Dwedest ti vs wnest ti ddweud

I did the first few lessons of the old Southern course 1 and learned that the construction for saying that ‘you did’ something is ‘wnest ti …’. I’ve moved to the newer Southern level 1 course (which I’m enjoying hugely) and been taught that ‘you said’ (i.e. 'you did say) is ‘dwedest ti’, but ‘you started’ (i.e. ‘you did start’) is ‘wnest ti ddechrau’.

Is this some kind of special Welsh hell where ‘dweud’ gets its own simple past, or can I just use ‘wnest ti ddweud’, which I’m strangely fond of and can easily remember?

Diolch yn fawr!

Welsh has two forms, long form and short form. They are equivalent. The old courses didn’t do short forms until course 3.

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I tended to think of wnest i as you did, so wnest ti ddweud or wnest ti weud meant you did say, while dwedest ti or wedaist ti as you said i. e. they both mean you said. They both mean the same thing and you can’t quite sense the feel of the Welsh by my crude method of trying to explain things, but basically they are interchangeable.

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Kind of, but not really hell. You can use the wnest ti… pattern with practically any verb and get the same meaning as what you call the ‘simple past’ (more usually referred to here as the ‘short form’). You can even get away with wnest ti wneud with only pedants objecting. But there are some (a few) verbs where it’s much more usual in normal spoken Welsh to use the short form. These are generally the most often used verbs, come, go, do, say and so on. SSIW is subtly edging you towards this common usage. However, if wnest ti ddweud or wnest ti fynd or wnest ti ddod or whatever is what you’re comfortable with, then feel free to use that. You’ll still be understood, and the vast majority of people will probably hardly notice that you’re swimming very slightly against the tide.


And in the North a third form using ddaru, of course.


The two main past tense systems are largely interchangeable, but you’re more likely to hear the nes i… one with longer verbs, or verbs where there is some uncertainty about the stem. So canolbwyntio concentrate might well come under the first category:

Naethon nhw ganolbwyntio (rather than Fe ganolbwyntion nhw)
They concentrated

and mwynhau might come under the second category:

Naethoch chi fwynhau? (rather than Fwynheuoch chi?)
Did you enjoy (yourself/yourselves)

Said, on the other hand, is so common anyway that the short past tense is more common.

In ascending order of easiness and simplicity, the three past tense constructions are:

-es i
nes i…
ddaru mi…



That’s a clear, concise explanation. Thank you. I may make more of an effort to learn the short form :roll_eyes:


Diolch yn fawr, Gareth. That’s certainly something to bear in mind!


Ddaru is great, @jofarmereynon - so easy and simple - but only if you live in the North. Otherwise you get funny looks, as if you had just landed from Mars, which is where the hwntws think the gogs come from anyway. :slight_smile:


Don’t they then?



Technically no - they come from Phobos, one of Mars’s two tiny moons.

Hair-splitting, I know, but these details matter…


I love using “ddaru” too. It’s a lot easier . It is used in Penmaenmawr where I live and everyone uses it in Blaenau Ffestiniog but it’s use seems to be a bit patchy and I don’t hear it everywhere in the north

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So, you’d say ddaru mi deud for I said?
Also in Penllyn and Corwen?

Yes but it is shortened to “aru mi ddeud” , but people I know spell it as “ari mi ddeud”
I know a lady who is originally from Corwen who uses “ddaru” but am not sure about Penllyn :slight_smile:


Yes, it’s often aru for ddaru in my experience as well.


Yeah, I keep forgetting about that Martian Gog expression. :wink:


I was thinking that a good way of getting a feel would be by listening to the radio, so this morning I had the radio on for 45 minutes in the car, listening to the news and I get the feeling that the news is not a very good way of hearing these things - perhaps completed events in general are old news. Plenty of yn dweud, wedi dweud, even variants like wedi crebwyll but not a single dwedodd. Outside of a clip of someone talking the only word i picked up in this past tense was gollodd - talking about Cardiff City losing in football.

Just at the end, there was a clip of someone discussing the Manchester Arena bombing and then there was a shower of examples, but i can’t remember them all - not a dwedodd, but plenty of others.

wnaeth orffen
clywon ni

So maybe finding examples of where people are talking about a past event or their past would probably be quite useful and perhaps better than listening to the general news.


I’m wondering in relation to words like this where an initial consonant is often not heard, whether the ‘lost’ consonant is formed by the tongue and lips (or part-formed), but not actually sounded, i.e. people don’t set about pronouncing them differently, but just ‘push’ more or less sound into the consonant, so sometimes you hear it and sometimes you don’t?

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I wonder if in the semi-formal, reporting atmosphere of the morning news, meddai might be more likely to be used than dwedodd?


well definitely didn’t hear a meddai this morning - I was listening out for anything like that. There were plenty of instances using dweud with differing pronunciations and mutations etc, but from what I heard it was always with an yn or an i or a wedi.

I guess it’s the nature of news reporting, things that are happening or have just happened, although interestingly I did actually hear a few digwyddodds.