Use of ydy?

Nhw ydy’r pencampwyr! presumably means “they are the champions”. But why isn’t it Maen nhw y pencampwyr because I thought ydy was used for questions like Ydyn nhw y pencampwyr?

It’s not an example I would use myself, but in this example, they are using “nhw” as a name. It’s not what I would do because I find “nhw” without “mae…” to be odd :slight_smile:

So something like “Man Utd ydy’r pencampwyr” would be fine, and in the same way “mae nhw’n pencampwyr” would be fine.

I suppose its kind of like the difference between…

“Man Utd are the champions” “Man Utd ydy’r/yw’r pencampwyr”
“They are the champions” “Mae nhw’n pencampwyr”

Hope this helps. It’s a weird one because from speaking I know why - but can’t really explain :smiley:

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No @Nicky - Maen nhw’n bencampwyr means They are champions, while Nhw ydy’r pencampwyr is fine and normal for They are the champions. It’s fine to use pronouns just like nouns in identification sentences like these - it’s just like saying Fi ydy’r gorau I’m the best, really… :slight_smile:


Good to know. I’ve always been comfortable with using Fi at the start of a sentence/phrase but never felt comfortable with Nhw. Yet can’t explain why!



Probably just that Fi is more common in this kind of construction than Nhw, because we are all essentially self-centred, aren’t we? :slight_smile:


Hahahaha true!

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Strangely, I seem to have learnt the 1st person (me) tenses more quickly than the others. Hopefully because that’s where we start, rather than due to a social deficiency :blush:


y maent was coming to mind when i saw this and I’ve been trawling around to find out what it is and how to use that little beast. I’m none the wiser after some surfing and even though my initial hunch of dropping that in as a substitute for nhw doesn’t seem correct, i’m now wondering how to actually use it and what it actually means.

I’m guessing you don’t mean “maint” (faint) for amount or yn y maint: in as much as.

Well, y maent is simply LitWelsh for maen nhw, of course - don’t EVER say it, though! :slight_smile:

In constructions like Nhw ydy’r rhai hapusa They are the happiest ones, though, you’re not ‘dropping’ anything, what you’re doing is shoving the focused idea (in this case nhw) to the front of the sentence for focus. That then means you’re not allowed to use maen, because that can (broadly) only come first. So instead we use (in the present tense) ydy for all persons.

Fi ydy’r hapusa
Ti ydy’r hapusa
Fo ydy’r hapusa
Hi ydy’r hapusa
Ni ydy’r hapusa
Chi ydy’r hapusa
Nhw ydy’r hapusa
Siaron ydy’r hapusa
Aran ydy’r hapusa

and whatever you’re having yourself…



No, I was sort of thinking that “Y maent sy’n pencampwyr” would mean they are the champions, but not sure where that idea came from - looked up maent and it said it was a form of bod and then got lost. Maint is about quantity or size and sounds the same - also seem to recall that Maen nhw comes from Maent, hence no apostrophe i. e. not mae’n nhw. Lots of fuzzy stuff going on in my head here.

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oh, cheers. Just posted something simultaneously - being a literary form makes sense and why I’m bot really clear what to do with it.

No, that would never be possible because you’ve got two different forms of the verb bod there: maent and sy - you can’t have more than one at a time!

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well I certainly started something here. But for me Gareth’s explanation above is the best answer to my initial question and one that I shall remember. Diolch

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I know that is correct, and quite common I think, but I found it quite difficult to accept when I first came across it, because on the face of it, it seems to break the “rule” of subject and verb agreement.

I mean “fi” is a first person pronounn, but “ydy” is third person verb, at least that’s the way I think of them.

I’ve come to accept that that is just how it is in Cymraeg, but would you care to comment on my “objection”, from a grammarian’s / linguist’s point of view @garethrking ?

Many thanks! :slight_smile:

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Hallo Mike
for me it helps to think of “fi” in this context as a name or a noun.
So: Fi ydy’r gorau = The me is the best.


The answer is that rules are particular to individual languages. There is a rule in Welsh that subject/verb is cancelled when the subject is put in an abnormal position (i.e. before the verb):

Tales i
Talodd hi
Talon nhw

but (focused):

Fi dalodd
Hi dalodd
Nhw dalodd

Remember also that nouns (as distinct from pronouns) always take the third singular verb even when they are plural - so another case of the relative unimportance of subject/verb agreement in Welsh as compared with many European languages:

Mae’r plentyn yn cysgu
The child is sleeping
Mae’r plant yn cysgu (NOT Maen)
The children are sleeping

Rhedodd Siaron
Siaron ran
Rhedodd Siaron ac Aran (NOT Rhedon)
Siaron and Aran ran

One might also mention the non-agreement between numerals and nouns in Welsh - dwy gath two cats (and NOT dwy gathod) - a feature that is illogical from an English point of view, but not from a different angle: specifying the number ‘two’ makes using the plural of the noun redundant, since the word ‘two’ in itself implies plural. Chinese and Japanese and a host of other languages take this view.

So beware of ‘agreements’ - that’s my advice.


Rhedodd fi a fy merch too.


And - oddly enough - you can say (and I have heard many times) this construction with a prefixed y:

Y fi ydy’r gorau
I am the best
Y nhw sy’n iawn
They are (the ones who are) right


Quite true - Sul y Tadau brought a mojito kit to these parts… :slight_smile: