Ai eich plant chi ydi rheina?

First apologies if the sentence has spelling errors.

This comes from one of the lessons in course 2, lesson 18 I think, along with lots of other stuff about children and which I tended to skim over.
However, it recently occurred to me that it could be useful in other circumstances ,like “are these your shoes/books” etc. I then went on to try to work out the singular version like “is this your car/dog/?”, but, because I couldn’t identify “Ai” nor “rhiena” from anything in the course, I couldn’t do it.
Can anyone explain it please?

Hi Bryan, from what I can tell “ai” is a question marker type thing and according to my dictionary the answer is always “ie” or “nage”. As far as “rheina” is concerned, this means those while “rhain” is these. Some examples given are “ai Huw ydy o?” Is it Huw? “ai ceffyl oedd o?” Was it a horse? “ai ti sydd o dan y gwely?” Is that you under the bed?

The main question, then, is what on earth were you doing under the bed?


So using your examples “are these your shoes?” “ai dy sgidiau ydy rhain?” And “is this your dog?” “ai dy gi ydy hyn?”

Maybe. I hope.

I was surprised ‘ci’ became ‘gi’ in that. I tend to associate soft mutations with female words and the fact that ci is male is the bane of my life as I usually have female dogs!!

I think I’m correct with that mutation.

Your dog … Dy gi (di)
My dog … Fy nghi (i)
His dog … Ei gi (fo)
Her dog … Ei chi (hi)

I’m wrong quite often though. :blush:


It’s gi because it’s following dy your, which causes SM. Nothing to do with gender. :slight_smile:


Yes - I stupidly forgot to include this start-of-sentence use of Ai in the first two editions of the grammar, but managed to add it in the present (third) edition - squeezed it in at the end of §18 ! :slight_smile:


Diolch and to @garethrking, Mae’n ddrwg gen i, dw’i wedi anghofio llawer!

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That just made my day (a hugely familiar feeling!)… :slight_smile: :star2:


Thanks all. Another brick in the wall.


Also, remember that in these examples you are really almost certain to hear the reinforcing pronoun added as well:

Ai dy sgidiau di ydy’r rhain?
Ai dy gi di ydy hwn?

with a slight emphasis intonation on them: Ai dy sgidiau DI ydy’r rhain?


In case anyone else is coming here a few years later, I’ll mention that Gareth King’s Working Welsh mentions “ai” as well. There’s a free sample available from Amazon that includes several representative entries, including this one, as well as a description of the book as a whole.

This construction is in Lesson 1 of Level 2 as of this writing, and threw me for quite a loop!

My understanding from Working Welsh is that “ai” is used to turn a focused sentence into a question (one where the verb doesn’t come first). Still getting to the point where I understand the REST of the sentence :slight_smile:

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