"Sut aethoch chi ar eich gwyliau?"
Translation:How did you go on your holidays?
This is such a bizarre sentence. It screws me up every time because when would anyone say this?
It's the sort of question you would ask if you were unsure whether someone travelled by car, train, bus etc.
'Sut aethoch chi i'r dre ddoe?' = How did you go to town yesterday?
'Es i ar y trên, mae'r car yn y garej,' = I went on the (by) train, the car's in the garage.
No, I mean, I get that it means that. But pragmatically it's weird. That's not the kind of question that somebody (in English anyway) asks about holidays.
That's the difficulty of translation, it's a standard sentence in Welsh, at least the pattern 'how did you go'.
I get your point about whether people would want to know how someone travelled on their holiday since generally that's obvious from the destination.
This sentence is in the course book and is a way of practising the past tense with different vocab which is why we've included it.
Would es i mewn trên be a valid alternative, instead of using ar y trên ?
Or are there contexts in which one of the two is preferred to the other?
For one specific journey, which is referred to using 'Es i' then the only sensible phrase is 'ar y trên'
Es i ar y trên i Lundain = I went on the train/by train to London.
ie referring to the specific train that travels from your journey start to the destination.
'Mewn trên' is 'in a train' ie a non specific train. This wouldn't work with the past tense but it could make sense for the continuous present/future
Dw i'n teithio mewn trên bob dydd = I travel in a train every day. Bydda i'n teithio mewn trên bob dydd = I will be travelling in a train every day.
Although personally I would use 'ar y trên' in all circumstances.
Thanks, this is very clear.
If I have understood correctly, once you have taken a train (or any other means of transportation) to a given destination, the noun is dealt with as definite, i.e. 'the train I took' (that very train, not a generic one), whereas mewn is always followed by an indefinite noun, and therefore cannot be used in this context.
However, there are Duolingo exercises in which mewn is used after the bod wedi past tense, for instance:
Dw i wedi mynd mewn car.
So I understand that an alternative could be:
Dw i wedi mynd ar y car.
But I wonder whether it would be correct to say:
Dw i wedi mynd mewn car i Lundain.
Dw i wedi mynd mewn trên i Lundain.
There is not much semantic difference between 'I went to London by train / by car' and 'I have gone to London by train / by car', because in either case the train or the car are identified by having been taken for that trip.
Thank you for any further clarification.
Mewn car = in a car and implies in any generic car
Yn y car (rather than ar y car) = in the car - implying ownership of some sort and an easier way of saying 'in my car' without mutations.
The use of the definite article rather than the possessive pronoun is very common.
eg 'Y gŵr' for general reference to 'My husband' etc
Es i gyda'r gŵr yn y car = I went with my husband in my/our car (lit:- I went with the husband in the car)