Geraint Lewis DIY Welsh

D. Geraint Lewis a D.I.Y. Welsh: Rhybudd! Mae’r chwyldro gramadegol wedi cyrraedd / Beware! Grammatical revolution in progress

Yn Awduron: Sut a Pham Ysgrifennais/Dysgwyr

Rwy’n dod o Ynys-y-bŵl, pentref glofaol, ger Pontypridd, oedd wedi colli ei Gymraeg (ac eithrio yn y capel).

Rydw i wedi dysgu Cymraeg - fel ail iaith yn yr ysgol, wedyn mewn cwrs arbennig yn y Brifysgol yn Aberystwyth cyn derbyn gradd i ddechrau ac yna M.A. yn y Gymraeg. Dilynais gwrs llyfrgellydd a bûm yn gweithio yn Llyfrgell Ceredigion o dan arweiniad ysbrydoledig Alun R. Edwards. Fe wnaeth syniadau Alun Edwards am ddiwylliant a llyfrau ffrwydro dros Gymru ac yr oeddwn wrth fy modd imi fod yn rhan o’i dîm. Ar yr un pryd priodais â Delyth sydd wedi bod yn ddylanwad cyson ar fy ngwaith.

Nid peth hawdd yw dysgu Cymraeg, ond rwyf wedi darganfod pethau yn Gymraeg sydd wedi fy ysgwyd i’r byw ac wedi newid y ffordd rwy’n edrych ar y byd.

Ystyriwch y geiriau Cymru, Cymro/Cymraes, a’u lluosog Cymry.

Cymro yn cynnwys cym- fel cymydog, cymdeithas, cymuned a ‘bro’ fel Papur Bro, Bro Morgannwg; ‘cymro’ yw ‘cymydog’ sy’n byw yn yr un ‘fro’ â chi.

William Salesbury oedd y gŵr yn yr 16eg ganrif a wnaeth gamgymeriad ac ysgrifennu Cymru am enw’r wlad yn lle Cymry. Cyn iddo wneud y camgymeriad Cymry oedd enw’r wlad a’r bobl (fel y mae o hyd ar lafar).

Ar ôl gadael Ynys-y-bŵl (paham y sillafiad yma? Stori arall) dechreuais feddwl am amrywiaeth enwau Cymraeg fy nghyfoedion fel Emlyn, Myrddin, Egryn, Tecwyn, Gwlithyn, Teifion, ac enw fe nghefnder Gurwyn awgrymodd ateb, yr oeddynt i gyd yn enwau lleoedd, lleoedd yr oedd rhieni’r plant yma wedi eu gadael i ddod i weithio yn y pwll glo newydd a suddwyd yn 1874.  Cymry y mae’r wlad a’i phobl yn un.

I’m a brodor (native) of the small mining village Ynys-y bŵl, near Pontypridd, a mining village that has lost its Welsh (except for its use in chapel).

Having studied Welsh as a second language in school, I was accepted into an innovative Welsh course for learners instigated by Tedi Millward at Aberystwyth. I then joined the main Welsh course gained an initial degree and subsequently an M.A. I became a professional librarian and was fortunate enough to work for the inspirational Alun R. Edwards in Ceredigion where the embers of my academic studies were fanned into fireworks within his concept of Cultural Services. There has also been the ever-present influence of my wife Delyth.

Learning the language isn’t easy, but I’ve discovered in Welsh things that have moved me to the core of my being and have changed the way I look at the world.

Take three basic words, Cymru, Cymro/Cymraes and the plural Cymry.

Cymro is made up of cym (as in cymydog, cymdeithas) the equivalent of ‘com’ in community and bro as in brodor (above) and Papur Bro - Cymro is a ‘neighbour’ who lives in the same ‘community’ as you.   

Cymru is a 16th century mis-spelling which has proved useful because up to that point both the land and its people were known as Cymry (as attested by their pronunciation).

The present village of Ynys-y bŵl (why it’s written like this is another story) came into being when a vein of coal was discovered in the 1870s and the new king coal (or Lady Windsor colliery in this case) was flooded with workers from poor rural areas. Only many years after leaving the village did my cousin’s name Gurwyn gave me the key to the names of so many of my contemporaries - Emlyn, Myrddin, Egryn, Tecwyn, Gwlithyn, Teifion - they are all placenames, recalling the rural roots of their parents or grand-parents. (Gurwyn from Gwauncaegurwen, but gurwen is a feminine form turned into the masculine equivalent ‘gurwyn’ for a boy.)

Cymry – where land and people are one.

Yr oeddwn i wedi hoffi’n fawr yn yr ysgol waith beirdd cyfoes, campweithiau geiriol T Gwynn Jones, dicter ymfflamychol Gwenallt, prydferthwch Williams Parry a dwyster Parry Williams. Yr oeddwn yn hoffi’r gwaith yma’n fawr iawn, ond yn anffodus nid oeddwn yn deall llawer ohono. Nid oedd y geiriau yr oeddwn i’n chwilio amdanynt yn y geiriaduron oedd ar gael,

‘Draw dros y don mae bro dirion nad ery
Cwyn yn ei thir, ac yno ni thery
Na haint na henaint - - -‘

Beth yn y byd mawr yw ‘ery’ a ‘thery’?

Dyma felly fy man cychwyn, geiriadur oedd yn diffinio geiriau yn Gymraeg ac yn cynnwys y geiriau nad oedd ar gael mewn geiriaduron eraill.

Wrth imi fwrw ymlaen gyda Geiriadur Gomer yr Ifanc yr oeddwn yn darganfod pob math o bethau am - treigladau, berfau, ansoddeiriau, arddodiaid etc. nad oeddwn yn gwybod, a dechreuais ysgrifennu Y Treigladur, Y Llyfr Berfau, Y Llyfr Ansoddeiriau, Pa Arddodiad etc.

I ddechrau yr oeddwn yn meddwl nad oeddwn yn gwybod y pethau yma oherwydd nad oeddwn yn ddysgwr arbennig o dda. Wedyn penderfynais mai’r rheswm oedd oherwydd nad oeddwn wedi astudio Lladin, iaith gramadeg. Dim ond yn ddiweddar y sylweddolais nad oedd neb wedi dweud wrthyf fi am y pethau hyn. Nid oeddwn wedi cael llawer o wersi gramadeg, nid oedd fy athrawon wedi cael llawer o wersi gramadeg chwaith, ond fel Cymry Cymraeg, yr oeddyn nhw’n gwybod y pethau hyn drwy ‘ddefnyddio eu clustiau’.

My initial interest in Welsh came from the works of the mid 20th century poets: the virtuoso displays of T Gwynn Jones, the blazing anger of Gwenallt, the sheer beauty of Williams Parry and the sombre depths of T.H.Parry-Williams. It all sounded wonderful; unfortunately I didn’t understand much of it. None of the words I was looking for appeared in any of the dictionaries of the time.

This then was my starting point- a dictionary which would define words in Welsh and include those word forms not included in other dictionaries. The ultimate aim being to give access to King Arthur’s hidden cave of treasure – contemporary Welsh literature.

As I started on Geiriadur Gomer yr Ifanc I kept coming across things I didn’t know - about mutations, verbs, adjectives, prepositions - and set down what I learned in a series of publications. Initially I put this down to the fact that I wasn’t a particularly quick learner, I then rationalised it into the fact I hadn’t ‘done’ Latin at school and it’s only recently that I realised that the real reason was that no one had ever taught me these things. In short, I hadn’t been taught grammar, neither had my teachers, nearly all of whom were native Welsh speakers who knew these matters with their all too famous ‘ears’.

Dyna fe felly, er mwyn cael hyd i waith yr hen feistri ac athrylith beirdd mwy diweddar fel Dic Jones, Gerallt Lloyd Owen, Gwyn Thomas, Mererid Hopwood mae angen gwybod:
1. Beth yw ystyr gair
2. Sut mae’r geiriau yn cael eu gweu ynghyd.

Mae angen geiriadur a llyfr gramadeg.

Mae cymaint o amrywiaeth yn ffurfiau geiriau Cymraeg, nid yw’n bosibl eu cynnwys ar ffurf llyfr. Y geiriadur sy’n eu cynnwys i gyd yw y Gweiadur: gweiadur.com sy’n eiriadur electronig. Mae’r cyfan ar gael yn rhad ac am ddim, ond mae rhaid chi gofestri; helwch ebost i [email protected].

Ond beth am ramadeg y Gymraeg, ar gyfer rhai fel fi oedd yn ofni ‘gramadeg’.

So there you have it. To reach the dizzy heights of the poets mentioned above, together with the genius of later masters such as Dic Jones, Gerallt Lloyd Owen, Gwyn Thomas, Mererid Hopwood you need to know:
1. What the words mean and
2. How they are woven together.

You need a dictionary, and a book of grammar.

The dictionary which contains (nearly) all the words in this poetry in their infinite number of forms is the electronic bilingual Gweiadur: gweiadur.com- you’d never ever fit them all into a book.
It’s free of charge but you need to register; send an email to [email protected].

The first steps for those intimidated (as I was) by formal Latin-based grammar is the lego-like approach to sentence building that I’ve devised for D.I.Y. Welsh. It shows you how Welsh grammar works, giving you confidence to move on to more advanced works, but always with the purpose of discovering those unique gems of Welsh on the way.

Enghreifftiau o D.I.Y. Welsh / Examples from D.I.Y. Welsh

Mae D.I.Y. Welsh yn dechrau gyda’r pethau y mae Cymry Cymraeg yn cymryd yn ganiataol:
1. mae enw unrhyw beth yn Gymraeg naill ai’n wrywaidd neu yn fenywaidd.
2. Mae treigladau yn Gymraeg yn wahanol i unrhyw iaith fawr.
3. Mae gair sy’n disgrifio rhywbeth, yn dilyn yr enw ci du yn Saesneg Black dog

Cenedl enw. Nid yw ‘pont’ yn fenyw na ‘llyfr’ yn ddyn o ran eu rhyw, fel yn Ffrangeg, mae le a la yn cyfeirio at genedl (‘gender’).

When an ansoddair follows a masculine noun (enw), nothing changes and so we get combinations like:

ci coch (a red dog) and ceffyl du (a black horse)

However, when an ansoddair follows a feminine noun (enw) Treiglad Meddal takes place and we get examples like:

cath goch (a red cat) and ceg fawr (a big mouth)

 Work your way through the following simple exercises  to become comfortable in the use of Treiglad Meddal:

C  softens to  following a feminine enw
merch + cas (nasty)  becomes ......................
bachgen + cas becomes ......................
cath + coch (red)  becomes ......................
ci + coch becomes ......................

P  softens to  following a feminine enw
merch + poeth (hot)  becomes ......................
bachgen + poeth  becomes ......................
cath + pert (pretty)  becomes ......................
ci + pert becomes ......................

 

The Definitive Article (the)

The definite article (‘the’) has three forms in Welsh:

  1. y’ (‘the’)
  2. yr’ before a vowel – yr afal and ‘h’ yr haul,
  3. and ’r following a vowel – y ci a’r bachgen.

No mutation occurs when ‘y’ appears before a masculine enw

y + bachgen =   y bachgen
y + ci  =   y ci

However, Treiglad Meddal is (almost always) triggered when ‘y’ appears before a feminine enw.

y + merch  =     y ferch
y + cath  =   y gath

Note: The letters ‘ll’ and ‘rh’ do not mutate after ‘y’, e.g. y llaw, y rhaw, although these nouns are feminine.

Practise your new knowledge by doing the following exercises.

C

y + cadair chair    =
y + ceffyl horse    =
y + cannwyll candle    =

P

y + pêl ball    =
y + parti  party     =
y + pont bridge    =

Put together:

y + cadair + du, a’r  + pêl + coch, a’r  + telyn + tal, a’r  + gwiwer + pert,

a’r llong + llwyd  a’r  + dafad + drwg

In no time at all you’ll be able to complete a full sentence.

Mae D.I.Y. Welsh ar gael o Gomer / D.I.Y. Welsh is available from Gomer

DIY Welsh

gomer.co.uk

Gwales.com

The author profile photo is used with permission from the Welsh Books Council

 


D Geraint Lewis Y Geiriadurwr

Geraint Lewis Geiradur Gomer ir Ifanc