Session 23

Language notes

In this section we will look in more detail at the use of some Welsh verbs.

Gallu and medru both express the English word 'can'.  
           medraf             gallaf                 I can
           medri               galli                   you can
           medr                gall                    he/she/it can
           medrwn           gallwn               we can
           medrwch         gallwch             you can
           medran            gallan                they can
Gallu is used more in south Wales and medru is used more in north Wales.

Both verbs can be used in general for 'being able to carry out an action', i.e having both the ability and opportunity to carry out the action:
         Medraf i ddod i'r cyfarfod y prynhawn yma.          
         Gallaf i ddod i'r cyfarfod y prynhawn yma.
         I can come to the meeting this afternoon.
         Medran nhw agor y ffenestr os yw'r ystafell yn rhy gynnes.          
         Gallan nhw agor y ffenestr os yw'r ystafell yn rhy gynnes.
         They can open the window if the room is too warm.   

Gallu and medru can, however, have more specific meanings.

Gallu (but not medru) is used for 'having the option to...', where the option may or may not be taken up.

         Gallwch sefyll yr arholiad ym mis Mehefin.
         You can sit the examination in June.

          Gall werthu ei dŷ am bris da. 
          He can sell his house for a good price.
           Gallai fe ofyn am fwy o amser.
           He could ask for more time.

           Byddwch chi'n gallu mynd i'r ŵyl.
           You will be able to go to the festival.

Medru (but not gallu) is used for 'having the skill or ability to...'

            Mae hi'n medru ysgrifennu barddoniaeth hardd.
            She can write beautiful poetry.

            Medraf i hwylio'r cwch.
            I can sail the boat.

When asking permission, the verb cael is used rather than gallu/medru:

            Gaf i baned o goffi, os gwelwch yn dda?
            Can I have a cup of coffee, please?
For informal communication, the negative expression 'can not..' uses the verb methu:   
            Dw i'n methu deall pam ddewisaist ti'r lliw hwn.
            I cannot understand why you chose this colour.     

More formally, gallu or medru can be used for 'can not..' 
            Ni allwn ni ddefnyddio'r car ddydd Sadwrn.
            We cannot use the car on Saturday.

Two verbs in Welsh can be translated as the English word 'know' - gwybod and adnabod

Adnabod, often shortened to nabod, is used to indicate knowing a person or place.
           Ydych chi'n adnabod fy chwaer Jane?
           Do you know my sister Jane?

           Mae'n nabod Llundain yn iawn oherwydd iddo weithio yno.
           He knows London well because he worked there.

Gwybod is used when information is known.
           Mae pobl yn ne Cymru yn gwybod hanes y pyllau glo.
           People in south Wales know the history of the coal mines.   

           Ydych chi'n gwybod sut i chwarae'r piano?
           Do you know how to play the piano?        

The English words 'would' and 'could' are used in different situations.  
The first examples refer to events which happened or may have happened in the past.

      Pan oeddwn i'n byw yn Ynys Mn, byddwn i'n teithio i'r gwaith ar fws.
      When I lived in Anglesy, I would travel to work by bus.
                    (using bod)     (i.e. I did actually use the bus)

     Pan oeddwn i'n byw yn Ynys Mn, roeddwn i'n gallu teithio i'r gwaith ar fws.
     When I lived in Anglesey, I could travel to work by bus.
                    (using gallu)     (i.e. I had the option to use the bus)

'would' and 'could' can also refer to events happening now or in the future.
      A fyddech chi'n dod i'r cyfarfod ddydd Gwener?
      Would you come to the meeting on Friday? 
                    (using bod)      (i.e. Are you willing to come to the meeting?)

       A allech chi ddod i'r cyfarfod ddydd Gwener?
       Could you come to the meeting on Friday?   
                    (using gallu)     (i.e. Are you free to attend the meeting?)

Welsh has a useful selection of verbs for expressing different degrees of urgency or necessity.

        Efallai y byddwn yn mynd i'r theatr.                 
        We might go to the theatre.                           (using bod)

        Gallwn ni'n mynd i'r theatr.
        We can go to the theatre.                              (using gallu/medru)

         Rydyn ni'n cael mynd i'r theatr.
         We are allowed to go to the theatre.             (using cael)

         Dylen ni fynd i'r theatr.
         We should go to the theatre.                        (using dylai)

         Mae'n rhaid i ni fynd i'r theatr.
         We must go to the theatre.                           (using rhaid)


We can now summarise all the situations in which a treiglad llaes (aspirate mutation) is used:

treiglad llaes is applied to masculine nouns after the number 'tri':
        Roedd tri char y tu allan i'r tŷ.
             There were three cars outside the house.
        Mae tri thrn yn yr orsaf.
              There are three trains in the station.
        Mae'r ffatri'n defnyddio tri pheiriant.
              The factory uses three machines.
Note that the number 'three' has a feminine form tair which does not produce a treiglad:
        Mae tair merch yn y dosbarth.
              There are three girls in the class.

treiglad llaes is applied to all nouns, masculine and feminine, after the number 'chwech'. Note that chwech is shortened to chwe before a noun.
        Fe wnaethon ni brynu chwe chyllell a chwe phlt yn yr ocsiwn.
              We bought six knives and six plates at the auction.
        Mae chwe theulu yn byw yn y chwe thŷ.
              Six families live in the six houses.
        Mae gan y sw chwe pharot a chwe thylluan.
             The zoo has six parrots and six owls.

treiglad llaes is applied after the conjunction a 
        Byddwn yn darparu te a choffi.
             We will provide tea and coffee.
       Mae'r ffordd ar gyfer bysiau a thacsis yn unig.
             The road is for buses and taxis only.
       Mae gan y grŵp chwarae weithgareddau i famau a phlant.
             The play group has activities for mothers and children.

treiglad llaes is applied after the personal possessive pronoun ei representing a feminine noun:
       Daeth ei thad a'i chefnder i'r seremoni.
            Her father and her cefnder came to the ceremony.
       Mae'r dref yn adnabyddus am ei chastell a'i chanolfan siopa.
            The town is well known for its castle and shopping centre. 

treiglad llaes is applied after the following prepositions ', 'gyda and tua 
       Rwy'n mynd i'r caffi i gwrdd phobl.
            I go to the cafe to meet people.
       Byddaf yn mynd chadair arall i'r ystafell fwyta.
            I will take another chair to the dining room.
       Mae tua phum milltir i'r traeth.
            It is about five miles to the beach.
        Dylai'r cyfarfod ddod i ben tua phedwar o'r gloch.
            The meeting should end at about four o'clock.
        Mae gan y pentref siop gyda thafarn drws nesaf.
            The village has a shop with a pub next door.
        Hoffech chi gael eich stc gyda thatws a gyda phys?
             Would you like your steak with potatoes and with peas?

In north Wales, 'efo' is commonly used for the expression 'with...' in place of 'gyda'.  Efo does not cause a mutation:
         Hoffech chi gael eich stc efo tatws ac efo pys?          

treiglad llaes is applied where possible to the negative form of verbs in the short form past tense.    
         Ni phrynon ni car newydd.
 or     Phrynon ni ddim car newydd.
                We did not buy a new car.
         Ni chlywsant nhw'r dyn yn gweiddi.
 or     Chlywsant nhw mo'r dyn yn gweiddi.
                They did not hear the man shouting.
          Ni thalodd y cwmni am aros yn y gwesty.
or      Thalodd y cwmni ddim am aros yn y gwesty.
                The company did not pay for staying at the hotel.

treiglad llaes is also applied where possible to negative responses to questions in the past tense.
     A wnaethoch chi benderfynu? Ni phenderfynais i.
          Did you decide?  I did not decide. 
     Gwnaethoch chi gynllunio cyn i chi ddechrau? Chynlluniais i ddim.
           Did you plan before you started?  I did not plan.

In cases where a verb cannot take a treiglad llaes, a treiglad meddal is applied to the negative past tense, for example:  
       Ni ddysgodd Sbaeneg yn yr ysgol.
            He did not learn Spanish at school.
       Ni ofynnodd y rheolwr i'r cwsmer.
            The manager did not ask the customer.
       Feddyliais i ddim cyn neidio i'r afon.
            I did not think before jumping into the river.

treiglad llaes is applied in a similar way to the short form future tense where possible, for example:
      Ni choginiaf y pryd o fwyd heno.
            I will not cook the meal tonight.
     Thorrwn ni mo'r glaswellt tan y gwanwyn.
            We will not cut the grass until the spring.

Where a verb cannot take a treiglad llaes, a treiglad meddal is applied for the negative future tense, for example:
      Orffennwn ni mo'r gwaith heddiw.
            We will not finish the work today.

treiglad llaes is applied after the conjuction , meaning 'as' in English. For example:
     Mae ei cht newydd mor ysgafn phluen
            Her new coat is as light as a feather
     Mae'n gallu beicio mor gyflym cheir yng nghanol y ddinas.
            He can cycle as fast as cars in the city centre.

treiglad llaes is similarly applied after the conjuction na, meaning 'than', for example: 
  Mae'r tŷ hwn yn fwy na thŷ Mr Jones.
        This house is larger than Mr Jones' house.
  Mae siopau lleol yn fwy cyfleus na chanolfan siopa filltiroedd i ffwrdd.
         Local shops are more convenient than a shopping centre miles away.

treiglad llaes is applied in negative commands, e.g.
      Paid chanu yn rhy uchel yn y dafarn.
              Don't sing too loudly in the pub.
      Peidiwch phrynu mwy o hufen i.
              Don't buy any more ice cream.


In this section we will present idioms describing some actions and activites:

have a narrow escape - dianc o drwch blewyn
       Gwnaethon ni dianc o drwch blewyn o'r tarw blin yn y cae.
       We had a narrow escape from the angry bull in the field.

switch on a light - rhoi golau ymlaen
       Es i mewn i'r ystafell a rhoi'r golau ymlaen.
       I went into the room and switched on the light.

swith off a light - diffodd golau
      Gwnaethoch chi anghofio diffodd goleuadau'r car.
      You forgot to swich off the car lights.

run over by ... -  cael ei tharo i lawr gan ...
       Cafodd dyn ei tharo i lawr gan fws yng nghanol y ddinas.
       A man was run over by a bus in the city centre.

packed with people - dan ei sang
       Mae'r traeth dan ei sang pan fydd tywydd braf yn yr haf.
       The beach is packed when there is nice weather in the summer.

short of money - prin o arian
      Fydd eich rhieni'n helpu os ydych chi'n brin o arian?
      Will your parents help if you are short of money?

set about it - mynd ati
      Aethon nhw ati i glirio'r chwyn o'r ardd.
      They set about clearing the weeds from the garden.

still going - dal ar ei traed
      Mae e wedi bod yn gweithio trwy'r dydd ond mae'n dal ar ei thraed.
      He has been painting the house all day but he is still going.

read aloud - darllen yn uchel
       Darllenodd yr athro'r stori yn uchel i'r plant.
       The teacher read the story aloud to the children.

keep away from  - cadw draw o
        Rhaid i chi gadw draw o'r hen ffatri.
        You must keep away from the old factory.

put on weight - magu pwysau
       Rydyn ni i gyd yn magu pwysau yn ystod y gaeaf.
       We all put on weight during the winter.

take your time, take care - cymryd pwyll
        Cymerwch bwyll cyn ateb y cwestiwn.
        Take your time before answering the question.

fall asleep - syrthio i gysgu
        Syrthiodd i gysgu wrth wylio'r teledu.
        He fell asleep while watching the television. 

appear in court - mynd o flaen ei gwell
       Aeth y dyn o flaen ei well a arestiwyd am ddwyn car.
       The man appeared in court who was arrested for stealing a car.

knock at the door - curo wrth y drws
        Tra roedden nhw'n siarad, roedd curo wrth y drws.
        While they were talking, there was a knock at the door. 

give it a try - rhoi cynnig arni
         Efallai yr hoffech chi feicio felly rhowch gynnig arni.
         You might like cycling so give it a try.

make sense of - cael gafael ar
        Ni allon ni cael gafael ar y sefyllfa.
        We could not make sense of the situation.

put aside (for keeping) - rhoi i'r neilltu
        Rhoddodd y cwmni arian i'r neilltu ar gyfer peiriannau newydd.
        The company put aside money for new machinery.

talk rubbish  - siarad lol
        Roedd y gwleidydd yn siarad lol yn y cyfweliad teledu.
        The politician was talking rubbish in the television interview.

mess up - gwneud cawl
        Bydd y tywydd gwael yn gwneud cawl o'n cynlluniau.
        The bad weather will mess up our plans.

make a mountain out of a molehill - gwneud mor mynydd
        Mae ysgrifennu at gyfreithiwr ynglŷn 'r gwrych yn gwneud mor mynydd.
         Writing to a solicitor about the hedge is making a mountain out of a molehill.

Re-introducing wildlife

Brown bears lived in Britain in Roman times, and wolves and eagles were common during the middle ages.
Shakespeare wrote about red kites being numerous in London, and stealing clothes from washing lines to build their nests.
Over the centuries, many species have been lost due to hunting or damage to their habitats.
In recent years there have been a number of projects to re-introduce wildlife into areas of Wales.
This can be done by bringing wild animals from populations in other regions.
Animals may also be bred in captivity, then released.
Re-introduction can be encouraged to occur naturally by improving the habitats required by animals or birds.
One of the earliest projects was to protect the rare red kites which occasionally nested in mid-Wales.
Centres were set up to feed the birds, and their numbers have increased.
Red kites can now often be seen circling over the Welsh mountains.
There has also been success in encouraging ospreys to nest in the western estuaries of Wales, where they have a good food supply of fish.
Another project is the re-introduction of a family of beavers to the Dovey estuary.
It is hoped that the beavers will feed on the willow which grows along the banks of the estuary.
Removing the willow may restore open wetlands, which would encourage the growth of mosses to create peat.
Peat is very beneficial in removing carbon dioxide from the air and reducing green house gases in the atmosphere.
Beavers may also be released in upland river valleys.
They would create dams in streams, which may delay the flow of water after a storm and reduce flooding in villages down stream.
More wild goats are now seen on steep slopes of some of the mountains.
They can eat the vegetation on rocky ledges, so that sheep are not tempted to go into dangerous places.
Some species have returned to Wales naturally due to improvements in the environment.
With the end of heavy industries such as coal and metal mining, the rivers are cleaner and fish have returned.
Also, a reduction in the fishing industry along the west coast of Wales has left more food available for marine mamals.
The populations of seals and dolphins have increased.

Translate the sentence:

Brown bears lived in Britain in Roman times, and wolves and eagles were common during the middle ages.

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.


resident, inhabitant  trigolyn  noun (m);  venture  mentro  verb;
wade  rhydio  verb;   possessions  eiddo  noun (m);
fall, reduce  gostwng  verb;  assess  asesu  verb;
previous cynt  adjective;  pressure  pwysedd  noun (m);

The residents of Mountain Road, Cwm Coed, were all in their houses.
Some were watching late television programs, and others had gone to bed.
There had been a huge rainstorm during the day, and the streams flowing down the sides of this old coal mining valley were full.
One resident had decided to venture out to take his dog for a walk.
Looking up the road, he could not believe what he was seeing.
A sheet of water several feet deep was rushing towards him down the road.
He grabbed his dog and climbed onto a low wall.
As the water rushed past, he could see that it was not normal river water but was a bright orange colour.
He waded quickly to the nearest house and knocked furiously on the front door.
The occupants of the house let him in, shocked to see the water.
By now the water was rising and was entering the house.
The occupants let him phone the emergency services as they rushed to move small furniture and valuable possessions upstairs.
The fire brigade were quickly on the scene.
By now, the dirty water was several feet deep in houses, and residents had escaped up to the upper floors.
Rescue boats were brought, and the fire crews went from house to house to collect people and their pet animals.
Arrangements were quickly made to take everyone to a local school, where blankets and hot drinks were available.
People spent a difficult night, worrying about the damage to their homes.
By the next morning, the flow of water had reduced and the flood level had fallen.
Experts came to assess the situation, and discovered that the flood water had come from an old coal mine on the hillside.
During the previous day`s storm, water had flooded down the old mine shaft.
Pressure increased underground, and the water exploded out through an old tunnel on the hill above the village.
The flood had occurred because the old mine shaft had not been capped and sealed properly to prevent water flowing into it.

Translate the sentence:

The residents of Mountain Road, Cwm Coed, were all in their houses.

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

Barmouth Town Trail

Although now best known as a seaside resort, Barmouth was once an important coastal port with a herring fishing industry.  The town has a wealth of historic buildings, many dating back to 18th and early 19th centuries when the port was at its busiest.  Other buildings were added in Victorian times when Barmouth became an early tourist destination with the coming of the railway.

A Town Trail information leaflet is being produced, to guide visitors to places of interest in the town.  Some of the stops along the trail are marked on the map below, and notes are given opposite.

You are invited to translate the notes into Welsh, so that the leaflet can be produced bilingually. 


hardware store   siop nwyddau metel;
arrival  cyrhaeddiad  noun (m);  Worcester  Caerwrangon;
alley  ale  noun (f);  winding  troellog  adjective;
amongst  ymhlith preposition;  philanthropist  dyngarwr  noun (m);
well-being  lles  noun (m);  promote  hyrwyddo  verb;
corrugated iron  haearn rhychiog  noun (m);  visiting  ymweliadol  adjective;
catch daliad noun (m);  herring  pennog noun (m)  penwaig (pl);
destine  tynghedu  verb;  overthrow  dymchweliad noun (m);
drunkard  meddwyn noun (m) meddwon (pl); 

A:  The Barmouth Town Trail starts from Talbot Square, outside the fine Victorian Railway Station. The round topped building, now a hardware store, was once the garage for motor charabancs that took visitors to the attractions nearby in the 1920's.
B:  A small road leads up to St. John's Church. With the increase in tourists following the arrival of the railway in 1867, a bigger church was needed. St. Johns was built with money given by Mrs Sarah Perrins, the widow of James Perrins who was one of the creators of Lea and Perrins Worcester Sauce. 
C:  The oldest part of the town, known as The Rock, dates back to the time that Barmouth was a small port serving a coastal trade in goods and fishing of herring.  It is an area of steep winding alleys that climb up around the 18th and 19th century cottages. Among these cottages were several connected with John Ruskin, the famous artist and philanthropist. He established a community in the cottages to promote the well being of working men and to prevent them from slipping into poverty.
D:  The grey corrugated iron building is the Sailors Institute. It was built in 1896 to provide a reading and rest room for local and visiting sailors.  It is open to visitors, and there are many photographs and sea charts depicting Barmouths maritime history.  
E:  Opposite the Institute is a marble sculpture by local artist showing fishermen bringing in a catch of herring. The block of marble used was part of a cargo found in a ship wreck on the sea bed about four miles north of Barmouth. It is believed the ship sank during a storm in 1709 on route from Italy, and its marble cargo may have been destined for St Pauls Cathedral.
F:  The oldest building in Barmouth, Tŷ Gwyn, dates back to around 1465. It has a mediaeval hall on the first floor hall, which is now a museum. This was a safe house where supporters of the future king Henry VII planned the overthrow of the Yorkists during the Wars of the Roses. The building allowed an easy escape route to the sea. 
G:  Tŷ Crwn was built in 1833 and is an unusual small circular building. This was a lock-up for the drunks and petty criminals that must have frequented a busy port like Barmouth. 
H:  The Harbour Masters Office building was once fishermen's cottages and store rooms. It carries a plaque that commemorates Harold Lowe who lived in Barmouth. He was an officer on the Titanic, and bravely saved many lives on the terrible night in 1912 when the ship went down. 
I:  Barmouth was a busy port with a hundred ships registered there in 1795, due mainly to the Merionnydd woollen industry. It was easier to transport goods by sea at this time than across Wales by road. From the harbour you can take a ferry across the mouth of the estuary. This ferry connection has existed since medieval times. 
J:  Barmouth Railway Bridge was built by the Aberystwyth and Welsh Coast Railway and opened in 1867. Construction was difficult due to the strong currents and two men were drowned. 

Translate the sentence:

The Barmouth Town Trail starts from Talbot Square, outside the fine Victorian Railway Station.

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:

How can people be cheated when they buy goods on-line?

What problems might a person have if their identity is stolen?

What immediate action is suggested if you discover that you are the victim of a fraud?

What general advice is given about offers that seem amazingly good?

How should you dispose of documents containing personal information?

What advice is given for protecting information on your computer?

What advice is given for dealing with suspicious `cold callers`?

Criminal scams on-line and by phone

Un or sgamiau mwyaf cyffredin ydy pan fydd rhywun yn honni bod yn rhywun arall er mwyn troseddu. Maer hunaniaeth ffug yma yn cael ei ddefnyddio i roi perswd arnat ti i brynu pethau sydd ddim ar werth, ddim yn bodoli neu sydd yn ddi-werth. Gall hyn hefyd gynnwys twyllo rhywun i roi arian iddynt, gan addo bod posib gwneud mwy o arian er esiampl, ennill loteri ffug neu dwyll etifeddiaeth (inheritance) ble gallant fynnu ar arian ar gyfer gwobr neu etifeddiaeth sydd ddim yn bodoli.

Math cyffredin arall o dwyll ydy lladrad hunaniaeth (identity theft). Dyma pan fydd rhywun yn defnyddio dy fanylion personol i droseddu. Gall hyn dwyllo eraill i agor cyfrifon banc, gwneud ceisiadau am fenthyciadau neu brynu nwyddau a gwasanaethau gan ddefnyddio dy fanylion banc a dy arian.

Mae pobl weithiau yn gweld bai arnyn nhw eu hunain am gael eu twyllo. Ni ddylet ti! Mae twyllwyr yn dda iawn yn yr hyn maent yn ei wneud ac yn deall sut i drin pobl. Felly gad i ni rannur camau gorau:

Ymweld ag Action Fraud i adrodd bod trosedd wedi digwydd.
Cysylltu r banc iw hysbysu am y sefyllfa.

Cofia, nid dy fai di yw bod yn ddioddefwr twyll. Yn anffodus mae twyll yn un or troseddau fwyaf cyffredin, ac maer sgamwyr yn dda iawn yn ei wneud! Canolbwyntio ar yr hyn y gellir ei wneud nawr. Maen syniad da i ti addysgu dy hun am dwyll, i gymryd camau i amddiffyn dy hun rhag i hyn ddigwydd i ti, neu ddigwydd eto. Dyma ychydig o gamau syml iw dilyn...

Cofia os yw rhywbeth yn swnion rhy dda, yna maen debyg nad ywn wir.

Cadw gwybodaeth bersonol yn ddiogel rhwyga dogfennau gyda gwybodaeth bersonol bob tro e.e. rhif pin

Cadwn ddiogel ar-lein newid cyfrineiriau yn aml a gosod yr amddiffyniad gwrth-firws diweddaraf ar bopeth

Byddan amheus o galwyr oer ac unrhyw un sydd yn ceisio gwerthu pethau neu wasanaethau dros y ffn neu ar drothwyr drws. Os wyt tin poeni, dweud yn gadarn ac yn gwrtais nad oes gen ti ddiddordeb, yna caur drws neu roir ffn i lawr.


Story board

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Major rivers in Wales


The three longest rivers with their sources in Wales are the Severn, Wye and Dee. Of these, the Severn and Wye both begin as small streams on the mountain slopes of Plynlimon in central Wales.


At Llanidloes the Severn is joined by a tributary, the Afon Clywedog. This flows from a huge reservoir nearby.


The River Severn flows eastwards and crosses the border into England near Shrewsbury. The river is wide and deep. Serious flooding can occur in Shrewsbury if there is a major storm over the Welsh mountains.


The River Wye flows from Plynlimon, and still has the characterisitics of a mountain river as it flows through the town of Rhayader in central Wales.


Further south, the River Wye crosses into England and flows through Hereford, before forming the border between England and Wales beyond Monmouth. It passes the picturesque ruins of Tintern Abbey, then enters the Severn Estuary near the Severn Bridge.


The River Dee has its headwaters in the Aran and Arenig mountains. These streams flow into Bala Lake.


The River Dee leaves the lake and flows eastwards to Llangollen, then beneath the huge Pontcysyllte aqueduct which carries the Llangollen Canal.


The river continues northwards through Chester, then enters the Dee estuary at Ellesmere Port.

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