1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Welsh
  4. >
  5. Welsh Word Order?


Welsh Word Order?


For anyone who is a more experienced learner of Welsh, what is the standard word order? (If there even is one!). I find it hard to determine word order and the rules that govern it. For example:

Dw i wedi blino heno ~ I am tired this evening.

Draig dw i ~ I am a dragon.

Why does the word order change?


January 17, 2017



The default word order is verb + subject + other stuff (including object).

So in your first example: Verb: Dw ("am") + Subject: i ("I") + Other stuff: wedi blino heno ("tired tonight")

Your second example doesn't follow this word order because it's an "equals" sentence that identifies one thing ("I") with another ("a dragon"). Those follow a different pattern, with the "be" verb between the two things identified with each other. (I haven't yet completely figured out the rule for which of the two things identified comes first and which comes last, but I think if one's a pronoun and the other isn't, the pronoun comes last.)


The 'usual' word order is verb-subject-object (VSO), but this is subject to frequent exceptions due to emphasis - whatever is being emphasised is usually placed at the beginning of the sentence.

Welsh uses this method of emphasis very freely, much more so than in English. A common emphatic pattern that you have met early in the course is when giving somebody's name, occupation, relationship, role, etc, such as:

  • Siân ydy hi - She is Siân (Siân is being emphasised)
  • Heddwas ydy hi - She is a policeman (Job is being emphasised)
  • Cariad Gethin ydy hi - She is Gethin's girlfriend (Relationship being emphasised)

There isn't a true object with those, but the point is that the emphatic construction is usual in those patterns, with the verb coming second in the sentence.

Learn Welsh in just 5 minutes a day. For free.