Session 11

Language notes

Impersonal tenses

Most sentences use active verb tenses, in which the subject carrying out an action is specified, for example:
        Our neighbours will be having a party.      action by 'our neighbours'
        The school teacher bought the house.      action by 'the school teacher'

In an impersonal tense, we are not told who or what is carrying out the action, for example:
         A meeting will be held on Monday.            by whom? 
         The factory was built in 1880.                    by whom?
As with most other verb tenses in Welsh, the impersonal tenses can use either a short (cryno) form or a long (cwmpasog) form.

The short form present/future impersonal uses the ending -ir, with slight changes replacing 'a' by 'e' in some verb stems.  For example:

             siaredir Cymraeg yma                                    siarad
             Welsh is spoken here
             cynhelir cynhadledd ym mis Ionawr                cynnal
             a conference will be held in January

The short form past impersonal uses the ending -wyd.  For example:

             gwelwyd llawer o dwristiaid yn y pentref                        gweld
             many tourists were seen in the village
             dymchwelwyd y tŷ pan adeiladwyd y ffordd                   
             the house was demolished when the road was built

Some common verbs have irregular past impersonal forms:
              dod  -   daethpwyd
              mynd -  aethpwyd
              gwneud - gwnaethpwyd

These are heard fairly frequently in news announcements:    
               daethpwyd o hyd i gar yn yr afon
               a car was found in the river
               aethpwyd dyn i'r ysbyty
               a man was taken to hospital   

The long form present/future impersonal uses mae and cael, or the present/future tense ceith, with the verb noun, for example:

               mae tocynnau yn cael eu gwerthu yma
     or       ceith tocynnau eu gwerthu yma     
               tickets are sold here
               mae'r cadeirydd yn cael ei hethol wythnos nesaf
     or       ceith y cadeirydd ei hethol wythnos nesaf
               the chairperson will be elected next week 

The long form past impersonal uses the past tense of cael with the verb noun:
               cafodd yr ysgol ei hagor yn 1990
               the school was opened in 1990  
               cafodd y ras ei cwblhau mewn amser record
               the race was completed in record time   

Although not often heard in everyday speech, the impersonal tenses are fairly commonly used in written documents.  Examples are: minutes of meetings, and announcements of forthcoming events.


In previous sessions we looked at a variety of situations in which a treiglad meddal is applied.  It would be useful to review some of these again:

After the article 'y' in the case of singular feminine nouns:
       Dringodd i'r graig i weld yr olygfa.                
       He climbed to the rock to see the view.            craig (f)   golygfa (f)

A treiglad is not applied after 'y' for masculine singular nor any plural nouns:
       Fe wnaethon ni fwydo'r ci a'r cathod.                  
       We fed the dog and the cats.                                     ci (m)   cath (f)

Adjectives following feminine singular nouns:
    Fe ymwelon ni 'r arddangosfa fawr ddiddorol.        
    We visited the large interesting exhibition.             mawr      diddorol   

A treiglad is not applied to adjectives following masculine singular nor any plural nouns:
  Gwnaethon ni brynu cadeiriau bach a bwrdd rhad.                                 
  We bought small chairs and a cheap table.        cadair (f)   bwrdd (m)  

Nouns which are preceded by an adjective:
       Mae gan yr hen ddyn wir wybodaeth.      
       The old man has true knowledge.            dyn (m)    gwybodaeth (f)

The numbers 'un' (feminine only) and 'dau/dwy' cause a treiglad:
      Mae gan un orsaf ddwy fynedfa a dau faes parcio.  
      One station has two entrances and two car parks.
                                         gorsaf (f)   myneddfa (f)    maes parcio (m)

A verb at the start of a negative sentence has a treiglad llaes if possible, otherwise a treiglad meddal:
         Chafodd e ddim dewis.
         He had no choice.                                                    cafodd

         Fydd y siop ddim ar agor yfory.                              
         The shop will not be open tomorrow.                          bydd

A verb at the start of a question has a treiglad meddal:
          Ddarllenodd e'r llyfr?                                           
          Did he read the book?                                              darllen

The word 'fe' or 'mi' at the start of a positive statement causes a treiglad:
         Fe gerddodd i mewn i'r dref.                                   
         He walked into the town.                                           cerdded

A treiglad meddal occurs after the second person singular pronoun 'dy':
        Hoffwn i deithio yn dy gar gyda dy fam.            
        I would like to travel in your car with your mother.
                                                                                   car (m)   mam (f)
A treiglad meddal occurs after the third person singular pronoun 'ei' when the pronoun replaces a masculine noun:
       Roedd ei llyfr hi yn fwy diddorol nac ei lyfr fe.                    
       Her book was more interesting than his book.                      llyfr 
A treiglad meddal occurs after many prepositions: am, ar, at, dan, dros, gan, heb, hyd, i, o, tan, trwy, wrth
     Cerddais trwy goedwig i lyn heb weld neb.                
     I walked through a forest to a lake without seeing anyone.  
                                                                  coedwig     llyn     gweld         


The word 'wrth' can have several meanings in sentences:
       Gwelais ddyfrgi wrth gerdded ar hyd glan yr afon.
       I saw an otter while walking along the river bank.

to, in the context of expressing an emotion towards someone
       Roedd yr athrawes yn garedig wrth ei disgyblion.
       The teacher was kind to her pupils.

at, in the context of carrying out an activity
        Dechreuon nhw'r daith gyda Dafydd wrth y llyw.
        They began the journey with Dafydd at the wheel.

'wrth' occurs in a number of common phrases and idioms:

wrth eu bodd  - in their element, delighted
         Roedd y cr wrth eu bodd yn yr eisteddfod.
         The choir loved the eisteddfod.

wrth law - near at hand
         Fe symudon nhw i'r ardal oherwydd bod yr ysgol wrth law.
         They moved to the area because the school was near at hand.

wrth gwrs - of course
         Bydd yn rhaid i chi brynu tocyn, wrth gwrs.
         You will have to buy a ticket, of course. 

wrth reswm - obviously
         Mae'n cymryd amser hir, wrth reswm, i yrru o Fangor i Gaerdydd.
         It takes a long time, obviously, to drive from Bangor to Cardiff. 

wrth cefn - in reserve
        Mae ganddyn nhw arian wrth gefn ar gyfer unrhyw argyfwng.
        They have got money in reserve for any emergency.

wrth reddf - instinctively
         Sylweddolodd wrth reddf fod nam ar yr injan car.
         He realised instinctively that the car engine was faulty.

Translate the sentence:

James Keir Hardie is remembered as the first leader of the Labour Party.

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.


checkpoint rheolfan  noun (m/f);   maze  drysfa  noun (f);
raft  rafft  noun (f);  mansion  plasty  noun (m);
advertisement  hysbyseb  noun (f);  based on  seiliedig ar;
remote  anghysbell  adjective;  drop  gollwng  verb;
terrifying  dychrynllyd  adjective;  finish  diwedd  noun (m); 

Aled and Hugh are members of the village rugby team.
They keep fit by training every week.
One day, Aled was reading a newspaper and saw an advertisement by a television company.
They wanted teams of two competitors for a game show based on army training.
The teams would have to race across a remote area of mid Wales, carrying out challenges along the way.
`We can do this, Hugh`, said Aled in the pub that evening.
They applied, and a few months later found themselves at the old mansion which was the headquarters for the film crew.
`You will be dropped on a mountain top, then follow the route shown on your maps`.
`Not by parachute!` said one competitor.
`No, we have a helicopter`.
Aled and Hugh were the second of the four teams to be taken to the start point.
They found their way down from the mountain to the first check point in the forest.
Here they had to climb a rope ladder to the top of a horribly high tree, then cross a rope bridge to another tree.
`Well, that was terrifying` said Aled.
They ran on through the forest to reach the second check point at a lake.
Here they had to build a raft out of oil drums and paddle across the lake.
They continued through the forest, but it began to rain heavily and they became tired and slow.
They finally reached the third checkpoint at an old army camp.
They then had to find their way through a maze of underground tunnels which had been built during the Second World War.
They now needed to reach the finish at the mansion.
When they arrived, they saw that the other teams were already there.
`I guess that we didn`t win`, said Aled.
`No, but we won`t need to do any fitness training before next weekend`s rugby game`.

Translate the sentence:

Aled and Hugh are members of the village rugby team.

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

Four Waterfalls Walk


cavern  ceudwll  noun (m);  limestone  calchfaen  noun (m);
meadow  dl  noun (f);  rapids  dyfroedd gwyllt  noun (pl);
below  islaw  preposition;  fence  ffens  noun (f);
impressive  trawiadol  adjective;

A highlight of the Brecon Beacons National Park is the area of spectacular waterfalls near the village of Ystradfellte.

A leaflet is being prepared to guide visitors on a walk to four of the waterfalls, beginning at the car park at Cwm Porth.  You are invited to translate the leaflet into Welsh.

Translate the sentence:

After arriving at the car park at Cwm Porth, take the footpath which descends to Porth yr Ogof.

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:

What was the occupation of Merfyn Turner`s father?

What happened to Merfyn Turner during the Second World War?

What work did Merfyn Turner do after the war ended?

What were his reasons for wanting to help ex-prisoners?

What did Norman House provide for ex-prisoners?

What is the current policy of the Government in sentencing offenders?

Two Welsh prisons are mentioned in the article, Swansea and Berwyn. How are they different?

Y Cymro dreuliodd ei fywyd yn helpu carcharorion

Mab i weinidog oedd Merfyn Turner a bu`n byw mewn gwahanol ardaloedd o Gymru oherwydd gwaith ei dad, cyn iddo adael cartref, mynd i`r coleg a dechrau gweithio yn Llundain.

Pan ddechreuodd yr Ail Ryfel Byd fe wrthododd ymuno `r fyddin oherwydd ei ddaliadau heddychol a chafodd ei ddedfrydu i dri mis o lafur caled yng ngharchar Abertawe - profiad fyddai`n newid ei fywyd.

Ar ddiwedd y rhyfel, ar l cyfnodau fel gweithiwr cymdeithasol yn Tiger Bay a gweithio gyda phobl ddigartref yn Llundain, dechreuodd ymweld charcharorion yn Pentonville.

O`i brofiad personol roedd e wedi gweld bod bod yn y carchar yn dadbersonoli`r unigolyn, oedd yn ei sgil yn achosi lot o broblemau i rywun unwaith oedden nhw wedi gadael y carchar, i`r graddau bod bywyd tu allan i`r carchar yn anodd iawn ac yn arwain pobl yn aml iawn i ddilyn yr un patrwm a dychwelyd i`r carchar yn eitha` buan.

Roedd Merfyn Turner yn dadlau bod angen newid holl ethos y system gosb ac yn beirniadu`r diffyg cymorth i garcharorion oedd yn cael eu rhyddhau, yn enwedig o ystyried bod canran uchel o`r bobl oedd yn aildroseddu yn ddigartref.

Dadl Merfyn Turner ac eraill oedd bod angen creu llety safonol oedd yn ddiogel ac yn ln a fyddai hefyd yn noddfa i roi cefnogaeth i gyn-garcharorion.

Gyda chymorth elusen, yn 1954 fe agorodd Norman House yn Llundain - y tŷ hanner ffordd cyntaf ym Mhrydain. Roedd carcharorion yn cael eu gyrru yno ar l eu rhyddhau ac yn byw mewn criw bychan o hyd at 15 mewn awyrgylch teuluol - gyda Merfyn Turner yn `ben teulu`.

Oherwydd llwyddiant y tŷ, fe gafodd canolfannau ar draws Prydain eu modelu ar Norman House ac fe agorodd Merfyn Turner ail dŷ yn 1962 lle`r oedd y preswylwyr yn cael mwy o gyfrifoldebau.

Doedd pobl ddim yn gweld o fel gweithiwr cymdeithasol dosbarth canol arferol roedd yn cael ei dderbyn fel un ohonyn nhw mewn ffordd.

Dros y degawdau, gyda newid gwleidyddol, fe symudodd y pwyslais i ffwrdd o ganolfannau fel Norman House a thuag at garchardai mwy a chosbau llymach.

Mae`n bwysig cofio`r dyn, fu farw yn 1991 yn 75 oed, mewn cyfnod pan mai sefydliadau enfawr fel Carchar y Berwyn sy`n cael eu hadeiladu.

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