Session 15

Language notes

In this section we will look at some aspects of questions and answers.

Welsh differs from English in that questions are usually answered with a verb phrase, rather than a single word yes/no:
           Ydw i'n cywir?               Wyt                 Nag wyt
              Am I correct?                   You are           You are not    
           Wyt ti'n cywir?              Ydw                 Nag ydw
              Are you correct?              I am                 I am not
           Ydy e'n cywir?              Ydy                  Nag ydy
              Is he correct?                  He is                He is not
           Ydyn ni'n cywir?           Ydych             Nag ydych
              Are we correct?               You are           You are not
           Ydych chi'n cywir?      Ydyn                Nag ydyn
              Are you correct?              We are            We are not
           Ydyn nhw'n cywir?      Ydyn                Nag ydyn
              Are they correct?             They are          They are not

A simple yes/no answer can be given when emphasis is needed:      
           Eich car chi ydy hwn?            Ie               Na    
           Is this your car?                        Yes             No

For past tenses, questions can again be answered with a verb phrase 
         Oeddet ti ar y trn?                 Oeddwn      Nag oeddwn  
         Were you on the train?              I was            I was not    

A simple past tense yes/no answer can also be used:
     Aethoch chi i'r dref ddoe?               Do                  Naddo
     Did you go to the town yesterday?     Yes (I did)       No (I didn't)

The form of answer may depend on the structure of the sentence, for example:

   Ydy eich gwraig yn siarad Ffrangeg?       Ydy               Nag ydy
   Does your wife speak French?                      She does      She does not

   Eich gwraig sydd yn siarad Ffrangeg?      Oes               Nag oes 
   Is it your wife that speaks French?                 It is                It is not
         (not someone else)

For questions relating to the object of the sentence, the present tense oes is used:     
         Oes pysgod yn y llyn?                        Oes               Nag oes
         Are there fish (object) in the lake?         There are       There are not

For questions relating to the subject of the sentence, the present tense ydy is used:  
       Ydy'r pysgod yn y llyn?                        Ydyn             Nag ydyn  
       Are the fish (subject) in the lake?            They are       They are not
       (rather than somewhere else...)

Questions can be produced by simply speaking in a questionning manner:
      Siaradodd hi yn y cyfarfod?         Did she speak in the meeting?
However, the presence of a question can be signalled by placing A or Ai at the start of the sentence:
       Ai eich frindiau ydy'r rheiny?           Are those your friends?

The word 'A' causes a soft mutation:
       Bydd cacen i de                                There will be cake for tea
       A fydd cacen i de?                            Will there be cake for tea?

 The soft mutation occurs with question forms, even when the 'A' is imaginary:
       Welodd e'r ddamwain?                      Did he see the accident?
A question can be created by making a statement, then adding a question phrase at the end. For example:
       Mae'n oer heddiw, ynte?                        It is cold today, isn't it?

Questions are often created using the interrogative words:
        pwy? (who), beth? (what), lle? (where), pryd? (when),  pam? (why),
        sut? (how), pa? (which), sawl? (how many), faint? (how many/much):
        Pwy yw'r enillydd?                           Who is the winner?
        Beth yw'r broblem?                          What is the problem?
        Pryd mae'r siop ar agor?                 When is the shop open?
        Pam ydych chi'n gwerthu'r car?     Why are you selling the car?
        Sut mae'r llawr yn cael ei lanhau?  How is the floor cleaned?
        Pa lyfr ydych chi'n ei ddarllen?      Which book are you reading?
        Sawl brawd sydd gennych chi?      How many brothers do you have?
        Faint o goed sydd yn yr ardd?        How many trees are in the garden?


In previous sessions we have discussed the wide range of situations in which a treiglad meddal is used.  Welsh has two other treigladau which are much less common in the spoken and written language.  These are the treiglad llaes and the treiglad trwynol:

The treiglad llaes affects only three letters at the start of words:
                 p  becomes  ph
                 t   becomes  th
                 c   becomes ch 

A treiglad llaes occurs after certain words:

The conjunction a (and):
       Roedd ceir a thacsis y tu allan i'r gwesty.
       There were cars and taxis outside the hotel.

The conjunction linked with some verbs:
       Siaradon ni chynghorydd yn neuadd y dref.
       We spoke to a counsellor at the town hall.
       Roedd yn trin yr athro pharch.
       He treated the teacher with respect.

The preposition gyda (with):
       Ydych chi eisiau cig gyda thatws?
       Do you want meat with potatoes?

The adverb tua (approximately):
       Mae tua phedair milltir i'r dref.
       It is about four miles to the town.

The number tri (three) before a masculine noun:
        Mae tri thraeth ar hyd yr arfordir.
        There are three beaches along the coast. 

However, this treiglad rule does not apply to tair (three) used with feminine nouns:
        Mae tair tref gerllaw.
        There are three towns nearby.

A treiglad llaes is applied after the pronoun ei when this refers to a feminine noun: 
       Aethon ni yn ei char.               We went in her car.

However, a treiglad meddal is applied after the pronoun ei when this refers to a masculine noun:         
       Aethon ni yn ei gar.                 We went in his car.

The treiglad trwynol can affect six letters at the start of words:
                 p  becomes  mh
                 t   becomes  nh
                 c   becomes ngh
                 b   becomes  m
                 d   becomes  n
                 g   becomes ng 

A treiglad trwynol occurs with the preposition yn (in):
       Fe brynon ni'r dodrefn yng Nghaerdydd.
       We bought the furniture in Cardiff.

treiglad trwynol occurs with the pronoun fy (my):
       Byddaf yn ysgrifennu at fy mrawd.
       I will write to my brother.

treiglad trwynol is associated with the prefix an-  in a number of common words, for example:
                   annhebyg     unlikely 
                   anghofio       forget
                   anhrefn         chaos
                   amhosib        impossible


The word 'dros' can have several meanings:

      Mae eira dros y mynyddoedd heddiw.
      There is snow over the mountains today. 

more than
       Mae gan y siop dros deg math o ffn ar werth.
       The store has more than ten types of phones on sale. 

on behalf of
       Apeliodd y cyfreithiwr i'r llys dros ei gleient.
       The solicitor appealed to the court on behalf of his client.

'dros' appears in a number of common phrases and idioms:

dros dro - temporarily
     Fe wnaethon ni storio'r hen ddodrefn yn y garej dros dro.
     We stored the old furniture in the garage temporarily.

dros ben llestri - over the top, out of control
     Roedd ei feirniadaeth gynddeiriog o'r rheolwr dros ben llestri.
     His furious criticism of the manager was over the top.

dros ben  -  exceptionally, exceedingly
        Canodd y cr yn dda dros ben yn y gystadleuaeth.
        The choir sang exceedingly well in the competition.

dros amser - over time, eventually
         Dros amser daeth y castell yn adfail.
         Over time the castle became a ruin.

dros cyfnod - for a period of time
         Cydweithiodd y gwyddonwyr dros cyfnod ar yr arbrawf.
         The scientists worked together for a period on the experiment.  

drosodd - finished
         Mae'r gwyliau drosodd nawr a rhaid i mi fynd yn l i'r gwaith.
         The holiday is over now and I must go back to work.

drosodd a throsodd - over and over
          Mae gennych chi'r un peth i ginio drosodd a throsodd.
          You have the same thing for lunch over and over.

dros ei ben a'i glustiau - head over heals, deeply
         Mae ei gamblo wedi cael e dros ei ben a'i glustiau mewn dyled.
         His gambling has got him head over heals in debt.

Crossing the Severn estuary

The Severn Estuary has been an obstacle for travellers between Wales and England since earliest times.
Roman soldiers crossed the Severn by boat from Aust, near the present Severn Bridge.
In the Middle Ages, the same crossing point was used by the monks of Tintern Abbey.
In the nineteenth century a steam ferry began, and quays were built on both banks.
A railway bridge was built in 1879, followed by the Severn railway tunnel in 1886.
The steam boat service lost its traffic, and the sevice closed.
The Severn railway bridge was a long viaduct with twenty one spans supported on iron cylinders.
The bridge carried trains of iron ore and coal from mines in the Forest of Dean.
The bridge continued to be in use until 1960 when two ships, which were carrying fuel, collided and then struck the bridge, causing an explosion.
Repairs to the bridge would have been too expensive, so it was demolished.
When the Severn Tunnel was built, it was the longest rail tunnel in Britain.
The engineers had huge problems with water flowing into the tunnel from the surrounding rock.
The tunnel still carries the railway from Bristol to South Wales.
Continual pumping is required to keep it dry.
As motor traffic increased, the ferry service was re-opened in 1926.
The small ferries were able to carry about twenty cars.
The huge tidal range affected the ferry timetable.
The boats were unable to operate at low tide or at very high tide.
The ferry closed in 1966 when the first Severn Bridge opened.
This huge suspension bridge carries the motorway.
This was followed by construction of the Second Severn Crossing, also known as the Prince of Wales Bridge.
Until December 2018, drivers had to pay a toll to cross either of the bridges, but tolls are no longer charged.

Translate the sentence:

The Severn Estuary has been an obstacle for travellers between Wales and England since earliest times.

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.


ruined castle  adfail castell;   restore  adfer  verb;    
abandon  cefnu ar  verb;  container  cynhwysydd  noun (m);
pipe  peipen  noun (f);  solution  datrysiad  noun (m);
thunderstorm  storm fellt a tharanau;  terrify  dychrynu  verb;
crashing noise   sŵn chwalu;  reveal  datgelu  verb;

Chris is a builder.
When he married Sue, they agreed that they would build their own perfect home one day.
During his work, Chris was asked to look at a ruined castle.
The owner was a businessman who had bought the ruin cheaply and wanted to restore it.
Chris explained that the project would take years, and the cost would be enormous.
The businessman was disappointed, and told Chris that he would abandon the project and sell the castle.
Chris realised that this could be the home he was dreaming about.
He made an offer for the ruin, and it was accepted.
Chris and Sue sold their house, and moved into a caravan by the castle.
They started work and completed a couple of rooms where they could live.
One of the biggest problems was finding a water supply.
It would be very expensive to lay water pipes from the nearest village, and there were no other water sources near by.
A local farmer allowed them to fill containers of water, but this was only a temporary solution.
One night when they were in the castle, there was an enormous thunder storm right overhead.
It terrified their cat and she hid under the bed.
Suddenly there was a lightening strike very close by, followed by a crashing noise.
They rushed out to see what had happened.
The lightning had struck a tree and then it fell.
The roots pulled away rocks to reveal an old well.
This had provided water for the castle.
Their water supply problem had been solved.

Translate the sentence:

Chris is a builder.

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

Mountain Rescue news story

Along side is a report of walkers being rescued on Cader Idris.

You are invited to translate the report into Welsh.


party (of travellers)  cwmni  noun (m);  charity  elusen  noun (f);
Mountain Rescue  Achub Mynydd;  plateau  llwyfandir  noun (m);
darkness  tywyllwch  noun (m);   express  mynegi  verb;
undertake  ymgymryd   verb;  proper  priodol  adjective;

Translate the sentence:

At around half past five in the evening the Mountain Rescue team received a message that a group of six walkers were lost on Cader Idris.

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:

According to the article, what problems might be experienced by people wishing to use Welsh?

Who is mentioned as first leading the fight to protect the Welsh language?

What did the Welsh Language Society achieve in the 1960s?

What was the focus of the Society in the 1970s and 80s?

According to the article, what factors threaten the Welsh language at the present day?

What examples are given of activities carried out by the Society?

What examples are given of members` skills that are of use to the Society?

Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg

Cymdeithas o bobl sy`n gweithredu`n ddi-drais dros y Gymraeg a chymunedau Cymru fel rhan o`r chwyldro rhyngwladol dros hawliau a rhyddid yw Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg.

Ydych chi erioed wedi profi anhawster wrth geisio cael gwasanaeth Gymraeg? Cael eich trin yn amharchus wrth drio siarad Cymraeg? Cael trafferth cael addysg Gymraeg i chi neuch plant?

Yn 1962, dywedodd Saunders Lewis fod angen chwyldro er mwyn achub yr iaith Gymraeg. Am dros hanner canrif mae Cymdeithas yr Iaith wedi bod ar flaen y gad yn arwain y chwyldro hwnnw.
1960au Arwyddion Ffyrdd
1970/80au Sianel Deledu Cymraeg
1990au Deddf Iaith 1993
2010 Statws Swyddogol i`r Gymraeg
2011 Sefydlu`r Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol

Ond maer Gymraeg yn ddiogel erbyn hyn?

Mae`n wir bod sefyllfar iaith wedi cryfhau dros y blynyddoedd mewn rhai meysydd, ond mae cymaint o ffactorau fel effaith globaleiddio, toriadau mewn gwariant a dirywiad cymunedau Cymraeg yn bygwth yr iaith. Maer bygythiadau diweddar i S4C a diffyg ein hawdurdodau lleol i weithredu trwyr Gymraeg yn brawf or angen i barhau i frwydro ac amddiffyn yr iaith an cenedligrwydd. Er mwyn iddi fod yn iaith fyw rhaid i ni ei defnyddio ym mhob rhan on bywydau; yn iaith naturiol yn ein cymunedau, ar y we, yn y siop, yn gyfrwng in haddysg, radio a theledu.

Ond dydw i ddim yn un i brotestio...

Wrth gwrs eich bod chi! Nid protestio ar y strydoedd a wnawn ni drwyr amser. Hanfod y Gymdeithas yw gweithredu yn l y dull di-drais; gall hyn fod yn unrhyw beth o ysgrifennu llythyr am ddiffyg gwasanaeth Gymraeg neu gasglu llofnodion ar ddeiseb hyd at brotestio neu hyd yn oed baentio sloganau. Does neb o fewn y Gymdeithas yn cael ei gorfodi i wneud unrhyw beth a roddir y pwyslais ar annog a chynorthwyo ein haelodau i gyfrannu a datblygu eu sgiliau neilltuol. Mae lobo busnesau, cynghorau sir a gwleidyddion yn rhywbeth syn digwydd drwyr flwyddyn ac mae angen help ein haelodau i wneud hyn. Mae angen pobl sy`n gallu ysgrifennu, darlunio, cyfathrebu, creu pethau, pobl gydag arbenigedd mewn addysg, cyfraith, adloniant, cyfrifiaduron, yn wir, beth bynnag eich talentau, mae yna le i chi helpu gyda gwaith y Gymdeithas.


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.

The Marquises of Bute


The Cardiff docks were built by the 2nd Marquis of Bute. He owned much of the land around the mouth of the River Taff, and saw an opportunity to develop the export of coal from South Wales. He also invested in railways to carry the coal from the mines to the port.


The Marquis owned extensive estates in the South Wales valleys. Large amounts of coal were found beneath this land. The Marquis opened some of his own collieries, and also leased land to other industrialists to develop collieries.


Coal mined in the South Wales valleys could be used in the production of iron. The early iron industry was centred on Merthyr Tudfil, where the Marquis invested in the Dowlais Ironworks. Income from the docks, railways, coal mines and iron works eventually made the 2nd Marquis of Bute the richest man in the world.


When the 2nd Marquis of Bute died, his huge wealth was passed on to his son, the 3rd Marquis of Bute. The 3rd Marquis was less interested in industry, but had a great enthusiasm for architecture and medieval history. In 1865, the Marquess met the architect William Burges and the two worked together to extend Cardiff Castle.


The rooms of the castle have been built in a rich medieval style by skilled craftsmen.


The Marquis then asked William Burges to design a country residence where he could go to entertain important friends. The result was Castell Coch. This has the appearance of a fairy tale castle, with its conical towers rising from the forested hillside.


The design of Castell Coch was based on medieval European castles, with a central courtyard surrounded by wooden galleries. The rooms are again furnished in a rich medieval style, and beautifully constructed by skilled craftsmen.

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