1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Welsh
  4. >
  5. "Ei lygaid e"

"Ei lygaid e"

Translation:His eyes

March 16, 2016



There's a similar phrase in this section that says "Ei llygaid e". Should "llygaid" lenite or not? Is it optional?


Nah, it depends on which possessive pronoun you're using, whether you use a soft/nasal/aspirate mutation. Let's choose a different word, to make it a bit clearer with my examples - tŷ (house).

  • Fy nhŷ i - My house (Nasal mutation)
  • Dy dŷ ti - Your house (Soft mutation)
  • Ei dŷ e - His house (Soft mutation)
  • Ei thŷ hi - Her house (Aspirate mutation)
  • Eu tŷ nhw - Their house (No mutation)
  • Ein tŷ ni - Our house (No mutation)
  • Euch tŷ chi - Your house (No mutation)

It can be a little tricky to notice the difference, since the pronoun at the end of the word is optional (Fy nhŷ is valid), so the mutation can tell you whether it's talking about his or her.

(Sidenote, where does the phrase lenite come from? I've never seen it anywhere but here, everyone I know just uses the word mutate)


Thank you for this detailed explanation.

[Sidenote: I'm just using the phrase "lenite" because everyone here does, although if you type "define: lenite" into a well-known search engine it gives the following definition: "verb (of a consonant in a Celtic language) be pronounced with palatalization."]


Yeah I would shy away from using lenite because it isn't used much when talking about Welsh. People who have gone through the Welsh education system will probably only know either "treiglad meddal" or "Soft mutation". (I had no clue what people meant by "lenite" until people used it on here.


It's Irish's fault for corrupting us! But following that particular definition: Soft Mutation =/= palatalization (and neither does Irish lenition, come to think of it). It's good to be aware of the parallels -- most of the consonants that lenite in Irish are the ones that mutate, um, softly in Welsh, and in some of the same circumstances -- but ultimately they're different processes.

I think of it like learning the subjunctive in French and Spanish: they're similar in principle, but the exact rules that govern each are pretty different.


Sorry, made a mistake pasting the last 3 lines, should be fixed now.


I've used it so far because "mutate, mutation" is too ambiguous, so "lenite, lenition" for soft mutation is less ambiguous.

Perhaps I should change as well if it's not common vocabulary in Welsh instruction.


You would never say something just "mutates" you always put one of the three type with it so it is never ambiguous. I would go as far as out right discouraging using the word "lenite" since so few Welsh speakers will know what you're talking about.


I mean, I definitely see what you mean about "mutate" being a bit ambiguous, and understand what you mean when you use the term lenite (as I expect most people do), so it's not really too big a deal, but my experience is similar to Ellis' - schools/classes here call them either mutations, or treiglad; and this is the first place I saw lenite used.

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