Welsh: eating and drinking


Senior Member
Cael vs. bwyta/yfed. I'm struggling with the text book Cwrs mynediad. For examples on eating and drinking, it most of the time uses 'have smth'.

Beth gest ti i fwyta? 'What did you have to eat?'. Far less common is 'eat' and 'drink': Bwytais i swper 'I ate supper'.

Is choosing between 'had to eat/drink' and 'ate/drank' just ruled by feeling like it, or are there guidelines? To me, the 'had' cases look like structure borrowings from English. Or could it be a loan in the other direction?
  • Tegs

    Mód ar líne
    English (Ireland)
    Hi there,

    This is a difference of register. Using a periphrasic construction is very common in Welsh when you're using informal language - basically, that's when you're talking to people, or writing something relatively informal (email, facebook post). The concise form of the verb is mainly used when you're writing something formal.

    You get the same thing in other languages. For example, in English you'd be more likely to say "I took a shower" rather than "I showered". One just sounds more formal than the other, so it's not used in spoken English as much.

    Beth gest ti fwyta? sounds fine, and the reply might be "ges i frechdan" (I had a sandwich). Using "bwytais" has the potential of sounding very formal. Having said all this, it also depends on which form of the Cwrs Mynediad you're doing, because "bwytais i frechdan" sounds completely ok in the south Wales dialect of Welsh. It's only in the north Wales dialect that it can sound weirdly formal.

    Also, in Welsh as in English, it is a lot more common to say "what did you have for breakfast/lunch/dinner?" rather than "what did you eat for breakfast?" etc. So, in Welsh you'd say "beth gest ti i frecwast?". If you were talking to a friend about being in a restaurant last night he/she would be more likely to say "beth gest ti?" (what did you have?) rather than "beth gest ti i fwyta?" (what did you have to eat?). This is probably because we'd rather say something a bit shorter if we can avoid a long sentence :)


    Mód ar líne
    English (Ireland)
    Oh well, if you're doing the southern version then, you can use either "bwytais i X" or "ges i X", both are completely fine and neither is particularly formal. Pob lwc :)