Welsh: 9Bach (bach)


Senior Member

In the name of the Welsh group 9Bach, 9 is a pun on "nain", meaning "grandmother", while apparently the adjective "bach" (little) is also used as an endearment term.
Shouldn't it be "fach" after a feminine noun? Or does the mutation only apply when an adjective is used descriptively, not as a form of address?
  • Tegs

    Mód ar líne
    English (Ireland)
    I would always mutate adjectives qualifying a singular feminine noun, and that also goes for proper nouns such as names of people and titles such as "mamgu" (I don't use "nain" since that's a northern word for grandmother and I speak a southern dialect, where grandmother is "mamgu"). So if I am referring to a little girl, I might say "Mari fach", "Eleri fach" and so forth. I definitely wouldn't say "Mari bach". But, I have heard other people do this, and this is why: according to Peter Wynn's book Gramadeg y Gymraeg, page 199, bach mutates regularly in standard Welsh, but does not mutate in northern dialects when it qualifies a singular feminine noun. The book then gives as examples the places names Yr Eglwys-fach in Ceredigion (mid to south Wales) and Yr Eglwys-bach in Clwyd (north).

    This is an exception, this resistance to mutation with "bach" in the north. It's not the case for other adjectives in the northern dialect.