The use of "Fe" at the beginning of a sentence/clause

Hi all:

I’ve been doing a fair amount of Welsh reading recently, but all of the books I have available to me at the moment are in Southern Welsh, and I’m a Gog. That’s no problem most of the time (I’m able to understand everything); but there is one thing that’s puzzling me, and that’s the use of the word “Fe” to begin many sentences or sometimes a clause within a sentence.

Here’s an example from my latest book: “Fe es i ar y trên yn Nghaerfyrddin…” If I were speaking, I would just have said, “Es i ar y trên yn Nghaerfyrddin…” without the “Fe” at the beginning.

Could someone please tell me: Is this a Southern Welsh thing? OR Is this a literary thing that no-one actually uses in spoken Welsh? OR Is this actually correct for both North and South, but I don’t know the rule that makes it appear in some sentences but not others?

As always, thanks to anyone who can help me out. :slight_smile:

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Well, I’m an idiot! It wasn’t as difficult as I thought to figure this out after all. I just needed a few more minutes’ research.

Please correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems that “Fe” is the Southern form of the optional “Mi” that appears at the beginning of statements in the North.


That is my belief!


Correct Fe is the southern mi, but whereas you will hear a fair amount of mi in northern speech, fe is overwhelmingly a written device in the south.


Ah! That makes sense! Thanks, @robbruce! I think what may have been throwing me is that I Skype with a friend every week who speaks Southern, but I don’t recall her ever using that. That’s why I was wondering if, perhaps, it was just a written thing.


And of course, most of my knowledge of Welsh before SSiW was the written kind! I did actually notice the lack of fe when I started on the Southern Lessons! But I got so used to leaving it out, it didn’t really impinge that it is purely written now! The fact that most of my recollection dates from the 60s at the latest doesn’t help because of all the changes since, of which the one that I am sorry to have lost is telewele!

LOL! It’s been a while since I’ve heard that! :slight_smile: