Medieval Welsh

A Self-Instruction Course created by Heather Rose Jones

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Unit: 2f

Plural Adjectives


Many, but by no means most, ajectives in Medieval Welsh have a special plural form that is used with plural nouns. Fortunately, the ways in which these plurals are formed are the same as some of the ways of forming noun plurals.

Plural adjectives can be formed by changing a vowel.

Sing. Plural
ieuanc adj ieueinc young
bychan adj bychein small
marw adj meirw dead

More commonly, they are formed by adding the suffix "-yon".

crych adj.m -yon curly f. crech
gwir adj -yon true
gwressaw g adj -yon warm, fervent
gwynn adj -yon white f. gwenn
hir adj -yon long
hygar adj -yon affectionate
mawr adj -yon big, great
melyn adj -yon yellow
newydd adj -yon new

Rarely, other suffixes used for noun plurals are found with adjectives.

cwtta adj.m cwteuon short f. cotta

Occasionally, both a vowel-change and a suffix may be used.

bwlch adj.m bylch (eu)** gapped, cut f. bolch
crwm adj.m crymyon bent f. crom
crwnn adj crynyon round f. cronn
trwm adj.m trymyon heavy f. trom

** The plural occurs both with and without the suffix.

As a general rule, derived adjectives -- that is, words where an adjectival suffix has been added to a different type of root -- don't tend to have plural forms. ("Gwressawg" above is an exception. You will learn more about derived adjectives and how to identify them later.) The adjectives that have vowel affection in the plural tend to be common, everyday words.

Plural Noun Phrases and Lenition

We've seen that in singular noun phrases feminine nouns lenite after the definite article and adjectives lenite after feminine nouns. In plural noun phrases neither of these items lenite.

y gath deg the pretty cat
y cathod teg the pretty cats


Using the following vocabulary pairs, make phrases similar to the examples.

march marw a dead horse
y march marw the dead horse
meirch meirw dead horses
y meirch meirw the dead horses


Key to the Exercise

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