Help with letter to Lingo

Sh’mae pawb!

I was lucky enough to receive as a (very generous) prize in the Online Eisteddfod a subscription to Golwg (magazine published weekly by the publishers of Lingo Newydd). I had an email from the publishers to tell me about the prize, in which they said words to the effect that if I were to write in to Lingo it would be very welcome, which I took as a politely indirect request to do so (“os dych chi eisiau ysgrifennu llythyr at lingo rhyw dro yn dweud eich hanes neu eich diddordebau, mae pob croeso i chi wneud hynny”).

I checked with them for length, and they said 100-200 words, so after agonising unreasonably long over what to say, I have finally written a short something. Obviously, they’ll edit it for publication anyway, but it probably helps if it’s halfway decent when they receive it, so I’m asking here first for (a) any horrible mistakes and (b) a couple of thoughts on content.

Annwyl lingo newydd

Sais dw i, ac yn byw yn Rhydychen; dw i'n athro Saesneg a mathemateg i oedolion, ond mae gen i ddiddordeb mewn ieithoedd. Ers mis Mawrth dw i'n dysgu Cymraeg ar-lein efo'r wefan, a dw i byth wedi dysgu cymaint mor gyflym – a Chymraeg ddim yn iaith mor hawdd i ddysgu!

Er bod y ddinas yn Lloegr, mae ganddi hi ychydig o cysylltiadau efo Cymru, o Goleg yr Iesu ('Y Coleg Cymreig' ym Mhrifysgol Rhydychen) i Gôr Meibion Rhydychen (a oedd yn gyntaf côr Cymry oedd wedi dod yma i weithio yn y ffatri ceir). Mae 'na grwp bach o ddysgwyr Cymraeg sy'n cyfarfod ar y lleiaf unwaith pob wythnos.

Mae gen i ddau blant, ac mae'r 'fengaf yn enwedigol yn gwneud beth mae o'n medru i hybu'r Gymraeg: pan clywodd o rhywun mewn parc yn siarad iaith doedd dim yn Saesneg, wnaeth o redeg i ddweud wrtha fo, “Dw i'n hoffi coffi!” (Oedd y dyn yn Ffrangeg.)

Dw i ddim wedi cael cyfle i ddod i Gymru ers dechrau dysgu, ond dan ni'n gobeithio dod blwyddyn nesaf: mae fy mab yn hoff iawn o drenau, a byddai fo wrth ei fodd ymchwilio'r Rheilffordd Ffestiniog.

Cofion cynnes, etc.

Which, in theory, and allowing for me doing some of my thinking in Welsh and some in English, should mean something like:
I'm English and live in Oxford; I teach English and Maths to adults, but I am interested in languages. Since March I have been learning Welsh online with the website, and I have never learnt so much so fast -- despite Welsh being not a very easy language to learn!

Although the city is in England, it has a number of links to Wales, from Jesus College (the 'Welsh College' in Oxford University) to the Oxford Male Voice Choir (which was originally a choir of Welshmen who had come here to work in the car factory). There is a small group of Welsh learners who meet at least once a week.

I have two children, the youngest of whom does all he can to promote Welsh: when he heard someone in a park speaking a language that wasn't English, he ran up to him to say "Dw i'n hoffi coffi!" (The man was French.)

I haven't had the opportunity to visit Wales since starting to learn, but we are hoping to go next year: my son loves trains, and would be delighted to visit the Ffestiniog Railway.

Language-wise, apart from pointing out any horrible clangers (please, please do),I would just say that I hesitated over the start -- "Sais dw i, sy'n byw..." or "Sais dw i, yn byw..." were also considered. I don't know what sounds best.

Content-wise, what I’ve written is about 200 words, so if anything was added something would have to be taken out, but we could probably lose the slightly twee bit about the boy loving railways and the random mention of Ffestiniog at the end. I did think about putting in something like (O ddifri – ym mis Ionawr do’n i ddim yn gwybod hyd yn oed sut i ddweud “Dw i ddim yn siarad Cymraeg.”) where I was talking about SSiW, but I’m not sure; I did wonder if I should put in some explicit mention of winning the subscription, but it felt like blowing my own trumpet a bit much (I did make sure that I took a photo for them with me sat with the latest copy of it); I did wonder if I should try to push SSiW more explicitly (I thought of putting in something about os oes gynnoch chi ffrindiau neu deulu di-Gymraeg sydd eisiau dysgu), but there’s the word-count, and anyway I’ve made sure there’s an SSiW mug in the picture, unless they crop it out.

Oh, and I changed ‘mynd i Gymru’ to ‘dod i Gymru’ at the last minute, because even though I’m not in Wales, the publishers and many of their readers are. I still don’t know which sounds right.

Corrections and suggestions gratefully received!


Well done, and congratulations on your prize!

Since you asked:

I think what I’ve heard is Mae gen i ddau o blant. (And without the o, numbers usually take the singular, e.g. dau gi not dau gŵn, and plant is plural.)

I think that ffrangeg is the language, not a person or a general adjective – perhaps Ffrancwr oedd y dyn?

To be quite honest, I wasn’t sure what to feel about the SSiW plug in that letter; at any rate, I don’t think anything more is needed. I’m not sure where the border is between “I am telling you my story” and “I am advertising a service” but I think it would be good to stick to the one side of it.

I like the story, though, and it’s a great example of how one can learn Welsh even without living in Wales.


Llongyfarchiadau first!

I won’t comment neither about language (you obviously have learnt more than I did) nor about the content but I agree with @philipnewton. The plug for SSiW you did is just enough not to considder this as advertising and tell people where you are learning at the same time. One who really wants to learn and has no particularly good experiences with classical methods or they seam too slow to them will grab the mention and plunge into our site to see what’s going on here. So this wise you’ve done perfect mix of advert and storytelling.

All the rest seams fine to me (but I’m too talkative so 200 words would surely be a bit too little for me to tell a tale of me learning Cymraeg :slight_smile: ).

About French Ap Geiriaduron says that Ffrangeg is the language and Ffrancod are the people.


Llongyfarchiadau from me.
Just a thought regarding the mynd/dod dilemma. How about reflecting your more inclusive English version (visit) with something like this? … y cyfle i ymweld â Chymru.


Good idea. I love this one!

You won a subscription they generously donated to the online eisteddfod - I think they’ll be happy to have that in the letter…


Yeah, that’s kind of what I was thinking - I don’t want to be all “Oh look at me” about it, though. :thinking:


Thanks - that might be a solution.

ETA Aargh! Ymweld was what I wanted in the following sentence, not ymchwilio - he’s only 5, he’s too young to be doing research!


You know that feeling when you ask someone to point out your egregious errors but hope you haven’t actually made any? Yes, that one - something like “heartfelt thanks through gritted teeth” :slight_smile:
I’ll just go ahead & fix those…


I think so too!

At the beginning, the bit about “despite Welsh not being an easy language to learn” might be better translated with something like

“er bod y Gymraeg ddim yn iaith hawdd i’w dysgu.”


“er nad yw’r Gymraeg mor hawdd â hynny i’w dysgu.”


Excellent effort - huge congratulations!

Tiny changes for the most part, and plenty of them more a matter of tone than anything. Llongyfarchiadau mawr iawn ar safon dy Gymraeg! :star: :star2:


ETA: This ‘crossed in the post’ with @aran’s reply, which implies that my version (as corrected after reading yours) is actually OK. So we can ignore the sad puppy bit – but thank you for your help :slight_smile:

Ooh, now that’s an interesting one – I think if I’d been aiming for that exact English phrase I’d probably have gone for your first suggestion (although I suspect I’d have butchered it slightly by omitting the 'w), but funnily enough that’s actually a bit where I was trying to think in Welsh, and only stuck ‘despite’ in when I turned it back into English.

What I was thinking of – and I still might have messed it up, so please don’t take this as “thank you for help which I intend to ignore” :slight_smile: – was actually a structure that I’ve noticed a few times in reading Prism. You see, I remember a translation I’ve got of the Mabinogi (the old Everyman one) where the translators try to keep some of the flavour of the original, and they keep saying stuff like “and a hand reaching through the window and grasping the colt by the mane” which seems to be something like just a + verb-noun in the original. And I remembered this because I keep seeing things in the MSR book like a hithau mor agos at y Dolig stuck on the end of sentences in a way that I would probably translate as “what with it being so close to Christmas”. What I wouldn’t say in English is “and it so close to Xmas” – although I can imagine someone else might say it. (I have in my head someone gossiping disapprovingly about someone else’s relationship tagging a sentence with “…and him old enough to be her father.”)

So that’s kind of what I was going for, although your comments prompt me to think it should be a’r Gymraeg rather than a Chymraeg. But what I don’t know is whether this is even a thing people would say, or say in a letter – I don’t know if I’m trying for something literary (wrong register), or shoehorning it in somewhere it doesn’t belong, or just getting it wrong. (I also faffed a bit over mor hawdd vs hawdd iawn.)

So… your er bod y Gymraeg… &c. makes perfect sense, and is straightforward – but I was pleased with myself for attempting the other. (Insert some sort of sad puppy emoji…) Do you know if there’s a way it’d work, or is it unsalvageably just not what anyone would say?

1 Like

Now there’s tactful. I think I got about 10% of the mutations in there that I should, and I can’t believe after the number of times I’ve said dw i 'di bod yn dysgu my brain still went for default-foreign-language present tense!

But lots of those corrections had already been picked up with others’ help, too, so that’s nice, and I’m pleased with one or two bits where I wasn’t sure I’d said the right thing, but actually had. A couple of suggestions of yours might reflect me being a bit slapdash with my English version as much as the Welsh – I meant to say that my son ‘in particular’ was doing ‘what’ he could – rather than it being just him, and rather than ‘all’ – but I don’t know that either of those matters very much.

1 Like

Well I thought you did brilliantly, Richard. So you did this after learning for 6 months? I’m sure that Lingo would be delighted if you could string two sentences together.

Don’t tell anyone, but I had to check that my comment on “ymweld” could apply to places as well as people, before sending it.


Actually it seems to be totally fine, as Aran confirmed, so ignore me! It’s not a construction I would personally have thought of using quite like that, but I see where you’re coming from now… Oh and congrats on the great job! :slight_smile:


Twt lol… :slight_smile: