Challenge 1 (Southern)

Loving the new structure, just making a start on Challenge 1. Having Listened to the words for “I can’t”, I’m interested to see it written down. It sounds like “allai ddim”, but I’m not sure on my spelling?

I’m curious to know where this structure comes from, as it’s not the exact one I’ve seen before.

Many thanks! Excited bunny!


As near as all get out: alla i ddim is what you’re after…:slight_smile:

Comes from gallu - gallaf is the short form for I can, and in the negative you lose the g so you end up with allaf - which could then end up as ‘ni allaf’ if you’re being very literary, but shifts to ‘alla i ddim’ in normal speech…:slight_smile:


Wow I was close… diolch! So, the dreaded short forms have arrived! I’m glad that I’ve studied the original SSiW lessons as well, every little helps. Bless hubby, he’s sitting next to me, wondering why I’m getting excited, but he rattled off moyn, trio, siarad and Cymraeg without even really listening… and he can now count from un to deg.


Honestly, I’m glad that the short forms are in earlier. You hear them far more frequently than the long forms, and it’ll make learning more of them easier later on. Kinda like how they already had mutations in fairly early in course 1, so by the time they started teaching about them specifically, you already had a decent idea of how they worked…

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I like the short forms focus as well. On David’s alla i ddim - one thing I have noticed over and over again is how this is shortened to allai’m or fedrai’m in speech. It can really catch you out if you’re expecting to hear the dd. It happens a lot in “dw i’m isho” as well and if you’re expecting “dw i ddim isho” it can fly past without you catching it very easily.

Just tried Challenge 1 and bumped into the same alla i ddim. The discussion here is really useful, but just to be dense for a minute… I thought the short forms applied to the past and future tenses so why is “I can’t” not still “Dw i ddim yn gallu” or “Sain gallu”?

I’m thinking I’ve missed something really really obvious here :slight_smile:

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I think this might have something to do with there being one tense for present and future in the short form. I think what is actually happening is the short form of the present is used to form the future. This is in one of the later lessons - wela i being translated as “I will see” or “I see” as the first person short form of gweld. Sorry if this is wrong - someone will clear it up if so :slight_smile:

Yes, basically the short forms for the present and the future are the same. Very handy!




Ahh, that makes sense… In a probably unrelated musing, I wonder if that compounding of present and future explains the number of written sentences that I’ve seen start with “Bydd” that I’ve wanted to translate in the present. (Will have to go back and find some examples…)

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It was only last week that I discovered there was a short form of the present tense! I was thinking, ‘oh no, there’s another tense to learn’. I have done the first four of the new lessons and did wonder about why “I can’t…” (fedra i ddim) seemed to be in the future tense. Now I know why. I just thought that Welsh is more forward looking than English.


The way Gareth King explains this point in his invaluable book Modern Welsh is how I think of it: Spoken Welsh has three sets of verb endings:

  • Past (I went)
  • Nonpast (I go, I will go)
  • Unreality (I would go, I should go, if I go)

Once you have those down - and SSIW does give them to us - you can short-form anything. Even the very few irregular verbs (mynd, dod, etc.) aren’t all that irregular anyhow.


One thing that I’m not sure about though is when to use “Alla i ddim” and when to use " Dw i ffaelu". I get the difference between “Alla i ddim” and “Cha i ddim”, but can’t figure out where “Dw i ffaelu” fits into the picture and it seems to roll off the tongue more readily than “Alla i ddim”, probably because we learnt it earlier on in the Original Course and I got more used to it.

Presumably ffaelu is the Southern equivalent of the North’s methu Dee?



Seems to me to be the difference between “I fail to” and “I can’t”. “I fail to understand” - “Dw i ffaelu deall”; “I can’t walk” - “Alla i ddim cerdded”.


Sorry for being thick but have no idea where the challenges are for the southern course. Could anyone enlighten me as I’d like to do them.

@WelshSpringbok - if you click on ‘Learn’ at the top, then the Level 1 (New) link they are all there. It’s not obvious initially that they are in North and South, but if you click on the number 1, then you see that you have the north/south choice. The introductory lesson says ‘north’ but it’s the same for both, so probably it shouldn’t have that ‘north’ on it.

@Stu & Hector - yes, I think so. I’ve been thinking about when I hear them say “Dw i ffaelu” (sounds like “ffili”) on Pobol y Cwm and I could be way off the mark, but it seems to be when it’s something that the person just feels deep inside that they can’t do something. They just can’t make themselves do it - “You have to go and confess you lied!!” “Na, dw i ffili” - that kind of thing. Does it have slightly more emotion to it, and “Alla i ddim” is more just a statement of fact? Or am I reading more into it than there really is?

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Thanks Dee. Knew I’d seen it previously somewhere!

Just tried the Southern Challenge. Fantastic! So good to see the alla i ddim so early. Dee, I’m not sure about the ‘ffili’ thing. I remember (on Pyc), Moc being asked to say where he’d booked a holiday or something, and he replied, “Wy ffili gweud.” meaning he was teasing and not prepared to say, rather than he wasn’t able to, but the two expressions sometimes seem interchangeable to me.

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Had a go at challenge one this morning as a break from the old 6.1. It’s really good. Didn’t really expect to learn new words straight away!

Think I’ll finish the old course one then do some more of the new version.

Probably for the best - there’ll be more of the new course available then. The lessons 6 are the hardest in the course; it all gets easier from there.