I parked the car - level 3

Hi, I’m just in challenge 17 and there is the phrase ‘I parked the car’ when I heard it first I said, dw I wedi parcio’r car’ but the recording says ‘ nes I parcio’r car’ . Does anyone know the difference, is mine wrong or another way? Diolch

The difference is in the tense - dwi wedi parcio’r car = I have parked the car / nes i parcio’r car = I (did) park the car.

What you said wasn’t exactly wrong - you would have been understood, but the subtle change in the tense would sound more natural.

1 Like

Oh, ok. Thanks, I’m not quite sure what the difference is, or rather when each would be used. Is one more common than the other do you think?

It’s a question of context really, same as it is in English - think about when you would say (in English) “I have parked the car” and when you would say “I parked the car”, and when interchanging them would sound not-quite-right.
It is a pretty subtle difference in both languages, but basically it’s the difference between I have (done something) and I did (do something).

1 Like

Thanks, I’m probably trying to analyse it too much! ( I teach Latin so I spend a lot of time on grammar!). I appreciate your help, I’m nearly at the end now! I’m spending lots of the summer in Blaenau Ffestiniog so hope to have chance to practice, but I’m nervous!.

There are plenty of Welsh speakers in Blaenau Ffestiniog so you won’t be short on opportunity, but (and I say this without wanting to worry you into not using your Welsh) the Blaenau accent can be quite fast and difficult to understand at first (took me a while and I have friends from there!) - so my advice would be this:
Practice asking someone to slow down and/or repeat what they’re saying
(arafach plîs, dwi’n dysgu / sori, deuda eto? = slower please, I’m learning / sorry, say again? )
If you don’t catch what someone says, take a deep breath and say one of those above. If you still don’t catch what they say, don’t panic! If you have to turn to English, do it but only for as short a time as you need to - go back to Welsh as soon as you can. And even if a Welsh speaker turns to English (and they often do this thinking they are helping you out!), you keep going in Welsh as much as you can.

And if you happen to escape from Blaenau to Caernarfon at all, give me a shout - I’ll join you for a panad if I can! :slight_smile:


Thanks that’s helpful. I’m going to set myself a challenge to try and have a conversation every day, I’m going to go round shops, hoping people will talk. One thing that worries me is how to know if they are welsh speakers, do I just launch myself in!

1 Like

Excellent - you’ll be awesome :smiley:

yes, deep breath and just launch yourself in - I dare say the majority you’ll come across will be Welsh speakers although there will be some people who don’t speak Welsh, and there will be some that do that, as I said before, will be ‘friendly’ by speaking in English, but it’s much easier to get them to carry on in Welsh if that’s how you’ve started. If you start in English it is much harder to then get them to speak Welsh!

If you do ‘launch’ at a non-Welsh speaker, don’t worry - look at it as an opportunity to drop a recommendation for SSiW into the conversation! :wink:

1 Like

Diolch Siaron, I’ll let you know how I get on!

1 Like

You would most like say say “Dw i wedi…” when you have only just parked the car. If you are coming out of the pub after an hour or two and saying “I parked the car by the shops” to tell folk where to go, you would say “Nes i…”


Thanks, that’s helpful

Aahh, that’s the trouble – if you taught Greek there wouldn’t be a problem!

Seriously, though: Latin doesn’t distinguish between Perfect and Preterite – it’s all merged into one tense, which we call the Perfect when we’re doing Latin, and that’s it. Greek mysteriously has two different past tenses (never mind things like the pluperfect and the imperfect) called the Perfect and the Aorist, and when I was at school my Greek teacher had no real idea how to explain the difference, and as a result I never really grasped it.

But his problem (and mine!) was that he was used to treating English grammar as though it was some sort of substandard variant of Latin and Greek grammar, rather than something with its own rules. The difference between the Aorist and the Perfect in Greek isn’t a difference of the time when something happened, it’s a difference of aspect, which most people have never heard of, but which, fortunately, is also fundamental in modern English grammar. So as native speakers, unless we’re trying to teach foreigners, we never have to be conscious of this difference, because we almost always get it right without knowing what we’re doing – and the good news is that as @siaronjames and others have said, it works in very much the same way in Welsh, so you can use your English to guide you in Welsh (until it, hopefully, just becomes more natural in Welsh).

The basic difference is this: the form with “I have done X” is not actually a past tense: it’s called a Present Perfect, because it links up a past action with the present context in some way. We use the Simple Past instead when something is basically over and done with.

So there are lots of subtleties about when you choose which form, but a good, clear example which should work for pretty much all native English speakers is this one. You’re doing a class, your teacher gave you some homework, you did it last night – but this morning the dog may or may not have eaten it.
Case A: I (did/have done) my homework, miss – here it is.
Case B: I (did/have done) my homework, miss – but the dog ate it.

Alternatively: Where (did you go / have you been) on your holidays last year? (Last year is finished.)
(Did you ever go / Have you ever been) to Caernarfon? (Ever in your life: your life is still ongoing.)

It gets a bit confused for some American speakers – under the influence of Yiddish, apparently – so you do get some native English speakers saying things like “Did you feed the dog already?” – but generally speaking the distinction is both clear and important in English (i.e. you’d sound weird if you consistently struggled with it) and, I believe, the same in Welsh. I don’t know if this is one of those English compound tenses which is thought by some to be due to underlying Welsh/British influence, but it’s certainly a distinction Old English didn’t make – and nor does Latin!


Wow! Thanks for your time! Actually I do teach Ancient Greek!

Wwps. :blush: A good job I didn’t find an excuse to show how little I remember about Sequence of Moods, then. Here’s hoping I got my Aorists right!

1 Like

I was very impressed!

1 Like

Another thing about the Welsh perfect is that in Welsh when you say “Dw i” you are describing your current state. “Dw i wedi parcio’r car” is literally “I am after parking the car”.

Now certainly to most English speakers if you hear “I’m after going to the pub” in mock Irish, you probably reckon the speaker is thinking of going to the pub. But in Welsh, and the Gaelic from which the Irish English idiom comes, it clearly means you’ve just been to the pub: your current state is after-pub.

1 Like

Wow, now you’re really blowing my mind. I have no trouble understanding the difference between “Dw i wedi” and “Wnes i”. I’m American, consider myself well-educated and a good writer, but have never studied Greek or Latin. I would be perfectly fine using all of the examples you gave above with either choice, except for “Where have you been on your holidays last year?”, which just sounds wrong. I would never think twice about saying “Did you feed the dog?” We all say things like that here. And I never heard “I am after (doing something)” until I read it in this forum at some point - no American (that I know) would use that expression. It is so interesting to see how English is the same and yet different across the world! Thanks for sharing all this! :slight_smile:

1 Like

You don’t hear “I’m after going…” here very much either, except when people are trying to produce what they think is Irish dialogue - and usually getting it wrong.

1 Like

Well, I’m aware that the simple past is more widely used in American English, and intuitions about dialects other than one’s own are unreliable, but I’m intrigued to know if this sounds grammatical to you: “I have done my homework, but the dog ate it.”
If that’s OK, what about:
“I have done my homework, but the dog ate it this morning.”

The first one doesn’t strike me as wrong, but I don’t think I would ever say that. I would be much more likely to say “I did my homework, but the dog ate it.”

The second one sounds odd, I would never say that - and yes, I realize that that is completely inconsistent :joy:

What would be most natural for you to say?