Challenge 20 questions

I’ve just completed Level 1 Challenge 20, but have a few questions that are confusing me:

  1. “It” can be “hi” or “e/fe” (literally she/he), but when is it e and when hi? eg. “it was nice” - “oedd hi’n braf”, but “it goes” is “ma fe’n mynd”. How do I decide which gender “it” is in this context?

  2. When is there an “i” in the infinitive? eg “Dw i’n mynd i ymlacio” for “I’m going TO relax”, but only “Oedd hi’n braf dysgu” and not “Oedd hi’n braf i ddysgu” for “It was nice TO learn”?

  3. In the past tense, I get “weles i” for “I saw”, as “to see” is gweld so it mutates, but “I watched” is given as “gwylies i” so why doesn’t that mutate to “wylies i”?

Thanks :slight_smile:

  1. Generelly speaking, if you are using it as a general abstract concept, you usually use hi: Mae hi’n oer It is cold – Although in spoken Welsh it is completely natural to drop the pronoun altogether and just say Mae’n oer. If the it is referring to an actual thing (like in Did you see the film? It was really good!) you are supposed to use the corresponding grammatical gender, but in reality it’s not the end of the world if you pick the wrong one. Statistically you’ll be better off using male in these circumstances, as more words are male than female.

  2. Never. The verbnoun ymlacio for example is to relax on its own, and the i is always a preposition belonging to the verb before. And don’t fall into the trap of trying to translate an English sentence word for word – Sometimes, Welsh simply works differently.

  3. This is just one of the quirks of spoken Welsh, that often a starting word is mutated without an apparent reason. There are two words, mi and fe which act as so-called positive markers, basically saying that the following is a positive statement, and these markers cause a soft mutation. In speech, this marker is sometimes dropped, but the mutation is kept. Just use whichever form you are most comfortable with, and even if you end up mutating sometimes and sometimes not, don’t worry, this happens amongst native speakers as well!


Thank you very much, Hendrik! That all makes sense, and is very much appreciated!

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