Soft Mutation of Welsh adverbs?

This sentence appears in the Mynediad Dwys course I am studying:

‘Dyn ni wedi bod yn gweithio dramor’.

I know that nouns and adjectives mutate after ‘yn’, but surely ‘tramor’ here is an adverb so why the mutation? Or is ‘tramor’ here treated as a noun? (We have been…overseas)

1 Like

Treated as an adjective I meant to say.

I don’t know if it’s an adverb of place. In the challenges, It is mutated to dramor after the verb(s) for “travel”.

Hi Debra,
I think @garethrking is the top man to explain exactly how this works (and to correct me if what I say below is wrong!), but I’ll have a go at explaining.

Just as adjectives mutate after yn, so do adverbs (e.g. symud yn gyflym), it’s just that there are some adverbs that don’t need an yn yet they still mutate. Tramor, as you’ve noticed is one, as is cartref (e.g. heddiw dwi’n aros gartref).

I hope that helps, and maybe Gareth can elucidate further.

7 Likes

Yes, as usual Siaron has done the spadework here. I’ll come from a different angle to say the same thing:

There are two types of adverb:

  1. adverbs of manner, describing how an action is performed (like -ly in English), and these are formed from adjectives by prefixing yn + SM: cyflym quick > yn gyflym quickly. There are squillions of these of course, because there are squillions of adjectives.

  2. adverbs of time and place, telling you when or where an action takes place. This is a much more limited class, and they don’t have anything to do with adjectives. They (mostly) don’t take yn, but they DO take SM. So for example, years is blynyddoedd, which is just a noun. But if we say years ago, that is telling us when something happened, so it’s an adverb of time - and so we say flynyddoedd yn ôl. And it’s the whole phrase that takes the mutation at the front. So if we expand that one and say two years ago, then it’s ddwy flynedd yn ôl. with the SM on the dwy because that’s where the adverb starts (and the SM on blynedd is simply because of the dwy, by the way). Similarly, for example, canol mis Medi is the middle of September, but if you want to say that something happened in the middle of September, the best way in Welsh is to say ganol mis Medi - perfect! Time when, see? Ddechrau’r wythnos - at the beginning of the week, ddiwedd y ganrif - at the end of the century.
    And then for place, examples like Siaron’s cartre home > gartre at home. There aren’t nearly so many of these.

20 Likes

That was super helpful - diolch yn fawr iawn! :slight_smile:

2 Likes

Gosh Gareth, I hate grammar but you make it almost fun.

5 Likes

It’s what I do, Tricia… :slight_smile:

5 Likes

Many thanks for the replies which have clarified all. It’s a few years since I got my Welsh ‘O’ level…

1 Like