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25  Verbal Nouns

25.1  One of the salient characteristics of Welsh is the high frequency of verbal nouns. We have already seen many examples of their use, including such structures as i + VN to express purpose or intention . . .
  1. A thrannoeth yn ieuenctid y dydd cyfodi a orug, a dyfod i Lynn Cuch i ellwng ei gwn dan y coed.
. . . or the use with yn where other languages might use a present participle:
  1. Ef a welei farchawg yn dyfod yn ol yr erchwys.
  2. A pharth a pherfedd y llannerch, llyma yr erchwys a oedd yn ol yn ymordiwes ac ef, ac yn ei fwrw i'r llawr.
Note how the possessive ei represents the object of the verbal noun.

25.2  Apart from these specialised uses, there is a general use of the verbal noun for narrative. A partcular case of this is the use with some part of gwneuthur:
cyfodi a orughe rose
eistedd a orugantthey sat
Often no finite verb is present, and a VN may be simply a "nominalised" invariable way of continuing a narrative:
A chanu ei gorn, a dechreu dygyfor yr hela, a cherdded yn ol y cwn, ac ymgolli a'i gydymdeithon.
And a sounding of his horn, and a beginning of the mustering of the hunting, and a running after the dogs and a losing of contact with his companions.
More naturally,
He sounded his horn, and began to muster the hunt, and he ran after the dogs and lost touch with his companions.
Many of the narrative verbs in the Mabinogi are in this (easy!) pattern, and it would be superfluous to illustrate further. (There is a striking analogy with passages in Latin, where swift narration can be expressed in a series of "historic" infinitives.)

25.3  The subject of a verbal noun may be expressed by the preposition o -- 'of, from'.

  1. Ac yna edrych ohonaw ef a'r lliw yr erchwys. ('[there was] a looking emanating from him' = 'he looked')
  2. "Blwyddyn y neithwyr, na digrifwch, nag ymddiddan, nag ymchwelud ohonot dy wyneb attaf i."
  3. "Diolwch i Dduw caffael ohonot y gydymdeithas honno."
  4. Ac o achaws ei drigiant ef y flwyddyn honno yn Annwfn, a gwledychu ohonaw mor lwyddanus . . .
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All text copyright © 1996 by Gareth Morgan. Online layout copyright © 2001 by Daniel Morgan.