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

Return to main course page

Return to main unit page

Unit: 4h

Verbs that Require Prepositions


We tend to think of the objects of verbs as being just plain nouns (with their modifiers), while prepositional phrases are "extra" -- not essential to the main structure of a sentence.

But even in English we can find some examples where a particular verb (e.g., "ask") can use a prepositional phrase as one of the principal actors in the sentence.

In Welsh, there are a fair number of verbs that require some sort of prepositional phrase either as an essential companion, or as an optional, but central, component of the meaning. When an English verb has two objects (direct and indirect), we have the option of distinguishing them by word order or with a preposition.

But in Welsh, objects are marked or not depending on the meaning, not the word order.

This type of use most often shows up with verbs that involve the transfer of something: giving, taking, etc. The thing that is being transferred is the direct object, while recipients, givers, etc. are marked with prepositions according to their nature just as we learned in lesson F.

Verbs of speaking usually treat the thing that is said as the direct object (i.e., the one left unmarked) and use some preposition to indicate the hearer, even if the thing said is omitted.

There is a whole group of verbs that begin with "ym-" which have a sense of reciprocal or reflexive action (i.e., people doing things to each other or someone doing things to himself). These virtually always appear with a(c) (same as the conjunction) indicating the other participant.

But while there are some general areas where you can expect to find prepositions used closely with verbs, as seen above, sometimes you simply have to learn a particular idiom. For example, the verb "edrych" (to see, look) almost always indicates the thing being seen with the preposition "ar" ("on" -- if it helps, think of the English idiom "to look (up)on"). The verb "gwisgaw" (to dress, put something on) always appears with the preposition "am" (around, about) referring back to the "dresser".

Here are some verbs that are used closely with prepositions. The verbal stem is given in the second column:

cytsynnyaw (ar) v cytsynny- to agree (on [something])
cyvarchi (i) v cyvarch- to greet [someone]
duunaw (ac) v duun- to agree (with [someone])
dywedud (wrth) v dywed- to say (to [someone])
govynnu (i) v govynn- to ask (of [someone])
gwared (y ar) v gwared to remove (from [someone])
gwisgaw (am) v gwisg- to dress (around [someone])
holi (i) v holi- to demand (of [someone])
ryvelu (ar) v ryvel- to make war (on [someone])
synnyaw (wrth) v synny- to look (after [someone/thing])
ymavael (ac) v ymavael- to seize (onto [something])
ymbilio (ac) v ymbil- to beseech (of [someone])
ymddial (ac) v ymddial to take revenge (on [someone])
ymddiddanu (ac) v ymddiddan- to converse (with [someone])
ymgolli (ac) v ymgoll- to lose [something]
ymovynnu (ac) v ymovynn- to inquire (of [someone])


**need to make up exericises with translations for this**


Key to the Exercise

Contact me -- or go to the entrance to my general web site.