Medieval Welsh

A Self-Instruction Course created by Heather Rose Jones

Copyright © 2003, 2004 all rights reserved. This page most recently revised on: May 31, 2004

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Unit: 2a




The place to begin is with nouns. Nouns can have gender (masculine or feminine) and number (singular, dual which is limited in use, or plural). But unlike languages like Latin (or Irish), Welsh nouns keep the same form whether they are subjects or objects or in any other grammatical function. That is to say, they are not inflected for case.


If a thing has an biological gender (e.g., "man", "woman") the gender of the word for it will usually match the gender of the item.


gwr m man gwreig f woman
mab m boy, son merch f girl, daughter
march m horse caseg f mare
ci m dog gast f bitch
baedd m boar hwch f sow

If the thing has no biological gender (or if the gender of the noun doesn't match it) then the gender must simply be learned. There are a few tricks that can help. Masculine nouns are more common than feminine ones, so it can be easier to concentrate on learning the feminines. (There will be more suggestions of techniques for this later.) In one group of nouns ( discussed further in the section on plurals) masculine nouns end in "-yn" while feminine nouns end in "-en". Normally a compound noun takes its gender from the last element, so all agentive nouns ending in "-wr" (from "gwr") are masculine.


(In every exercise, begin by reading the words aloud. A pronunciation guide, as explained in the previous unit, will be given for the first few units.)

Try to predict the gender of the following nouns based on what you have learned about noun gender.

aderyn bird
arglwydd lord
arglwyddes lady
brawd brother
brenhin king
carw stag
ewig doe, hind
llygoden mouse
marchawg rider, knight
morwyn maiden
penn head
plentyn child
seren star

Key to the Exercise

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