Tiny questions with quick answers - continuing thread

This version of hypercorrection is a massive bugbear of mine in English. When I hear people pronouncing, for example, forehead or Wednesday like they’re spelt I want to start hurling furniture around. :smiley:

1 Like

I’m second-guessing myself here: I just mentioned, in another thread, the title of the song by Yr Angen “Fel na Fydd e”. I’ve still never yet caught enough of the lyrics to be sure of the whole song, but the immediate context is:
“Well 'da fi redeg i ffwrdd / os fel na fydd e.”

I’ve always taken this to be “if it’s going to be like that, I’d rather run away,” on the assumption that fydd gets softened because of a fe that isn’t actually there (or something like that). I tried looking it up to check, and I’m now seeing examples that are making me wonder if it’s not actually negation - “if it’s not going to be like that” - but I think I feel happier with my first explanation (partly because it’s not os fydd e ddim fel 'na).

Help! I have now confused myself thoroughly. Will it or won’t it be like that?

A finnau :rage: :+1:

1 Like

My view on this is that, na here being really 'na = hynna, we would really expect bydd rather than fydd (there’s no trigger for SM there), except that there’s also the undeniable fact of the spoken language that we do encounter a generalised SM with all statement verbs…that’s probably what’s going on here, I would suggest.


Good to know. I instinctively read it as positive, but it was the absence of an obvious trigger that worried/confused me.

Yes - I think one has to always keep in mind that the generalised SM on statement verbs is very widespread these days.

1 Like

Just curious. As a person born and raised in the US, I am wondering how forehead is pronounced in the UK. Because everyone I know here pronounces it as written … ?

Forrid. :smiley:

Edited to add: Universal literacy is a wonderful thing, but this is one of the down sides. On balance, I think I can live with it. :wink:

1 Like

I have to admit that I prefer ‘forrid’, but grew up saying ‘fore-head’, so I do a bit of both, I’m afraid. But what about traditional ‘forrud’ vs spelling-pronunciation ‘forward’? ‘Offen’ or ‘often’? (As in - we’re getting increasingly offen topic, I suspect…)

Edited to add: @sionned - There’s a rhyme that goes “There was a little girl / who had a little curl / right in the middle of her forehead / and when she was good / she was very, very good / but when she was bad, she was horrid.” It only rhymes with the traditional pronunciation of ‘forrid’ :slight_smile:

1 Like

Actually, I’ve known that little rhyme most of my life, and never thought that the rhyme didn’t work with “forehead.” However, we don’t pronounce it as if it were two words (fore-head) so there’s a lot of slack there.


I’ve heard “forehead” spoken as it is spelt far more frequently than forrid.It is clearly the older pronunciation, I’m hesitant to believe forrid has ever been the common form for the whole UK.

But clearly none of us here are satisfied with the amount of variety even a single language provides us with :smiley: .

Well, if this carries on any longer we’re going to have to hope that someone with admin privileges can carve a chunk off this thread and make it into a new one about English! The thing is, standardized spelling is more conservative than speech, and kept the ‘h’ all along, but things like misspellings, puns and rhymes can give us evidence for how people really pronounced things in the past. In this word, I understand that there’s reason to believe the ‘h’ was widely dropped in speech, but then came back in as more people could read, and could see that that was how it was spelt, and so thought it ought to be there (and had been told that dropping their haitches was ‘common’). Dictionaries, when they list different pronunciations generally put them in order of priority – the most common first. (Same with looking up the gender of a noun in GPC: if it’s one that can be both, it’ll say gb if it’s more often masculine - gwrywaidd - but bg if feminine - benywaidd - is more common.) The current OED lists two pronunciations for UK, and two for US English – the version with an optional ‘h’ appears to be the main one in the US, but the version with a (non-optional) ‘h’ is still seen as the runner-up in the UK.

1 Like

The order in the dictionary suggests it was more common within a certain subset of the population who speak “standard” English, but it fails to take into consideration the variation in different regions, among different social classes, etc. I’m fairly sure personal preference of the editor also plays a large role.

Sadly I haven’t found forehead in any of my dialectology books, and most are still packed away in a box somewhere.

But as you say, we’ve derailed this thread enough.

Changing the subject (an about-face?), how do I say ‘have/had’ and ‘have not/had not’ in ‘I have/had listened to it on the radio but I have/had not watched it on television’? Do I use ‘wedi/wedi bod’ - and no ‘cael’ anywhere? I stumble over ‘have’ in Welsh!

1 Like

Phew! :slight_smile:
You sound unsure about it, but you’re basically wholly correct - there’s no cael anywhere. If I say in English “I have done my homework,” what I mean is that I did it last night, and now it is done - and look, I have it here in my hand (a bit like Chamberlain). In Welsh, if I did it last night, this morning I am after doing it (just like in Irish English).
So: Dw i wedi gwrando arni ar y radio, ond dw i ddim wedi ei gwylio ar y teledu (if we’re talking about a feminine noun, which rhaglen ‘programme’ is; some small changes if it’s something masculine).
With ‘had’ in English: O’n i wedi gwrando… do’n i ddim wedi ei gwylio… (I was after…)

And you can use bod, but only if what you want to say is “I have been listening to it.” If you say Dw i wedi dysgu, you’re saying that you have (finished) learning something, which is why the course tends to say Dw i wedi bod yn dysgu Cymraeg ers… for “I have been learning Welsh since…” - on the assumption that it’s still a bit of a work in progress.

1 Like

Diolch @RichardBuck. And a very quick answer indeed!

1 Like

What a great way of explaining this! The English “have” is such a difficult verb as it can mean so many different things (for which other, more sensible, languages have discrete words). But this lays it out so clearly :smile:

1 Like

You should feel proud of yourself is:
dyleti deimlo yn falch o hono ti de hyn (but probably spelt completely differently).

Could someone help me understand the components of it?
So far I have:

  • dyleti = you should
  • deimlo = feel
  • yn falch = proud
  • o hono = ???
  • ti = yourself
  • de = ??? another pronoun maybe???
  • hyn = ???

How do I change it for other people?
is “dylechi deimol yn falch o hono chi de hyn” right for “you lot should feel proud of yourselves”?
what about “dylwni deimlo yn falch o hono fi de hyn” for “I should feel proud of myself”?

In order to unpack this sentence, let’s first look at the correct spelling:
Dylet ti deimlo’n falch ohonot ti dy hun.

The preposition o is inflected, as many prepositions in Welsh are. You’ll see how this changes according to the person in the next examples. The dy hun at the end means yourself, or literally your self, and this bit also changes according to person. So in Welsh you say something like “you your self”.

So for 2nd person plural you get
Dylech chi deimlo’n falch ohonoch chi’ch hunain.You should be proud of yourselves.
On its own, yourselves would be eich hunain, so following a vowel, eich changes to 'ch (just like yn changes to 'n), and hunain is the plural of hun.

And finally, for 1st person singular you’d get
Dylwn i deimlo’n falch ohona i fy hun.


Thank you - I feel like I was close!
This has been one of those sentences that I just couldn’t get to sink in, and then when it suddenly did I wanted to understand it better.