Mutation in Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau

Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau begins, “Mae hen wlad fy nhadau yn annwyl i mi…”.

Why “i mi” and not “i fi”? Should there not be a soft mutation after the preposition “i”?

Where the confusion may creep in with mi and fi is that as you’ve noticed, when m does mutate, it mutates to f, but actually mi and fi here are just dialect variations of the same word, so it’s not the case that a ‘fi’ has always mutated from a ‘mi’ or that a ‘mi’ has to mutate to a ‘fi’
Although ‘i’ usually does cause a mutation, it doesn’t always - it’s just one of those sneaky exceptions I’m afraid!


That’s just unfair :wink:

Then there’s the chorus of “Calon Lân,” which includes the line, “Roddi i mi galon lân.” Why is that not, “Roddi i mi calon lân”? (There’s no definite article.)

Because calon is the object following a short-form verb.
It’s the same as, for example, ‘Can I have a cuppa’ - “Ga i banad” (not “ga i panad”) or ‘I went for a walk’ - “Es I am dro” (not “es I am tro”).

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Diolch. I find mutations very confusing. (And I see the “i mi” example exists also in the line I quoted form Calon Lân.) I can recognize them, but seldom can I explain or apply them!

you don’t have to be able to explain them to speak Welsh, and the applying will come the more you listen to patterns in speech, so don’t worry too much about them, and don’t worry about applying when you shouldn’t or not applying when you should - whilst they are a part of the language, they’re not as big an issue as they’re often made out to be :wink:

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Don’t worry. Mutations don’t always make sense. No-one has been able to explain to me why Llewelyn the Great in Welsh is Llewelyn Fawr. There’s no doubt he was masculine so why the mutation. Meanwhile the Welsh king who defeated the Vikings is always called Rhodri Mawr. Go with the flow.

That’s how I started this thread.

The explanation, of course, made sense.

A year on, I come across the song, “Blaenau Ffestiniog.” Pleasant number, easy to play on the ukulele.

However, the first line of the chorus goes, “O rwy’n mynd nôl i Flaenau Ffestiniog.”

So, an “i” followed by a soft mutation.

What’s the difference with the “i” in Hen Wlad…"?

I suspect it has something to do with one “i” containing a sense of movement and the other not, but…

A single ‘i’ will often cause a soft mutation but, as always, there are always exceptions!

In the Hen Wlad line, “annwyl i mi” is the more ‘standard’ thing to have, but in speech you will hear “annwyl i fi” too. They are both fine to say, although of course the anthem should always be ‘mi’ because that’s how it’s written!
Another example like this is “Rhaid i mi”/“Rhaid i fi” - they are both acceptable too. It’s a regional/personal preference thing in this case.

In the Blaenau Ffestiniog line, the ‘i’ causes the mutation that ‘i’ as a preposition usually does. The ‘i’ here is part of the ‘mynd’ and, yes is conveying movement (to Blaenau Ffestiniog), but even if there is no actual movement e.g. dwi’n mynd i feddwl amdani - I’m going to think about it, the mynd+i still causes a mutation, so it’s not really to do with movement, it’s the construction.

So really, it’s not what the ‘i’ translates as that tells you whether or not to mutate, it’s the construction it’s used in. In the two song lines, ‘i’ is ‘to’ in both but the constructions are different, so the rules for mutating are different.

I think we should start futating in English too.

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