Long-term vs short-term memory--whatever works!

I confess, I´ve always gravitated more towards Northern usage. So anyway, I found this note in Cymaeg, Cymrâg, Cymrêg … Cyflwyno´r Tafodieithoedd, p.90:

¨_ma ´na i isho_ : Ffurf lafar ar y mae arnaf eisiau , cystrawen sydd yn ildio mewn llawer man — o dan bwysau´r Saesneg, y mae´n degyg — i dwy isho.

This is a note to a transcript of a recording made in Ynys Môn!

Which means that the form I know is probably influenced by English, but then again the ´proper´ form suggested isn´t quite yours either, but close. Lit. ¨need is upon me¨ where you have ¨need is to/for me¨. Use of i often implies owning or belonging in a stronger or more permanent sense than ar.

Gareth King´s Modern Welsh Dictionary gives only variations of dwi isio in different tenses etc. (p.85)

T.J. Rhys Jones’ Teach Yourself Living Welsh (i.e. Cymraeg Byw) gives an extended (semi-literary?) form of the above Rydw i eisiau … (p43-4)

Dan L. James Cwrs Cymraeg Llafar : No blydi index :rage: , no idea what they use!

Going back to the days when (more or less) Literary Welsh was taught to beginners, the old Teach Yourself Welsh from 1960/65 has (p.115):
¨_Ar_ and its peraonal forms arnaf i, etc. can be used with eisiau (need) and the verb bod, to be, to express want, e.g.: Y mae eisiau bwyd ar y bachgen … ´The boy wants food´.¨ (+ similar e.g.s)

So essentially the older form with ar, but no mention of forms with i.

Morris Jones´ Welsh Grammar has nothing useful to say, but if you want to look go to p.414.

Wel, dyna´r cyfan dwi´n gallu dŵad o hyd atyn nhw yn fy llyfrau i. Someone else can look online if they like :slight_smile:


Thanks for sharing your research! Although I’m afraid some of that is a bit beyond me at the moment :slight_smile:

I think that seeing how language changes with geography and with time is really interesting.


Phew… Did I start this? Good–because I have learned a lot from the exchange–so thank you to Anna for summarizing the S. Walian usage (which I am learning), but also to Howl’ for the research and explanations.

A ‘walk in the park’ you say, and I know what you mean, but am more likely to trot out: a ‘piece of cake’. So what do Welsh-speakers say, meaning ‘easy peasy’? And no, it isn’t ‘all Greek to me’–not any more, thanks to SSiW :wink:


Panic.,… Aran, where is it please? Or should I ask Iestyn?

My memory may play tricks sometimes, but I definitely remember a most important lesson for rugby (soccer, ice-hockey…) fans with such useful words as the Welsh for ‘rubbish’! Pity I cannot remember them–I would hate to make a mistake over something so crucial :confused:

It may not be World Cup time, but it is September,… How is a person to express themselves adequately when the ‘game’ is on, or for that matter, before, during, and afterwards?

Go on, now tell me I just have not visited the whole site. A clue would be fine… I’ll go figure it out with an itsy bitsy hint.

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Good to see someone enjoying reading books about the Welsh language (as I do!), but important to stress here that “eisiau i fi” is perfectly fine and used.

Just because forms do not appear in certain books that someone possesses, does not mean that they do not exist and are not used (locally, dialectically, or in “high grammar”). Any more than because some words don’t appear in a particular dictionary they are not “the right Welsh word”, concerning any style of Welsh.

There are very few grammar books and dictionaries which give you the whole picture, whether considering “dialect” or “literary” grammar.

“Mae eisiau i fi” is fine.Certainly not wrong.

One quote you use describes it as “ffurf lafar”, but this does not imply improper. It is fine. My reaction to that is that is it backs up the use of “eisiau i”, rather than being “close, but not quite”.

My family in Carmarthenshire would certainly use " chwant bwyd arana’i" for being hungry rather than starving. The use of “chwant” in that case does not, as far as I can see, imply something stronger than it would were they to use eisiau in that case.

This is a really complex issue, but also very simple and easy to get through.

“eisiau” is a word which covers both “want” and “need”. Other words in various areas cover want/need in their own way. There are several ways, all equally valid of ‘grammatically’ using the word eisiau in a sentence.
How someone uses it, whether the way they use it determines the meaning or not, what other words they use alongside it, differ from individual and individual. This involves differing from area to area and situation to situation.

This may sound offputting, but it simply means if you use any one confidently, you will be understood, as the context will make it clear what you mean!

It is good to see someone enjoying looking in books about the Welsh language (as I do, tremendously!), but when you say

though I found both books and Welsh online to be fascinating, useful resources, I only really understood what they were saying (what exactly they were referring to, what type of language, and, quite frankly, whether they were right or not!) when I started having conversations with native Welsh speakers.

I only mention this because you say “eisiau i fi” is wrong. I know you say “as far as you know”, but I wouldn’t want anyone reading this thread to come away with the impression that “eisiau i fi” is wrong. :slight_smile:


This isn’t the one you are after, I think, but may help:-
click here for list, scroll up for chat!
and scrolling down gives more chat, of course!
edit: I just did that and there are lots more useful expressions following the list!
Are you following the Championship (Blacks, Boks, Pumas and Wallabies)?

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Ww, not sure where that is - I’ll ask Ifan and see if we can dig it out for you… :slight_smile:

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@Cat (Mrs Iestyn) says, ‘Howzy Powzy’. No idea how it’s supposed to be spelled.

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“Hawddi pawddi” I’ve encountered normally. But “hawzey pawzey” is closer to “easey peasey”, which is probably where it is from and there’s no right form or wrong form, I’m sure!


Got it! Hawddi pawddi it is then Owen, but for a little variety Hawzy pawszy… :wink:

Brilliant, DIOLCH yn fawr iawn!

Well honestly I thought I had this one licked last night (having consulted even more sources!) and was about to summarise my conclusions … hell, I´ll do it anyway :

It seems that ´traditionally´ eisiau (need) followed the same pattern as words like ofn (fear), newyn (hunger), various ailments etc. all of which were ´on´ a person. I´m certainly familiar with the phrase mae arna i ofn ´¨I´m afraid¨, usually as a mild apology, as in ¨There´s no milk left, I´m afraid¨ etc. In this usage eisiau is a noun. So you´d say, apparently things like Mae arna´ i eisiau bwyd etc. This is supposed to be a literary form.

But it appears to have been replaced in speech by the pattern I was always taught, where eisiau is used like a verb, but oddly with no (y)n in front of it, so: dwi eisiau bwyd (almost like dwi´n gweld … etc.)

As for i I´ve found one example, but I think the meaning is a bit different: Does dim eisiau i chi hel esgusion meaning ¨You have no need to seek excuses¨ in the context meaning, ¨There´s no point in you trying to make excuses¨.

So this I think (??) would allow you to use eisiau where I would probably have used rhaid, e.g. mae eisiau i fi fynd rather than (mae) rhaid i fi fynd for ¨I´ve got to go¨.

OK, I rest my case :flushed:

(Just to add, we don´t all of us have a native speaker of Welsh at our elbow, let alone one prepared to speak Welsh to an estron).

Friends, the beauty of the ‘conversation’ we have been having is that it brings home to me the wealth of local colour (aka nuances or usage) Welsh has. SSiW already caters to N and S, but during the Southern lessons we are introduced to the different ways people say things–that gives us all permission to try out what works best for us, or in any given situation.

Those who are ‘listening in’ on this are now benefitting both from the bookish research as well as the variety we may encounter in the spoken word. Great!

Wouldn’t it be fascinating to be able to trace back to the moment, or person who first introduced the meaning we attribute to certain words in particular places? Maybe the better read amongst us would be able to track it down and say–Oh yes, that was ‘Jones the rhaid’ back in 1732 who moved from Splott (where I come from) to LlanfairPG, bringing his wife and 13 children…

By way of encouraging everyone here to just SSiW, I remember a piano teacher who said ‘I would rather you strangle Beethoven with your bare hands than not try to play…’ That, coming from a strict dicipinarian was so ‘freeing’.

Thank you all!


Many innovations in language are ¨accidents waiting to happen¨ so they probably come about more than once, or at least, once someone reinterprets a phrase or whatever, it´s quickly taken up, just because it ¨feels right¨.

Serious dictionaries and academic studies often try to pin down particular origins, but honestly beyond a certain point it isn´t possible and anyway it doesn´t really matter that much.

The problem for a learner is simply knowing what is and what isn´t acceptable in the language as it´s used now. As we´ve seen here, that isn´t always obvious, and it´s certainly not logical :slight_smile:

What is so wrong with how languages are taught in schools, well historically at least, but is it any better these days? I did Welsh as 2nd language in school (primary + 3 years in high school) and learnt little beyond telling the time. I also did French GCSE ( + an extra 2 years), which left me with the ability to go ‘Je voudrais [point at thing wanted]’ (well maybe ‘un cafe aussi’ (byth 'un cafe aussi)), thsi put me off doign anything to do with 2nd languages for too long. It’s a huge credit to SSIW that the course has the ability to get us from almost nothing to being able to have conversations in Welsh and foster an interest in how languages work generally (I sometimes feel ‘guilty’ about doing Welsh stuff rather than cracking on with Spanish).
On another thread there is a debate about how a minority of people are jealous of not being able to speak Welsh and hence have issues with non-Welsh Welsh speakers, but then you hear from people like yourself, who learn Welsh not because they feel obliged to, but by free choice, which is just so heart warming.


No,and that’s why I have been always grateful to this site where people take time out to help learners by saying what they have come across with people speaking Welsh. It helped, and helps me now, and I try to give back by giving my experience.

Thank you :slight_smile:. I’m not sure that what you are saying there is true though, because I am not sure what it is you are implying.

Not in my experience. In fact, it is so ingrained that some people will answer “oes” to the question “ti eisiau…”.

The thing is, I am not entirely sure if you are asking a question? Or what question you are asking?

Are you saying that you do not think people use “eisiau i fi”, or are you saying they should not?

Are you saying that “eisiau i” does not appear in grammar books ( I could give you more than a few examples to the contrary, but I’m really not sure that would be helpful,), or saying that people do not use “eisiau i fi”?

People do. It is well accepted.

Basically, if you have any questions about how Welsh is used, I will be happy to take time out to answer them to the best of my ability.

And if you have any questions about “high grammar”, about “literary Welsh”, I will be happy to take time out to answer those. In fact, I would enjoy it.

But you will have to make it clear about the questions you are asking.

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I´m sorry if I´ve somehow upset you, that certainly was not my intention. Nor am I in the business of telling people how they should speak their own language. Just trawling through the resources at my disposal to try and clear up my confusion, and then setting out what I´d found.

Felly :

  1. In informal speech things like Dwi isio mynd allan ´I want/need to go out´;
  2. A more formal equivalent e.g. Mae arnaf i eisiau fynd allan ;
  3. Sentences (and this is the only example I´ve found so far) like Does dim eisiau i ti hel esgusion ´There´s no need for you to seek excuses´, i.e. ´It´s no use making excuses´. (Cymraeg Idiomatig, C.P.Cule, 1971/2 p.35) where as I said you might substitute rhaid for eisiau with only a shade of difference in meaning.
    I´ve tried Googling for ´_eisiau i_´ but all the examples I´ve found are where the i means ´for´ like mae eisiau i bobl am helpu ´(we) need folk to help´ where what follows the i is what is needed, not the person etc. doing the needing, if you follow me.

OK, what have you got? :slight_smile:

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Shmae, Estel a chroeso!


You do not need any connections at all to learn and to chat on here!

Don’t worry, no one gave me the impression that I did!

I was told once that Vancouver is the most beautiful city in the world.

I don’t know about the most beautiful, but it is a good city.

Ooh, a Vancouverite here, how lovely! Vancouver is in my top three favourite cities - I like it so much I even forgave it for being the place where Star Wars was (temporarily) broken for me (it’s where I saw the first of the prequels!).

Can’t believe I haven’t been back since then. Must, must, must organise my life well enough to visit Vancouver again. This decade!

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We will ‘keep a welcome in the… Red Dragon’ for when you come Aran!

There is no doubt about it, Vancouver is one of the most beautiful cities in the world (on a sunny day), but when I visit my brother in St. Nicholas (on the Vale) I always think there is nothing to compare with the ‘green, green fields of home’. Not that where I grew up in Splott was very green, except for the park, but my elder brother married a farmer’s daughter so the Vale of Glamorgan is like second home for me.

Somewhat disconnected, but this thread does talk about memories… I just read on the BBC world news about the anniversary of the Aberfan disaster. In a roundabout way it was why I went into engineering–to try to prevent anything like that happening again. In the latter years of my mining career I led a team that was dedicated to finding ‘better ways of doing things’ and still remember the day we tested something that could save lives far underground in Ontario. All the miners were watching, including one who had been badly injured in a rockfall, so was very brave to stand by us on his crutches while we ran the tests. He asked why I had dedicated so much of my life to improving mines. My answer was one word–‘Aberfan’. He wept.

SSiW is reaching out to so many people around the world, forging connections through our attempts to speak a precious language–you cannot underestimate the good it is doing far beyond language itself, because friendship and goodwill are born through what we say (and do) for one another on this forum. May that goodwill continue!

Diolch yn fawr iawn,