Meaning of 'Mae'

I have been in a school this morning where they have Mae as meaning I have. Is this correct

mae e he is, mae hi she is, mae Gareth yn y gegin - Gareth is in the kitchen. @aran, @Iestyn I don’t think mae on its own can ever be have- am I wrong?

As @henddraig pointed out, generally speaking, “mae” is just “is”.

“I have” is funny in Welsh. It’s a construction built using “mae”, as in “mae gen i gath” meaning “I have a cat” (literally, it’s something like “with me is a cat” or “I have a cat with me”)

So “mae” isn’t really “I have” but it’s easy to see how it might come across that way if they were teaching the “I have” construction.


I thought I have a cat would be Mae Cath gyda fe

The word Mae was on a separate piece of paper as part of a wall display where different Welsh words were paired with the English alternative

Mae cath gyda fi is indeed I have a cat. However, it is literally a cat is with me or, in the Welsh word order, is a cat with me. So mae is as Lewie says, is. :slight_smile:

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fe - he - e . fi - i so I have a dog is mae ci gyda fi or mae gen i ci. gyda fe means with him, so it would be some chap who did the owning! Or was fe a typo? I chickened on the cat as I never remember when cath becomes gath except that.I know it’s y gath! i imagine if I say gath when it is really cath or vise versa folk would catch on!

mae cath gyda fi is the more Southern way of saying I have a cat, mae gen i gath is the more Northern way, but they both mean the same and are equally correct - it is the whole construction (whichever form is used, North or South) which gives the meaning of possession ‘have’, not any one word on its own.

@siaronjames, fach, am I right that if i said, in Caernarfon, mae gath gyda fi or mae gen i cath… ,o, that last one sounds dreadful so i wouldn’t say it. But over-mutating has always been a besetting sin of mine, so gath when cath is correct, would it be passed off with a grin by the locals?

I doubt anyone would comment on it - they’d know what you meant either way :slight_smile:

I’m pretty sure a lot of what I say (i.e. things where mutations should/shouldn’t be) is passed off with a grin here! :wink:

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My understanding is that Mae = Is/ be for masculine and feminine things.
Mae gen I gath = Is with me cat = I have a cat [Northern]
Mae cath gyda fi = be cat with me = I have a cat [Southern]
After some time using the ‘is with’ construction starts to make a lot of sense, so I don’t see the advantage of teaching that ‘Mae = have’ at all ?


No. It’s just confusing.


I believe the whole point is that mae is not have!
I need the is not equal to sign = with a / across it! I believe @aran said it can be =!,.
So mae =! have
None of us understand why a school would display a sign saying, “MAE = HAVE” unless it was work in progress, and was going to end up as, “Mae gen i = I have”

As I am a new learner I was a little confused but I can now say that Mae = is

Is that right


pretty much, but nothing is that simple. @aran can probably find some other meaning somewhere! Also the real expert on grammar @garethrking will know for sure!

The last thing I want to do is add to confusion, but yes, while mae = is, remember it can also = are.
Mae’r aderyn yn y coeden = the bird is in the tree.
Mae’r adar yn y coeden = the birds are in the tree.


after “Mae gen i…” (and gan) you’ll get a soft mutation. So ci and cath become gi and gath

Both masculine and feminine nouns?

yes, both.

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The cause of the mutation isn’t altered by the gender of the noun.
The gender of the noun mutates adjectives:
Ci bach
Cath fach
Tŷ bach
Sied fach

But it would be: Mae gen i gi bach, mae gen i gath fach