Are these differences just dialectical?


I’ve noticed a couple of slight differences in the way that some words are presented by SSiW, compared to how I was previously familiar with them.

E.g. Hoffen I - I would like
I knew this as hoffwn I previously - are both correct?

Also short form past tense e.g weles I - I saw.
Previously I would have used welais I - are these just north/south differences or something else?

One further question - I was talking in a group of other learners yesterday and used the term “bo’ fi” meaning “that I” as taught by SSiW. The other learners didn’t understand it and were particularly asking why the soft mutation had been dropped from ‘fy mod i’ , as normally when a contraction is made any mutations world remain. I couldn’t explain the reasoning to them - can someone help me understand it please?


The basic principle at work here is that SSiW teaches Welsh as it is naturally spoken, and that sometimes leads to slight differences to “correct” Welsh.

  1. The standard written form is hoffwn i, but some speakers pronounce it hoffen i, so this spelling just reflects this pronunciation.

  2. The standard written form is welais i, but in speech it is usually pronounced weles i, and once again the spelling reflects that.

  3. The forms bo’fi, bo’ti and so on are introduced in SSiW explicitly as being somewhat “slangy”, but this is just the way Welsh is spoken, and the charming detail of this is that you completely remove the hassle with the different mutations depending on person. The grammatically correct full forms are of course fy mod i, dy fod ti, ei fod e, ei bod hi, ein bod ni, eich bod chi, eu bod nhw


@Hendrik thank you for that clear explanation, it’s pretty much what I thought was the case then but I wanted to be sure.

1 Like

as Hendrik says… its street day to day Welsh … it may not be the poshest pronunciation but it does the job.

In many parts of North Wales … instead of hearing the past tense of every verb on its own like “Gwelais”/ Mi welais/ mi weles … some people only use the “nes i weld” construction ( I did see) … nes from Gwnais

Nes i siarad (Gwnais i siarad) - I spoke … in stead of “Siarades i” which I believe is still common parlance in some southern areas (please correct me Hwntw speakers!)

Its quick spoken everyday Welsh. Just like how English shortens in colloquial language.

Furthermore… "fy mod i … or just ‘mod i’ is still good Welsh … but “bo fi” is the quicker colloquial route for many

Byddwn i - I would (South dialect) … heard as ’ Bydden i’ in actuality …so hoffen i…doesnt surprise me in speech.
Dont feel overwhelmed by dialect differences by the way. They are relatively few and at the end of the day … It is all Welsh. :slight_smile:

Thank you, that all makes sense, however it definitely does feel overwhelming at times - you think you’ve managed to learn how to say something then find that there are several other quite different ways of saying the same thing! Logically I know that this is probably the same in every language, including English, which I suppose is why learning a new language is such hard work!

Indeed. English dialects used to be very different but most differences in spellings/pronunciations have rapidly disappeared with not only mass media but also certain schools pushing “Queens English”…my Dad still recalls being hit on the knuckles with a ruler if he had the wrong accent or punctuation although that was a grammar school in England

1 Like

Actually, I’m pretty sure it’s gwnes - just like es i and des i it’s always written as gwnes i, but the rest of your explanation is excellent @brynle

Yes, Gwnes is a shortening in written dialect but in speech I only ever hear ‘Nes i’ in colloquial Welsh in my area nowadays. Maybe it was not always the case

Yes, it’s the written version I was referring to. In speech I usually only hear nes i as well.

I had some friends in primary school in England who were sent for elocution lessons because their local accents (East Midlands/East Anglia borders) were considered too strong. The thought of that still makes me angry to this day.