How do I render into Welsh the equivalent of “what”, not as a question (‘beth ?’) but in -
“That’s not what I want”, or “that’s not what I expected”. Eg how would you translate into Welsh the following-
“I don’t understand what you mean”.
“He knew what he wanted”.
“This is what you will do”.
I understand that ‘beth’, in this context, is perceived as sloppy. So what is correct?
Hello, hello and welcome to the forum first in this late night (here in Slovenia where I live).
For your question - I’m not the most qualified for “officially” answering this but like all here answered already, I’m quite happy to use beth in all these cases too and if I still remember correctly lessons teaches us this also. So, I believe you won’t go wrong using beth much more then you think it’s “propriate”.
Well, Gareth King in his excellent Modern Welsh - A Comprehensive Grammar says:
“Spoken Welsh has something approaching a relative pronoun: ‘yr hyn’ meaning that which, the thing which. It usually corresponds to what in natural English and ‘beth’ is often an acceptable alternative in Welsh.” So I wouldn’t say it is sloppy. In “Ymarfer Ysgrifennu Cymraeg” (Practising Writing Welsh) by Gwyn Thomas, you see ‘yr hyn’, but he does not explicitly mention its use.
I don’t where this “official answer” is going to come from but I’m dying to find out.
Anyway, just to agree with everyone above, “beth (be’)” is what pretty much everyone on the street would say, that’s what everyone on the street would understand. There may be another way to say it, I have no idea, but it’s certainly not wrong.
‘Beth’ would be fine and completely normal speech for all of these, although you’d run into some different ways of phrasing some of this sort of thing in written Welsh, depending on what tone was being aimed for…
I was also thinking of “y peth bod/sydd”.
“What”, in english is just a shorthand for ‘the thing which…’. Eg “This is what I want” deconstructs to “This is the thing which I want”. Following up on this we would get- “Dyma’r peth bod i’n eisiau”. With ‘peth’ meaning ‘thing’ as against ‘what’. Unfortunate ambiguity there.
Is it correct?
Does it Sound correct? (or just sound weird/affected).
To me it sounds “correct”. But does it sound crazy?