That old castan… This has been troubling me mildly (not to the point of sleepless nights, fortunately) ever since 22 Sep 2016 when I first started to dysgu Cymraeg. Yesterday I quizzed a native Welsh-speaker on the subject. Result: none the wiser.Dim doethach? She didn’t even know how you would spell moyn (I’m just guessing it’s M O Y N). In Mynediad we are taught that to want is eisiau. SSIW teaches moyn (for to want) and eisie/au for to need. And, perplexingly, angen seems universally to = need wherever you learn your Cymraeg, even on the moon (not that I’ve put this to the prawf). If SSIW opens all of its level 3 (and was it 2 as well, dw i wedi angohofio) challenges with “dw i angen coffi yn y bore, coffi du, coffi du” etc, surely that’s I" need coffee in the morning, black coffee," etc. Therefore, why do you also teach ti eisiau bach o gwsc (to name but one example and apologies if the spelling isn’t quite right). From asking the odd native Welsh speaker, I don’t seem to be able to get an explanation I’m happy with - doesn’t seem to be reigional, doesn’t seem to be the difference between spoken and written, though admittedly just one person did say she would never write ‘moyn’. So, I suppose to cut a short story long, is it acceptable to use either eisiau or moyn for want and either eisiau or angen for need?
I would have said that the eisiau / moyn difference was due to North or South dialect. Both, mean “want”. I have never been taught moyn on any of the courses I’ve been on (and believe me, there have been many!). It’s always eisiau or, as it tends to be spelled in the North, isio, but moyn is the word used in the South. But having said North and South, there isn’t a clear line across the country where the language changes, so in the middle you may hear both.
As you say, I’ve never seen angen mean anything other then need. As to the want/need distinction, it can be blurry in some dialects of English. I grew up in Manchester where people would say things like, “The forecast says it will rain so you’ll want your umbrella.” In this case want is more than “would like” and definitely towards the “need” end of the spectrum.
But I’ll leave it to a South Wales Welsh speaker to clarify the difference (if there is one) between eisiau and angen for “need”.
As a general rule, people in the North use eisiau (usually pronounced and spelt ‘isio’) for ‘to want’ and angen for ‘to need’ (the boys who sing Coffi Du are from Blaenau Ffestiniog), whereas people in the South use moyn for ‘to want’ and eisiau for ‘to need’.
Having said that, it is not always as ‘black and white’ as that - there will be people who have learnt Northern forms living in the South and vice versa!
Some native speakers may well not have come across the form from ‘the other end of Wales’, which explains the occasional puzzlement.
It’s probably easiest to say - stick to the set you find easiest to remember/use, but remain aware of the alternative. You will eventually be able to tell from context and other North/South key variations what the person you’re listening to means.
Good grief Margaret - you’re hot on the keyboard today, you’ve beaten me to it again!
LOL! The funny thing is, in between my two replies, I went out for a walk for several hours up a mountain with my husband to look at rocks, so it wasn’t as though I’ve been hovering over the keyboard all day waiting to pounce.
@siaronjames and @margarethall Diolch yn fawr iawn i chi - dw i’n mynd i resign myself to using both totally interchangeably but perhaps not write moyn as that seems to be the one thing my two native (south) speakers agree on; they wouldn’t write it, just perhaps say it, although both seemed more inclined to use eisiau for to want. Looks like moyn is the ceffyl tywyll in the mix here so perhaps I’ll keep it for occasions arbennig fel pan dw i’n ymarfer fy SSIW Cymraeg only.
Very glad you’ve raised this point, Caroline. The old course (Southern) uses ‘Mae isie i fi… caws’ (for instance), and that’s what I’ve tried to stick to. But I see this usage so rarely and ‘Dw i’n eisiau…’ so often that I’ve begun to wonder whether my memory was just playing tricks. And ‘angen’ is one of those words that doesn’t come up in the Southern version (or at least not in the early lessons) but which again I see so often that I realise I need to have a clear understanding of what it means. Though I still have to think about all these pretty well every time. Thankfully, at least Margaret and Siaron’s replies are consistent with how I broadly understand the terms to be used north and south.
Well @AlanP, that brings up (excuse the graphic language) the other problem I saw in a thread somewhere about “Dw i eisiau” versus “Dw i’n eisiau”. Isn’t it wrong to be inserting the apostrophe and an n between the i and the eisiau? I’m sure I’ve been taught that eisiau is one of those verbs (like wedi) where you don’t use the ‘yn’ abbreviated to 'n…
Yes I’m sure you’re right, Caroline. Just put that down to my all-round confusion about the whole thing…!
Now tell me, @AlanP, are you the Alan who is doing the second year of Mynediad in Llanfair ym Muallt on a Tuesday 6pm to 8pm. If my curiosity offends, just say so and I won’t in turn be offended myself - just wondered as I know that that particular Alan is a fan of Duolingo for instance… so perhaps he’s also using SSIW. Who knows? And if I don’t ask, I won’t find out…
No I can’t own up to that one. This particular Alan lives on Ynys Wyth (Isle of Wight), though originally from Caerdydd, and who, though since retirement having completed a distance-learning MA in Celtic Studies at Lampeter, am still only barely beyond the beginners’ stage with the language itself (though grateful for the opportunities afforded by SSIW to be doing any of it)!
Well, thanks for replying @AlanP and good on you regarding the MA in Celtic Studies. I’m sure it must give you a good starting point from which to understand the why’s and wherefore’s of the Welsh language’s twists and turns. I was told yesterday that the reason there is such a problem over moyn, angen, eisiau etc is because Welsh was never supposed to be written down at all. It was always a spoken language. That sounds all too simplistic to me and given from whence the explanation came, I’m inclined to view it with a fair degree of caution. Even the most ancient languages - so very different from today’s (thinking of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs here) - were written down. If you didn’t write something down, how on earth would you have any trace to leave? One of man’s enduring aims always seems to have been to leave a bit of himself behind so if you had a language that was never written down… then what? Anyway, I digress. Thanks again for the response re which Alan you are!
Helo 'na Bawb! Here’s how I use these kind of expressions (I learned Cymraeg, and am now living, in Abertawe yn ne Cymru). HWYL fawr!
1. Using “angen” (a noun meaning “need”)
Dw i angen mynd = “I need to go” (“informal” phrasing)
Mae arna i angen mynd = “I need to go” (“more formal” phrasing)
2. Using “rhaid” (a noun meaning “necessity”)
Mae rhaid i fi fynd (“I must go / I have to go”)
Rhaid i fi fynd (“I must go / I have to go”)
Mae’n rhaid i fi fynd (“I must go / I have to go”)
Oes rhaid i ti fynd? Oes. (“Do you have to go? Yes”)
3. Using “gorfod” (a “verbnoun” meaning “to have to / must”)
Dw i’n gorfod mynd (“I must go”)
4. Using “eisiau” (a noun meaning “want, lack, deficiency, need”)
Dw i eisiau mynd (“I want to go” ~~ this is how I use “eisiau”)
Mae arna i eisiau mynd (“I want to go” – “more formal” phrasing)
5. Using “moyn” (a “verbnoun” from the longer form “ymofyn” meaning “to seek, desire, want, search for, fetch”)
Dw i’n moyn mynd (“I want to go”)
6. Using “dymuno” (a “verbnoun” meaning “to wish, desire, crave, long for; wait eagerly for”)
Dw i’n dymuno mynd (“I wish to go”)
7. Using “am” (a preposition – lovely and short!)
Dw i am fynd (“I want to go”)
Mae hi am ddod (“She wants to come”)
Wow @patrickjemmer - that is REALLY useful; thanks. It just goes to show how flexi-bubble the language is. And how forgiving. And that’s why for people who are a bit on the ‘black and white’ side it can be difficult sometimes because it’s tantamount to there being no right or wrong really and more a case of laissez-faire. I’m going to print off what you’ve responded and refer to it often as it’s the best explanation I’ve had so far. Diolch yn fawr iawn a byddwch chi nos da!
@carolineparkinson One hears that old bromide about languages not having been written down quite a lot. It’s often said about Irish Gaelic to account for the large numbers of letters which are seemingly - I stress ‘seemingly’ - not pronounced. But that’s just an Anglocentric perspective. I share your caution. I won’t get into the argument about which pre-dated the other: Welsh or Anglo-Saxon texts, but it doesn’t matter anyway - they are all pretty ancient. The fact is that ancient languages were never written down until they were written down! There isn’t any language which doesn’t have twists and turns, not least English - which though it is supposedly more standardised today than it’s ever been, still retains many variations throughout the country, never mind the rest of the world!
That’s a pretty impressive list, @patrickjemmer and I’ve just read your profile - wow!
Well, @AlanP and @patrickjemmer, I too have had a wee butcher’s at Patrick’s profile and website and my gob is well and truly smacked! That is a seriously impressive list of quals/accreditations and academic “stuff”. I’m so heartened every time I visit this forum by the rapidity and quality of responses that come in, whatever the question asked. It’s truly wonderful. Comforting, reassuring and most of all something that makes me swell with a sort of quasi pride in being included amongst a great bunch of people who obviously have no fear in standing up for their beliefs and views and expressing them freely. It’s such a valuable resource - thanks @aran, @CatrinLliarJones and the rest of the SSIW team. Thanks also to the Director, the Producer and of course the cast, gaffer and so on… but seriously: a massive DIOLCH YN FAWR IAWN! Rydych chi’n anhygoel ac arbennig.
I am very glad to contribute! I “did” French and Spanish (and Latin) in school, but never felt I could communicate at all using these languages. Having stuck at it with Welsh as an adult, I can only praise all ,my tutors and fellow-students for their help, support, and friendship. So, I am very glad when I can “give something back.” Actually I trained as a scientist and ended up lecturing in maths so languages are definitely “different” for me. One thing I do try to do, and I hope you might notice as I contribute more, is to be very systematic with “patterns.” One other thing: of course, people in different areas (and different native speakers) will use different dialect forms, and so on, and I will tend not to comment on that (it’s too complicated!). But anyway, I am always learning, and love combining interesting and useful feedback and insights into the resources I am producing for Welsh language learning. One day, I hope, I might be a tutor myself Thanks for your lovely and thoughtful welcome, which I very much appreciate. Patrick.
Croeso i chi! ~~ You’re welcome! A diolch ~~ And thanks! One thing – I am glad you find the little summary useful. I believe that it is factually correct, and not misleading. It is, I am sure (as with any comment on language-use), incomplete and a little simplified. As to when and where people might use / distinguish between different “ways of saying” things – well, perhaps just experience, lots of speaking and listening, will sort that out in time. But (in my view), it can be very helpful to have a bit of clarity to start with, even if the picture’s a bit over-simplified in places. HWYL!
@patrickjemmer Simplification and clarity are about the best strings I can think of having to a bow. I went to a Saturday school in Newtown in February where the tutor was a cut above and I think it was because he appealed to my rather black and whiteness - something which, of course, language doesn’t always lend itself to terribly well. But as far as is possible, if things can be regimented, simplified, set out in a tabular form and so on, then so much the better as far as I’m concerned. I have a classic example: try getting 15 people to agree to a meeting on - potentially 8 different dates and times. Bung it in a table with the people’s names down the left hand side (the row headers) and the choices of dates/times in columns stretching out to the r/h side (the column headers) and ask them to fill in the ‘grid’ with a Y or a N depending on their availability. This is something which I think Doodle already does in an online format (and probably countless others too). It works. But you’ll still see email threads in everyday business life that are painful; endless emails from everyone included to the originator saying “I can make this” or “I can’t make that”. And the originator is then probably climbing the walls with, not only frustration, but also with perhaps a creeping realisation that there must be an easier way to do this. So, to cut a long story short, I’m all for tables, grids, patterns, black and white and clarity - which is why I appreciated your post so much. It lays it out in a way that it would be difficult NOT to understand.
Caroline, have you read any of David Crystal’s books or articles?