Appendix:Welsh conjugation

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There are two sets of rules for conjugating Welsh verbs: one for colloquial Welsh and one for literary Welsh.

Inflection involves adding the required suffix on to the verb stem. For instance, to form the colloquial first-person singular preterite form of yfed (to drink), we take the verb stem yf and add on the required ending (ais) to form yfais.

Colloquial[edit]

Colloquial conjugation is much simpler than in literary Welsh: only the preterite, conditional and future tenses, as well as the imperative mood, are built by inflecting the verb stem itself and, even then, all the tenses, as well as the negative imperative (but not the positive), can be formed periphrastically with a conjugated form of an auxiliary verb (bod, gwneud, ddaru, or peidio. The passive voice is formed periphrastically with a conjugated form of cael. Negations are formed by following the subject by ddim and mutating the conjugating verb (a mixed mutation). Letters which undergo an aspirate mutation do so; otherwise a soft mutation occurs (if possible). Example inflections are shown below using the verb gweld (to see).

Imperfective tenses formed with bod yn[edit]

The periphrastic conjugation of the imperfective present, imperfect, future, and conditional tenses is in the form of: conjugated form of bod + subject + yn + verbal noun. The verbal noun does not mutate except for affirmative and interrogative forms after the hoffwn and dylwn patterns. Negated forms require ddim to follow the subject. The table below shows the relevant colloquial conjugated forms of bod. Note: some contracted/regional forms have been omitted for conciseness.

Colloquial forms singular plural
first second third first second third
present affirmative dw i rwyt ti mae e/hi, ydy e/hi, sy e/hi dan ni, ŷn ni dach chi, ych chi maen nhw
negative dydw i dwyt ti dydy e/hi, does e/hi, sy e/hi dydyn ni dydych chi dydyn nhw
interrogative ydw i wyt ti ydy e/hi, oes e/hi, sy e/hi ydan ni ydych chi ydyn nhw
imperfect affirmative roeddwn i roeddet ti roedd e/hi roedden ni roeddech chi roedden nhw
negative doeddwn i doeddet ti doedd e/hi doedden ni doeddech chi doedden nhw
interrogative oeddwn i oeddet ti oedd e/hi oedden ni oeddech chi oedden nhw
future bydda i byddi di bydd e/hi byddwn ni byddwch chi byddan nhw
conditional byddwn i, baswn i byddet ti, baset ti byddai e/hi, basai e/hi bydden ni, basen ni byddech chi, basech chi bydden nhw, basen nhw
other conditional forms
used after pe
taswn i, bawn i, tawn i taset ti, baet ti, taet ti tasai e/hi, bai e/hi, tai e/hi tasen ni, baen ni, taen ni tasech chi, baech chi, taech chi tasen nhw, baen nhw, taen nhw

Examples:

  • Present: Dw i’n byw ym Mhontypridd. ― I live in Pontypridd.
  • Imperfect: Doedd Rhys ddim yn hoffi coffi. ― Rhys did not like coffee.
  • Future: Fyddwch chi’n yfed y dŵr? ― Will you drink the water?
  • Conditional: Bydden ni’n teithio yn bws. ― We would travel by bus.

The future and conditional can also be formed inflectionally:

  • Future: Yfwch chi’r dŵr? ― Will you drink the water?
  • Conditional: Teithien ni yn bws. ― We would travel by bus.

Perfective tenses formed with bod wedi[edit]

The periphrastic conjugation of the present perfect, pluperfect, future perfect, and conditional perfect tenses is in the form of: conjugated form of bod + subject + wedi + verbal noun. Examples include:

  • Present perfect: Dw i wedi byw ym Mhontypridd. ― I have lived in Pontypridd.
  • Pluperfect: Doedd Rhys ddim wedi hoffi coffi. ― Rhys had not liked coffee.
  • Future perfect: Fyddwch chi wedi yfed y dŵr. ― Will you have drunk the water?
  • Conditional perfect: Bydden ni wedi teithio yn bws. ― We would have traveled by bus.

These tenses can be negated either with ddim wedi or with heb (without), which triggers soft mutation of the verbal noun and which takes the affirmative form of the verb. Thus Dydy ’nhad ddim wedi gweld y ffilm ’to (My father hasn’t seen the film yet) can be rephrased as Mae ’nhad heb weld y ffilm ’to.

Periphrastic preterite and future[edit]

The periphrastic conjugation of the preterite is either in the form of conjugated preterite form of gwneud + subject + verbal noun or in the form of ddaru + subject + verbal noun. An alternative periphrastic conjugation of the future is in the form of conjugated future form of gwneud + subject + verbal noun. The verbal noun undergoes soft mutation (if possible). The table below shows the relevant colloquial conjugated forms of gwneud; ddaru (used in North Wales) is invariable.

Colloquial forms singular plural
first second third first second third
preterite nes i nest ti naeth e/hi naethon ni naethoch chi naethon nhw
future na i nei ti neith e/hi nawn ni newch chi nân nhw

Examples of the preterite with gwneud:

  • Nes i agor y drws. ― I opened the door.
  • Naeth hi brynu car newydd. ― She bought a new car.
  • Naethon ni ddim teithio yn bws. ― We did not travel by bus.
  • Naethoch chi yfed y dŵr? ― Did you drink the water?

The preterite can also be formed using the invariable form ddaru:

  • Ddaru mi agor y drws. ― I opened the door.
  • Ddaru hi brynu car newydd. ― She bought a new car.
  • Ddaru ni ddim teithio yn bws. ― We traveled by bus.
  • Ddaru chi yfed y dŵr? ― Did you drink the water?

The preterite can also be formed inflectionally:

  • Agores i y drws. ― I opened the door.
  • Prynodd hi car newydd. ― She bought a new car.
  • Theithion ni ddim yn bws. ― We did not travel by bus.
  • Yfoch chi y dŵr? ― Did you drink the water?

Examples of the future with gwneud:

  • Na i agor y drws. ― I’ll open the door.
  • Neith hi brynu car newydd. ― She’ll buy a new car.
  • Nawn ni ddim teithio yn bws. ― We won’t travel by bus.
  • Newch chi yfed y dŵr? ― Will you drink the water?

Passive with cael[edit]

All forms of cael, both periphrastic and inflectional, can be used to form a construction with passive meaning. The construction is form of cael + subject + possessive determiner agreeing with subject + verbal noun. The relevant inflected forms of cael are:

Inflected colloquial forms singular plural
first second third first second third
preterite ces i cest ti caeth e/hi
cafodd e/hi
caethon ni
cafon ni
cawson ni
caethoch chi
cafoch chi
cawsoch chi
caethon nhw
cafon nhw
cawson nhw
future ca i cei di ceith e/hi
caiff e/hi
cawn ni
cewn ni
cewch chi cân nhw
conditional cawn i
celwn i
caet ti
celet ti
câi fe/hi
celai fe/hi
caen ni
celen ni
caech chi
celech chi
caen nhw
celen nhw

Examples:

  • Gaeth Terry ei tharo gan bêl eira. ― Terry got hit by a snowball (literally, Terry got her hitting by a snowball).
  • Mae’r tŷ yn cael ei godi. ― The house is being built (literally, The house is getting its building).

Negative imperative with peidio[edit]

The negative imperative (or prohibitive) forms are built as follows: imperative of peidio + â/ag (optional) + verbal noun. The form â is used before a consonant (which undergoes aspirate mutation if possible); ag is used before a vowel.

  • Paid mynd yn rhy bell. ― Don’t go too far.
  • Peidiwch â cholli’r arian ’na. ― Don’t lose that money.

Literary[edit]

See also[edit]