I’ve reached the point where I now understand that ‘bod’ becomes ‘na’ if what follows ‘bod’ is negative…and the ‘ddim’ falls off! However…I’ve heard a vicious rumour that sometimes ‘bod’ becomes ‘nagw’. Are they interchangeable or is there a rule?

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Not really a rule. I think what you’re hearing is a southern colloquial form. ‘na’ turns into ‘nad’ before a following word starting with a vowel, but this tends to be pronounced as ‘nag’ in the south. Just listen for it and nod wisely when you hear it :smile:


I believe what you’re hearing is a shortening of “Nac ydw” for “I am not”.

“Wyt ti’n bwyta caws?”

“Nac ydw. Dw i ddim yn bwyta caws” with “Nac ydw” becoming “nag’w” (I believe the g sound is just a regional thing, but I’m sure @aran or @Iestyn could confirm or correct that).

Since starting this course I’ve learned that a lot of phrases I’ve been taught elsewhere actually get shortened by real Welsh speakers. The same is probably true of other languages, but schools tend to sanitise everything to the “official” pronunciation. I can only imagine that English learners around the world are being taught BBC English!


Thanks Stephen. And BBC English? Perish the fawt! :sunglasses:

I hope what I’ve told you is correct… I’m taking the fact that Aran has “liked” the post as confirmation that it is…!

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Very much Iestyn you want on this particular front, but my like was definitely intended to suggest that you sounded as though you were making sense to me… :wink:

[I think I’m right in saying that there are other places where you’ll use ‘nag’w’ that aren’t a replacement for ‘nac ydw’ - like ‘nad ydi’, for example…] :slight_smile:

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wouldn’t that be nag yw, nag yw e etc instead of nag w, nag w i?

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You’ll find plenty of different conventions for written versions - but in terms of what you’ll actually hear, it’ll often be impossible to spot the difference… :slight_smile:


As I have found out when I hear Yanny and not Laurel - I wonder what else my brain is processing, that isn’t actually in the original sound.


A lot of sense in the answers here… Diolch everybody!

As for bod turning into nagw - I can think of one case where it sort of does, but only because of the person involved, and only if you want to.

What causes the confusion is that there’s two ways of making a negative “bod” sentence. The simple way is to add “dim”, so “Dwedais i bo fi ddim yn mynd”. (bo fi’n mynd = that I am going. bo fi ddim yn mynd = that I am not going).

The other way is to change the bo fi (fy mod i) to nagw i (nag ydw i). Dwedais i nagw i’n mynd. I’m not sure that there is a “rule” as such as to which to use. My feeling is that “bod … ddim” is not 100% grammatically correct, and possibly follows the English, but is so common in speech as to be totally acceptable. It follows from that that the nad / nag version is probably slightly more formal, and required in formal writing.

I tend to switch between the two, having some favourites (I think I tend to use “nag yw e” almost exclusively, but tend to use bo fi ddim or mod i ddim for myself. Odd I know!), so whichever you use won’t be wrong, at least until your using your Welsh in so many different places that you will have a far better feel for what fits where!

I guess that’s a long winded way of saying “don’t worry about it”!