"I am wearing a new nightdress."
Translation:Dw i'n gwisgo coban newydd.
Firstly a feminine noun will mutate the following adjective softly. (I'm going to use Cath(Fem) and Ci(masc) to demonstrate (Cat and Dog).So;
Y+Cath+Du= Y gath ddu. Du has become Ddu because cath is feminine.
Y+Ci+Du= Y ci du. Du has not mutated because ci is masculine.
Following on from this some adjectives have separate forms for masculine words. E.G White=Gwyn(masc)=Gwen(Fem) and Heavy=Trwm(masc)=Trom(Heavy). So;
Y Gath wen. You use gwen because Cath is feminine and the g is dropped also because Cath is feminine.
Y ci gwyn. Gwyn is used because ci is masculine and no mutation occurs.
As to your last question, Gender is very important for Welsh as every noun has a gender. This typically affects the mutations it cause. I.E with adjectives or even the possessive used. I.e a dogs toy (It's toy) would be "Ei degan o" for a dog (unless you know that it is a girl) but for a cat (It's toy) would be "Ei thegan hi". Feminine nouns also undergo mutation after y. Also the formal ways of saying this and that in Welsh are dependant on gender (but don't worry about this for now, most people use the informal form which you will come across in the course). Finally it affects the pronoun used for it. I.E a bike is masculine so to refer to it without saying bike you call it a "He" (Fe/Fo). On the other hand a skirt is feminine and therefore it is referred to as "she" (hi).
Sorry if this is a bit of an information dump. Maybe we could make a suggestion to the contributors to include a section on Genders and Mutations.
Interesting. So, just to clarify:
· When referring to a noun one must know the gender. "Hi" is used for feminine nouns and "Fe" or "Fo" is used for masculine ones, just like "sie" and "er" in German. What is the difference between "Fe" and Fo"?
· Adjectives, prepositions and genitive (possessive) pronouns (e.g his/her) cause mutation to happen, the first letter of the noun may be changed depending on the gender.
· Some prepositions change during mutation.
· Some adjectives also have separate forms depending on gender of the noun. Have I covered everything?
By the way, is there any way of knowing what gender a noun has without memorising it? If that is not the case, where can I look up gender?
fe/fo is a dialect difference, similar to e/o -- o/fo is more common in the north and e/fe in the south.
As for when to choose between e/o and fe/fo, I think that has something to do with whether a vowel comes before the word or not, but I'm not sure of the details.
You may want to call things such as "her" a "possessive adjective" or "possessive determiner" rather than a "possessive pronoun" -- those also exist but are different (for example, "This one is mine and this one is hers -- note the possessive pronoun hers rather than the possessive adjective her as in "her book"), as the difference often matters and it's useful to have separate words for the separate concepts.
Adjectives don't usually cause mutation (except for the handful that come before a noun), but they may undergo mutation depending on the gender of the noun they follow.
You can't, in general, know the gender of a noun without memorising it, though there are some endings that can signal a feminine or a masculine noun.
Your best bet is to look it up in one or more dictionaries.
Sometimes, the dictionaries disagree, or even list both genders as permissible -- I've heard that even native speakers don't always agree on the gender of some nouns.
Some dictionaries I use occasionally are:
- GPC (Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru, A Dictionary of the Welsh Language, aka University of Wales Dictionary) - very complete, includes etymological information, nearly all in Welsh but with short English glosses for the meanings. Has useful hover tooltips for all abbreviations!
- Bangor Dictionary
- University of Wales Trinity St David Dictionary
- Gweiadur (free registration required)
Depending on the dictionary you'll see something like "eb." (enw benywaidd, feminine noun), "n.f." (feminine noun), or "noun feminine"; or "eg." (enw gwrywaidd, masculine noun), "n.m." (masculine noun), or "noun masculine" -- try looking up cath and ci, respectively.