"Gofyn i fi" or "Gofyn wrtha fi"?

Hi all:

I was actually looking for the “tiny questions with quick answers” thread for this, because I hardly think it’s worth a whole thread to itself (so, moderators, please feel free to move it if you agree); but, after seeing that thread a zillion times, I couldn’t find it today.

Anyway, I’m almost finished Level 2 of the Northern course (Challenge 24), and I still haven’t been able to make sense of this. So, now’s the time to ask. I’ve noticed that sometimes a sentence will include “…gofyn i fi…” or “…gofyn i ti” and other times it will be “…gofyn wrtha fi…” or “…gofyn wrthot ti…” I haven’t been able to figure out any pattern for why it might change, though. Are these just two equally correct ways of saying the same thing, or am I missing some grammar rule that would guide me as to which I should be choosing?

BTW - I can’t say this enough: I LOVE SSiW!!! It has literally changed my life. I’m Skyping in Welsh with my friend in Wales every week now, and I notice improvements every time. After all the years I spent learning grammar, I’ve never been able to talk as fluenty as I do now (not to say I’m completely fluent, just more fluent than I was). I put it down to SSiW forcing me to speak out loud every day. I know this isn’t related to my question, but just felt a little appreciation was in order. :slight_smile:


I always think that, if you can’t find a pattern, the rule is: it doesn’t matter :slight_smile: There is a similar situation in English with I ask you and I ask of you.

Yes, isn’t SSiW wonderful?

That’s the magic ingredient…


Some answers here on the matter from Gareth King amongst others -


Hello Margaret,

I’ve seen “gofyn i…” but not “gofyn wrth”, but people say “dweud wrth…”. Maybe it’s a neologism based on “dweud wrth…” yet to be universally accepted.




I think Ian’s on the money here - ‘gofyn i’ is definitely the ‘correct’ form, but you will hear ‘gofyn wrth’, and it may well be because people are thinking about it as similar to ‘dweud’ - so if you’re suggesting asking someone to do something, it would always be ‘gofyn iddi [siarad efo/nol rhywbeth/fynd i rywle]…’ but it wouldn’t surprise me at all to hear ‘gofyn wrth dy dad’ if the children are rabbiting on about something and the mother doesn’t want to answer…:wink:

Hello Aran,

I think that until Welsh was finally recognised and its use actually encouraged by the powers-that-be there may have been some sort of linguistic free-for-all which gave rise to all sorts of solecisms amongst which “gofyn wrth” may have been one.

Possibly so! Plus all language is inherently messy…:wink:

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Shouldn’t that be the form taught in SSiW, then?

Hearing and learning something which I later get told is not really correct makes me a bit uncomfortable…

(Uncomfortable enough to pause a SSiW lesson that had just used gofyn wrth and look things up because I had something in the back of my mind niggling at me :cry:)

Perhaps this is in the same class as e.g. “bo’ ti”? “not really correct” (for “fod ti” or similar) but “lots of people say it” - enough that it’s mentioned in Gareth King’s grammar IIRC.

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Seems to me that it’s not so much correct vs incorrect (the only definition of correct worth having in linguistic terms is “a sufficiently large number of people use it”) as the difference between “isn’t” and “ain’t”. Twenty years ago, pretty much any English teacher you asked would have told you that “ain’t” is just plain wrong - but it ain’t. Language isn’t as simple as correct vs incorrect.


Possibly in an ideal world if it was easy for us to switch it out at this stage, I’d be willing to - although it’s a fine line between art and science on this kind of stuff, and I’m certainly not particularly worried that treading the ‘Welsh you’ll actually hear’ line means that we dance a little dangerously around the whole issue of ‘correctness’ at times.

But in general terms, I’m pretty relaxed about it - anyone who is determined to have perfectly correct Welsh will need to commit to some very long term projects that go a long way beyond SSiW - and we consistently see that people who are comfortable with getting enough to get by and then jumping in at the deep end do the best of all… :slight_smile:


Thank you for your response :slight_smile:

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Yes, that’s the thing. I think that’s one of the real strengths of SSiW. I’d learned “correct” Welsh for years, and it got me no-where understanding real people. I’m fine with learning what I might hear, in case I do. :wink: This conversation has helped, though - as it’s good to know whether there’s a reason for the difference or if it’s just a colloquialism.


I have, i think, mentioned elsewhere a conversation with an Israeli scientist who was attending a symposium hosted by my Society and for which I had been conn… I mean persuaded to act as Secretary. He complemented me on my English. Confused I said “it is my first language!” He assured me that this was why he was impressed because I spoke so clearly and correctly that he could understand! I was used to people on Sabbatical from everywhere from the People’s Republic of China to Mexico, so I used unnaturally correct English!
If he and all the others had learned the SSiW way, I could have said ‘could’ve’ etc!