Bore da/question

Why does the word “good” come after the word morning? When saying bore da.

S’mae Markie,

This is the way Welsh works. Adjectives follow the noun, rather than the other way round as per English. So:

car cyflym - a quick car
dynnes ifanc - a young woman
gwaith caled - hard work

There are a couple of exceptions (e.g. hen ddyn - an old man), but these easily learned.




Thanks EssenBee.

Question (1)

Does that happen through out the entire sentence?
Say there were multiple adjectives and multiple nouns?

Question (2)

Which is the correct way of saying the word “cymraeg”?

I know there are different dialects, but the Southern language lessons teach you to say like “come brag” but i never hear it spoken like that anywhere else, everybody else says it like “come braige” Maybe that is a little bit difficult to understand, I hope you understand. thanks.


I put decided to put the words " a young woman" into google translation (English to Welsh) and it came back with the result “merch ifanc” which is different to yours, why is that?..I see things like this all the time…

P.S I’m going to turn this thread into my general question asking about the language, if that’s ok?

Heia Markie!

Croeso! With regards to your next questions:

  1. yes, it still works with multiple adjectives. For example:

car cyflym glas - a fast blue car
dyn byr tew - a short fat man
hen dy eitha bach - a fairly small old house

  1. up in the North, to me Cymraeg sounds like cum-rEYEg, where the letters have their English values, and EYE is pronounced like the part of the body, and I have capitalised it to show where the accent is. In other parts of Wales, it is pronounced differently, perhaps like cum-rAARG.

  2. dynnes is a Northern word for woman. In the South, you would probably hear menyw. As with English, you should not be surprised that for some things there are more than one word. I would use merch for girl or daughter, for example. Others may use it for woman too, not sure.

Hope that helps!



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Thanks for clearing that up, Essenbee.

I am currently on my third lesson. There are still some words that I am having trouble with pronouncing but im going to stick with it.

Third lesson is hardcore.

The words change a lot when talking about the future.

The word “can” is also quite difficult to pronounce.

Hi Markie!

Don;t worry about the words that are difficult to pronounce (or even about the words that change). Think of Welsh, or any other new language, as a seriously impressive dance. You’ll learn each dance move individually, and then string them all together, but you won’t perfect any pf the moves before you use them in the actual dance. You’ll start off tripping over your own feet wuite often, getting the moves in the wrong order, and sometimes ruynning out of moves while the music is still playing. But each time you do the dance, you’ll get better at it, and the more dance moves you learn, the more you’ll fnd new moves easier to learn.

What we’re talking about in the dance is muscle memory, coordination, and the feel for the dance that lets you forget yourself in the fun of the move. What we are tslking about with a new language is muscle memory (your tongue and mouth are learning new moves and shapes to pronounce new words), coordination (you’re brain has to get all these new moves into the right order and with the right timing) and the enjoyment of the natural dance. The more you speak with the lessons, the more you’ll find that some words come naturally, even as you struggle with others.

It’s very easy to dance well, but to stress about “that one move” or “that sequence” that doesn;t work. It’s even easier to stress about the words (especially common ones like gallu - can) that trip you up so often. But it’s important to realise how extraordinarily well you are doing with other parts of the language (ie anything that you can say), and to celebrate the what you are achieveing. You will master the tougher stuff - it’s a matter of time and practice, and to prove it, you already have mastered some pretty complicated patterns in the first two lessons.

Da iawn - well done, and dal ati! - keep at it!



Hi Lestyn, that dance description is a very good analogy. I find myself stressing about individual elements or words all the time rather than stepping back and looking at the ‘dance’ as a whole to see how well I am actually doing.

It’s easy to get into the habit of comparing your new language with your first language, and finding it falls short - spectacularly short in most cases. This is then seen as a failure, and is pretty un-motivational. Whereas in fact, even by the middle of course 1, you have an extraordinary amount of language at your fingertips, some of it already settling in to a natural, almost native, pace.

Step back and see how well you’re speaking, and you’ll be amazed. Compare it to your native language, which you’ve been practising since you were born, and funnily enough, you won;t seem to be doing so well!


Thanks for replies.

If you translate “The standard historical Welsh dictionary” in Welsh it comes back as “Y geiriadur hanesyddol safonol Cymraeg”

But from my understanding that reads as " The dictionary historical standard Welsh"

Can anybody explain to me why this is?

Well, “hanesyddol”, “safonol” and “Cymraeg” are - in this instance - all adjectives, so they all follow the noun “Geiriadur”. (“Cymraeg” is a noun meaning the Welsh language, but it can also be used as an adjective meaning “in the Welsh language”). Does that help at all, or is there something else about it that puzzles you?

That clears most of it up…

But why are the adjectives in that particular order? why not safonol before hanesyddol?

Can’t answer that one, but I read recently an interesting book about English which said that English native speakers will always use a fixed order to their adjectives without really knowing why, and we always (or mostly) just get it “right”, i.e. we know what sounds right, and we know when it sounds “wrong”.

Perhaps there is something similar going on in Welsh.

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Why not, indeed! :wink:

But then, what is the difference between
“the standard historical English dictionary”
“The English standard historical dictionary”
“The historical standard English dictionary”
“The English historical standard dictionary”
“The standard English historical dictionary”
“The historical English standard dictionary”

Any differences in meaning are pretty subtle, if even actually meant or used at all. (Perhaps “the standard historical English dictionary” could imply “of all the historical English dictionaries, this is the standard one”, whilst “the English standard historical dictionary” could imply “of all the standard historical dictionaries, this is the English one”, but that isn’t cut and dried, isn’t necessarily used like that, and is very subtle.)

Then there’s things like “Big red bus” instead of “red big bus”. Arbitrary stuff, which is not “wrong”, but might sound awkward.

I could give you my feelings about the order of the adjectives in the Welsh sentence, but I don’t have a natural enough feeling for the language to be sure whether that would be of help to you, so as for any subtleties of the meaning in Welsh, I’ll leave for someone with a far more natural feeling for the language to expound on if they want to!

But I would say, that as the adjectives follow the noun, you really shouldn’t expect the order of adjectives to be the same as in English. Or an exact backward mirror image, come to that.

But, though I appreciate you wouldn’t ask if you didn’t want an answer, and I really don’t normally answer in the following way - this really, really is something very subtle that I wouldn’t worry about! :wink:


Yes the book I was reading was really talking about “big red bus” type sequences, so in that case we apparently choose size before colour.

I’d think that your dictionary examples are more specialised and in some cases there might be good reasons to choose one particular order over another, and the person responsible for the original name would probably just know what sounded right for their intended use.

A simpler example: The Oxford English Dictionary.

What is it? a dictionary?
What sort of dictionary is it? English
What sort (or brand) of English dictionary is it? An Oxford English Dictionary.

Then we have, e.g. Shorter Oxford English Dictionary or
Concise Oxford English Dictionary (“size”).

Then maybe

The Paperback Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (if such a thing exists).

I suspect that unless one is a student of, or expert in linguistics, it’s probably better not to think too hard about these things. :slight_smile:

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The Syntax of Welsh, Cambridge, 2007 has a chapter on Noun phrases, in which there is a section 5.4.4 - Order of postnominal adjectives. Apparently, there are some rules and tendencies (I guess a rule is always observed being observed, a tendency more often than not):
“arall” is normally last in a series of adjectives; comparatives and superlatives are then last; then it is observed that the order is size>shape>colour>provenance (identical to English). Adjectives of age (“ifanc”) and qualiity (“da”) change this, but in predictable ways: size>shape/colour>provenance>age>quality, which differs from the English order

But: if an adjective in a sequence is ‘felt’ to be more integral to the sense of the noun being qualified, it is placed closer to the noun (so then it becomes a mirror of the English order).
For further information, there is a reference to David Willis’s 2006 article

I’m a Dutchman if this stuff helps anyone in normal conversation - like Mike says, best not to think too hard about it - and best to realise that patterns like these are learned through use, and that there is a fair degree of subjectivity and subtlety, like Owain says


When saying yes in Welsh it is something like ydu, but when you’re talking about the future or answering a question it changes to something that sounds like door?

What’s going on here?

S’mae Markie?

I could write a long post about this, but will just give a taster. Perhaps someone else will provide a more comprehensive answer!

When you hear yndw, you are hearing an affirmative response rather than a simple “yes”, I would say; literally yndw would be “I am” or “yes, I am”. Similarly, the response yndy is “yes, he/she/it is”. There is a whole series of such responses running with the person.

In the past tense, things are a bit simpler, with do being used for “yes” regardless of the person. So:

Wnest ti licio fo? - Did you like it?
Do - yes
Wnaethon nhw licio fo? - Did they like it?
Do - yes

In the future tense, its back to being a bit more complex, with the affirmative response depending upon the person and the question. For example:

Fyddi di’n mynd 'fory - Will you go tomorrow?
Byddaf - Yes, I will

The courses run though all of these responses and a lot more, but hopefully that is not too confusing, and helps clarify what you are hearing a tiny bit! The key thing is not to worry about it, it will become second nature with practise and through talking to other people, so just stay relaxed about it!




What is going on? Basically, we rarely say “yes” in Welsh, we say “I was”, “I did”, “They were”, “It will”. It’s pretty straight forward once you’re used to it, but it’s a pretty massive shock when you come across it first. I’m not sure whether other languages do this, actually. Anyone know?

You have two choices with the “Yesses and noes” really. You can get intimidated by them and possibly sit down for months with tables of which ones to use when, or you can just accept that while it will sound a bit odd, and raise a few eyebrows, as onlg as you are using an affirmative repsonse when you mean yes, and a negative when you mean no, no-one will misunderstand you.

I speak to a number of ex-learners (as in, people who now speak Welsh) who still mix up the answers sometimes. Gues what? It just reminds me of what an absolutely brilliant job they have done of the rest of their language, that I am able to talk my language to them, even though they missed out on the bilingual upbringing that I was so lucky to have.

So, if you answer “ydw” to everything, you will be speaking perfectly understandable Welsh, and when you suddenly think “hold on, that’s a do” before* you answer, and get it right, it will just add to your excitement to be speaking our beautiful language.


Nag ydw. :slight_smile: But (for those of a certain age, or anyone with access to Youtube nowadays), it might be useful to think back to the old TV/radio quiz with Michael Miles (“Take Your Pick”) and its “Yes/No” interlude. MM would taunt and tease his contestants into replying “yes” or “no” to a series of questions which invited those answers, and they would try to withstand this by replying, e.g. “I am, Michael”, or “I do Michael”, so much so that “I am Michael” became a bit of a catch phrase.

To be called Michael in those days was a permanent invitation to the class clown or the office joker to say “I am, Michael” to you all day. :grimacing: No wonder I became Mike (to everyone except my dear old Mum) asap.

Slightly more seriously, @Iestyn what about the use of “ie”, which is tempting for English speakers to use all the time? I know there are grammatical(-ish) reasons for when it is supposed to be used. Is it possible for you to simplify those down for us? I think “nage” is the corresponding negative, but am I right in thinking you can get away with “na” a lot of the time?

Diolch o flaen llaw.