Mae gen i

Is this used in both north and south and is it generally the way you would always say you have something?

1 Like

In the south we tend to say “mae gyda fi” or just “mae 'da fi”.


in the sense of possess something…

Yes, like ‘I’ve got soup for dinner’. Is ‘Mae gyda fi cawl i ginio’ right?

I’d use cael for that. Fi’n cael cawl i ginio - I’m having cawl for lunch.

I suppose you could say Mae 'da fi gawl, ac bydda i’n ei gael i ginio - I’ve got soup and I’ll be having it for lunch.


I 'm having cawl for lunch is a lot easier to remember

Another question about “mae gen i” :slight_smile: a very usefull form, and about which there is something very surprising (for me, at least !) in challenge 4 (north)

At, time 5 : 50, Aran says “Ithe cymraeg for I’ve got, which is of course very different from I’ve got to, is mae gen i”.
I of course agree that both forms " I’ve got" and " 've got to" are very different in their meaning
There is iindeed a difference of meaning between “I’vve got a book” and “;I’ve got to read a book” :
the first form (verb + object of the action which is not a verb) indicates a sort of “ownership”, possession (or absence of possession).
The second form (verb + object of the action whih is a verb) indicates a sort of duty, of obligation.

So, beeing anounced the form"I’ve got" (and beeign insisted on the fact that it is very different from “I’ve got to” ) I was expecting practising sentences as “I’ve got bread” , “I’ve got a book”, , etc, (indicating the “possession”) but, surprise : all sentences are using the “;got to” meaning (duty) :" I’ve got to learn welsh now" ," I’ve got something to say", etc.

Well, maybe both “I’ve got” are both “mae gen i” in welsh ? But in challenge 4 the fact of beeing said that both forms are “very different” (and they are, indeed) , makes that you are surprised to be anounced one form (I’ve got"), and to be used the other one. (I’ve got to)

Or maybe Aran was joking ?. In this cas I’m asking a ridiculous question :roll_eyes:. By chance, ridicule would not kill. Well, not sure ! But not this kind of ridicule )

1 Like

Without listening to the Challenges. I think as you say, “Ive got to” is an informal way of saying “I must”, so “Mae rhaid i mi”. Or possibly “I need to”: “Dwi’n angen”.

I don’t think that Aran was joking, although maybe you could argue that he overstated the difference: I think that it’s a construction that English-speaking learners of Welsh often tend to get wrong, so he wanted to emphasise it. [Edited to add: short version – I think there’s a difference in French between J’ai à chanter une chanson and J’ai une chanson à chanter, basically. There certainly is in English between “I have to sing a song” and “I have a song to sing.”]

I’ve just had a listen to the section in question, and what I think is happening is this:

You’ve got a series of examples of (Mae) rhaid i mi – such as Rhaid i mi ddweud rhywbeth (“I need to say something”) – or you could, for example, have Rhaid i mi ddarllen llyfr (“I need to read a book”). We could think of this as Je dois dire quelque chose or Il faut que je dise qqch.

You’re then told that “I’ve got” (“I have”, J’ai) is quite different, and is Mae gen i, but a lot of the examples aren’t just Mae gen i lyfr (“I’ve got a book”, J’ai un livre), they’re much more like Mae gen i rywbeth i’w ddweud (“I’ve got something to say”, J’ai qqch à dire).

So I think the thing in English – and also, I think, in French, which is why I keep giving you French examples even though I know you can read the English ones – is that the position of the ‘book’ or the ‘something’ in the sentence makes a big difference to the meaning, which is what Aran wants to get across.

To my mind “I’ve got to do something” could be a vague, helpless statement – I feel trapped in this difficult situation, I need to do something about it, but I just don’t know what: Il faut que je fasse quelque chose (mais je ne sais pas quoi faire) – and I think that would work in Welsh as Rhaid i mi wneud rhywbeth (ond dwi’m yn gwybod beth).

On the other hand, “I’ve got something to do” means I shouldn’t be sitting down reading the forum when there’s washing-up to do; “I’ve got something to say” means I have a specific point I want to make. J’ai quelque chose à dire feels to me as though it implies something a bit more specific than Il faut que je dise quelque chose (mais je ne sais pas quoi dire). Am I right in thinking that J’ai quelque chose à dire, mais je ne sais pas quoi dire would sound a bit odd in French?

Similarly, Il faut que je lise un livre (“I’ve got to read a book”) feels less specific, less concrete (Est-ce que vous pouvez m’en recommender un de bon? – “Can you recommend a good one?”) than J’ai un livre à lire (“I’ve got a book to read”, Je l’ai déjà ou il y en a un en particulier qu’il me faut). So, Mae gen i lyfr i’w ddarllen as opposed to just Rhaid i mi ddarllen llyfr.

Interestingly (well, to me :slight_smile:) the future tense in Romance languages comes from the same sort of construction in Vulgar Latin: je chanterai is basically j’ai à chanter, je dois chanter (et donc je vais le faire) – which is why the singular endings all look exactly like avoir-ai, -as, -a etc.

Please do tell me if I’ve misunderstood the question, or got my French badly/unhelpfully wrong; and I’m sure others will step in if I’ve got my Welsh wrong!


Il faut que je fasse quelque chose

Excellent use of the subjunctive :clap::+1:


I remember saying to a French friend that it was hard to use sarcasm in a second language, because people weren’t expecting me to say something that I didn’t mean, and she offered me the useful phrase Ils ne s’attendaient pas a ce que je tentasse m’exprimer ainsi, but I think she said that if I attempted to actually use the past subjunctive in spoken French I’d sound beyond pretentious…

1 Like

It’s impossible using sarcasm speaking to other English speakers sometimes. Americans just don’t get it for example.

Americans just don’t get it for example.

I’d be doubtful about that generalisation but Big Bang’s Sheldon certainly seems to struggle with it. :laughing:


Yes, what Richard said… :slight_smile:

Funny discussion, from a very serious and troubled post ! When U wrote it, I put some example in french, thinking "maybe Richard will come here ans answer with an as long answer than my qusetions, but so much precise !!! :smiley:
But I took off my french examples : too long message !!!

Well, I’m happy to see that my sense of humour is not dead, if I could notice that MAYBE Aran was joking !

Richard, very very very interesting, I could argue a lot around those nuances xometimes very very thin, given vy just the place of the words . (I really love !) And what about f the unsing of the comma, which may change a whole sense of a sentence.

It’s true that “j’ai un livre à lire” is not the same that “j’ai à lire un livre”. But you’ll now hardly hear people ssaying “j’ai à lire un livre”, it would sound “old fashioned” (as my english). “J’ai à lire un livre” would be now said “il faut que je lise un livre” or "ce "livre if you have to read a special book.
Anyway, you’ll find this old way of saying in a still very alive expression which is : “j’ai à faire” and also “j’ai mieux à faire”
True alos that “I’ve something to say” sounds different from “I’ve to say something”, but concerning my question, I was refeering to the form of sentences without any verb (except “I’ve got”), because that’s what Aran seemed to suggest in his introduction.Sentences as “I’ve got bread”, “I’ve got news”.
Which does not impeeed that I find very very very interesting your whole post. Great ! Are you a philolog ? Do you know Jorn Albrecht in Germany ?

Oooooops, I’m late to go to work !!! Hurry up, MC !!!
But not without saying that : true, le plus que parfait du subjonctif, or even this poor simple imparfait du subjonctif, are now a joking use.
I’vve GOT TO go now !!! I don’t read again, I’m agraid of the errors I’ll let !

1 Like

5comoing back) : Richard, of course you ARE a philolog, in the etimological sense of the term, but what I was asking is : you were working with languages as a professional.

Well, yes – that’s why the comparison between j’ai à chanter une chanson and j’ai une chanson à chanter didn’t occur to me until the very end, because j’ai à… is osmething I just wouldn’t say.

But yes, effectively:
Mae gen i lyfr = J’ai un livre
Mae gen i lyfr i’w ddarllen = J’ai un livre à lire
Rhaid i mi ddarllen llyfr = Il faut que je lise un livre

The thing is that the j’ai à = “I’ve got to” construction is very, very common in English, so English-speaking learners tend to mix these up; and then then there’s another word cael, which means various things including puis-je or puis-je avoir that gets mixed in there as well. Speaking French and Breton, it’s not that you won’t make mistakes, it’s just that they’ll be different mistakes :slight_smile:
And in answer to your question: I love languages, but I mostly teach maths; I studied Old English, but my parents have lived in the Languedoc for about 30 years and have just got French nationality. I’m a serious amateur philologue

1 Like

Richard wrote :
" But yes, effectively:
Mae gen i lyfr = J’ai un livre
Mae gen i lyfr i’w ddarllen = J’ai un livre à lire"

So Richard : I’ld better have ignored Aran caution, and we would not have had this discussion. I created problems (to myself) for no reason.

Welcome to your parents, but In fact, they are just coming back, if you think of the english (and surely a bit welsh, in the army) past of the region

… And this leads me to speak about a famous Bordeaux wine (it’s not Languedoc, I know, but you’ll understand) : whose name is Calon Segur.
The castle in itself was built during the english Aquitaine epoca.
Locally they say that the name comes from a small traditional boat (but I can’t find the very well hidden name ! ) there was on the Gironde.
But, when you notice that above the old main door of the castle, there are 2 harts (from this time old) “calon” in welsh as in breton, with a K for our part) you can’t avoid thinking that this place could maybe have been property of a Welsh man in the english army at that time (there maybe were I suppose ?)
Afterwards, you imagine a beautiful love story, leading to those 2 harts he put on his castle main door…
Well, it seems to me much more credible than the boat story… No ?
The two harts are even on the bottles, they are their logo.

I wrote to the people there, just to speak about this hipothesis (maybe totally wrong) but the castle (and the wine) is chinese now, they don’t care at all of history…

See to what kind of discussion the “I’ve got” leads !

Wales could intent a trial to recover the wine property ! :smiley:

(post edited because of probllems with the “quote block”)

1 Like

Fi’n cael… definitely sounds more user friendly and less cumbersome if you’re saying something like I’m having soup for dinner. Would you use ti’n, mae hi’n etc in a similar way for that type of statement?

yes, you would :slight_smile: - see how the method is building extra pathways already?! :smiley:

1 Like