"Wales is a fine country."
Translation:Gwlad braf ydy Cymru.
No, ydy/yw is used in other patterns as well.
Here, the sentence is an emphatic one, so the thing being emphasised - gwlad braf - is moved to the front of the sentence, just as we do with people's names or jobs and so on. If the sentence is started with a noun (including a name or a job title) or an adjective, then the verb-form is ydy/yw rather than mae:
- Sioned yw hi - She is Sioned.
- Meddyg yw hi - She is a doctor.
- Meddyg da yw Sioned - Sioned is a good doctor.
- Menyw dal ydy Sioned, nid un fer - Sioned is a tall woman, not a short one. (Emphasising the fact)
- Mae'r tywydd yn braf - The weather is fine. (No emphasis)
- Mae Cymru'n wlad braf - Wales is a fine country. (But not emphasising it)
- Mae Sioned yn dal - Sioned's tall. (But not emphatically so)
Emphasis is used much more often in Welsh than in English.
This is interesting to me. In my American business writing class, we're often instructed to use "active voice" instead of "passive voice". And it seems odd (to me) that what is considered a passive voice in American English is more commonly used and considered "emphatic" in Welsh (and many other languages from what I can tell). Psycology presenting in languistic construction, w/ the focus placed on what info the culture deems most important?