Ac before consonant in "ac mae"?

When Challenge 2 introduced a/ac for “and”, it said that a was used before consonants and ac was used before consonants.

In both Challenges 2 and 3, there are sentences with “ac mae (dal) eisiau”. I would have expected a rather than ac before mae because mae starts with a consonant. What’s going on here?

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The amazing disappearing Y. I think, originally, it would have been “ac y mae”. The Y has disappeared, the AC doesn’t know it.

Please would any grammarians correct me, if necessary.


Exactly. That is also why you see roedd for yr oedd, etc.


I heard Huw Stephens on the radio say “a mae” last week. It sounded really odd. I think he started saying one thing, changed his mind, and ended up saying something else, so he produced this really unnatural-sounding sentence.

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“a mae” is certainly very hard to say and Cymraeg never is!!

Nice straightforward explanation of the situation here-!Two-ways-of-saying-and-in-Welsh-and-when-to-use-which/c16ee/563f395d0cf21009be7caef5

(In my opinion, anyway!:blush:)


Really good one - bit puzzled by ac wedyn though. It says that this is one of the rule breakers/exceptions, but it seems to fit the general rules to me or am I missing something?

Its just that “w” is a vowel :slight_smile:




Hmm, well IIRC ´wedyn´ was once ´gwedyn´, and indeed ´ac´ should be pronounced ´ag´ so ´a gwedyn´ simply became thought of as ´ag wedyn´ (and next/afterwards).

The AC spelling for AG btw is one of a very few hangovers from early Welsh writing practice, and indeed one of few exceptions to Welsh spelling being ´phonetic´.

I imagine it´s been kept to distinguish (in writing) between ´a©’ = ´and´ and ´â´ ~ ´ag´ = ´with´, although I think historically these are really just different uses of the same word. In both cases there´s an aspirate mutation in the following word, ´bara a chaws´, ´er gwaetha(f) pawb a phopeth´ (Yma o Hyd) etc.

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I never knew that wedyn was once gwedyn. If you listen to people saying ac wedyn, I’m not sure I would be able to tell if anyone was actually saying ag or ac wedyn anyway.

I queried this originally because it’s not an exception to any rule if it’s wedyn because it’s ac before a vowel. If it comes from gwedyn then thats a different kettle of pysgodyn, ond yw fe.

Alternatively, that w at the start of wedyn is actually a consonant. It sounds like one to me anyway.

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Gwyn Thomas in “Ymarfer Ysgrifennu Cymraeg” (sorry, no link) has this list:

ac mae, ac sydd, ac mi, ac fe, ac felly, ac nid, ac mewn, ac mor, ac meddai

not exactly the same as the LetsTalkWelsh list, but pretty close. He’s pretty formal.


The pronunciation of “ac” as “ag” is something which is as at least as often honoured in its breach as is it is in its observance- at least by my experience! (And I’m someone who would say you can notice the difference in pronunciation.)

Funnily enough, had a conversation with a couple of people who make/did make a living through writing in the Welsh language the other day about whether they would use “ac Ianto” or “a Ianto”. Both said they would be likely to say “a Ianto”, even if technically it “should” be “ac Ianto”.
[I assure you that the majority of my conversations are more interesting than this! It was about the right thing to put on a birthday card :blush:]

I get the feeling that the use of “ac” or “a” before consonantal “i” or “w” is a matter of personal taste :blush:- but again, just my experience!

Though in English it is pretty cut and dried- you use “a” before a consonantal “i” or “w” sound, and “an” before a vowel “i” or “w” sound [a young man, an evil hamster; a well trodden path, an oozing sore], in Welsh whether you use “ac” or “a” before the consonantal forms tends not to be so cut and dried- at least in speech. Though officially it may tend to “the other way round” than in English, it seems pretty much left up to the individual. :blush:

Again, as always, just in my experience.

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When I first saw that I thought wouldn’t “a Ianto” be a bit odd, but that was seeing it in isolation. Then when you construct a sentence using it and compare say Bethan a Ianto to Bethan ac Ianto and suddenly my brain goes into a spin and now I think I understand where you are coming from. Somehow Bethan a Ianto sounds better, but I’m not a native Welsh speaker and I’d love to know what’s what here.

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The choice of a or ac actually influences the pronunciation of the subsequent word. And maybe the pronunciation of that word influences and reinforces the choice of a or ac: a ianto comes out as a yanto, whiile ac ianto sounds more like ac ee-anto. Which is the chicken and which is the egg here is difficult to say and maybe irrelevant.

Compare also yr iaith Cymraeg ( yrr ee-ayeth ) and y iaith Cymraeg ( uh yayeth ). The former in particular becomes more of a vowel the more you rrrroll the r in my experience!

Excuse my poor attempts at writing phonetically, by the way. :slight_smile:

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Yeah, what’s ‘easier’ to say is often ‘easier’ simply because it is more familiar- a sort of self perpetuating circle!


Very interesting idea, and possibly (or probably) true with some (or more) people and some (or more) words, but not entirely convinced of its universal application :wink:

I’d cheat and put Ianto a…!! Oh, but if the other person was Peter, would I be expected to make that Pheter???

Not unless you are a character in the Bible :blush:

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That would be Phedr in any case. :wink:

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