Hi there,

I though eisiau means to want in English, but in challenge 1 (South) you have translated it as ‘to need’. Can you help with my confusion?!

Many thanks!

This is a southernism kind of thing - good to be aware of, no need for you to use it like that if it doesn’t come easily, but not something to worry about. If you find it a genuine block, come on over to the northern side of things…:wink:


This word is an odd one. It is actually a noun and in the South we treat it as one. Mae eisiau i fi … (There is a need for me …). In the North, they try to pretend it’s a verbnoun except they don’t use yn with it. :wink: Dw i eisiau … (I want …). Also, the two courses pronounce it differently and the spelling is usually changed to reflect this. Isie in the South and Isio in the North.


Simple (South):

  • eisie = need (Mae eisie i fi fynd = I need to go)
  • moyn = want (Dw i’n moyn mynd. = I want to go)

Hwever there are some more variations of need and want and have to and … Take it easy. In time you’ll forget you’d been ever confused about this thing.

Good luck and welcome to the forum!


If it did enter Welsh from the Latin exiguus as Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymraeg suggests, then that Latin word means small, little, tiny, meagre etc - exiguous is still a rarely used word in English meaning just that. So the Southern Welsh usage oes ishe i fi, would fit with, “is there a little for me”. That sort of makes sense to me, for I “need” anyway.

In at least one of the romance languages exiguus is still used and in Portuguese it means “demands” and that sounds like the dw i eisiau type usage. In Spanish, exigir is shown to mean - demand, need, call for, ask for etc.Lithuanian has paraiška, for demand, request etc

I don’t know how many other languages share derivations of this one in different forms, but it seems to me the original Latin meaning has shown a tendency to split into the subtely different ways that you see it expressed and used in different parts of Wales.


Wow! Thank you for such a thorough answer! Your understanding is inspiring :slight_smile:

Thanks! And for your reassurance :grinning:

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Thanks Craig! V helpful :grinning:

Thanks Aran :grinning:

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Whenever I see the official spelling, it makes me think of Esau, and I come over all biblical. Or I think of this:

I saw Esau sitting on a see-saw
I saw Esau with my girl
I saw Esau sitting on a see-saw
Giving her a merry whirl
When I saw Esau, he saw me
And I saw red and got so sore
So I got a saw and I sawed Esau
Off that old see-saw


That made me laugh! Now I’m gonna think of that rhyme every time i see “eisiau” :confounded: < sarcastic >Diolch yn fawr iawn, Mike < /end sarcastic > :wink:

Mae isie i fi fynd nawr…


Mae want arna i i di aros. :slight_smile:

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Well, in a recent episode of Rownd a Rownd, one of the northern speakers (most of them are northern speakers) said:

“(doe)'s dim isio” (or “'sdim eisiau”)

…which was translated in the English s/t as “there’s no need” (which completely fitted the context).

Whereas I (as a learner of northern Welsh) would have gone for “does dim angen”.

So it seems it’s not always hard and fast one way in northern, and the other way in southern.

Also (as I think has been discussed in the forum before, there is some overlap (in English too) between “want” or “wanting”, and “need” and “needing”, e.g. as in “to be found wanting”, or “for want of a nail the shoe was lost”, etc.

One could avoid the “problem” by using other ways of expressing wanting something, e.g. some form of “bod” + am e.g. “dw i am fynd” “I want to go”.

BTW, I only realised today (from Gweiadur.com) that “moyn” was a form of, or related to “ymofyn” or “mofyn”.


Just noticed that Sanskrit and Hindi, bengali etc use तमन्ना or iccha, for want, wish, desire and also:

Rajasthani: चा ‎(cā)
Telugu: ఇచ్ఛ ‎(iccha)
Thai: อิจฉา ‎(id chā)

Middle English asken, axen, Old English āscian, āxian; cognate with Old Frisian āskia, Old Saxon ēscon, Old High German eiscōn (German heischen), Sanskrit icchati (he) seeks.

Something smells like a common root, maybe well before Latin at the Proto Indo European level?

This link is also interesting, but not sure of it accuracy etc. (Avestan iš- is cognate with Sanskrit eṣ- “to wish, strive for, seek”, icchā- “wish, desire”, icchati “seeks for, wishes”, iṣta- “beloved, sought”, iṣti- “search, desire”,)



Hmmm … but to me “I don’t want to” came immediately to my mind without any thinking at all (despite I’m learning southern version). Yah, context is important.

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So in “southern”, would that be “Mae eisiau i fi…”?

Sorry, I didn’t explain the full context of the extract I quoted. Someone had just brought a bucket of champagne and glasses, and placed them in front of a couple sitting at a table, who had just (officially) announced a “happy event”. The male of the couple (somewhat embarrassed) then said:

“sdim eisiau”. - as a complete phrase with no “I” being involved, so it would not be “I don’t want”. And it got translated in the subtitles as “There’s no need”, which made perfect sense.

(Just checked the Welsh subtitles: He says “[Oh] 'Sdim eisiau [Glenda].” (they don’t put the name in the s/t), and she replies: “Oes, Tad”. (“Tad” seems to be used as a reinforcing tag word in this area…From googling, it seems to refer to the “heavenly Father”, and is used as a reinforcing exclamation. Similarly “Yndy, Tad”).

(about 15 minutes in).

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In Southern speak, Mae isie i fi fynd - There is a need for me to go, which we usually think of as “I need to go.”

Having just recently done Course 2 Vocab 5 (Southern), I remembered that we had this sentence:

I suppose there will be a need to re-think. - Dw i’n tybio bydd isie ail-feddwl.

So that’s another way in which it can be expressed that there is a need for something without a person being involved (i.e. there’s no “i fi”).

I need to get my ear more in tune to hear 'sdim and know that it’s short for does dim without having to think too much about it! The spoken Welsh is fast enough on Rownd a Rownd without everyone shortening everything and making it even faster :slight_smile: I’ve been noticing lately that it’s often just 'fyd instead of hefyd, too.

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Yes, this makes perfect sense and is very in the context of the happenings.

My “I don’t want to” was derived from the fact that I am keen to both versions and eisio immediately came to me as want and not need.

Hmmm … strange ways of Cymraeg I’m deriving. :slight_smile:

Thx for the explanations both. :slight_smile:

This is my first question. I am just starting though know a little from other sources and eisiau/moyn distinction has caused me some confusion. As i had seen eisiau as want. When my children where young i would say in english you "might want a bar of chocalate but you don’t need one. Given the closeness of these two words, I was wondering how this distinction could be made in welsh. I am doing south.

Hi @david-davies-4

So, it is the structure of the sentence which creates this sense of eisiau…

Mae eisiau i fi fynd

Literally means:

There is a want for me to go

…and this is interpreted as a need…and this type of structure used to exist in English too as per the poem ‘For the want of a nail the shoe was lost, for the want of a shoe the horse was lost, etc etc’ …but has been dropped over time.

The same sentence structure is used for must and other things too e.g:

Mae rhaid I fi fynd

I must go

There is a twist in your example in that if you are saying you need a ‘thing’ with this type of sentence eg chocolate versus to do something eg. run, walk or go…then ar is used rather than ‘i’…

Mae eisiau siocled arna i

Lit: There is a want for chocolate on me.

It is a southern expression where moyn has the edge for meaning want although eisiau can be used for want with no confusion- the sentence structure sorts it out, so;

Efallai ti eisiau siocled…

Maybe you want chocolate …no problem

But…1) don’t worry about it as these things sort themselves out over time 2) you can choose how you want to say things - people will understand 3) SSIW often introduces different ways of saying the same thing so that you understand it if someone says it to you…

Rich :slight_smile:

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