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  5. Use of 'a' for 'and'


Use of 'a' for 'and'

I am going over the Duolingo Welsh course on Memrise and come to level 8 where the translation of 'Bread and butter' is 'Bara menyn' instead of 'Bara a menyn' although the spoken sentence definitely says 'Bara a menyn'.

Is this a mistake or is 'and' not used after words ending with a letter 'a'?

August 8, 2016


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Mea culpa, I wrote the Memrise course as a testbed for some of the ideas for the Duolingo course, it's even my voice too unfortunately.

Bara menyn is an interesting phrase. It is universally used on its own without 'a' for 'and' in order to express the phrase 'bread and butter' in English.

In fact there is a subtle difference here, as previously explained.

'Bara menyn' is the bread with the butter, or other spread, on it already. This is expressed in English commonly as 'Bread and butter'

'Bara a menyn' is the bread and the butter separately, eg the bread in a packet and the butter in a tub. In English this would probably still be 'Bread and butter'

Since 'Bara menyn' is the much more common phrase we might consider removing the other one from the course for clarity.


Thanks, that was very helpful.


@rmcode: I just started the Memrise course - how much of the Duo one does it cover and are you still working on it?

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It covers about the first 10% of the Duolingo course. It was created when we didn't have permission to create the Duolingo course and we used it to test out some ideas.

At the moment I haven't added to it for quite a while, maybe if I get some time in the near future I might be able to add to it.


I think there's the option to have multiple contributors, so if you had willing helpers you could outsource some of the effort. I'd volunteer myself, but since I've only been doing Welsh for a week, maybe I'm not the best candidate for the job!

I've been building a Memrise course as I work through the Polish tree. From my perspective the hardest thing is that Duo doesn't let you extract all the words/phrases. So I've ended up writing down all the new words I meet as I go through the exercises. Since you are a contributor to the Welsh course that part will probably be easy I guess.

I'm also a bit unclear what Duolingo think about courses on Memrise. They seem to be moving in a similar direction with their "tiny cards" app.

Anyway, thanks for replying!


It's not perfect but I've been making a more complete one one for the Welsh course's vocab. http://www.memrise.com/course/986417/duolingo-welsh-complete-vocab-in-progress/


Looks good to me. I think I might start working through it.


Well they're different translations there. "Bara a menyn" is "Bread and butter", whereas "Bara menyn" is more "Butter/Buttered bread", though to answer your question, yes we do use "a" to mean "and" after words that end with "a" and the only time "a" changes is to "ac" before a vowel. ( and some exceptions).


So bara a melyn should be accepted as a correct answer but every answer seemed to expect bara melyn. I just found that very confusing.


Both versions work, but perhaps only one got put into the Memrise stack - it was probably done by hand, and some while ago, so there are bound to be a few variations between Memrise and the current state of the course.

Perhaps you can start to build your own stack and merge that with the other one. You could also think about adding plural forms of nouns, and marking feminine nouns, too - both are important to learn, especially if you are going to continue with Welsh to higher levels.

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