When to mutate?

After doing Challenge 14 at least twice I’m sorry to say Aran I was shouting at you,… “PLEASE STOP”!!!
So I have had brain block as I started with all the sentences you want us to construct!!

Not sure if I have used the right word in the title🤔 but to say “If I can” do I say “os Fedri” or Medri?
Is Medri" I can? and when I say “Could you” is it Fedri or Medri dy? or am I up the creek without a paddle?!?!

Firstly, don’t let challenge 14 get to you - it’s infamous! :wink:

Now then, let’s unravel this.
The verb medru is ‘to be able’, so for “I can” (= I am able), it conjugates to medra(f) i - the f is optional, some pronounce it, some don’t, and when it’s not pronounced, the a and i can merge a bit.
If I can = os medra(f) i
memory tip - think of ‘please’ - os gwelwch yn dda - the gwelwch doesn’t mutate after os, so neither will medru.
Could you…?
Well this is conditional tense. "Can you…? = Fedri di…? but “Could you…?” needs a conditional conjugation, so that’s Fedrit ti…?. Medru does mutate in these because they’re questions.

Southern speakers may use gallu instead of medru. It means the same and works the same way
I can = Galla(f) i
If I can = Os galla(f) i
Can you…? = Alli di…?
Could you…? = Allet ti…?


Thank you Sian.

Looking back on some notes I have made I have written “Fedri dy siarad yn araf” which I have translated Could you speak slowly when I should have said “Can you” shouldnt I? .

Am I right that “Fedri” should only be used in a question? Or have I misunderstood. Alternatively I suppose Fedri dy siarad yn araf is asking the person if they are able to speak more slowly…am I making sense🤔? I suppose I have seen it more like a rhetorical sentence…I think😅
Looking at my notes again I seem to be translating Fedri as “Could” instead of can…so no wonder I’m confused!!!

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That bit is just like English. If I ask “Can you get me a glass of water” my dad will sarcastically answer “I can”, but a normal person will understand it as a request :laughing:


Can and could generally share the same meaning in everyday speech, though, don’t they, so don’t worry about it too much.

If you’re asking a question, either directly or indirectly, then yes, the verb should always mutate.

Mutations should also always occur when a statement is negative.

Where it gets confusing is with positive statements because several things can happen with those in speech.
If we look at the positive statement “You can open the window if you want”, this can be said in different ways:

  1. the statement starts with the verb and the verb doesn’t mutate.
    e.g. Medri di agor y ffensast os t’isio.
  2. the statement starts with what’s called a ‘positive marker’ (i.e. Mi (North) or Fe (South) ) which makes the verb mutate.
    e.g. Mi fedri di agor y ffenast os t’isio.
  3. the mi/fe that started the sentence has been left off but the mutation it caused is still hanging around.
    e.g. fedri di agor y ffenast os t’isio.

Tone of voice and context will usually tell you whether it’s a question, negative, or positive when the verb has been mutated.


Thank you once again Sian…Very helpful👍🏻

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Anytime I start to get frustrated about mutations, I watch this Rhod Gilbert bit about them. Helps take the edge off