The past tense in Welsh

Recently I have started learning Welsh from the Internet. In lesson 3 of SSiW the Welsh for ‘I spoke ’ was given as ’ Wnes I siarad’. I had already learned from another site ‘Siaradais i’ for I spoke and similar ‘ais i’ endings for other verbs in the past tense. Are both correct and if so which form is more commonly used ? Is ’ wnes i’ I did ? I have learned this as ’ gwnes i’ pronouncing the ‘g’ at the start. Is this wrong ?
My final question is about ’ ydw ’ and ’ yndw '. Are these the same ? I have learned ‘ydw’ as the positive answer to ‘ych chi’n’ ? or ‘dach chi’n’ ?
This is my first question on the forum so I hope I have posted it correctly.
Thanks. Mick


Hi Mick
One thing that you’ll find with the SSiW course is that it tries to expose you to the various ways you’ll hear the same thing being said!
There are subtle differences between Wnes i siarad and siaradais i, but too subtle to worry about to begin with - they are both correct and both variants of past tense. Wnes i siarad is more like “I did talk” which although it sounds incorrect in English, it’s not incorrect in Welsh, and Siaradais i is more like “I spoke”. As to which is more commonly used, that can depend on context and indeed on which part of Wales you’re in.

Wnes i is a variant of gwnes i. Sometimes you’ll hear “Fe wnes i” or “mi wnes i” - the fe (southern use) and mi (northern use) here don’t actually have a meaning on their own, but they do cause a soft mutation which drops the G, and in speech the fe and mi are often dropped but leave the mutation there, hence wnes i. It’s not wrong to pronounce the g, nor to leave it out, but sometimes leaving it out sounds more ‘native’.

yes, ydw and yndw are the same - again, it’s a regional variation, just use whichever you’re comfortable with (or whichever gets to your tongue first!

Welcome to the forum, and your first question! :slight_smile:


Thanks siaronjames. Panic over! Thought I was going on the wrong track. Great to have a forum to get answers to these questions.
Thanks again.


You’re welcome, Mick, we love questions here! :slight_smile:


Is it true, as I believed, that yndw, yndy etc are definitely gogledd (north) and, if so, is it worth pointing that out to @mick-flynn ?
Croeso, welcome, Mick! I am an aged relic living in Yr Alban (Scotland) and on here mainly for the lovely comforting feeling of cymuned (community) - a cwtch (cuddle) of Welshness to treat my hiraeth.

1 Like

The ‘g’ is dropped, so it’s ‘wnes i’ for ‘I did’.

That is certainly my understanding. That’s basically what SSiW northern variety teaches and what I’ve seemed to find with northern speakers on S4C and Radio Cymru.

One thing that used to throw me, mainly on Pobol Y Cwm, was “ody” for “ydy”. But I gather it’s by no means uncommon down south.


Llio definitely does it on RaR. (Well, did it, now.)

1 Like

It’s certainly ody and odw in the Swansea and Amman valleys.