Me, myself and I

Noob here and probably a bit dense but is there a rule to differentiating “I” ( N Welsh don’t know if it makes a difference)?
When is it Mae and when is it Dw i…

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Hello Rowly,

“mae” is nothing to do with “me”, but is the “is” form of the verb “to be” in Welsh. The verb “to be” in Welsh (“bod” is the “dictionary form”), is quite confusing.

“dw” is the “am” form of the verb, and in “dw i”, the “i”, is the same as “I” in English. It’s the subject of the verb “dw”, just as “I” is the subject of the verb “am”, although after the verb and not before it as in English.

What you may be thinking of is “mi”, which is pretty much the same as “me” in English, except that it is often mutated to “fi”.

(I will leave “myself” to someone else, as I’d have to look that one up to be sure. :slight_smile: ).


Ah, Mike thanks for the answer but it’s what I feared…whilst a fluent English speaker and, in fact English, my understanding of grammar is poor.
I have reached challenge 6.
So if I understand you correctly:
I am speaking Welsh is (excuse the spelling but this will be phoneticish) Dwi sharad cumraig.
I still want to is mae dal ride i me…ah now I remember Aaron explaining that that meant there is still a must for me…so your explanation regarding me is correct.
I shall plough on.


Yup, in general terms this is quite simple, because it’s…

‘Dwi isio gwneud…’ [I want to do…]

‘Mae o isio gwneud…’ [He wants to do…]

But we have this slightly odd structure for rhaid - mae rhaid i mi - there is a need for me…

But if you just plough on, and don’t worry too much about it, your brain will start to get the pattern sorted out for you… :slight_smile:


Which reminds me that I hear “Rhaid i mi” in Gog, your voice, Aran
and “Rhaid i fi” in De, Iestyn’s voice, I think. I keep meaning to spot what @nia.llywelyn habitually says in Powys… or do people modify these things to mirror their “interlocuteur” (there’s posh!), I mean, the person or people they are speaking to/with…?

Is this a difference in understanding that i that means for/to,
“for me, or to me”
“i mi, or i fi” and what that i is doing to “me - mi or fi”?

Would it really mess with someone’s head if I interchange randomly, between north and south habits in this instance?


I don’t know why, but I deliberately avoid using “mi” because it’s so awfully similar to Slovene one meaning the same and this for it sounds so wrong (so “foreign”) to me … Sometimes I’m glad I learn southern version instead of northern. :slight_smile:


That’s also exactly like Italian, so I get that feeling too! :wink:

However I remember an answer to a question of mine, because I was confused by the appearance of “mi” somewhere. I can’t find the answer with the search now, but I was told mi would be used specifically as “to me” (like in bring me that book). So I’ve been keeping it in my vocabulary even though it sounds foreign! :grinning:

I doubt anyone would notice… :slight_smile:


And it is in Slovene. “Prinesi mi to knjigo.” (Bring me this book.) which is brought out from the longer version “meni”. “Daj mi knjigo.” (Give me the book.) or “Daj meni knjigo.” (could be also “Daj knjigo meni.” depends of what you want to emphasize).

Does it depend on what you want to enphasize in Welsh too? (i.e. you want to emphasize the person or the subject.)

I have just reached the bit that caused me confusion…it’s the N Welsh for I can. I can always remember “I can not” as fedra i thim (once again apologies…)
So my brain drags up that splits it and hey presto. Suddenly I struggle with “Mi fedra i”as “I can”. What would I am able be? Would that be Dw i (able) Why not Dw i fedra? I am not sure is Dw i ddim unsure.
So when I get to “I’m not sure if I can remember anything else” Boom! Mental melt down.
My heads farting!


OK – so for much of the time in Welsh you’re using “I am”/“You are”/“S/he is” etc. along with some unchanging form of the verb, which is the verb-noun. It works a lot like saying in English “I am swimming” or “I do swim”.

For other tenses, particularly in the past, you’ve often got a shorter, all-in-one-word form that people will refer to here as the “short forms” of the verb: so instead of saying “I was swimming” or “I did swim” you can just say “I swam”.

Depending on the verb, the tense, the dialect area, and the speaker (and maybe even just how they feel or what day of the week it is) short forms are more or less common – you’ll probably get used to them just fine.

Formal literary Welsh is quite different from ordinary spoken Welsh, and one of the differences is in the way that certain verb tenses are used. In particular, the one that you’ll encounter in spoken Welsh as the “short form” of the Future is actually just a Present Tense. This sounds weird and confusing, but actually English does pretty much exactly the same thing – if I say to you “I’m going to London” when we meet on a train, that probably means ‘right now’, whereas if I say “I’m going to London next Saturday” it’s clearly a Future.

But for some verbs even the spoken language will use those forms as present tenses. So the medra’ i or fedra’ i form is just the short form, the all-in-one-word form for “I can”. You could also do it with Dw i’nDw i’n medru is just fine, and Dw i ddim yn medru would mean “I can’t”. But if you hear or choose to use the short form, it’s either Medra’ i or Mi fedra’ i for “I can” (the mi on the front doesn’t change the meaning, but it does make you soften the m- to an f-), and Fedra’ i ddim for “I can’t”.

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Don’t worry - that’s actually a really good sign, because it shows that your brain is noticing the change, and that means that it’s on its way to sorting it out for you - just say what comes to mind first, and then listen carefully to the model… :slight_smile:


Richard, thanks. I think what you are saying is what I have come to enjoy about Welsh in that for all sorts of versions of a verb you just chuck “Sharad” in (as an example) wether you are saying speak or speaking and so on and not to worry too much with the construction, just learn the phrase.
Aran, I’m genuinely loving your work.


I think you can emphasis the me in Welsh with minnau, but I think @garethrking is the man - I read the Modern Welsh Dictionary entries for this and tithau, yntau etc and I don’t feel able to suggest how to use them properly.

I’m going to attempt a usage and hopefully be corrected.

Daeth yr eliffant a fi yn y car
The eliphant and me went in the car

Daeth yr eliffant yn y car, a finne
The eliphant went in the car and me (as well)

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Yes, I notice “a finne” (and me) a lot on the FB Iaith group asking who recognises a word.


You have a finnau = me too, and na finnau chwaith = me neither.


I hope not. I flop about randomly between north and south forms for most things like a dying fish. Nobody’s complained yet… And hopefully it takes attention away from my mutations!


That is the most beautiful use of language I’ve heard in a while. Thank you.


Oh. My. Goodness. I’ve seen “mi” and I’ve seen “fi” and it has never occurred to me that one is the mutated form of the other. You have opened my eyes!


Diolch yn fawr iawn i ti, syr… :slight_smile:

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