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  5. "Mae'r glaswellt yn las."

"Mae'r glaswellt yn las."

Translation:The grass is green.

January 31, 2016



I'm a bit confused by the hover hint here... could someone explain the blue / green (nature) meaning? Is it a North/South dialect? Does this work for ANY natural thing (leaves, bird feathers, alligator skin, etc) and would using gwyrdd sound wrong to a native speaker in these instances? Thanks!


It's historical. Many languages never used to (and some still don't) distinguish between blue and green. Think about this: where do you see blue in nature other than the sky? Almost never. Therefore "glas" once meant both blue and green.

Russian distinguishes between light blue and dark blue, but does not distinguish between red and pink (dark red and light red to them). Colours are not clear cut between languages I'm afraid. So historical Welsh names like "Maes Glas" are translated as "Greenfield" and not "Bluefield" as it is a translation of the "historical green" rather than "modern green". And is why the Welsh for "grass" is "glaswellt" (literally "green straw") and not "gwyrddwellt".


Do you know if it would sound wrong to a native speaker if I used gwyrdd, then? I imagine most Welsh speakers would be pretty familiar with the way English speakers use "green" and "blue", so I know it's not a huge deal, just interested.

[This distinguishing between colors using names actually affects what colors we can SEE as well, which is weird and interesting... https://eagereyes.org/blog/2011/you-only-see-colors-you-can-name ]

I also just want to add that, if we're looking for it, blue is all around... flowers, birds, insects, fish, frogs, etc. I'm sure where we live makes a huge difference in how often we see these, of course!


In the modern language "glas" is "blue" and "gwyrdd" is "green". But "glas" can be seen in historic words (especially place names) where it is translated as "green". But today, "a green shirt" would always be "crys gwyrdd", even "the green grass" is "y glaswellt gwyrdd". So today you'd never use "glas" to mean "green", only "blue".


I have to disagree with that. I can perceive all sorts of colours that I don't have names for... I just couldn't identify the particular shades, but that doesn't mean I can't see them.

Based on that article it seems to me that what was really tested there was identification of different colours, not the perception of them. Looked at like that the connection to language makes a lot more sense too.


Well, the article doesn't really say we CAN'T see colors without names, but rather that individuals that don't have a name for certain colors have more difficulty distinguishing between similar hues. Russian speakers had an advantage during the test, but when the language centers of their brains were distracted with nonsense words, the difference in ability to perceive the differences went away. I guess I took that to mean they found language affects the colors we can see because we have trouble seeing a difference. I do agree, however, that there are millions of colors we see that don't have names.

I was thinking about this the other day as I read to my daughter. One page of her book was full of red and pink objects, the next blue and light blue objects It was clear that she saw two separate "colors" on the red/pink page and only one, albeit with variations, on the blue page.


why is the 'glas' lenited / softly mutated? doesn't the mutation occur only when the adjective is used descriptively, not as a predicate?

perhabs i'm looking for too many similarities with irish :P


Adjectives and nouns mutate softly after yn.


You've got the right idea. The soft mutation roughly corresponds to Irish lenition, the nasal mutation to eclipsis, and the aspirate mutation to a lack of mutation in Irish.

But the sounds don't change the same way, and they only roughly occur at a similar frequency and in similar contexts - you definitely shouldn't rely too much on Irish!


the....is will always be mae'r, mae y, or mae yr right? and what is the purpose of yn here?


It separates the noun from what you are saying about it - it makes the difference between "the grass is green" and "the green grass is ...."


Thank you for this explanation, it makes a lot of sense!


True, except that sentence says the grass is blue not green.


From what I know, glas can also be used for "green" as in shades that occur in nature. (And also "blue" and "grey".)


"The" in Welsh is always as follows:

  • Y before a consonant. E.g. Y llew (the lion)
  • Yr before a vowel. E.g. Yr ysgol (the school) and before H, e.g. yr heol (the road)
  • 'r when following a vowel, regardless of what follows. E.g. Mae'r llew (the lion is); mae'r ysgol (the school is).

Note that the third option 'r takes priority over y and yr and so should always be used when appropriate.

Also note that options 1 and 2 (y and yr) can be compared to English a and an and their uses before consonants and vowels. It's simply easier to articulate when you put a consonant sound between two vowels. Try saying "a apple" versus "an apple" and "y ysgol" versus "yr ysgol".

I hope this helps.


Is 'glaswellt' fem.or masc.?


How is green also an acceptable translation?


Because grass is usually green :)

See the comments by Jonlang_ further up on the original range of meanings of glas and how it is used today.


I have trouble distinguishing some shades of blue and green. Perhaps I should blame this on my Welsh genes. ;-)


If glass is no longer used in modern Welsh to mean green, should duo be teaching us this sentence?


Because glas does mean "green" to some extent, especially in nature. People would describe the countryside as being glas too.

Also, a "green" (in the sense of immature or young) person is glas - the University of Aberystwyth calls its first-year students glasfyfyrwyr ("green-students").


Thank you, I guess my culture has made me small minded to seeing it as either one thing or the other, I guess what they say is true, about how learning another language is like learning another culture and perspective. Diolch!

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