Medieval Welsh

A Self-Instruction Course created by Heather Rose Jones

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Unit: 2d



The usual pattern in Welsh is for the adjective(s) to follow the noun. There are a small number of exceptions to this rule which will be dealt with later. Adjectives that follow a singular feminine noun will lenite.

y gwr mawr the big man
y wreig vawr the big woman

This can be a useful tool in learning noun gender. When you learn a new feminine noun, try to think of it in a phrase with an adjective that shows lenition (such as "mawr"). If you fix the phrase in your memory, you will always remember the gender.

There are a number of adjectives that have different masculine and feminine forms. These are mostly one-syllable words (or compounds where the adjectival root has one syllable) and the difference is indicated by a change in the vowel. In one group, masculine adjectives have "y" while feminine ones have "e", e.g. "gwynn" (m. white) and "gwenn" (f. white). In the other major group, masculine forms have "w" while feminine ones have "o", e.g. "crwnn" (m. round) and "cronn" (f. round). Rarely, the correspondence is obscured by a diphthong, e.g. "brith" (m. speckled) and "breith" (f. speckled).

masculine feminine
y e
gwynn gwenn
w o
crwnn cronn
brith breith

Exercise 1

Given the following adjectives, if you were told that this word had gender specific forms, which gender would the given form be, and what would the other form be?

bront dirty
bwlch gapped, cut
byrr short
cotta short
crech curly
creg hoarse
crwm bent
cryv strong
trom heavy

Exercise 2

Make phrases of the form "the <adjective> <noun>" using all possible combinations of the following words (if you have not had them previously, the Welsh word is supplied):



Key to the Exercise

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