation: (a number of alternatives acceptable)


Write four or five sentences in Welsh to describe the picture:

Understanding Welsh

Read the article, then write sentences in Welsh to answer the following questions:

Where have the quad bike thefts taken place?

How did the thief steal the quad bike?

What does the farmer use the quad bike for?

What advice have the police given to farmers to prevent thefts?

What actions are the police taking to reduce thefts of quad bikes?

Gofid ffermwr o golli cwad, wrth i heddlu rybuddio rhag lladron

Mae ffermwr o ogledd Sir Gaerfyrddin yn sn am y gofid ar rhwystredigaeth o golli beic modur pedair olwyn oi fferm rai wythnosaun l. Cafodd y cwad ei ddwyn oi fferm yn Sir Gaerfyrddin.

Ers hynny mae Heddlu Dyfed Powys wedi cadarnhau fod cyfres o feiciau cwad wediu dwyn yn y sir. Maer heddlun rhybuddio pobol i fod yn wyliadwrus am droseddau or fath.

Maer ffaith fod rhywun wedi bod ar y iard ac yn gwybod yn gywir bler oedd y cwad yn ofnadwy, meddai`r ffermwr, gan ychwanegu fod cloeon wediu torri i gael ato. Maer cwad mor bwysig i`n gwaith, meddai gan ddweud ei fod yn bwysig i fwydor creaduriaid a chadw golwg ar bethau o gwmpas y fferm.

Maer heddlu yn annog ffermwyr i dynnu allweddi or cwadiau ar l eu defnyddio, cloi siediau a pheidio chadw offer mewn mannau heb drefniadau diogelwch. Rydyn ni`n ymwybodol fod dwyn beiciau cwad a pheiriannau amaethyddol yn amharu ar waith ffermwyr, yn ogystal chyfrannu at oblygiadau ariannol meddent.

Mae`r heddlun ymchwilio ir adroddiadau ac yn ymweld r ardal yn gyson ynghyd chynnal cyfarfodydd mewn arwerthiannau amaethyddol i roi gwybodaeth i ffermwyr.


Story board

A story is outlined below as a series of numbered notes and pictures. You are invited to write the story in Welsh so that it could be displayed as an on-line blog or news item. If necessary, please feel free to add any additional details to develop the story.

Television drama series set in Wales


Porth Penwaig

A drama set in the fictional seaside village of Porth Penwaig, but actually filmed at Aberdaron in the Lleyn Peninsula. The story follows the lives of the members of a family who run a tavern and guesthouse on the seafront.


C'mon Midffld!

A comedy set in the fictional village of Bryncoch, located near Caernarfon. The story follows the successes and failures of the village football team. The main characters are members of the club committee, the players, and their friends and families.


Y Gwyll

A dark police drama dealing with crimes which occur in the largely rural area around Aberystwyth. The principal characters are detectives based at the police station on the town's promenade. Locations of crimes include a murder in the seaside village of Borth, and sinister events at a children's home in Devils Bridge.


Pobol y Cwm

A long running soap opera based in the fictional village of Cwmderi, located in Gwendraeth Valley near Carmarthen. Stories often unfold in the Deri tavern, and in the local small businesses and the homes of villagers. The series is filmed on a specially constructed street at the studios in Cardiff Bay, with scenes also filmed on location at a comprehensive school and farm.


Rownd a Rownd

A soap opera set in the fictional harbour town of Glanrafon, and filmed at Menai Bridge in Anglesey. The stories take place in shops and other businesses in the town, including a caf, newsagent, taxi firm, and a boatyard. Scenes are also set in a local school and hospital.



A drama set in the steelworks town of Port Talbot in South Wales. The story centres around a brother and sister, Sam and Gina, who find themselves on different sides of the community. Gina is a police officer, whilst Sam becomes increasingly involved in crime.

Enter each section of your story in Welsh in the boxes below: