Still confused about the verb 'to be' in Welsh!

Hi all, I’ve got as far as Challenge 4 of Level 3 (northern), but I’m STILL very confused about when I can use ‘mae’, when it needs to be ‘ydy’, etc., etc… and I am forever forgetting to put the ‘d’ at the beginning when it’s negative - let alone sorting out the tenses, plus when it’s ‘on i’ and when it’s ‘wnes i’ (I do know when I should use which, but I can just never use the correct one quickly enough when speaking). Please tell me I’m not alone, and that it will all become clear in the end! I’m in need of some reassurance…

Hi Jane!

Firstly; don’t worry about the o’n i and wnes i slip. How often are you able to have conversations at the moment? If it’s not that often you’ll find that these sorts of differences are more conscious, once conversations are more frequent you’ll become less conscious of them and the context will help you use the “right” form. Also, everyone understands if you said “wnes i isio”, doesn’t matter if it’s not grammatically correct. Conversations are like repairs to car body work, loads of little taps with a hammer make the area smooth. Mistakes and repetitions are the same, feel like they are damaging (using a hammer) but are actually smoothing the area.

Secondly: “ydy o ddim” will probably go unnoticed by most people in a conversation. Even mae…ddim will probably be ignored and the conversation flow. So don’t worry too much about the “d”, it doesn’t change too much if it’s left out.

Well done on your journey so far - you’re doing brilliantly!

No, you’re definitely not alone in any of those things, and yes, it will all become clearer the more you stick at it but I will say that from my own experience, no matter how ‘clear’ things get, you will still have ‘relapses’ occassionally and yes, you will kick yourself because it’ll be stuff you thought you’d nailed :wink: . Some things will take more ‘kicks’ than others before they really do become second nature, so don’t look at making those mistakes as a negative thing, look at them as providing another reinforcement - no doubt you’ll notice and probably dwell on your mistakes (we’ve all been there!), but I bet you won’t notice until way after it happens that you’ve actually stopped needing to ‘reinforce’ a particular structure and are now kicking yourself/reinforcing an entirely different one!
Keep at it - you’re doing fine :slight_smile:

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ydy vs mae (sorry missed this bit)

mae is a statement and non-negative.
ydy is a question, identifier, and used for emphasis

Athro ydy Sion
Mae Sion yn gweithio fel athro
ydy Sion yn athro?

Ah, thank you Anthony! I didn’t realise ydy was used for emphasis, that probably explains some of my confusion!

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Thanks Siaron. I know it will all eventually fall into place, and I don’t really worry about making mistakes, but I DO find it frustrating when I keep making the same mistake when I really should know the right way to say it! As you say, some things take more kicks! On the whole though, I’m happy that I can have conversations and make myself understood.

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Oh, me too - and Welsh has been my second language for a long time now! :wink:

Oh, count me in the “confused by bod” club! :wink:

I’m adding a note myself because @siaronjames and @AnthonyCusack are way more advanced than me (and it’s always good to hear their experience of course).

But even from my earlier stage of learning (about 1 and a half year now), I can testify it does become clearer than how it seems in the beginning the more you listen, speak, read and practice Welsh.
Slowly, and with some up and downs, but it does! :grinning:


So to negate, is ‘Dydy Sion ddim yn athro.’ correct?

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it is indeed :slight_smile:

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Gwych! Diolch.