A or Ac?

Bore da,

Diolch @aran for permitting me to share my work on here with the SSiW community.

I really enjoy helping learners with the more technical aspects of the Welsh language (aka grammar), so if there’s ever something you’d like me to explain, I’d be happy to help.

I’ve started writing a blog explaining some aspects of the Welsh language to learners, based on some common errors. This week, for example, I’ve written about the difference between ‘a’ and ‘ac’, including the exceptions to the rule. I welcome any ideas for future topics, so let me know if there’s an area of Welsh you’d like me to explain on the blog. If you’re struggling with an aspect of the language, then the chances are that there’ll be other people also struggling with the same thing. Someone suggested the difference between ‘Dw i’n mynd’ and ‘Bydda i’n mynd’, for example, which is now on my list of things to write about.

If you’d like to read about the difference between a and ac, or just have a look around the blog, here’s a link to it. http://bit.ly/1lmbXPA

Right, I’m about to head out now to tutor some Welsh classes in Machynlleth for the day!

Hwyl fawr,



Diolch yn fawr iawn, @Mererid One of my wonders explained. :slight_smile:


Diolch @Mererid,

One thing thats been making me wonder, is why is the Cymraeg for ‘a week’ wythnos (8 nights) when theres 7 nights in a week and the cymraeg for fortnight is pythefnos (15 nights) when theres 14 nights in a fortnight. Also 2 X 8 = 16 not 15. So confused.


Nos means night, the time when the sun is below the horizon, and dydd means the opposite*; the time when the sun gives us light. A week lasts from the end of a dydd to the beginning of the next dydd the following week. Thus it includes eight nos. And, yes, that means there’s a night time overlap between consecutive wythnosau. It’s a cultural construct and therefore allowed to differ between cultures, after all. :wink:
The pythefnos pattern is similar.

*For a 24 hour period, see diwrnod.


That makes sense and remains confusing at the same time.


Yes. I’m not even sure that I explained it correctly!

If not correct, @robbruce (what I think it is correct) it’s at least interesting explanation. When reading I just imagined how night is setting and sun is rizing … so, you’ve done your work. :slight_smile:

Well, if you start from midnight, there are eight nights in a week - the one that’s about midway through at midnight at the beginning, the one that is only part of that week until about midway through (i.e. at midnight) at the end of the week, and the six nights in between. Same with fifteen nights for a fortnight.


OK that makes sense now. Diolch @hectorgrey

Sorry @Mererid I appear to have hijacked your post.

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Some of the exceptions are due to words that have been dropped from speech. ‘ac mae’ was at one time ‘ac y mae’. The ‘y’ dropped but ‘ac’ remained.


Diolch - syniad eitha dda Dw i’n siwr bydd o’n ddefnyddio iawn

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One of my students calls Welsh ‘the language of ghosts’ for exactly that reason. Archaic words creating mutations and exceptions to rules. Learning Welsh must be like trying to solve a huge cryptic crossword. It’s the ideal language for wordsmiths! No wonder Tolkien liked it so much. Diolch @craigf. An interesting point.


Hijack away - I love this kind of thing. Etymology is one of my favourite subjects to talk about. I’m only having a quick peak at SSiW just now, but I look forward to reading that document tonight about wythnos a pythefnos.

Etymology being your.favourite, @Mererid… I should drew one more’s attention on here. Calling @Millie… If she has time, of course as she’s extreamly busy right now, but maybe she would like to jump in anyway…

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Hi thanks for this! Can I put a link of your blog to our local Welsh learning group on Facebook?
I use this group to promote local Welsh speaking events, word of the week or any info that will help Welsh learners in the Swansea.


I enjoyed reading the blog, Mererid! Looking forward to more! :slight_smile:

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Hi @Meredid,

This is quite a big subject, so I’m not sure if it would fit in with what you had in mind, but we recently had a thread on (well, the way I would describe it, wearing my grammar glasses) subordinate clauses, which are rather different in Welsh than in English.

I’ve read Gareth King’s take on it in the first edition of his “Modern Welsh:A comprehensive Grammar”, and then very recently found (surprisingly) the new 3rd edition already on Google Books (only part of it, but quite a large part), and I think he’s improved the explanations, but nevertheless, there is still quite a lot to take in.

Maybe we need a slightly simplified picture, but not too simplified. :slight_smile:

I recently found this, which is quite old, but answered some of my questions, but it’s not clear who wrote it or how authoritative it is.


The bit that interests me is where he starts talking about noun phrases:

You can see that noun phrases are rather prominent in Welsh

However, I think there is quite a bit more to it than that.
It would be interesting if you were able to write about your take on it.

@AnnaC I’m really glad, thanks! I look forward to writing more, too.

@tatjana Oh, you’ve just given me an idea! I’d love to do some research regarding the connection between Welsh and other languages. I know there are many Latin connections, like’dydd Llun’ - Lunedì in Italian, Lundi in French, and so on. The other day, someone told me that cadair (chair) is caderia in Portuguese! I bet we could gather quite a list on SSiW! Do you think it would be appropriate to start up a new thread? Would it have to go in a certain place on the forum? What do other people think?

Oh sorry everyone, I seem to have messed up the ‘reply’ thing.

@mikeellwood Fantastic suggestion. I love a good subordinate clause. Thanks for that link, by the way. It’s interesting to read the author’s take on the passive tense. It doesn’t need to be that complicated, though. It would be quite interesting to read the thread that was on here previously that discussed subordinate clauses. I’ll try searching for it. I’m definitely adding your suggestion to the list of blog topics! What’s your current level in Welsh, btw?

“Do you think it would be appropriate to start up a new thread?”
Plenty of threads on etymology of Welsh on this and the old site, so fill your boots I would think!

This thread might be of interest to you, as one of many on the subject.

I haven’t been able to access your blog, but if Trisha thinks it is interesting, I look forward to reading it and hopefully linking to it on her site will be ok!


Thank you @owainlurch. I thought in approximately the same direction. So @Mererid the topic which Owain suggested could be just the right one.

And, if I may suggest, @Millie writes a great blog about etimology, which you can find here: Glossologics You might find reading it enjoyable.

And, I’m glad I’ve given you some idea.

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