I could be wrong, dim ond dysgwr anfedrus ydwyf.
I think that this is an example of the relative form of “bod” (the relative clause) (which).
In formal Welsh, the sentences would include the particle “y” (yr before a vowel) and the pronoun “ei”.
y llyfr y mae John wedi ei ddarllen ‘the book John has read’
y llyfr yr oedd John yn ei ddarllen ‘the book John was reading’
y llyfr yr oedd John wedi ei ddarllen ‘the book John had read’
y llyfr y bydd John yn ei ddarllen ‘the book John will read’
The same structure is seen is questions at times- like the ones you have cited above.
Beth (y) mae Katy yn (ei) ddweud? (what is it which Katy is saying?)
Pa un (y) mae Oliver yn (ei) ddewis (which one is it that Oliver is choosing?)
Beth (yr) ydych chi’n (ei) wneud? (What is it which you are doing?)
Pwy (y) maen nhw’n (ei) gefnogi? (Who is it which they support?)
In more informal Welsh, the particle and pronoun is emitted, yet the mutation stays.
I should also say that the pronoun might spark different mutations depending on the gender of the predecessor:
Dyma’r ystafell y mae John yn ei pheintio (this is the room which John is painting)- an aspirate mutation is seen as ystafell is a singular feminine noun.
Dyma’r llyfrau y mae e wedi eu prynu (these are the books which he has bought)- “eu” is used as llyfrau is a plural noun.
I do not have access to the sentences - but basically the possessive adjectives ei, eu etc are used in front of the VN when you want a pronoun object of the verb. They’re not essential in speech, because the actual pronoun object (i.e. fe, hi, nhw etc) is added after the VN anyway. But more formal writing often does it with possessive adjective only.
Thank you so much for you kind help! I’ve got your grammar so I will read the paragraph you referred to.
And yes, I meant the sentences you gave. How would they translate - if you translated the ‘ei’? Because as far as I can understand, there would be no pronoun object of the verb in English in those sentences.
Yes - it might help for some. Although I am always myself inclined to think that one should avoid trying to ‘make sense’ of what is essentially (in this case, at least) simply a different sentence structure.
What I mean is: these things don’t have to be ‘explainable’ to be understood. For the learner, it is almost easier to simply learn the grammatical rule and move on without trying to analyse.
Although I do understand that some people find enjoyment in the ‘analysing’!
Not a welsh question, but I wanted to ask a linguist a question. I just came across a method described as a way of romanisation of Chinese using a method called Gwoyeu Romantzyh. The great or not so great wikipedia says other systems for Chinese use diacritics, but GR spells the tones of the same vowel e.g. ai, air, ae and ay. The name is accredited to Yuen Ren Chao and I’ve looked him up and been trying to find out where he might have thought up the term Gwoyeu Romantzyh and I can’t find anything - Gwoyeu looks like a very odd word and attracted my attention. He spent time as a translator for Bertrand Russel, which I thought was also interesting and that’s my token Welsh connection.
Yes, Gwoyeu Romatzyh (no N, by the way) is the Yale system, not much used now. Yuen Ren Chao was the prof there - he also wrote a definitive grammar of the language, using his system.
It was indeed devised with the idea of showing the different tones in the spelling rather than with diacritics, and the rationale behind this was that in this way you could more clearly visually differentiate words identical except for tone, by giving each a different ‘word-shape’, and this would assist with learning. There are other similar systems. But none of them have caught on, because the pinyin system with diacritics is simpler and less bewildering to the eye, albeit with a diacritic on (almost) every word. And today pinyin rules the world.
There’s an old adage in Sinologist circles: every senior Professor of Chinese spends his first year in post devising a new system of romanisation for the language, and then the rest of his life battling for its acceptance.
I met the great Sinologist Joseph Needham several times - he was the Master of my college when I was at Cambridge. I remember sitting (slightly awestruck!) in the bar with him one evening, as he drew Chinese characters on the beermats to explain the principles of the logographic script. What an astounding man!