I have recently started learning Welsh because a Welsh speaking friend introduced me to the language. However, whenever I say: ‘Dw i eisiau…’ he insists it should be ‘Dwi’n eisiau’. Does anyone know why he adds the ‘n’? He is from North Wales and I am doing the Northern Welsh course. Is it a dialect, informal speech or a common occurrence?
Diolch yn fawr!
Edit: I realised the previous title was a bit misleading. I do know that Dw i eisiau is the most common and ‘correct’ form, just wondering whether there is any particular reason why my friend does not use it.
It’s definitely not normal according to what SSiW teaches. The linking particle “yn“ (which gets abbreviated to 'n following the i) is omitted for “eisiau“. “Dw i eisiau“ is correct. I can’t say if “yn“ is used regionally, or if it’s plain wrong, as I am just a Welsh learner (from Germany) myself.
As a lover of linguistics I found this question interesting. If your friend is a native speaker, it would be naïve to call it a mistake, however unusual. So I did a bit of googling.
I found that there definitely are people saying dwi 'n eisiau. However, there aren’t many (written) instances of it (which doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty more spoken instances out there), and interestingly they didn’t seem to be confined to any particular region, or even restricted to North or South. So, the interesting question becomes “what is the factor in common?”.
The answer to your question (although I speak only a handful of Welsh words so this is purely based on 20 minutes of googling) seems to be use “Dw i eisiau” in general, and make your own mind up about what you use with your friend.
Ooh, interesting that you do use it in wanted adverts. Any particular reason?
He is a native speaker, and he says this is how he was taught at school and how they use it among friends. He also writes ‘dw i’n’ as ‘dw’in’, though obviously the pronunciation stays the same. What I find interesting is that he explicitly tells me that I’m making a mistake when I use ‘Dw i eisiau’ instead of saying both are correct. But as @M2017 said, I don’t see it appearing on the Internet too often.
Thanks for all your replies! I’ll keep on using ‘Dw i eisiau’, if that is the most common.
It’s just that it does in this one set phrase. eisiau is an exception to the way most verbs and verb-nouns in Welsh behave - as well as not taking yn (and wedi), it doesn’t have a stem form and doesn’t take endings like others do, e.g. if you see a house sign in Welsh that says Gwerthwyd, it means Sold, and gwerth is the stem form and -wyd is an ending, but as eisiau doesn’t behave like that, in classified or job adverts (and only in these) it needs the yn.
I think he might be getting himself stuck into a bit of a hole with this - it can be very unsettling for first language speakers if they think something they use is ‘wrong’ - but while in most cases I’d say that usage is more important than rules, neither I nor Catrin have ever heard anyone use this one, and he’s absolutely incorrect to tell you that you’re wrong when you say ‘dw i eisiau’.
Out of interest - where does he come from, and when did he go to school?
Both ‘dw i’n’ and ‘dwi’n’ are very common in informal usage, but I’ve never seen ‘dw’in’ before - it’s technically incorrect, because the apostrophe is for the ‘y’ of the yn - but they’re all pretty informal, and I could easily imagine a first language speaker who didn’t have cause to use the language formally getting into some habits like that…
it can be very unsettling for first language speakers if they think something they use is ‘wrong’
Believe it or not, I’ve heard first language English speakers splitting the infinitive or failing to use the subjunctive. If I was to openly name them, they wouldn’t even be embarrassed.
( sound of hornets emerging from nest )
A rather wonderful experience was hearing the linguist Geoff Pullum (he of the Cambridge English Grammar) sounding off about ‘language myths’ (of which, of course, the ban on splitting infinitives is one) at an editing conference a couple of years ago. He barely paused for breath in an hour - that man knows how to have a good rant!
I do that all the time! I also break pretty well every rule of grammar and joyfully proclaim, “it isn’t bad grammar, it’s style”!! But I know what I should say/type. The problem in Welsh is that I don’t want to break rules without knowing it and how bad/not so bad it is!!
Yes - exactly! In order to break the rules (stylishly of course) you need a familiarity with them - how far do they bend, or is it ok to snap them altogether and still be understood. I would dearly love to be able to play with words in Welsh like I do in English, and know how the language works well enough to be comfortable messing about in it.