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  5. "A black and white cow."

"A black and white cow."

Translation:Buwch ddu a gwyn.

December 28, 2016



Shouldn't 'gwen' be used, being 'buwch' a feminine noun?


I don't think so; the mutation has already been applied and the conjunction breaks it. Much like the first letter of the first word in a bullet point might be mutated but all subsequent bullet points wouldn't. For example:

Dylech chi: Beidio â siarad yn Saesneg. Peidio â bwyta siocled. * Cadw i'r chwith.

If it was "a white cow" then it would most definitely be "buwch wen". The above applied for "a white and yellow cow > buwch wen a melyn" (I think!).


But does the conjunction also break the gender agreement?

Why is there masculine gwyn after the a, not feminine gwen?


I think so. IF the mutation carried out without the breaking due to 'a', the 'a' would also need to change to 'ac' > Buwch ddu ac wen.


Sorry, this isn't right.

Technically, buwch ddu a gwen is correct. After a singular feminine noun you have the mutation on the du and the feminine form of gwyn, which is gwen (without mutation as it follows a).

However, what you usually hear in practice is buwch ddu a gwyn. As has been alluded to, the separation of gwyn from the noun by a conjunction is enough for it to remain in its neutral (masculine) form in everyday Welsh. I guess this has partly to do with the fact that feminine nouns are unstable and limited in the colloquial language - many forms such as sech (sych "dry") and seml (syml "simple") are all but dead.

So, your options are either buwch ddu a gwen, which sounds literary or poetic, or buwch ddu a gwyn, which sounds "normal".


I acknowledge this ultimate version of the rule, thank you!


So if I understand this rule correctly, 'a white and green duck' would be hwyaden wen a gwyrdd , rather than hwyaden wen ac werdd  (or wen a gwerdd ).

But when both adjectives follow the noun without a conjunction (e.g. 'a small white sheep') does the second adjective keep the gender agreement (dafad fach wen )?

Thank you for clarifying.


Yes, 'a white and green duck' would be hwyaden wen a gwyrdd, rather than hwyaden wen ac werdd  (or wen a gwerdd).

If there's no conjunction, then the soft mutation keeps on rollin'! A small lively feminine girly white sheep would be "dafad wen ferchetaidd fenywaidd fywiog fach" Hahahaha!


Thank you very much indeed, this sheds the definitive light on this tricky rule!

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I have to admit I'm not sure of the explanation for this, I'm going to post it in one of the Welsh grammar forums to see if there is a logical explanation.

The only reason that I can see might make sense is the mutation only referring to the previous or related word.

Since 'a' doesn't cause a soft mutation then 'gwyn' is not changed.

The logic of this would be that a black and red cow would be:-

Buwch ddu a choch (an aspirate mutation after 'a')

A white cow is actually:- Buwch wen (feminine pronoun and soft mutation)


The question was not about gwyn versus wyn (mutation) but about gwYn versus gwEn (adjective gender).


Actually, my perplexity was about the use of the masculine form of the adjective.
The unit about colours mentions three feminine forms, gwen, gwerdd, melen, which I sometimes encountered in Duolingo's exercises (e.g. het wen , as opposed to crys gwyn ).
So I was wondering why in this sentence gwyn is used, being referred to buwch.

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