'Yn' The Little Beast

‘Yn’ is a slippery devil isn’t it? Am I right in thinking that it’s ‘Mae fe newydd ddechrau’ but ‘Mae fe’n newydd ddechrau dysgu’ with ‘yn’ getting tacked onto ‘fe’ because there’s a verb - dysgu - involved?


There are others way more knowledgeable than I but I believe that newydd is one of a few alternatives to ‘yn’ in this position in a sentence…including wedi…but also ‘ar’ (about to) and ‘heb’ (has not). So you only have one of these / don’t need another.

Chapter nine of Intermediate Welsh calls them aspect markers (!). :slight_smile:



I’m not the greatest at explaining grammar… but in this case, ‘newydd’ happens to be taking the place off ‘yn’, in both sentences:

Mae fe newydd ddechrau.
Mae fe newydd ddechrau dysgu. (No difference.)
(He has just started to learn.)

But without ‘newydd’, you need ‘yn’ (or 'n):

Mae fe’n dysgu.
Mae fe’n dechrau dysgu.
(He is starting to learn.)

Some other constructions don’t have ‘yn’ either:

Wnaeth e ddysgu.
Wnaeth e ddechrau dysgu.
(He started to learn.)

Mae fe wedi dysgu.
Mae fe wedi dechrau dysgu.
(He has started to learn.)

Sentences like these will always follow this pattern, so you’ll soon pick it up.


Thanks…that’s really helpful. I think. Possibly.


Very clear @netmouse!


One important point (which may help you remember when to use “yn” and when not - depending on how your mind works :slight_smile: ) is that “yn” is only used (in a verb context) to link “bod” (to be) and its many variations to another verb (or sometimes to an adjective).

It may not look like it, but “mae” is one of the variations of “bod”, so that’s why “yn” (or 'n) is needed in netmouse’s 2nd example.

But “wnaeth” has nothing to do with “bod” (it’s actually a variation of “gwneud” - to do), and hence no “yn” is needed.

(“wedi” and “newydd” are important exceptions to the rule that “bod” normally takes a linking “yn” or 'n. I don’t know the grammatical reason for this, if any. It’s possible there are a few other, less usual exceptions, but I can’t think of them, offhand). - Edit: Actually Rich’s explanation seems as good as any, come to think).