Deall, and other animals

I’m confusamabob, and I have a few questions!

(1) I became accustomed to deall being pronounced with a sound at the beginning which was like ‘dee’. However, in the new level 1 challenges, Iestyn says ‘dee’ whilst Cat says ‘day’. Silly question, but are they both definitely correct?

(2) In Course 1 the masculine pronoun was used for ‘it’, but in Level 1 challenges, the female pronoun was used for ‘it’ – for a while, then they switched back to the masculine, except when referring to the Welsh language, as in “you speak it very well”. Is there a reason for that? Is the Welsh language considered to be a feminine thing?

(3) I’m also further puzzled by an addition of an i (plus soft mutuation) that I can’t quite understand. For example, dw i’n moyn dy helpu di i siarad Cymraeg. Why is there an i here? I had hoped that dw i’n moyn dy helpu di siarad Cymraeg would be right.

Sorry to ask so many questions all in one, but I’ve been hoping they would sort themselves out in my head, and they haven’t :smile: Yet. Diolch yn fawr eto!

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Sh’mae Dai :smile:

Your questions are always interesting so no apology needed.
(1) I say "Day"all on Dydd Mawrth, Dydd Iau & Dydd Sadwrn and "Dee"all on the other days. I think there is some truth in this so please don’t think I’m just being flippant :smile:
(2) The gender of “it” has been aired before on the forum (can’t trace the thread now) but I remember that the conclusion was that in every day speech, it could vary almost randomly. Weather always seems to be feminine, however - cf “mae hi’n braf, heddiw” and I’m sure there is a good reason for this.
(3) is also a good question and I look forward to seeing the answer(s)

    • the ‘dee’ and ‘day’ are both correct, just variations in regional pronounciation. I usually use ‘dee’ having began my learning in the South, but since living in the North I hear ‘day’ frequently. Use whichever you feel comfortable with because you’ll be understood whichever you use.
  1. nouns are masculine or feminine in Welsh, and yes, weather and language are both feminine nouns so use ‘hi’. The ‘it’ as in an abstract general thing does wander between genders though. In my case that’s probably when I can’t remember the actual gender of the thing I’m referring to as ‘it’, but it happens generally too. I can’t think of a ‘rule’ off the top of my head (and grammar books are all at home - I’m at work… ssshhh!) but someone else may know one.
  2. I remember being told that in some cases the ‘extra’ i is there because the context is “in order to” whilst in others it is part of a previous verb. To be honest though, I can’t remember whether moyn takes the extra i (been in the North too long!) like, say, gofyn does (gofyn i). Grammar aside, the di and i so often blend during speech that it’s not always obvious that it’s there anyway.

Hope that helps :smile:


When you think about it, this is really a translation problem, it is not a problem if you just speak Welsh, because there is no word for “it”. (So best not to translate :slight_smile: ) You can always avoid using hi or fe/fo/o when it is the subject of the sentence, as in “it is nice” or “it is obvious”, and you can say: mae’n braf heddiw, or mae’n amlwg. But if you are wanting to talk about a specific thing that is being discussed, that specific thing has a gender. So in your example,“you speak it very well”, it refers to the Welsh language, “yr iaith Gymraeg” - which is a “she” word, as Siaron said, so you could say “wyt ti’n ei siarad hi yn dda iawn”


And to add another variation, on Northern Course 1, we learned “daall/daallt”, as an alternative to “day-all” I think. Can’t remember if this verb came up in Northern Level 1. Seems (to me) a bit like the “dweud”/“deud” variations in the north.

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For ‘language’, that is true. But tywydd ‘weather’ is a masculine - the reason for ‘hi’ in weather expressions (‘mae hi’n oer’ etc) is that the ‘it’ is a ‘dummy’ or abstract ‘it’ that doesn’t actually refer to anything concrete. Same with expressions like ‘It’s important that we all understand’ - Mae hi’n bwysig bod ni i gyd yn deall.


Thank you everybody who replied, some really interesting answers here!

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