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9  Pronouns

9.1  Welsh is rich in personal pronouns. We can observe four sets:
Singular 1stmimifíminneu, inneu'm
Singular 2ndtitidítitheu'th
Singular 3rd (m.)efefóynteu'i, 'e, 's
Singular 3rd (f.)hihihíhitheu'i, 'e
Plural 1stnininíninneu'n
Plural 2ndchwichwichwíchwitheu'ch
Plural 3rdwy, wyntwyntwywynteu'i, 'e
Infixed pronouns can act as objects or as possessives. Watch the examples that come up later in this chapter.

9.2  The reduplicated pronouns convey some emphasis, though this is often slight. They are stressed on the second syllable. The plural forms are not frequently found. (For such reduplication, not often recognised, compare Latin sese, memet.)

9.3  The conjunctive pronouns would be better called "disjunctive", since they nearly always imply some contrast with what goes before. Therefore they are frequently used to show a change of speaker,
. . . heb ynteu
. . . he said (in reply to someone else)
or an addition, sometimes in apposition to a name or other noun,
Ynteu Pwyll . . .
Pwyll also . . . (in addition to the person just mentioned)


  1. Ef a glyw llef erchwys arall.
  2. "Pa ffurf y caf i dy gerennydd?"
  3. "Minneu a edrychaf ar hynny."
  4. "Mi a roddaf di yn Annwfn."
  5. "Mi a roddaf wreig."
  6. "Ac un dyrnawd a roddy di."
  7. "A mifi a gerddaf."
  8. "Ti a'i hebryngy."
  9. Ymddiddanwn a hi.
  10. O hynny hyd trannoeth, ni ddyweid ef un geir.
  11. "Ni laddaf i di."
  12. "Dygwch fi oddyma."
  13. "Mi a'i glywaf."
  14. "Pan gerddy i'r llys, ti a wely."
  15. "Duw a'i dal i ti."
  16. Wynteu hagen ni welant ef.
  17. A hynny a feddwl hi.
  18. Parabl a ddyweid ef, a'r eil, a'r trydydd.
  19. Ac yna y dyweid ef "Arglwyddes!"
  20. "Ar y meddwl hwnnw ydd oeddwn inneu."
  1. We are now in a position to see that i here really comes from the lenited form of mi. In a verb like *caf fi, the two f's simplify to one.
  2. (and 5) rhoddaf has the double sense of 'give' and 'put' (the same confusion of the Indo-European roots do- and dhe- that is seen in Latin).
  3. Note the possibility of ambiguity in the infixed i.
  4. hyd -- 'until'.
  5. dygwch is the plural imperative, of the same form as the indicative. Oddyma = o + yma -- 'from here'.
  6. hagen -- 'nevertheless', 'but', reinforcing the contrast in the conjunctive pronoun.
  7. meddwl now as a verb, of the same form as the noun we saw before.
9.5  We have seen sporadic examples of the possessive already. Here is the complete table:
Singular 1stfy
Singular 2nddy
Singular 3rd (m.)ei (leniting)
Singular 3rd (f.)ei ("aspirating" -- as we'll see later)
Plural 1stein
Plural 2ndeich
Plural 3rdeu
(In origin, these possessives are genitive forms of the personal pronoun, but in some ways they act more as possessive adjectives. We avoid the difficulty by using the simple term "possessive".)

9.6  The infixed forms of the possessive are the same as the infixed personal pronouns, except that you can also find 'w in the third person singular.

9.7  There are three ways of expressing a possessive idea involving a pronoun:
his pack [of hounds]
yr erchwys ef(personal pronoun in genitival position)
ei erchwys (possessive)
ei erchwys ef (possessive reinforced by personal)
This third way, an apparently redundant reinforcement, is very common in easy colloquial use, and therefore in the Mabinogi.


  1. Ef a glyw erchwys arall, a hynny yn erbyn ei erchwys ef.
  2. Ac fal ydd oedd yr erchwys ef ar ystlys y llannerch . . .
  3. Gyrru ei erchwys ei hunan ar y carw.
  4. "Etteil dy ansyberwyd di hwnn."
  5. "Pa ffurf y caf i dy gerennydd di."
  6. "Mi a roddaf di i'm lle i yn Annwfn."
  7. "Mi a roddaf wreig, a'm pryd inneu."
  8. ". . . a'n cynnadl yr un dydd yn y lle honn."
  9. "A mifi a gerddaf i'th deyrnas di."
  10. Oedd Hafgan hyd ei freich dros ei farch i'r llawr.
  11. "A unbenn," heb yr Hafgan, "pa ddylyed a oedd i ti ar fy angeu i?"
  12. "Nid oes achaws i ti i'm lladd i."
  13. "Nid oes ansawdd i fi i'ch cynnal chwi."
  14. "Nid oes dylyed i chwi ar ei cymmell ef."
  15. "Cymerwch eich cyfarwydd."
  16. Ac ar hynny, ef a gerdded parth a'i gynnadl.
  17. "Pan gerddwch dy hun i'th wlad, ti a wely."
  18. Yna y rhydd Arawn ei ffurf ei hun a'i ddrych i Bwyll, ac a gymeir ynteu ei ffurf ei hun a'i ddrych.
  19. Cerddant parth a'i lys i Annwfn.
  20. Wynteu hagen ni welant ei eiseu ef.
  21. Parabl a ddyweid ef wrth ei wreig, a'r eil, a'r trydydd.
  22. Ac o achaws y flwyddyn honno yn Annwfn, y diffyg ei enw ef o'r Pwyll Pendefig Dyfed, ac ydd oedd Pwyll Penn Annwfn o hynny allan.
  1. hunan, alternative form of hun.
  2. attaliaf.
  3. un -- 'same'. (Compare English one and the same.)
  4. hyd -- 'length' and therefore often adverbial, to mean 'as long as', 'until'.
  5. (and 13 and 14) See next section.
9.9  Sentences 12, 13, and 14 of the previous section bring up an important point. Though we are using the conventional term "possessives", we might do well to think of them as "genitives". Genitive includes at least four uses, of which possessive is only one. The other three are subjective, objective, and partitive genitives.

The object of a verbal noun is in the objective genitive. The structure of
"Nid oes achaws i ti i'm lladd i."
might be literally interpreted
"There is no reason to you to my killing."
which leads to
"You have no reason to kill me."
Another point illustrated by this sentence is that Welsh does not have a verb meaning 'to have'. The want is supplied by expressions such as this one, using the preposition i. (Compare the "dative of possession" in other languages.)

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All text copyright © 1996 by Gareth Morgan. Online layout copyright © 2001 by Daniel Morgan.