"Do you like Carmarthen?"
Translation:Dych chi'n hoffi Caerfyrddin?
Some Welsh placenames have a definite article attached, just as some do or used to do in English - 'the West Indies', 'the Ukraine', 'the Gold Coast', 'the Mid-west', 'the Hebrides', 'the Wrekin', etc.
So we have yr Alban, yr Iseldiroedd, y Rhyl, y Bala, y Fenni, etc. After a vowel, acccording to the usual rule, the y/yr becomes 'r:
- Dych chi'n hoffi'r Rhyl?
- Wyt ti'n licio'r Bala?
- Mae hi'n hoffi'r Alban, y Bontfaen a'r Fenni.
- Bydd Sioned yn mynd i'r Drenewydd heno.
The 'r in ...hoffi'r Fenni is 'the'. The rules governing 'The' in Welsh are thus:
There are three forms of the definite article (the) in Welsh: y, yr, and 'r and which one you use is important - they have an order of priority:
- The form 'r (apostrophe followed by 'r') is used after a vowel, no exceptions.
- The form yr is used when there is no preceding vowel and the next word begins with a vowel. If the following word begins with a G and is deleted after the article (feminine singular nouns) and leaves a vowel, then yr is used, e.g. yr ardd 'the garden' – not 'y ardd'! (from gardd 'garden'.)
- The form y is used if there is no preceding vowel and the next word begins with a consonant, e.g. y gath 'the cat', y ci 'the dog', etc.
For your example, Abergavenny in Welsh is Y Fenni which always takes the article, like 'the Netherlands' in English. So, because the previous word, hoffi ends in a vowel, the form of the article must be 'r: ... hoffi'r Fenni and not '... hoffi y Fenni'! Carmarthen does not take the article and so is left out all together, like Cymru, Lloegr, Caerdydd, or Llandudno.
“Hoffi” doesn't cause mutations in other sentences either; such as “Dw i'n hoffi te” and “Dw i'n hoffi coffi”. Perhaps you're thinking of the preposition “i” (= “to”),but that doesn't apply here because in this sentence the letter i is part of a another word — it doesn't mean “to”.
The English equivalent has died out, except perhaps in Yorkshire, where if you get it wrong you might be told “Don't tha thou me: thee thou thissen, and see how tha likes thee thouin! ” For a more famous example, see Sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare: “Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?/*Thou art more lovely and more temperate…”*. The poet is addressing one person who knows him well, so he uses the informal singular “thou art” instead of the formal &/or plural “you are”.