Dw i eisiau versus ma eisiau

Both mean I want. I was taught Dw i eisiau “I want” in Cwrs Myneddiad and on Duo Lingo. Now Ma eisiau. I’m not worried just a linguist by training. Just wondering why and if there’s a difference.

Did you do Cwrs Mynediad and Duo Lingo North versions Paul? That might be contributing to the confusion.
“Dwi eisiau” is indeed “I want”, and although you do hear that throughout Wales, “Dwi’n moyn” is often used for “I want” in the South.
“Ma eisiau” in the South is “I need” (In the North it’s usually “Dwi angen”). The “ma eisiau” construction comes from “Mae eisiau arnaf” which literally says “there is a want on me” i.e. a need, so that’s why it has become “I need”.

With eisiau, it’s a good idea to let the phrases sink in as a whole unit rather than focus on the individual words (i.e. eisiau), since the ‘unit’ will give you the right interpretation.


Okay thanks Siaron. That’s helpful. As I said my training is in linguistics. I did an MA in phonology so I’m particularly fascinated by the Welsh mutations. They make a lot of sense for mouth economy! But that’s a long story. I’m also interested in the grammar when I try to learn a language so tell me as much as you can. It won’t confuse me I promise. And finally the civil war. I listened to both North and South. I’m afraid I felt more comfortable in the south. I think Cwrs Myneddiad has a south bias because it was the north words that were throwing me. Maybe I’ll learn north after I’m a south Walian speaker! It’s an interesting problem that. I’m from Canada and one of my other languages is Inuktitut. The Inuit in Greenland, Canada, Russia and Alaska speak mutually intelligible dialects. But like the north and south here some speakers are fiercely committed to their dialect. A further complication is that each group has a different writing system depending on the missionaries who translated the Bible into their dialects. So Moravians for instance in Labrador and Greenland adapted our letters to the sounds of Inuktitut while Anglicans in Quebec and Baffin created a new alphabet. And some Alaskan Yupiks ended up with Russian Cyrillic! Each group claims sometimes holy attachment to their system. But there are only 50,000 speakers in four countries so it would be brilliant to have a school curriculum, media and political discussion in a kind of standard Inuktitut. Instead small groups hang on and in Labrador, the dialect I speak, the number of speakers is now in the hundreds. Mostly older people. The young could really benefit from say the Quebec system where the language is strong. I understand both sides of the argument. It’s sad to lose local dialects. But if it means saving the language as a whole? I guess that’s the thinking behind Cwrs Myneddiad having a mix of dialects. But I imagine it can seem to be at the cost of regional dialects of Welsh. I’m sure North and South is a massive generalisation of Welsh dialects. At least you got colonised by one country! Anyway both Inuktitut and Welsh will be spoken for centuries to come thankfully. It’s just interesting how two wildly different minority languages are experiencing the same kinds of problems in adapting to the imposition of another language on their society.


Well if you’re a grammarian, I whole-heartedly suggest investing in some of Gareth King’s books (@garethrking) if you haven’t come across them already. My grammar knowledge is ok, but he’s THE man!

The thing with North v South is (apart from, yes, a massive generalisation!), it’s not really as much of an issue as it’s sometimes made out to be, and getting exposed to both forms can only ever be a bonus because you can use whichever form you yourself are happy with without being thrown by the other forms when you come across them. This takes time and practise, obviously, but keep asking the questions and it will eventually click into place!


Definitely not a grammarian but I’ll check out his books.

1 Like

Worth a mention that the “mae isio …”, “Oes isio …?” structure is why, strictly speaking, “Oes/nag oes” is the correct response to “wyt ti isio …?” and not “yndw/nac ydw”.


Indeed, and very common certainly among N speakers in my experience. T’ isio te? Oes!