Eisiau Issues - Level 2 Challenge 24 Welsh South

I’m doing quite nicely - enjoying getting to the end of Level 2, but I always feel a pang of fear whenever Iestyn says the word ‘need’, because I simply don’t understand the structure enough. I’ve not worried about that too much - things get clearer over time - but eisiau has been the exception to that, and has in fact got muddier over time. When I am keeping my Welsh Running Commentary going in my head, I find myself avoiding using eisiau very much. It’s okay at the beginning of a sentence - ‘Mae eisiau i fi wneud hwn’, but if it appears later in a sentence I really go to pot.
In challenge 24 there are a few that I think could be very helpful for me if they were broken down a bit. Sorry it’s a bit lengthy, but I would really appreciate a few pointers on this.

6.40: I’d tell you what to do if you need it.
I would have said … Bydden i’n dweud wrthot ti (confidently) 'sa (fudging third person singular ‘tassen’ thingy) eisiau i ti fe.
It sounds like … Bydden i’n dweud wrthot ti beth i’w wneud tassa eisiau arnot ti. I’m presuming I was on the right track with the ‘tassen’ part, but the ‘arnot’ bit is new?

22.20: He wants to know if you need anything else.
I would have said … Ma fe’n moyn gwybod (confidently) 'sa (fudging third person singular ‘tassen’ thingy AGAIN) eisiau i ti unrhwybeth arall.
It sounds like … Ma fe’n moyn gwybod os oes eisiau unrhwybeth arall wrthot ti. I can get that I should have gone for ‘os’, and I also get the ‘eisiau unrhybeth arall wrthot ti’ but that ‘oes’? What is this ‘oes’ bit? I’m presuming its another part of ‘bod’, but can’t grasp when it needs to be used. I don’t see the pattern.

30.20: I can’t remember how to say what I need yet
I would have said … Alla’ i ddim cofio sut i dweud (confidently) beth mae eisiau i fi eto BUT I would have known it was wrong, and probably thought I ought to have used ‘oes’ instead of ‘mae’ and that it was missing something somewhere, but I wouldn’t know what - basically out of my depth on that one!
It sounds like … Alla’ i ddim cofio sut i dweud be’ sy eisiau arna i eto. What is the ‘sy’? I’m presuming the ‘arna i’ is the same thing as ‘arnot ti’ in the other one? Have we done that somewhere and I have forgotten it?

32.00: You’d tell me if I needed to improve, wouldn’t you?
I would have said … Byddet ti’n dweud wrtha i os eisiau if fi wella, yn fyddet?
It sounds like … Byddet ti’n dweud wrtha i se eisiau if fi well, yn fyddet? So presumably just using the ‘tassen’ thingy on that one.

32.20: I’d tell you what we need to do if I could
I would have said … Bydden i’n dweud wrthot ti beth mae eisiau i ni wneud, sen i’n gallu.
It sounds like … Bydden i’n dweud wrthot ti be’ sy eisiau i ni wneud, sen i’n gallu.

So actually now in writing this I AM starting to see a pattern - after ‘beth’ we get ‘sy’ instead of ‘mae’ … Not sure about the other stuff though, and I think all hell will break loose if try to say I DON’T need anything! But actually I WOULD like an example of how to do that …

I’ve just read that through - mae eisiau i fi siaced syth.


It seems there are a few bits condusing you here, not just eisiau, so I’ll do my best at explaining them.

The first thing to say is that when eisiau is used as need, it is NOT being a verb (it is not “to need”) - in Welsh it is being a noun (a need). This is the thing that mainly trips people up and makes the sentence structure seem unexpected.

Yes, this is a conditional tense sentence (I would…), so you’re on the right track with the right version of “if”. In this sentence it would be “tasai”, or shortened to " 'sai" because as I said, eisiau is a noun so it’s 3rd person (tasai fe/tasai hi/tasai + noun). The arnot ti is the 2nd person conjugation of “ar” - we are literally saying “if there is a need on you” (because, again, eisiau here is a noun, not a verb)

oes is a form of bod. It’s a question form in the present tense when the word following it in English is “there” i.e. “is there?”/“are there?”. If the word following the “is” or “are” is anything else (e.g. is the…? / are the…? / is so-and-so…?/ is it…? etc), you would use ydy to form the question.
So, going back to eisiau as a noun, the question is really asking “is there a need for anything else”, and because it’s “is there”, it needs oes.

Easy bit first - yes, arna is the same thing as arnot - arna is the first person conjugation of “ar”. I can’t say if it’s cropped up before - I haven’t done the course!
Now, the “sy”. When the “beth” is the object of the sentence, it would be followed by mae (beth mae’r ci yn bwyta? - what is the dog eating? - “the dog” is the subject here) unless the question doesn’t contain any other verb, in which case it’s an “identification sentence” and in this case beth uses “yw”/“ydy” (beth yw’r gair?/beth ydy’r gair? - what is the word? - no other verb involved!). BUT when the “beth” is the subject of the sentence as it is in this one (“what I need”), then beth uses sydd which is often shortened to sy. (dyma beth sy’n poeni fi - this is what is worrying me)
To be honest, the more you try and figure it out before you say it, the harder it becomes, but the more you listen to Welsh, the more certain sentences will sound ‘right’ with ‘sy’ whilst others begin to sound ‘right’ with ‘mae’ or ‘ydy/yw’, and eventually your ears will tune into this.

Yup! You’re getting it!

So in this one, you’ve got the “beth sy” again, as we looked at before, but remember it’s only sy when the beth is the subject, not the object.

In the present tense, a statement “There is…” will use “mae”, a question “Is there…?” will use “oes”, and the negative “There is not” will use “does dim”.
Mae eisiau arna i fynd nawr - I need to go now (Lit. There is a need on me to go now)
Oes eisiau arna i fynd nawr? - Do I need to go now? (Lit. Is there a need on me to go now?)
Does dim eisiau arna i fynd nawr - I don’t need to go now (Lit. There is not a need on me to go now)

It’s a lot to get your head around, but don’t let it panic you - it really is best to let the patterns absorb (as I think they are beginning to!) rather than try and remember all the grammar. You are already getting a feeling for when things sound ‘wrong’, and even if you don’t always know why they are ‘wrong’ (or what the ‘right’ way is!), that’s a good sign that your ears are absorbing patterns - let them keep doing that, and things will eventually click into place :smiley:


Thank you so much for that! I am seriously grateful for all the time you have taken to explain that, and it is so useful - I’m very used to being in knots with this wonderful welsh business, but this one just didn’t seem to be untying.
I did have a bash at learning welsh many years ago, in a traditional class, and it was the grammar that defeated me, but I have found little bits do help now and then.
Although it was the stuff at the beginning of the phrase that was really bothering me, the ‘arna’ stuff is very useful too and I shall be practising with that in a bit.
Once again - thank you.


Hi @siaronjames - a query towards the end of your answer:

A query because on the southern course they have been saying:
Mae eisiau i fi fynd nawr
Oes eisiau i fi fynd nawr?
and therefore Does dim eisiau i fi fynd nawr.
(And) I was told that if needing to DO something - ie following eisiau with a verb - that that construction is usually fine.

However, the other construction (you may be relieved to hear @leodoggy) is not introduced somewhere else earlier, but appears in this challenge for the first time. So you’re not the first to ask! And if needing a ‘thing’ you always needs the construction Siaron has described. Thus in my notes (yes, I’m one of those people) I’ve written:

If need a thing - use ‘eisiau arna i eto’
if need to do something - usually ‘eisiau i fi wneud rhywbeth.’

Realise have only noted first person form of ‘on’ above, but did give myself a list of the assorted personal forms too!!

(May only help my brain, but listening to Mererid Hopwood recently, she spoke about how emotions are ‘on’ you in Welsh - and this somehow made the idea of ‘things’ - including emotions - being on you seem quite logical. :grin:


To be honest Ann, my southern Welsh is a little rusty - I’ve been ‘Gogged’ for twenty years and I do mix up my "i"s and "ar"s when I have to talk Hwntw! - so, yes, definitely go with whatever the southern course says :smiley:


Very helpful! Thank you - I am learning a lot today …
I very much like the thought of emotions being ON me, just as I like the thought of being IN actions - just love the way that another language can help us perceive and experience the world different to what we are used to.


Well, I don’t know if it’s going to be helpful or more confusing, :grimacing: but, as an aspiring hwntw, :wink: I did the Southern version.

And if you had asked me today, I would have said that without any doubt

mae eisiau + arn(a i) structure NEVER appeared in the course! :flushed:

In fact, I only remember practicing the mae eisiau i (fi).

And to be honest, since it always seemed quite complicated by itself already, when I started practicing speaking with people I started using dw i angen which I find sooooo much easier. And never looked back. :rofl:

What I mean is that I think the course presents many different variants, and it’s great to be able to understand them all because you never know what you’ll find out in the wild.

But then you can choose the one you remember more easily and it will work fine!

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When it comes to “need”, there is a distinct advantage to being “Gogged”! :rofl:


Right! :rofl:

And also Dave Datblygu uses eisiau for want, and angen for need despite not being Gog.

So TWO good reasons for me, sai’n becso and use it myself! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Well … I like the sound of that. I’ll definitely behave myself and do as I’m told while working through Level 3, but once we’re out of lockdown I might experiment a bit in the village … it really does seem so much easier.

… pretty sure that the arna structure is there in challenge 24 though!


The arna i structure definitely does appear in challenge 24 @leodoggy - in relation to needing things. But it isn’t explained and doesn’t appear in the vocab - hence why I’d had to ask about it when I was doing challenge 24! And it wasn’t until I’d had that that explanation that I realised what was making the difference.
=> for needing things, use exactly as descibed by @siaronjames
=> for needing to do something, use eisiau the way you’re used to.

It does creep into the odd challenge further on - but I’ve never seen it explained in the ‘new’ courses.


Oh, I’m sure it is! :smiley:

I’m also sure there’s several other words I forgot since I did the challenges!
But what makes this course really valuable for me is that I got a grasp of the real spoken Welsh (not artificial/language course one - like I’ve learnt when I studied other languages before).
So I may not remember every details but I can easily make myself understood!

edit: this also answer to @ann-6 whi commented while I was writing.
BTW I can actually go and listen to Challenge 24 if I want, but I don’t need to because I know you know!

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There are variations on so many phrases and sentences and grammatical structures throughout the Welsh language and regions .I listen to Radio Cymru everyday and hear Southern welsh speakers speaking to North Welsh speakers and all seem to understand each other even though they may be using different words.I use the structure below and am widely understood throughout Wales.
Dw i am fynd rwan. (I am for going now) I want to go now
Dwi angen fynd rwan(I need to go now)
dw i am baned (I am for a cuppa)I want a cuppa
Oes angen i mi fynd rwan?Do I need to go now?


So … I just wanted to check these two statements - they appear in the North Level 3 Challenge 3, but don’t crop up in the South course, so I haven’t got a correct answer. (To explain: I’m doing south, but my mate is doing north, so sometimes we do a lesson together - we end up hearing both variations.)
I was completely stumped at first, so i was hoping they would appear in the south, but after I stopped panicking I MIGHT have worked it out …

  1. How high do you need?
    My answer: “Faint mor uchel oes eisiau i ti?” (But perhaps it should be “arna i”?)

  2. How high do you need to climb?
    My answer: “Faint mor uchel oes eisiau i ti ddringo?”

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Hi @leodoggy

Well your answers are what I would say the ‘southern course’ would have said… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Rich :slight_smile:

Thanks rich! That’s just what I need to hear!

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Very glad to see this explained, will be writing it down in a moment

Deborah explained to me that these things are dropped on us to develop our ability to work things out by ourselves - I’m afraid that for me at least it isn’t working.

Mostly I enjoy the working things out bit - I come up with all sorts of stuff when walking the dog which may or may not be correct, but sometimes the pennies just don’t drop. The whole ‘eisiau’ thing doesn’t come up often enough for me to get comfortable with it, hence I felt I needed to ask.
I liked @gisella-albertini’s response above about going with the northern ‘angen’ way of doing it, and might try that, but I’m sticking with ‘eisiau’ until I finish the course at least.
I did ask about ‘angen’ in the village shop, but they all went ‘EISIAU’ (in a very helpful way)! :crazy_face:


Oh, are they the type of villagers you’d overhear chatting in Cymraeg with a super strong accent on the Bwcabus and understand very little of it? :wink:

Well if you live there, you might just go on practicing it also after you’ve finished the course and at some point you’ll get used to it!

However I’ve been mostly around Carmarthen and Ceredigion so I can tell for sure there’s plenty of angen too!

Anyway more in general, also for @rob-7 in the beginning (meaning during the course and some time after) I perceived any variation as confusing: different ways of saying the same things, slight changes in sentence order, different pronunciation between Cath and Iestyn, even mutations drove me totally crazy! :dizzy_face:

However it’s just a phase - at some point your favourites will just stand out, and all the others will be in the background and turn useful when other people use them (on TV, radio, in person…).


I have not been on the forum regularly for some time but am very glad @gisella-albertini is still in such good form! :joy:
You have such a great way of explaining things Gisella that even I can understand, which is really quite a challenge.
Thank you so much, you are very encouraging :heart_eyes: