What's 'Fan'?

Have just come across this. ‘Fred is here.’ ‘Mae Fred fan hyn.’ So what’s ‘fan’? It seems to have taken the place of ‘yn’. Is it a Northern thing or have I completely misunderstood some fundamental point?

‘fan hyn’ is ‘this place’ (i.e. here). the word for place is actually man, but it has mutated to fan in this phrase.


I would read that as; ‘Fred is by here,’ being from the south.
Don’t know if it’s right tho.

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I’m happy with the translation… But I’ve never come across the word ‘fan’. Being from the South… I’m wondering if it’s Northern.

Ah… Thanks Siaron. Now that does make sense.

There are ‘fans’ in the Brecon Beacons but, as we know, one word in welsh, can have a couple of meanings.

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Yes, the use of ‘fan’ in the Brecon Beacons (and also the Carmarthen Fan) come from ‘ban’ meaning peak, which has also mutated the b to f. There’s a lot to be said for context with many Welsh words! :smiley:


Yes, the fact that ban and man both soften to fan can be a bit misleading. Not as potentially catastrophic as miliwn and biliwn, though! :smile:


Thanks Ali but I think I’ve rumbled this one now. Man=place and hyn=this. So…fan hyn=this place or here. Whew!


So is this different to Mae Ffred yma?

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A little known false fact about Pen-y-fan

fansi fan o fananas fan 'na. - fan y fan

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Could you translate that for me, Toffi? I’m making up my own versions here! Hilarious!

Well in my quite “imperfect” Welsh, which is probably wrong in many ways, I was trying to say:

"fancy van of bananas by there - Van of Fan (meaning A van from Pen-Y-Fan) - thinking about it should have put a feri (Very) in front of fansi. Wel, man a man.

All the fan phrases are very common colloquial alternatives for the (more standard/official) yma/ yna set - use them with confidence! :slight_smile:

fan hyn = fan’ma = famma


I an confused by different versions of ‘here’. I have always used 'ma but hear fan hyn quite a lot, and you say they are interchangeable. Also I use yna or ‘na for there.’

But I have always understood 'y bore ‘ma’ meaning this morning because it means the morning here. If fan hyn translates as ‘this place’ then surely ‘y bore fan hyn’ would be incorrect.

You are confusing yourself by thinking solely in literal translation terms, @garnetcalder - 'ma and fan hyn may both mean here in English, but they are nonetheless separate expressions in Welsh, and so we cannot expect the uses to completely overlap. In this particular case, the point is that 'ma is also used to express this/these, while fan hyn does not.

To turn things round the other way, there are single Welsh words that have more than one equivalent in English - for example, iawn means OK, well and correct - but we have to pick the right one in English.


May I say, I always think of iawn = very and other uses later! And my first reaction to yma is ‘here’, so 'y XXX ‘ma’ is ‘the XXX here’ = ‘this XXX’. I doubt that helps anyone but you never know!


There’s an overlap with colloquial English there:
Da iawn = very good = well good

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It’s worth remembering that “yna” can also mean “then” in some contexts, especially in narrative text.

(credit to a good Skype friend of mine for pointing that out to me; it’s in dictionaries, but I’d never spotted it).

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