I should have learned Welsh and I could have learned Welsh

In French it would go something like this:

J’aurais pu apprendre Gallois

and in Italian:

Avrei potuto imparare Gallesi

As those are mainly Latin based languages it doesn’t necessarily follow that Welsh follows the same approach - which I discovered when I tried it and Eirwen looked at me as if I was from Mars.

So after several misfires I seem to be zoning in on the following ways of saying it in Welsh:

Gallwn i wedi dysgu Cymraeg


Dylwn i wedi dysgu Cymraeg

I was just getting comfortable with this when I tried a Welsh Grammar translator which came up with

Gallwn fod wedi dysgu Cymraeg


Dylwn fod wedi dysgu Cymraeg

So now I appear to be a Venusian instead of a Martian but Cymraeg I’m not sure???



You do know that “dylwn i” is not followed by “yn + verb noun” but only the verb noun, right? So you can’t just add the “wedi” to replace the “yn” that’s not there. Instead you add “bod” (which of course mutates) and it can be followed by “wedi”.

Of course, there’s a tendency to drop that “fod” in spoken language. :smile:


Fantastic response - thank you. ‘Could have’ and ‘should have’ crop up all the time in conversation - so I’m so happy to be able to say them in Welsh.

Thank you,


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It’s because wedi doesn’t so much mean “have” as “after”, while bod is the verb “to be”. For example, when you say Dw i wedi, you’re saying “I am after” - and it’s also why if you talk to people from certain parts of Wales and Ireland (Irish uses the same pattern) you’ll sometimes hear “I’m after eating” rather than “I have eaten”. Gallwn fod wedi dysgu Cymraeg translates closest to “I could be after learning Welsh”.


Diolch @hectorgrey! I’ve always found those patterns a bit cryptic and hard to remember and that’s a fantastic explanation.

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I noticed that with and without the “fod”, they both translated OK from Cymraeg to English in Google Translate, so that “fod” is probably dropped a lot in informal writing on’tinternet as well.

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Continuing this slightly confusing train of thought, please could somebody confirm which (if either or both) of the following is correct:

Baswn i wedi bod yn hapus iawn tase rhywun wedi dweud hynny wrtha i flwyddyn yn ol.

Byddwn i wedi bod yn hapus iawn os oedd rhywun wedi dweud hynny wrtha i flwyddyn yn ol.

(I would have been very happy if somebody had told me that a year ago!)


The first one sounds more natural (and also more northern?) to me - but I wouldn’t blink twice at anyone saying the second one… :sunny:

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Diolch @aran! It is nice to have confirmation sometimes of this kind of thing. (Anyway, you - plus my inate laziness - are responsible for the ongoing experiment of not still having got past chapter 1 of Gareth King!)

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Argh! Don’t make me responsible for you not reading @garethrking! …:wink:


It’s because dylwn i and gallwn i are modals, and as such require a following VN - so a sort of ‘dummy’ VN (bod) is used to tag the wedi onto.

So yes indeed:
Dylwn i fod wedi dysgu Cymraeg
Gallwn i fod wedi dysgu Cymraeg

You often do hear it with the fod dropped, but strictly speaking this is the influence of English, which is happy to have modals followed by ‘have’. I wouldn’t go to war over it, though personally I think the pattern with fod sounds much more Welsh. :slight_smile:


Hello Gareth,

I just sent an email to Eirwen’s sister Shian teasing her saying:

Pam wyt ti ddim wedi prynu f’ anrheg Nadolig eto?

Gallet ti fod wedi prynu hi yn barod.

Byddau well gen i ddweud - Dylet ti fod wedi prynu hi yn barod!!

I used the “informal you” suffixes “et”" after consulting the “Welsh Learners Dictionary”.

Shian’s response was:

Mae’r ddwy ffordd yn gywir

Fe alle ti fod wedi ei brynu - You could/may have bought it

Fe ddyle ti fod wedi ei brynu -You should have bought it

Do you have a view whether my way of writing it was also correct or not?

Shian’s Welsh is usually regarded as pretty good - or so I’m told.

Many thanks in advance for any extra light you can shed on this,


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Justin, as far as I am concerned, your way with the Gallet ti… and Dylet ti… sentences there is fine. Shian is right as well, of course, except she spells the -et ti ending phonetically as -e ti, because that’s what it sounds like (no doubled consonants phonetically speaking in Welsh!). She uses affirmative particle Fe, which is just fine, but optional. For that matter, you could have used Fe or indeed Mi yourself - Mi ddylet ti fod wedi prynu… etc.

The only improvement I would make would be in your first sentence there, where (to me at least) it sounds better to follow Pam with a ‘that’-clause - so I would sooner hear, for ‘Why haven’t you…?’ either of the following:
Pam fod ti ddim wedi…?
Pam nad wyt ti wedi…?
And there is also
Pam fod ti heb…? which means the same thing, cos heb = ddim wedi

Blimey - it’s a minefield!! :slight_smile:


Yes - but you steered me through it and I didn’t lose a single limb!! Many thanks,



This may sound extremely pedantic, but hey, seeing we’re in a minefield :smiley:

Seeing the ‘ei’ refers to anrheg, a feminine gender word, should that not be ‘ei phrynu’?


Not necessarily @louis. You’re refering to the item (e.g. a ball, a phone etc) rather than the word ‘anrheg’.


This is excellent - I can have my cake and eat it!!


Even when you don’t know what the present is yet…?


Good point. I’m going to have to do some investigative work to find out what other people say!

I’m actually just trusting my ear here more than anything. Ei phrynu hi jars a bit when referring to buying a present, but people’s usage of Welsh changes from place to place, so this might be a dialect thing. I’ll ask around. I do have a half-baked theory of why I wouldn’t use ‘ei phrynu hi’, but I’ll reserve this for now until I find out what other people say.


Don’t keep us in suspense here, Mererid. All the best theories started out half-baked - so spill!