How regular or irregular are short forms?

Short forms are occasionally mentioned here, especially in conjunction with the old Course 3.

They seem big and spooky when mentioned and I’m wondering how much there is to worry about?

Is it just a matter of remembering a new set of endings?

Or do the verb stems themselves also change?

Is it like the irregular/strong verbs that people learning English or German have to memorise, where most verbs are regular (just tack on an ending) but some (or a dozen, or a hundred or so) verbs are unpredictable?

There is nothing at all to worry about, really, really. The challenges will make it totally painless, just trust the SSi method…


Not much - they’re pretty regular - and if you’re working through the Levels, you’ve already got some of them firmly under your belt… :slight_smile:


It’s not so much that the verb stems change, but the verb stem may look different to the dictionary headword form of the verb (i.e. the verb-noun). A common example is
“chwerthin”, for which the stem is “chwardd”. (You can look these up in )

Another place to look is:

Just look at the present/future and the past tense, and concentrate on the “informal” side for now.

Yet another place to look is Gareth King’s “Modern Welsh: A Comprehensive Grammar”, some of which you will find online in Google Books (they don’t show you every page).

Once you know the stem, I think the endings are pretty regular, but there may be exceptions.

I think there are only 4 or 5 really irregular common verbs: mynd, dod, cael, gwneud, and of course bod, but as you will know by now, SSiW covers them pretty comprehensively!


In my experience, the short form doesn’t get used that much in speaking - it’s mainly the forms that are covered in SSiW that I have used for conversation. (And those common verbs are unfortunately the most irregular, as they are in a lot of languages I think.)

Now I’m getting into formal writing I’m having to get to grips with them a bit more, but I don’t think it’s necessary to grapple with them too comprehensively unless you’re interested in doing so.


Phew! Recently at saith seren someone was using short forms in speech. I was thinking omg.

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Last week I attended a session on academic writing in Welsh at the university, and that was one of the features - that we should try to use the short form as much as possible in order for the writing to sound more ‘academic’. And the lecturer did say something along the lines of ‘normally we’d probably use the long form to say this, but when you’re writing essays and so forth it’s better to use the short form’. So I infer from this that using the short form (apart from the common ones that SSiW teaches, like ‘galla i fynd’ and so on) sounds more ‘academic’. Now, that might be what the person at SS was after - in which case, good for them! But personally I don’t stress about saying ‘Wnes i brynu anrheg’ rather than ‘Prynais i anrheg’ or whatever. Some hop onto the tongue when you need them and others don’t.


Really Pete? You use short forms quite a bit.


Short sentences you mean!!!

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Er, no. How do you ask for a pint? Ga i… ? Short form.


Er ok you win!

I have to admit that going to saith seren has been great. Its so nice to sit and chat, or try to in my case!

We should try and arrange a Saith Seren bootcamp in the new year!


Just asked judith to email everyone to see if they would be interested in the new year! £50 ish

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In my school (albeit English medium, so who knows how much this mirrors reality), we were only taught short form verbs. It literally is just as simple as finding the verb stem, and tacking on the appropriate ending.

Gareth King probably has a robust explanation of doing this (I know you like his book ;)), but, generally you take the last few vowels off, or change the sound slightly (sort of like strong verbs). So, deall -> deall-, gwrando -> gwrand-, cefnogi -> cefnog-. There’s a few irregular stems, none of which come to mind right now, sorry, but I recall mwynhau being one of those (I thought it was mwynheu, but my dictionary disagrees with me, so anyone else know?)

Then, just tack on the ending, which is pretty much fully regular outside of the 4 irregular verbs. This just involves remembering the tense and the subject. So, deallais i (like in Level 1! :stuck_out_tongue:), gwrandodd e, cefnogon ni.

So yeah, just memorise the “irregular” stems, like you would with strong verbs, and then just stick on the appropriate ending.

EDIT: Ok, I dug out my grammar book. Chapters 205-208 describe how to get the stem (but, give yourself a bit of practice and that should feel second nature – certainly not something I ever have to think about these days, thankfully), and chapter 209 gives the exceptions. It’s basically what I said above: remove the final vowel, but, if the final vowel is -au, change to -eu, and -io goes to -i.

It’s also worth mentioning, and easy “cheat” with the irregular verbs, is that bod and mynd are the only “really” irregular verbs. The other ones, dod, cael and gwneud can be found by sticking a letter in front of the conjugations for mynd.

I went - Es i
I did - Wnes i
I came - Des i
I took - Ces i