I am learning to speak Welsh but sometimes I get caught up in trying to understand the grammar, especially mutations. Could you please tell me why the word ‘parhau’ mutates to ‘barhau’ in the phrase…………"…………i’r iaith Gymraeg barhau"?
Thank you,

Hi @haydn-humphreys

One of the circumstances which causes a soft mutation is when a word ends up immediately next to the subject of the sentence.

In regular sentences involving forms of bod this tends not to happen because the subject eg ‘i’, meaning ‘I’, first person, is immediately followed by an ‘yn’ (o’r 'n), wedi or ddim (which takes the mutation).

eg. Dw i’n cerdded, o’n i wedi cerdded, fydda i ddim yn cerdded ( I am walking, had walked, will not).

Sentences which are rearranged for emphasis, or those which don’t use bod can end up with the subject causing a mutation of whatever follows:

Eg ddylwn i gerdded - I should walk.
Nes i gerdded - I walked or I did walk

Wnaeth yr hen iaith barhau - the old language continued

SSIW takes a great approach to such things which is to say - initially don’t worry about them and let them fall into place when the time is right…(otherwise your brain starts thinking about rules rather than words when you open your mouth to speak)!

Rich :slight_smile:


Hi Rich,
Grateful for your response and fully agree that the grammar should not cloud the issue of learning to converse in Welsh.
However, I’m still struggling a little to understand why there is a double mutation in the phrase, i.e. …i’r iaith Gymraeg barhau.
My grammar book tells me that a soft mutation applies to the adjective (Cymraeg) that follows the feminine singular noun (iaith). What I can’t find a rule for is why ‘parhau’ mutates to ‘barhau’ when it follows an already mutated word, i.e. Gymraeg.

Hi @haydn-humphreys

It will be because ‘Welsh language’ is the subject of this sentence - and anything which immediately follows a subject (which is susceptible) undergoes soft mutation…in this case, the verb ‘parhau’…

Rich :slight_smile:

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What is the beginning of the sentence? E.g. if it’s ‘Rhaid’, that would be what’s causing parhau to mutate.

The full sentence comes from “Say Something in Welsh” - one sentence in Welsh, Day 4.

Dwi eisio i’r iaith Gymraeg barhau (I want the Welsh language to continue)

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Ok, so yes, the “eisiau i” is causing the mutation (just as “rhaid i” would) - it’s for the reason Rich gave above (immediately following the subject), but the easy ‘rule’ to remember is that verbs that aren’t joined to the next verb with an ‘yn’ (such as eisiau, rhaid and a handful of others that have an ‘i’, and also verbs in their short form) mutate the verb after the subject (whether the subject in between has mutated or not).

Thanks to both of you for clarifying this.

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