"As good as their word."

Translation:Cystal â'u gair nhw.

June 17, 2016

This discussion is locked.


As always, very clear and comprehensive - the etymology is interesting too, thanks (being one of the terminally curious you mention)


Why is it 'â'u' here for 'as their' when previously it was 'â'i'? I was marked as wrong previously when I used 'â'u' for 'as their', although the latter struck me as 'more' correct since it's a contraction of 'eu'.


â'u here is the correct contraction of â + eu.

I think that the other one you have come across may be maen nhw cynddrwg â'i gilydd - 'they are as bad as each other', and in that pattern â'i gilydd is correct. This comes down to a particular construction with gilydd. It is all down to the history of the word...

(What follows is for the terminally curious...)

In days gone past cilydd/gilydd originally meant 'fellow', so ni gyda ein cilydd became 'we together with our fellows' = 'we together'. nhw gyda ei gilydd was based on 'they (each individual one of them) together with his (each individual's) fellows' = 'they together'.

Nowadays we have lost cilydd and ended up with:

  • gyda'n gilydd - we together
  • gyda'ch gilydd - you together
  • gyda'i gilydd - they together - the singular form ei from nhw gyda ei gilydd has stuck

And with a pattern such as cynddrwg â... + 'each other' we have:

  • cynddwrg â'i gilydd - as bad as each other


Thanks for the nice historic explaination, Ibisc!


Makes sense. It is very easy to fail to notice what is going on in your own language. The English contains the word each which is singular, so the use of a singular ei isn't that odd.


Why is "nhw" (the second part of "eu nhw" part of a correct answer when it is not needed ( i.e.no possible confusion fy, dy ei, ein or eich)? I ask because when I put the the second part of another pronoun into the answer to a written (non spoken) sentence to be translated it was marked as wrong!?


You are right that the nhw was originally added for emphasis, and that it is also useful to avoid ambiguity. Indeed these are exactly the situations you would find it or its equivalent in Middle Welsh, older Welsh, formal Welsh, Gaelic and Irish.

However it has become more-or-less universal in modern colloquial Welsh, so you should always put it in. Generally, all languages have 'redundancy' – more words that are strictly necessary – in some structures. It is just a natural feature of language.

Note that depending on dialect, it may actually be needed for disambiguation as well, since eu and ei sound the same in some dialects. I guess (can someone confirm?) that this also applies to â'u and â'i.

I cannot comment on the sentence you say you had without seeing that sentence. It is most likely that it was a different situation.

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