Medieval Welsh

A Self-Instruction Course created by Heather Rose Jones

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Unit: 3i

Either-Or/Neither-Nor, and Another Set of Pronouns



When two or more items in a list are offered as alternatives, each one is preceded by the word ae (causing no mutation).

Similarly, when two or more items are negated in a list, each one is preceded by the word na(c).

Note: Just as for the conjunction a(c) (from which na(c) is derived), despite its spelling nac is pronounced nag. I am using the spelling nac for the same reason as for ac: because it is always spelled that way even in Modern Welsh.

The spelling alternations for na(c) are exactly the same as for a(c) and it is followed by the same mutation: aspiration. Unlike the English either/neither constructions where it is implied that only two items are involved, the Welsh constructions can be used with lists of any length.

Exercise 1

Make both either/or and neither/nor constructions with the following sets of words.

Example: cat, dog

  1. stone, wood
  2. hand, foot
  3. stag, boar
  4. red, white, yellow
  5. short, long
  6. slow, fast
  7. bridge, ford

Nouns from Possessive Pronouns

Equivalent to the English "mine", "ours", etc., Welsh has a set of pronouns that mean "a thing belonging to so-and-so". It would be nice if they were built according to a regular pattern (and in Modern Welsh, they have been forcibly regularized) but they aren't.

They can be used either to modify a noun (essentially forming an alternate possessive construction) or independently.

Sometimes the sense is made more emphatic by adding a regular pronoun after the word.

Exercise 2

Translate the following into Medieval Welsh.


(Note that these words behave just like ordinary nouns in predicates.)

  1. The flower was mine.
  2. The hawk was thine.
  3. The swan was his.
  4. The fountain was hers.
  5. The horse was ours.
  6. The earth was yours.
  7. The song was theirs.

Key to the Exercise

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