Welsh: Mutation of emphatic adjective complements referring to feminine subjects?

Curt Jugg

Senior Member
English - England
@Welsh_Sion, @Tegs

When a sentence in Welsh begins with an adjective referring to a feminine subject, am I right that the adjective does not suffer mutation? I ask because I came across the sentence "Glas oedd y ffrog", which I had expected would be "Las oedd y ffrog" because "ffrog" is feminine. However, as I had found that sentence in "Gramadeg Cymraeg Cyfoes", which Welsh_Sion had warned me was unreliable, I looked further and found the sentence"Pert yw hi, on'd ife?" in a Reddit website dealing with tags in Welsh. Again a feminine subject but an unmutated adjective complement. So is it in fact the case that adjectives in this position are properly left unmutated?
Thanks in advance for any advice.
 
  • Welsh_Sion

    Senior Member
    Welsh - Northern
    Yes, that's right. "Merch fach", but "Bach yw'r ferch".

    Just to follow up on this, we Northerners (or perhaps even more limited, north-westerners in my case), don't always softly mutate 'bach' after a fem. sing. noun. It may be considered non-standard, but I think it's a fact of life for many of us.

    Note the place names Eglwysbach (Conwy) and Eglwysfach (Ceredigion).

    @Tegs and her ilk are more standardised - at least in this field! ;)
     

    Curt Jugg

    Senior Member
    English - England
    @Tegs, @Welsh_Sion

    Thanks, both. Wouldn't it be helpful to us learners if some grammarian would include that information in a grammar meant for learners? Or perhaps they have, and I've missed it.😉
     

    analeeh

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    @Welsh_Sion, @Tegs

    When a sentence in Welsh begins with an adjective referring to a feminine subject, am I right that the adjective does not suffer mutation? I ask because I came across the sentence "Glas oedd y ffrog", which I had expected would be "Las oedd y ffrog" because "ffrog" is feminine. However, as I had found that sentence in "Gramadeg Cymraeg Cyfoes", which Welsh_Sion had warned me was unreliable, I looked further and found the sentence"Pert yw hi, on'd ife?" in a Reddit website dealing with tags in Welsh. Again a feminine subject but an unmutated adjective complement. So is it in fact the case that adjectives in this position are properly left unmutated?
    Thanks in advance for any advice.
    I'm not sure what Gramadeg Cymraeg Cyfoes says on this subject, but the soft mutation is not just gender marking. A feminine noun typically triggers mutation on following adjectives, but the reason that an adjective in a sentence like mae'r ferch yn fach is mutated is the presence of yn, not the gender of the noun it's referring to (thus e.g. mae'r bachgen yn fach). It's only attributive adjectives the gender agreement applies to, not predicative ones.
     

    Welsh_Sion

    Senior Member
    Welsh - Northern
    Indeed, we can extend this further and say that after yn the adjective will softly mutate (providing it doesn't begin with <ll> or <rh>) and that it will be in the (unmarked) masculine form.

    Mae'r ffrog (fem.) yn las
    Mae'r crys (masc.) yn las

    Mae'r ffrog yn wyn
    Mae'r ffrog yn wen
    Mae'r crys yn wyn
     
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