Medieval Welsh

A Self-Instruction Course created by Heather Rose Jones

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Unit: 2i

Text Example


As mentioned previously, one of the purposes of the organization of these lessons is to present material in preparation for reading actual texts, and to present those texts as soon as possible. Naturally, this is difficult for the first few lessons. For the first text, I have selected a passage from the "Historia Gruffudd vab Cynon" (Biography of Gruffudd son of Cynon) that describes the main character. The passage has been edited slightly to eliminate material that has not been introduced yet. I have also glossed the only verb in the passage (conveniently located at the beginning).

The passage is given first in the original spelling and then in the standardized spelling used in this course. You should, by now, have been given all the vocabulary and grammar you will need to understand this passage.

Original Text

[He had] gvallt melyn, ac emennyd guressauc ac wynep crwnn, a llygeit maur guedus, ac aeleu tec, a baryf wedus, a mvnugyl crwnn, a chnaut gvynn, ac aelodeu grymus, a byssed hiryon, ac esgeiryeu vnyaun, a thraet tec.

Standardized Text

[He had] gwallt melyn, ac ymennydd gwressawg, ac wyneb crwnn, a llygeid mawr gweddus, ac aeleu teg, a barv weddus, a mwnwgl crwnn, a chnawd gwynn, ac aelodeu grymus, a byssedd hiryon, ac esgeiryeu unyawn, a thraed teg.


1. Translate the text. Note especially where mutations occur and figure out why. Note the treatment of plurals.

2. Compare the standardized text with the original and find at least two regular patterns in the differences. (E.g. "w" in the standardized text mostly appears as u/v in the original. Keep in mind that to medieval scribes the use of the letters "u" and "v" was determined more by position in the word than by sound.)

Key to the Exercise

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