Lle mae vs Lle ydy

This is a pretty basic question, and it is the sort that usually I would just put out of mind and wait for it to make sense, but this time it is bugging me.

In the lesson 2 vocab (gog) we have “Lle mae’r plant?” for where are the children.
My instinct each time has been to go with “Lle ydy’r plant?” since it is a question. Is this wrong, is it a case of either one would do, or …?

Lle goes with mae: I believe it’s a language rule. Here’s an SSIW link with examples.


S’mae Jeff,

I believe you always use mae rather than ydy after lle? Not sure why, because I have learned the SSiW way, and lle ydy…? just sounds wrong to my ears.



@Stu: Then that corroborates my original impulse to just let it pass and not worry. More practice will get it into my head.

@Dinas: Thanks much for the pointer to that wiki. I’ve been hanging out here since November and had never seen it. To be honest all the rules laid out in a table kind of make my head spin and I think I’ll go with the SSiW method of repetition and osmosis.

“To be honest all the rules laid out in a table kind of make my head spin and I think I’ll go with the SSiW method of repetition and osmosis.”

That’s exactly what I thought when I saw it…:lol:

I’m used to hearing Ple mae’r … or even Ble mae’r … (presumably from Pa le). Is this a regional thing?

I believe it is Huw. We use “ble” for “where” in the South - “ble mae’r plant?”. I’ve heard gogs use “lle” for “where”, whereas I thought it meant “place” (eg “y lle”)!

lle is both the question word for “where” and the noun for “the place” in the north.

It’s worth pointing out that if you accidentally let a “Lle ydy” slip out, the worst anyone is going to think is “that sounds a bit odd” and the best “I wonder where Jeff comes from, they seem to use ‘Lle ydy’ there”. No-one, absolutely no-one, is going to think “what does that mean then?”.

So, not worth worrying about, and with practise you’ll start getting it ‘right’ without even trying.

I see “ydy” more for personal matters and “mae” more for “its” and “the?”"

“Lle” up North is for “space” as well.

llanfairfach: “Lle” up North is for “space” as well.

Isn’t it everywhere? Using ‘gofod’ where other people prefer ‘lle’ is one of those instances that can cause the odd gasp, though that’s not to say that first language speakers won’t do it anyway!

There’s grammary stuff going on here, but a simplified answer is something like: ydy (or yw, or ydi) gets used when you’re talking about what something actually is - as opposed to where it is, or what it does, or when it is, or any of a number of other things.

So in “what is your name?”, you’re asking about what something is - beth ydy dy enw di?
But in “where are the children?”, you’re not asking about what the children are, you’re asking where they’re located, so you use mae: lle mae’r plant?

Do note, however, that the presence of the word beth doesn’t necessarily imply a “what something is” type question. For example, if you ask “what are the children doing?”, you’re not asking what they are, you’re asking what they’re doing, so it’s mae again: beth mae’r plant yn ei wneud?

As for lle vs. gofod: personally I reckon lle feels like “space” in the sense of “room” - e.g. enough room for something - while gofod seems to have more of the connotations of “void”, such as outer space, or something leaving a space behind after it’s gone.

Another way of putting it might be that lle highlights something happening in the space, while gofod highlights its emptiness.

(DIsclaimer: that’s just the way it seems to me - may not actually be a thing ;-))

Yup. That’s the official line. But the fact that they both translate to ‘space’ in English has led to some blurring of the lines in Welsh, with gofod creeping across into usages where, to some at least, it’s not welcome.

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