"Ydy e'n gallu canu?"
Translation:Is he able to sing?
Thank you both, ibisc and rmcode, for these helpful answers. I am ashamed that the query was a month ago and I have not commented since. Outside life caught up with me, getting certain things done before going on 2 weeks holiday. Oh and I asked the same questions of my two co-workers at the local food bank.(NW Wales) both 1st language Welsh speakers One uses both words interchangeably and the other tends to use medru more than gallu but could not define how he distinguishes them. At least this has fixed both words in my mind!
I learned medru rather than gallu is this just a N/S variant or are there different uses for these 2 verbs?
I think they may have slightly different usages, with medru being more of a practical skills thing (playing an instrument, speaking a language, ...) than gallu (being clever at...). medru'r Gymraeg/Saesneg is definitely used in the sense of being able to use or having a good grasp of Welsh/English, say. But they are pretty much equivalent, really, and not everyone would draw a distinction between them in casual usage.
Both seem to crop up in the minutes of the Welsh Assembly, anyway.
Also, in addition to 'ibisc's excellent points, 'medru' is very strongly used in North Wales, although 'gallu' is pretty standard everywhere.
It would seem from this example that a verb-noun following "gallu" does not mutate, but, in another sentence, there appeared "gallu wneud," suggesting it does...what am I missing?
Without seeing the other sentence I cannot comment accurately but if it was something like:
- Dyma beth dw i'n gallu wneud
then that is a shortened version of Dyma beth dw i'n gallu ei wneud - 'This is what I can do.' The ei here is referring back to the beth, and it is usually presumed to be masculine unless specified otherwise somehow.
Thank you for your response. I discovered that, in the other sentence, there was an understood "beth" along with an omitted "ei," which was the cause of the soft mutation of "gwneud." This use of the possessive for direct objects is one of the harder things for me to develop an intuitive grasp of.