1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Welsh
  4. >
  5. "Mae'r pili-pala yn oren."

"Mae'r pili-pala yn oren."

Translation:The butterfly is orange.

February 3, 2016



How would one say, "The butterfly is in the orange"?


Maybe, "Mae'r pili-pala yn yr oren"? (I really don't know)


So I suppose Mae'r pili-pala yn oren would mean "The butterfly is in an orange", as well as "The butterfly IS orange"?


+rmcode Diolch!


Why is the 'mae' there? In the notes it says that mae on its own is 'there is/are'. So took this the be 'there is the orange butterfly'


Yes, I wonder also. It seems that, literally, it is "There is the butterfly in orange." but we wouldn't say that in English.


I don't think the verbal particle yn is the same as the preposition yn that means "in"... they don't do the same mutations, for starters.

And it might be better to translate mae as simply "is" in this sort of sentence - "Is the butterfly PART orange" with an untranslatable verbal PARTicle.


Yes, that works much better. It is only that although we would not say that for a butterfly, we often say that something is available in orange, or black or white or red, etc. We could even say that someone is dressed in orange. So, that it is possible that there was a parallel there somewhere at one time. It is not the same as the preposition "in", meaning a physical location, either.


So if the subject is a noun instead of a pronoun, the yn isn't shortened to 'n? Or would "Mae'r pili-pala'n oren" also be correct?


pili-pala is such a funny word


Which part of this sentence translates to "is"?



"Is the butterfly [part] orange", where "[part]" is an untranslatable particle used here for grammatical reasons before a noun or adjective.


Wait so what purpose does yn have here?


As I said, it's there for grammatical reasons, to link the predicate adjective "orange" to the copula "to be".

It's kind of like the "do" in English questions such as "Where do the children want to go?" -- it has no "meaning" as such and is there just for grammatical reasons: because English questions require that word in that situation.

So also Welsh yn is a grammatical word that is required in some situations, where a predicate adjective, noun, or verb is connected to the verb "to be".

You can't leave out the "do" (*"Where the children want to go?") from the question above, nor can you leave out the yn (*Mae'r pili-pala oren - which would be "The orange butterfly is").

Continuing from the last example, compare these:

  • Mae pilipalod yn oren. = Butterflies are orange.
  • Mae pilipalod oren. = There are orange butterflies.

Having the yn separates the oren from the pilipalod and makes it clear that it's a predicate adjective rather than an attributive adjective.


Oh ok I see now! When acting as the linking 'whatever' (verb?) does yn not become 'n?


As far as I know, it should indeed be 'n after a vowel, as in Mae'r pilipala'n oren, when it is used as the linking particle.

(But not, as far as I know, when yn means "in": Dw i'n canu "I sing" but Dw i yn Abertawe "I'm in Swansea".)


For some reason I can't reply to your reply to my reply (lol :P), but that makes sense, it's just that in the sentence above it doesn't change to 'n.

  • 2491

The reasons are:-

  1. When we added this word we didn't have an 'n available to use in the sentence.

  2. Sometimes you don't contract the yn for emphasis:-

Mae'r pili-pala'n oren = The butterfly is orange

Mae'r pili-pala yn oren = The butterfly IS orange

The English to Welsh translation accepts both as the best answers.


In the hints it says mae = "there is"; how would you say, "there is an orange butterfly"?


I (non-native speaker) would say: “Dyna pili-pala oren.” dyna means something like “there is, see there” (i.e. it calls the listener’s attention to something). I would only use mae as “there is” when you also name the place: “Mae pili-pala oren ar y blodyn hwn.” (There is an orange butterfly on this flower.”

To analyse the example sentence above: Mae [is] ’r [the] pili-pala [butterfly] yn [a grammatical particle] oren [orange]. The particle yn is used between the subject and the predicate of the sentence.* If you want you can memorise the pattern: mae x yn y = “x is y”.

* Or rather predicate minus theconjugated verb form (in this case mae) which appears at the beginning of the clause.

Learn Welsh in just 5 minutes a day. For free.