"Cawn ni"

Translation:We will get

August 26, 2016



I don't understand: Why is this verb sometimes "may" and sometimes "will"? I cannot detect any pattern


cawn ni is part of the future tense of cael (to get/have, to be allowed to) - it translates as 'we will get/have/be allowed to', or as 'we may/can' with future or present meaning:

  • Cawn ni fynd ma's yn fuan - We will be allowed to go out soon.
  • Ca i yrru dy gar ar ôl i fi basio fy mhrawf gyrru - I'll be allowed to/I can drive your car after I pass my driving test.
  • Cewch chi beint yn y dafarn nes ymlaen - You can have/You'll get a pint in the pub later.
  • Cawn ni bryd o fwyd yn y dref - We will get a meal in town.

In its question form it is used for asking permission in the present/future, too:

  • Ga i fynd ma's nawr? - May/can I go out now?
  • Gaiff hi ddiod yno? - May/Can she have a drink there? (But also 'Will she get a drink there?')


Thank you for your very full answer. So in Welsh, "to have" and "to be allowed to" have the same meaning? That is an extraordinary thought, for in English they are totally different. But if they are the same, why is it that in this exercise sometimes one and sometimes the other is demanded? I can't make sense of that.


I suppose it is a bit like, say, 'light' in English - 'not heavy', or 'bright', or even 'to set fire to'.

In the wild, the context of a conversation would give a clue as to which meaning was the correct one, but a standalone, contextless phrase in Duo might have to allow for at least two translations - ysgafn and golau, perhaps.


Is it possible that the problem starts in English being extremely illogical while Welsh (at least to me as a Swede) seems to be very logical? Swedish also uses the same word for "to get", "to have" and to ask permision, so what's so wierd with Welsh doing the same thing? :-)


As a first language English speaker, it does sometimes feel like the biggest stumbling block while learning Welsh (or any language) is knowing English.

Something I appreciate from having spent 6 years learning Latin in school was that, being a dead language, more time was spent covering the process of learning languages in general than was covered in the Spanish, French, or German classes, where it made more sense to focus on learning the one particular language.


Some English speakers will say things like “Will we get to go out soon?” and “Will I get to drive your car after I pass my driving test?” and “Do I get to go out now?”. These examples are, in a sense, using “get” to ask permission. To my British ears they sound slightly American, but they do make sense.


Curses! I keep forgetting that Duo doesn't accept 'We shall' forms of the future tense. It isn't wrong.


Isn't “shall” used for the intended future, where it's under your control? For instance, we don't say “It shall rain later” (since we can't change it), but we can say “I shall have eggs for breakfast tomorrow” (since you might change your mind in the morning).


It's a usage where language has evolved over a couple of generations. 'Traditional' teaching said the simple future was 'shall' for the 1st person singular and plural and 'will' for the 2nd and 3rd persons sing and plural (in your example 'it' is impersonal and so can't indicate its own intention!). The simple future forms are reversed ('shall' becomes 'will', 'will' becomes 'shall') to indicate intention. As I say, that was the traditional 'rule which many of us oldies tend to stick to. Too unnecessarily complicated for most people nowadays!


I was thinking it was to do with modality, and the uncertainty conveyed in the English 'may', but...i think, ibisc, you're saying that Welsh uses 'cael' in that sense too?

I've always found english modals tricky to explain.


It is not really used to indicate uncertainty as in 'perhaps/maybe I'll do that'. That is better expressed using, for example, efallai:

  • Gobeithio cawn ni yrru'r car ralio yfory. - Hopefully we [will be allowed to/may/can/will get to] drive the rally car tomorrow. (permission)
  • Efallai byddwn ni'n gyrru'r car 'na yfory - [Perhaps/Maybe] we will be driving that car tomorrow. (general uncertainty)
  • Efallai [gallwn/medrwn] ni yrru'r car 'na ar ôl i ni gwblhau'r cwrs gyrru. - Perhaps we will be able to drive that car after we finish the driving course. (uncertainty, dependent on having the ability)


I had a choose tiles question. Would this be correct for we will have"


i had a choose tiles question. Is it also right for "we will have" as well as "we will get".

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