Naeth and mutations

I am completing Course 2, Lesson 14, Southern, at the very end of which we are introduced to the use of “pwy naeth” and “pwy oedd”.

I think I am hearing a soft mutation after “naeth” in examples like “pwy naeth ofyn” , pwy naeth fyta" and “pwy naeth fynd”

Until this lesson I have always associated “naeth” with a soft mutation only because “naeth” has been followed by a person with no “yn” between the person and the following verb.

Have I heard soft mutations in the above examples?
Have I been wrong in thinking that “naeth” itself is not the reason for all the linked soft mutations we have met in the past?

“Welsh Rules”, Heuni Gruffudd, p59-

“Verb-nouns following “gwnes i” are objects of the short form of the verb, and therefore undergo soft mutations.”

Nouns which are the objects of the “short form” of a verb (ie, the verb is “doing something” to them) undergo soft mutation.

When a form of “gwneud” is used (in this fashion) the following verb-noun* is a noun which is the object of the verb “gwneud”.

Sorry if that doesn’t help at all! If it doesn’t, it’s my explanatory ability at fault, not your understanding!

*Edit - “verb-noun” is a term used for words like “mynd” or “gofyn”, the “undeclined” form of the verb (ie not altered for use as in the “short form”.) They often act simply as nouns in Welsh, hence the name.
(Not sure that helps, either!)

Thank you Owain. At the moment I am still confused. If I did hear a soft mutation, I can’t help wondering if the inclusion of the word PWY somehow is standing in for the absence of a person after NAETH.

Hi Alun:

I’m no expert certainly. I have only picked up mutation the SSiW way, without rules. But my interpretation of what Owain wrote is that the mutation is because of the Wnaeth, not because of the pronoun.

In ‘wnaeth hi fynd’ the ‘hi’ is the subject, where as in ‘pwy wnaeth fynd’ the subject is ‘pwy’ (just the word order is changed). But that doesn’t influence whether you mutate or not.

Also no expert, but IIRC, according to Gareth Thomas “Comprehensive Grammar”, in constructions like “(gw)nes i fynd”, the mynd is mutated because it immediately follows the subject, “i” in this case.

I didn’t know the rule that Owain quoted, but of course there could be more than one rule governing the mutation, even in the same sentence.

I was thinking along similar lines to Jeff’s. A standard sentence would have the appropriate version of BOD in the first position so that we could have the sentence NAETH HI FYND? = Did she go? It’s a small step to ask
NAETH PWY FYND ? = Did who go? and then change the word order to get PWY NAETH FYND?

I wonder if this sort of juggling around is close to explaining this?

@Alun: Well, Gareth King says that in some cases, even if the subject is only implied, and not stated, then the implied subject would still cause mutation. One example is in the command form, where “you” is not mentioned, but is understood.

So in the case of “Pwy naeth fynd?”, there could be a sort of implied subject (he or her), i.e. “pwy naeth (o) fynd?” [(e) in the south] or
“Pwy naeth (hi) fynd?”

i.e. “Who did (he) go?” or “Who did (she) go”.

It sounds a little contrived I must admit, but who knows…? :slight_smile:

The great majority of grammar books (and the very very few number of
Welsh speakers I talk to who have an interest on the subject) give “soft mutation affects the object of a short-form verb” rather than “soft mutation follows the subject of the verb”.

By “great majority”, I mean “everyone except Gareth King” :wink:
Rather reminds me of Tom Baker’s captain in Blackadder saying “opinion is divided on the matter on whether a map is needed for sailing. Everyone else says it is, I say it isn’t” :wink:

I can’t help thinking that he pushes this view because he doesn’t like the subject being dropped in written Welsh, and wants different grammatical rules to govern “spoken Welsh” and “written Welsh”, emphasising their difference.

Fair enough, but this grammatical point is a minority view. And not sure that things like that should govern how we view grammar in the language.

As Mike Ellwood puts out, it does rather require some very contrived thinking.

Soft mutation of the object of a “short form”/declined verb covers the thing much better, easily, smoothly and completely, in my view.

And, as far as I can tell, (and far more importantly) it is the view of “most” (see above) writers (and the few other speakers who think about the matter!) on grammar and stuff in the Welsh language.

@Mike, in “Pwy naeth fynd?”, pwy is the subject of the sentence, according to normal rules of grammar, thus no need for contrivances :slight_smile: and Owain’s posited rule of soft mutation of the (direct) object still applies. It works the same way in emphatic sentences where the ‘normal’ VSO rule changes to SVO, e.g. “Gareth naeth fynd” ~ It was Gareth who went
In Welsh, like Latin, Spanish and quite a few other languages, the sentence subject, if it is/would be a personal pronoun, is optional, and as far as I know it has always been thus.
Anyway, that’s my take on it all. As you were…

Thank you for all of your contributions. When I first convinced myself that this mutation had taken place at the end of Lesson 14, I doubted my own ears, since the mutation just appears to have “sneaked” in.

Based on the combined reasoning of this post, I guess I would be on safe ground to claim that the sentence WHAT WENT = Beth naeth fynd, with “beth” now representing the qualifying subject?

I am glad to have raised this question since, with your helpful reasoning, I can now move on, accepting the logic of this mutation.