I asked my granddaughters is “cei” is always the positive answer to asking for something using “ga i …”. They were horrified & said they were told NOT to say this & that there was even a song to remind them not to use “ga i …” . Clarification needed please, as I have used this phrase when speaking to the School Secretary! Diolch yn fawr.
As far as I know, “ga i” is the standard way of asking for things/permission in most parts of Wales. You would normally still say “plîs” or “os gwelwch chi’n dda” or whatever afterwards, so I suppose it isn’t inherently polite. “Cei” is the singular familiar positive answer and “Cewch” is the formal positive answer, and also the answer to questions involving plurals.
You don’t mention if your granddaughters suggested what you should say instead, but I think “oes hawl 'da fi” is used instead of “ga i” in some areas in South Wales (Carmarthenshire?) so I wonder if this might have something to do with it.
Thank you Gareth, I will try your suggestion out on them (before I dare speak in public again!)
That’s odd - I don’t remember hearing or reading anything different.
Which makes me curious also about…what were they told to use instead?
I’m sure the expression suggested by Gareth does exist, of course, but appears to be one of the many variations in use in a specific area.
In any case it’s funny to think of how serious kids often are with their learning, so you better get those words right!
This however also reminds me of when I started learning English and we were told to use “How do you do” - but then truth is that I’ve never heard anyone say it in real life!
I would be very interested in the answer to Gareth’s question as to what your granddaughters would suggest instead, and also which part of Wales you are in?
I’m also curious to find out the answer to this.
The only reason I suggested “Oes hawl 'da fi” was because of this Elis James stand up routine https://www.facebook.com/S4CComedi/videos/1545186105631802/
Thank you Gisella, I was too taken aback to ask what the children were advised to say, but will find out (Caerffili, by the way). Yes indeed polite children used to shake hands & say “how do you do” - with a similar greeting by the recipient!
Thank you Cetra, looks as though if might be a North/South thing. Kids are from Caerffili.
Shwmae Leodoggy, I think you’ve hit on the problem - they are Caerffili & Valley girls! Thanks.
I don’t know what kind of Welsh your granddaughters are being taught, Rosemary, or by whom…but ga i…? is certainly the standard and perfectly polite way of asking for permission.
Any chance they thought you were saying Galla’i?
Don’t think so John, as I was asking them about all the different ways if saying “yes”. They were so appalled by the ‘ga i’ that I didn’t have a chance to discuss the ‘cei’ reply!
Thank you so much to EVERYONE who has responded with suggestions - its nice to hzve a Forum full of friends.
I might get chance to check this out with a teacher from the area either tomorrow or more likely the following Monday. I’ll let you know.
Thank you GarethR, they are South Wales Valley girls & as you know Ysgol has only recently re-opened & the class teacher is new - maybe he thinks it is too formal for children. I will phone them in the week & DEFINITELY find out how they would politely ask for something!
Hope this isn’t too late: Just had this from a very kind Caerphilly/Gwent teacher. She is newly additionally trained for Welsh language, so she will be bang up to date:
“Well we are taught to teach Ga i but gaf i is also used. It depends on how many people are asking and level of formality with answers. Ga I fynd…? Cei. Na chei. =one person. Gawn ni fynd? Cewch. Na chewch. Plural.”
There was however mention that more established teachers might have their own longstanding preferences. Having said that, the above is the official (University endorsed) policy.
I hope this helps.
And after @JohnYoung’s extra report straight from Caerfilly, I’m even more curious to hear…the song the little girls learnt, to remember not to use “Ga i…”!
I am North Wales and we were taught in primary school to ask for things using ‘Ga i’ from reception. Our reception teacher was actually the head and first language Welsh. I also can’t imagine she would have given us an impolite way to ask as she was very big on manner, I always remember her infamous saying “don’t point at people as there are always three fingers pointing back at you”.
Possibly North/South thing as suggested above!
I too will be intrigued to know what they are teaching them instead of Ga i…? - because I for one certainly can’t think of any alternative, except paraphrases!
Shwmae pawb, mystery seems to be solved - I phoned kids today & they are taught “gaf i” as suggested by John Young. Over the phone I couldn’t get the words of the song, but they said the usual reply would be “iawn”, they said my speech is old fashioned - maybe more suited to Lloyd George!
So it IS a North/South difference and diolch o galon to everyone for their input in getting me over this latest hurdle. XX