Short Form and Sai'n etc

This is gonna be a long one, fair warning and apologies in advance :joy:

So over levels 1-3 (south) I’ve got pretty comfortable with using ‘galla i’ instead of ‘dwi’n gallu’ etc. for “I can”, but I was just wondering what the conjugation is for short form present tense (and maybe what some common irregulars are) in general.

I was also wondering how common short form is in spoken Welsh and if there is an informal/formal distinction. Also is it a case of modals/auxiliary verbs being short form in the present but other verbs using long form? I live in the south east if that changes the answer from the south west at all. I’ve been getting a lot of conflicting answers from native speakers not in my area (haven’t found any in my area) and mates who studied Welsh to GCSE who are in my area :’)

Thirdly conjugation tables for “sai’n/so fe’n” type present negative conjugation are proving hard to find. If anyone could type out that list I’d be super grateful. I know most (though not all) of them but am unsure about spelling for quite a few. Is the “hi” equivalent of so fe’n (so hi’n?) just not really used (hence the dyw hi ddim teaching)? Also is there a “the plural noun isn’t” ‘so’ equivalent? e.g. “The children don’t want” being something like “so’r plant yn moyn”?

I realise SSiW doesn’t really like using tables and lists, so I understand if this is the wrong place to be asking these questions^. :slight_smile: But I’ve been scouring PDFs for hours and have bugged the native Welsh speakers and other Welsh learners I know over a couple of other nit-picky grammar questions too much recently already I think :smiley:


I find short form is especially common in the south. It’s very rare that I’ll hear someone say “Wnes i ddweud” (I said) down south. I’ll tend to hear “dwedais I” a lot more.

Up north it’s a bit less like that though. Although you’ll still hear a lot of short form.

Sai’n is a bit hard to find any documentation on because it’s something that I believe is really limited to spoken Welsh only (and sometimes used in extremely informal written settings Twitter, Texting etc)

… and even then it’s generally only used down south - and not by everyone really. I use it loads though.

Does this help?
(At bottom of page)


Just for reference though (excuse spelling if any errors)

Sa i’n - I’m not.
So fe - He’s not.
So hi - she’s not.
So Ti - you’re not (singular)
So chi - you’re not (plural or respectful)
So ni - we are not
So nhw - they’re not.

The single ‘so’ can be used to describe anything that doesn’t fall into the above categories. I.e

So’r cath hoffi cig - the cat doesn’t like meat.
So’r pêl-droed yn cwpla eto - the football isn’t finishing yet.
So’r Dyn yn mynd i’r Mwnt - the man isn’t going to Mwnt.

Hope this helps also.


I dont think you can put moyn at the end of that though. As that is a different constructon. I think you need to say The children dont want…(dont have a need on them).

Otherwise it sounds like a wrong way of saying its not the children that want.

Its in an early forum post but I cant find it now :frowning:
@Garethrking explained it.

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My understanding is that the present tense short form (e.g. “galla i”) is also used for the future.

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Paging @Iestyn :slight_smile:

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Thank you so much!! That document is great too, made sure to favourite for future reference :grin:

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Ah I see, thanks for letting me know! I’ll search up that other post in a bit and link if I find it :slight_smile:

Oooh that would explain why I can’t find anything on short form present specifically, ta muchly :smiley:

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Thank youuu! :smile:

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Plural nouns take singular verb in Welsh, @sarahhatch1235 - so your example

so’r plant yn moyn the children don’t want

is absolutely correct.


Thanks for clearing that up! :slight_smile: What textbook is that you’re using in the photo by the way? It has quite a few forms I’m struggling to find documented online and I might look into getting it for grammar in general :slight_smile:

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Sorry for the confusion

I’ll save @garethrking’s modesty by jumping in first to let you know it’s one that he wrote. Seriously: he rather got up the nose of some people by doing a grammar of Welsh as she is spoke, rather than as she ‘ought’ to be. There are also various workbooks etc. to accompany it :slight_smile:


You’re a gentleman, @RichardBuck ! :slight_smile:


Thanks all the same for helping me out :slight_smile: Would never have found out about all of this otherwise^ :grinning:

Oh my gosh that’s incredible! As someone who loves their grammar tables but also wants to speak genuine colloquial Welsh as taught on SSiW, you’re a life-saver!! I wish I could say I was surprised about the prescriptivist reaction though :’)