On i'n ? or not

It threw me at first, @aran because I learned the ‘correct’ version and also my mix of gog and de meant ‘mi’ kept popping into my head. Now I forget what I used to say. I think those tutors should tell students, “Look, in everyday life people say this, but in an aural exam they expect the ‘correct’ version.”
I suppose in an aural or written exam in English, they would expect ‘examination’!!!

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It just so happens that I was having a chat yesterday with one of the lecturers at Cardiff University who teaches the ‘dialectology’ course. I mentioned your experience, and his response was the same as everyone on here - absolutely nothing wrong with using ‘on i’n’ for a statement; it’s perfectly usual spoken Welsh.


Most of the tutors I have had have said exactly that! (Ay, just checking, even the course grammar guides for this area have a bracket round the ‘r’, showing it’s ‘optional’.) As Aran says, it seems very poor tutoring to say things like that especially in such a situation!

If it was a tutor? There’s a few learners I’ve met who I can imagine doing and saying things like that! As I say, I’ve always seemed to have decent tutors for some reason.

But whoever it was, obviously counterproductive and misplaced.


Hi. On this subject, I have copied and pasted the following comment from my Facebook. Two young FB friends, native speakers of N. Wales, were discussing the resemblance between their hamsters (long story). The comment was:
“Onin meddwl fod on edrych fel cochyn hefyd”

Anyway, my difficulty is with the second “on”. Could this be short for “on hi’n”/“oedd hi’n” ?

fod o’n.
There is no need for “oedd”, because “fod” is the verb, if that makes any sense!


Ah, diolch yn fawr iawn, Owainlurch. It makes sense to me now.

Diolch @JohnYoung - I was warming up for a rant about exams and marking people down for speaking natural Welsh ratehr than book Welsh, and people who correct other people, and then you asked about the hamster (do they say hamster, or bochdew? A lovely word - the “fatcheek”!), and I laughed instead!

But please don;t be put off by people “correcting” perfectly good Welsh, especially “professional learners” (the ones who’ve been in lessons for 15 years and still never use their Welsh in the real world).

And definitely do have conversations on Facebook about hamsters…!


People use both “wedi” and “'di” round here.
You will hear both, both will be understood, both are acceptable.

As far as I remember, that is what is taught on the courses I was on (ie, both are acceptable) without it causing problems.

I’ve not really noticed it being a problem with people who use their Welsh out and about, to be honest.

These comparatively minor things seem to just come out in the wash, and not be noticed, as it were.

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Didn’t bother me you mentioning that and on forums like this you can always expect someone else to chip in with something else, as Aran did yesterday.

I think teaching things must be really tricky sometimes - knowing how much to explain, without confusing things and some people are happier being corrected than others - personally I would rather be told if I say something wrong, although correcting every other word might be a bit too much.

When I started relearning Welsh with SSIW, I was amazed at the gap between what I thought I knew and what I actually knew. I thought I knew more than I actually did and some things I was adamant were correct, I later found to be wrong. Also there are a lot of things that you hear that are very difficult to find on-line, becuase it’s not obvious how things might be spelt.

There are things that I have never found on-line because I don’t know how to spell or search for them and without some form of corroberation I am very nervous of using them When you can’t find it you then question if it actually exists e.g. what phonetically to me is “ma mynna” - something I thought I would say if for example someone asked me where my dad was - I would think of pointing and saying something like that, but when I can’t find it, I then think have I just made that up etc and then say something else.

I have been learning to unravel a lot of false truths if that makes any sense at all.


No, no need to apologise! But as you know, I do think that it’s important to be very clear about what is ‘absolute fact’ known, and what is ‘probably/possibly’ known - which is why even Iestyn and I will tend to talk in terms of what we know you’ll hear in conversation, or what we think you would be unlikely to hear.

Because people might (will!) skim threads, and even just read the first part of sentences, and not necessarily see corrections, I think it’s good practice to preface quite a bit (‘I’ve read’, ‘I’ve heard’, etc) rather than to tag afaik etc.

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Ha ha, @Iestin. I’m not sure if they use “Bochdew”, as they were speaking English when they mentioned the hamster.

Also a re-learner, problems exacerbated by patchy knowledge of both gogledd and de and all of it hen hen iawn!! I used to be able to spell, but now??? Oh dear! I hardly dare type anything in Cymraeg because I do not trust my spelling! And I have had my current lap top quite a long time and still make zillions of errors, language immaterial, and including hitting ‘alt’ or ‘ctrl’ instead of ‘shift’ and having no idea what happened!!!


There’s a lot of us about in Wales who have always known a little bit more than bits and bobs of mongrel and hybrid things in Welsh. In my case, not enough to be a speaker although exposed to plenty of the language and not nurtured in it, meaning that I was never encouraged to speak it or corrected in the use of it, because English was the language of the time at school and for future prospects.

So most of what I had learned before comprehensive school was my idea of what I was hearing, which is bound to lead to gross errors - these are things that kids would correct, by parental guidance or learning from their peers, but in my case it was just wild guesswork and I’m still guessing most of the time, but SSIW and a bit of school second language Welsh, has created an intereting language mix. SSIW coupl;ed with generally reading around the subject has been the best thing for explaining all of the things that I should have known, but could only guess.


Yes, true- and “speaking the language from birth” is something which probably most people in Wales could lay claim to to some degree or other!

I do remember in classes where Welsh learners would claim they couldn’t speak a word of Welsh, they were brought up speaking English only - and in their first classes would look suspiciously at something they are being taught and say that it “didn’t sound right”! (and would turn out to be correct for their background).


I agree. Was brought up knowing a lot. Has helped a great deal.


Like @owainlurch I’ve been lucky with my tutors. I’ve had @aran and @CatrinLliarJones , @Iestyn , Cat, Gwenllian and Elliw, and two tutors with Cardiff University whose favourite phrase has been “ar lafar”. I have been corrected more on Facebook than face-to-face. But then we can all be keyboard warriors at times. I write “ro’n i’n” but say “o’n i’n”, I almost always cheat and say “mae’n” when talking about “it” because I don’t really know genders of stuff. I’ve also read the rule that “it” when non-specific is feminine, but the people I speak Welsh with almost always use “fe/fo” for “it”. Example:

“Sut oedd y gampfa?”
“Oedd o’n iawn”

No “r” and ignoring the “rule”. My kinda language!!

As Aran said, we should think positively about people’s intentions, so be thankful that they tried to help. Then go back to what you feel comfortable with.


All absolutely true, but just a couple of things in defense of people I have heard talking about [quote=“AnthonyCusack, post:37, topic:5778”]
I’ve also read the rule that “it” when non-specific is feminine, but the people I speak Welsh with almost always use “fe/fo” for “it”. Example:

“Sut oedd y gampfa?”
“Oedd o’n iawn”

No “r” and ignoring the “rule”. My kinda language!!

When I’ve seen or heard this discussed, it has normally been described as something like a “tendency” rather than an always observed rule (what’s the difference, you ask? :slight_smile:), and there seems to be a difference between an “abstract” it - “it is raining”, etc, which ‘is’ (:slight_smile:) feminine, and a “non-specific” it “Did you buy the present? Yes, I bought it”, which tends to default to masculine.

I think there’s a thread on here in which better people than I discuss and explain it. I’ll see if I can dig it up.

I’m not saying this to counter what you say - just to add to it!
I’m not even sure which heading your example falls under! I’ve a suspicion it could be either depending on how you look at it :slight_smile:

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Ah, here we are. Good one here on the matter with responses from both Mererid and Gareth King if you look up and down *

And another one hear with a response from Iestyn

Again, just out of interest and further explanation, what AnthonyCusack says is very true!

[*If you look up and down the thread. Not where you are. Unless where you are Gareth King is crouching on top of the wardrobe and Mererid is hiding under the table.]


Hahaha, it’s not Calan Gaeaf yet! I don’t want grammar jumping out on me!

This is great stuff! Thank you!

In English, wouldn’t it be, “How’s the gym?” “Fine!”. All you really need to reply to the question yn Gymraeg is, “Iawn!” If you were writing it, it would be a reported conversation, “I asked how the gym was and he said fine!”