I had attempted Level 3 a few times, but it was a disaster.
I decided to try and transcribe the English sentences, so I can see them while I think of the Welsh translation and it’s so much better!
I’m confident, this time I’m going to carry on and finish it!
However, there’s a few details I can’t understand in the examples and I’m sure there will be more in the future…and maybe someone else have doubts too, so I’m going to create a new topic for the purpose.
(min 29:23) Shall we get something to eat in town?
(I expected) Awn ni gael rhywbeth i fwyta yn y dre?
(I hear something like) Beth am yn ni gael rhywbeth i fwyta yn y dre?
your ears are excellent.
Awn ni gael rhywbeth… is more or less a literal translation from English to Welsh.
But the meaning of this sentence is better conveyed with : Beth am i ni gael…
I’m sure that the “beth am i ni …” was taught in a vocab lesson after the old course 1, I’m not sure if it was taught in the “normal” course.
Looks like I’d better trust my ears, then?
Well after all I’ve spent years trying to understand sounds of words in the songs, while only months trying to understand meanings and how the language works…so it makes sense.
By the way, I had a second question ready, because what I heard in Welsh didn’t match English. But then I realized I understand @Iestyn’s Welsh more than his English accent…
I can relate to this problem. I have just realised that I don’t use the word shall in my spoken English, except if I was reciting the ten commandments from the Bible or pretending to be very posh and so trying to translate shall into Welsh, means trying to first think about what I would actually say and then translating that into Welsh instead. In reality, I don’t need to translate shall at all, because I never use it anyway and I can just think and say what I would in Welsh, pretty much as I would in English.
Shall is an oddity as a word I think - it originally came from a word meaning “obligation” and then it evolved to cover lots of other meanings, such as expressing the future tense etc.
The past tense (or is that conditional?) of shall is should - there are no direct or general Welsh translations for either of those words. Should is a word I would use in everyday English, but only really in the sense of I must, I need to or I ought to, mae’n rhaid I fi, Mae eisiau i fi, Dw i’n gorfod etc. Should means a bit more in English, but I only use should in those senses of the word.
I think the word “shall” and also perhaps should are unique to Germanic languages and they have come to express lots of different things.
Ironically (also considering reflections I just posted here Published: new advanced content), “shall” is one of the first thing we are taught in English!
And I still remember we all struggled with it because we first learn it as the official future tense for I and we.
So we do hundreds of exercises to practice this, but after a while we learn the interrogative form as in this thread, and a bunch of other uses you mention, that’s all quite confusing to us learners.
Then when we finally figure it out, we speak to English natives and find out…nobody really uses it!
(at least, for the future I never heard anyone - for other uses, just rarely)
I think many people do use shall a lot in English, but not where I grew up. It probably varies from dialect to dialect - if I was mocking a posh English accent or trying to mock a Stage actor then I would say - as in Cinderella “You shall go to the ball”, which to most people I know in normal speach would be something very different, perhaps like “you’ll definitely be going to that ball - don’t you worry about that”.
I was brought up to use “I shall”, “we shall”, but “you/he/she/they will” for the normal future. “I will” means something like “I am determined to” and “You shall” is as @Toffidil says “You are definitely going to”.
In a despairing voice:
“I shall drown and nobody will save me.”
In a determined voice:
“I will drown and nobody shall save me.”
It still seems more natural to say “I shall”, but I am old!
If it’s accepted in Beaufortese, I know I can use it, then!
@Betterlatethan, I remember we were told these differences at school - now I pay attention to it. Do you think it’s also a matter of UK-USA-other English speaking Countries?
Anyway In my English-from-songs repertoire I remember a couple of classics, at least: We shall overcome (that I never really liked, from a musical point of view), I shall not be moved and I shall be released.
That’s pretty much what I was taught. Most of the time, of course, we say (and now write) “I’ll”, “he’ll”. “you’ll” etc but we may have in our heads the appropriate form.
I do admit to a tendency to “shilly shally” over this, however.
“Beth am I ni”
Personally, I dont notice myself using shall too much. Although I it makes sense to me. Also I tend to (over) use “would”, “could” and “should” as future tense for can/may, rather than past tense. I suppose what I am saying is that English words tend to be used differently by different people. I have to be aware of this when writing e-mails.
With this in mind, and the fact that English and Welsh don’t match directly - I feel really comfortable with the SSiW taught: “Beth am I ni …” (how about, we …) for “shall/will/can/(whatever) we”.
In Old English there wasn’t really a separate future tense – much like the Literary Welsh present/non-past being used in spoken Welsh for the future. But you did have ic sceal (= I must, therefore I’m going to) and ic wille (= I want to, therefore I’m going to): in Middle and Modern English these therefore both get used to make future tenses.
As for the distinction between the two (apart from “I shall” just being less used in most modern dialects): I don’t know the history of it, so it is possible that it may be a survival into Modern English of the difference in meaning that these two verbs had in Old English – apparently the wedding vows were originally “will you take this man…? – I will,” because that form of words indicated that the union was entered into voluntarily (willingly), rather than under compulsion. However, it has the feel to me of some clever 18th-century grammarian-stylist choosing to create a distinction that reflected the etymology, rather than something organic.
At any rate, I have always understood the “I shall/you will” distinction to reside in the idea (conceit?) that it is rude to use ‘shall’ of people other than oneself, as the meaning ‘must’ implies that you’re telling other people what to do; whereas it is rude to use the word ‘will’ of oneself, as it implies that you get to do whatever you choose, rather than simply bowing to custom and circumstance and humbly doing merely what you must. Hence the polite/unmarked “I shall drown, and no-one will save me” versus the determined “I will drown, and no-one shall save me” (I want to, and you mustn’t stop me).
I honestly don’t know – I’m afraid I managed to swap from a science degree to one in Old English without ever going through the Middle/Early Modern English mill. My usual (disingenuous) disclaimer for anything that I don’t know, but probably should, is that if it’s larger than a cell or more modern than 1100 I haven’t studied it. I think William Shakespeare fails on both counts…
I stuck with science but would have enjoyed Old English especially since my mother (Cymraes Cymraeg) went to Cardiff to study Old Norse and Old English. She chucked it in, though, to join the WAAF during the war.