You know you are learning Welsh when

Got myself confused the other day. Read the English word ‘soiled’ to rhyme with the Welsh ‘toiled’.


to @stella I have realised that madfal dwr & madfal y dwr actually mean ‘water lizard and the water lizard’. Cymraeg has its moments… it’s a bit like ‘rat = llygoden fawr = big mouse’!!! :smiley:

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Oh, very beautiful:) And I was delighted to find out that llyffant du (dark frog) is a toad. Very logical, really!

Ah that’s why Eirwen was cross with me - Dwlwn i vod wedi siarad “llyffant bach du”


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I see nothing but beauty in toads, so I really don’t understand why someone would object to being called one!

My grammar book gives “elwyf” as the first person subjunctive for mynd, and it does sound so very-very Tolkienish! But then I was told he based one of his languages, Sindarin, on Welsh.

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Hey presto!


That’s why it sounds so familiar:)
Sindarin, though, must be harder than Welsh, grammatically, I remember giving up the idea of studying it because of the grammar.

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Sorry, but I think :-
frog = broga neu llyffant melyn
toad = llyffant neu llyffant du
so a toad is a toad or a black toad and a frog is sometimes a yellow toad!!
I suspect llyffant is older Cymraeg and that ‘broga’ came from across the channel later!!

Spot in with which came first! (@henddraig)

But I myself (for what little that’s worth!) would say rather that llyffant is a “froad”, [in a similar way to the way malwoden can cover snail and slug, (IE a slail or a snug) or madarch can cover mushroom and toadstool (that is to say, a toadroom or a mushtool :wink:) and that though in a lot of minds (including my father’s), llyffant has become restricted to toad and the newer ‘broga’ works for frog, it is just as good and right and proper to think of a toad as a “dark frog” as it is to think of a frog as a “yellow toad”!
Or, as I say the third option of a “black froad” and “yellow froad”! :wink:Cc

Oh, how can one live without having a precise distinction between snails and slugs? I keep pet giant snails, so it would a matter of vital importance to me to hear at once whether it’s a snail or a slug on the floor!
By the way, isn’t a snail “malwen”? Or both words can be used?

Bochdew - hamster (it literally means ‘fat-cheek’ ).


Malwen /Malwoden - Snail.
Malwod - Snails.
Gwlithen - Slug.
Gwlithod - Slugs.

Cheers J.P.


That’s great!

The point I was making is that malwoden/malwen can be used to cover both snail and slug. Welsh names for animals don’t always fall into such absolute categories!

It gives me reason to examine my bview of the world- a realisition that the world does not have to be divided up in the way my first language does when Welsh does not make that same differentiation, those same divisions and classifications.

Your words are certainly an alternative- remember that Welsh has many alternatives, and remember I was careful to say “can” in my message!

Just at random, the (famously authoritative, for all that means in Welsh! :wink:) geiriadur Academi gives (eg) “malwoden ddu” as an alternative for slug, as well as the more familiar (to me!) gwlithen, whilst also saying “not distinguished in common parlance with snail”.


I certainly concur with all you have written.
To be honest while writing that little list.
I was thinking this a fairly simple framework to try and remember.
The same as in English “snail/s, slug/s” is fairly simple.
At the same time i was thinking to myself,
This is not exactly correct but why get pedantic about it.
slugs are snails without shells and there are in-between species that have a small remnant shell
they are not able to retreat into.

I really like the SSIW mantra of use what the locals use remembering language is variable and changing continually.
I also really enjoy reading the many and varied discussions that happen here, dal ati pawb.

Cheers J.P.

Absolutely - the division line between moth and butterfly, between slug and snail, can be blurred or non existent.

I just find it interesting that the Welsh “malwoden/malwen” can cover snails and slugs, unlike the English. That’s all. Just making sure, as the words and definitions we gave differed, (sort of! I made sure to use the word ‘can’) that no one thought that one of us was “right” and one was “wrong”.

Yep, i tell people not to take what i say in English as 100% (cant o cant) correct.
So considering how basic my welsh is, i will be wrong often.

Cheers J.P.

Well, what you said this time was right, as far as I am concerned! And the more information the better.

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English is a polyglot language, isn’t it? Saxon, (Angle??), Norman, Dane, Norse, Dutch and some Latin from the church. So we can have marriage and wedding, the latter meaning the ceremony and the former the institution, we have beef and pork, about 6 words for the animal beef is from and pig, boar and sow for the pork!! Clearly I could go on and on. I read somewhere that some people managed with 300 words in ordinary life. I cannot imagine living with that limitation and one problem I have with my Cymraeg is that I can never remember the word I want!! But languages with less influx-influence than English have fewer ways of saying the same thing, which is where rats = large mice comes in!!


I’m not sure it’s a case of having fewer words - when it comes to dialects and different words for the same thing in commonly used words, I find Welsh has more than present day English! It’s more a different way of dividing up the world, showing that there is not just one way for languages to make those divisions. Which is always interesting.

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You know you are learning Welsh when you are waiting for your wife and she sends you a text message saying ‘I am on my wy’ and you wonder what she is doing on an egg.