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  5. "Ga i dri choffi?"

"Ga i dri choffi?"

Translation:May I have three coffees?

October 2, 2017



Why does "coffi" change to "choffi" in this sentence? Why does "tri" change to "dri" in this sentence? I don't remember learning this in the earlier numbers unit and there are no notes at the beginning of this unit to explain.


It's because "tri" is the object of the short form verb "Ga" (from "Cael") and this causes a soft mutation. "Coffi" undergoes aspirate mutation because it comes after "tri". (there are Brief notes at the beginning of this topic which state "Mutations after un, dau/dwy, tri, chwe" although this isnt too helpful as it doesn't state which type of mutation). The soft mutation after "Ga i" it taught in the notes of unit "May I?".


The skeleton explanation in the notes for 'Numbers 2' has now been expanded to explain the mutations - https://www.duolingo.com/skill/cy/Numbers2/tips-and-notes


where can i learn about aspirate mutations?


I'm not sure where they are discussed in the notes, but since it's a pretty uncommon mutation I can give a pretty comprehensive explanation here (Which you could always copy and paste in to a word document for quick reference).
Firstly, only three letters have aspirate mutatons, these are "T, C and P", and the easiest way to remember their aspirate mutation is to just add an "h" after them, i.e "Th, Ch and Ph". Always look for "Ph" words under "P" in the dictionary since no words begin with it in their base form.
The first rule I'll explain is the one above. "Tri" causes an aspirate mutation on nouns that follow it (This is not the case with "Tair). So "Tri chi" (Three dogs) but "Tair cath" (Three cats). Unlike German and French the definite artrticle doesn't change for gender so the best way to learn gender is to look it up as you learn a word, then pair it with an adjective (use the same one for masculine nouns and another one for feminine nouns) and this may help you remember the gender. "Chwe" is the only other number that causes an aspirate mutation but since it is not gendered it causes a mutation on both masculine and feminine nouns e.g "Chwe chi a chwe chath".
The second rule is that "ei" causes an aspirate mutation when it means "her" i.e "Ei thŷ" (Her house). This is key to the meaning as "Ei" (his) cause a soft mutation i.e "Ei thŷ ac ei dŷ" (Her house and his house).
Thirdly, after the words a, â and tua. So to use an example sentence: "Torodd hi lysiau a chig â chyllell tua thair gwaith" (She cut vegetables and meat with a knife about three times). The mutated words being "Cig" (Meat), "Cyllell" (knife) and "Tair" (Three).
Finally and probably the least self explanatory is at the beginning of negative statements. I say this because "T, C and P" mutate aspirately in this instance and all the other mutateable letters mutate softly. This happens as a particle that used to be used at the beginning of negative statements is now not used. For example what was once "Ni thalodd y merch am ei photel" (The girl didn't pay for her bottle) is now "Thalodd y merch ddim am ei photel".


Very helpful. If anyone is interested in the history, it is thought that all words that cause the aspirate mutation once ended in a s sound, i.e. written with an 's' or an 'x'. You can see this as chwe is related to English/French six, Portuguese seis etc. Tri is related to French trois, Portuguese três etc. Ignore French deux, Portuguese duos for 2 as this only happens in languages that like sticking an s on plural adjectives. A is related to Old Irish ocus (where we also see the c in Welsh ac. If anyone knows what words ending in s the other words that cause the aspirate mutation come from, please post.


Any idea if the Welsh a(c) is in fact cognate/kin to the Latin ac (=and)?


Well GPC says nothing except to list similar words in other Brythonic languages. From this we see nothing except that the c is interchangeable with g.

Wiktionary displays lots of errors for me. I guess this is because there are simply too many words a in too many languages. If this happens to you, click the 'Edit' link and you will see that no etymology is provided.

From lots of words in lots of languages, we can assume that ac/ag was the earlier form and the c/g was dropped before vowels, as in English a/an.

So what next? Well there is an important piece of evidence. It causes the aspirate mutation. That is generally assumed to mean that it used to end in an s. And that immediately makes it look like Old Irish ocus, acus, Modern Irish/Gaelic agus.

Wikionary says ocus comes

From Proto-Celtic *onkus-tus, from Proto-Celtic *onkus (“near”).

but does not provide links for either of these.

MacBain, the main Gaelic etymological dictionary, mentions various conjectures that seem to have little merit. It seems everyone is trying to derive the word from a word that means something else. But I would have thought that this word would come into any language very early and that you will not find an antecedent that means anything else for 1000s of years.

Many words for 'and' are abbreviations of other words, such as a from ac possibly from acus and Portuguese e from Latin et which I would have thought was related to and even if scholars don't.

My view, despite what the experts say, is that there were two words for 'and'. One something like acus and one something like 'and'. With small sound changes and a lot of letters going missing you can make most of the synonyms used in Europe

  • acus : a (Welsh), ac (Welsh), agus (Gaelic), og (Norwegian), och (Swedish), ac (Latin), -que (Latin), καί (Greek), from which kaj (Esperanto)
  • and : und (German), et (Latin), from which y (Spanish), e (Portuguese)

The Greek is particularly interesting as Wiktionary says

From earlier *kahi ← *kasi

so it has as s after the second vowel, making it suspiciously similar to the Celtic words. It is intriguing that no one seems to have noticed this.

So in short, I think all western PIE words for 'and' that contain c, g, k or q are related, and all that don't are related to a word with a dental in.

Latin is unusual, in having three words, two in one camp and one in the other.


"For example what was once "Ni thalodd y merch am ei photel" (The girl didn't pay for her bottle) is [not] 'Thalodd y merch ddim am ei photel.' "

A very fine explanation of the aspirate mutation. In this last example, were you trying to say that the mutation was retained or not? Was the "not" meant to be "now"?

If I attempt to translate using google translate, why do the first-person and third-person forms mutate, but the other forms don't? When does Welsh use the conjugated form "tâl"? Every English negative form seems to use some form of "talu" in the Welsh equivalent. e.g. "She does not pay." She is not paying." She pays not." "She pays nothing." "She is paying nothing."


Google translate is unrealiable, especially if you're looking for finer grammatical accuracy (But I can't really comment on the grammar unless you show the specific sentences you used and it gave). 'Tâl' is the third person singular present/future tense conjutation of the verbnoun in more formal registers (along with the form 'tala'). The forms 'Taliff/Talith' are more common in the spoken language.


Where can I learn about ANY mutations? They are still a total mystery to me. And how do I tell the gender of a noun, since feminine nouns cause some mutations?


A third party keeps collected Duo notes for each course - for example https://duome.eu/tips/en/cy/

Otherwise, a good grammar book is ‘Welsh Rules’ by Heini Gruffudd - that covers levels of Welsh up to Uwch/A level, but it is progressive in how it introduces topics. Another, simpler one which may still be available, new or used, is the BBC’s ‘Grammar Guide for Learners’ - there may still be a printable version on their archived ‘Learn Welsh’ web-site, although the layout and font of that version is not the best.

There are several pointers to the gender of nouns, but they nearly all have common exceptions. It is best to learn them as you go along, along with the plurals. If you write out your vocab to practise it, or if you label things around the house, etc, make sure to include a note of whether the nouns are feminine and of their plural forms. If you just assume that nouns you are not familiar with are masculine, you will be right about 70-75% of the time, apparently.

It just takes time and practice! A little every day works best - avoid binge learning or cramming.


Mutations are first formally introduced in "May I?" and are mentioned in the notes for the following: Colours, Numbers 2, Weather, Time, Possession gyda/gan, Countries, Travelling, Past mynd/dod/cael 1, Family, Past mynd/dod/cael 2, Past gwneud 1/2, Past short, Auxillury Past Gwneud and this is just within the first 39 modules of the course. As for masculine and feminine nouns you will need to learn them as you go along, either working it out from the sentence or looking it up in a dictionary, there are some hints as to the gender of a word, for example if it is refering to a feminine things i.e "Dynes, merch and buwch" (Woman, girl and cow) are all feminine due to their natural sex. The ending "yn" is almost always masculine and "en" almost always feminine.


What is 'aspirate mutation' in welsh?


The aspirate mutation (Y treiglad llaes), only affects three letters, "T, C, P" which respecitvely become "Th, Ch, Ph". This is the least common form of mutation in number of letters, but also in rules that cause it. Some common ones include after "tri" (note only "tri" not the feminine form "tair" which causes no mutation), after "a" (and) and "â" (with) as well as "ei" when it means "her".


Are the aspirate mutations "th, ch, ph" simply aspirated voiceless stops and not fricatives like the root sounds spelt 'th' (i.e. 'thorn'), 'ch' i.e. x or X in ipa- a velar or uvular fricative , and 'ph' i.e. 'f'? And can anyone tell me if/how i can access these same notes again when using a cell phone? I don't see any menus at the top of a page.


"Ch","Ph" and "Th" are pronounced the same whether they are original sounds or the cause of aspirate mutation i.e. "Ch" as in "Loch", "Ph" as in "Phantom" and "Th" as in "Thought" (never as in "This"). The notes are only accessible on the Web, and this can be done by selecting "desktop site" in the options menu. (At least using the chrome app).



That link should take you to the notes page. Tap on 'table of contents' at the top and - hey presto! - a list of the grammar points appears so you can go straight to the point of grammar you want to check.

I've saved the link on my phone home page and can now toggle easily between the app and the notes.

Pob lŵc!


No they are definitely fricatives. They orthography was introduced by monks who introduced writing to these islands after the Romans left and took their writing with them. They used Latin, which does not have any of these digraphs itself, but they used ph, th and ch to represent all the words of Greek and Hebrew origin that got into the monk's Latin, such as Christ, theology and epiph*any. (There was also an rh.) Then later they started extending the range to the others: sh, gh, wh used in English, nh, ngh and mh used in Welsh and sh, dh, gh, mh, bh and fh used in Irish.

We can't be sure of what sounds they were. Yes ch would be /x/, or /ç/ when next to a fron vowel, which happens in modern Welsh too as it is almost impossible to pronounce /x/ in that situation. /χ/ seems less likely to me as mutations do not generally change the place of articulation unless there is no other way to pronounce it. th would have been /θ/ as it still is in Welsh and in English sometimes, and as it used to be in Irish. Because of what I said about place of articulation, it is quite likely that ph was /ɸ/, i.e. made with both lips. It certainly was in Irish.

You can access the notes at https://duome.eu/tips/en/cy but there is nothing to stop you using the website on a phone.


What does that mean in English?


Ok maybe I have missed something in the notes but can somebody explain why it's "ga i dri choffi" but "ga i ddau goffi"? Why does the word for three result in a different mutation for the following word than the word for two?


Well-spotted! It's just what 'tri' does to the following word.

See some of the comments above eg Ellis V's.

Here's what the notes say:

Mutations after un, dau/dwy, tri, chwe: Feminine nouns take a weak soft mutation after un (soft mutation, but no mutation of ll-, rh-). dau and dwy both cause a soft mutation of following words. tri, chwe cause an aspirate mutation of following words - p-, t-, c- are mutated to ph-, th-, ch- respectively. Note that the feminine forms tair, pedair do not cause a mutation. So ((b) - feminine noun):

merch (b), un ferch, dwy ferch, tair merch, chwe merch - a girl, one girl, two girls, three girls, six girls rhaw (b), un rhaw, dwy raw, tair rhaw, chwe rhaw - a spade, one spade, two spades, three spades, six spades teisen (b), un deisen, dwy deisen, tair teisen, chwe theisen - a cake, one cake, two cakes, three cakes, six cakes twll, un twll, dau dwll, tri thwll, chwe thwll - a hole, one hole, three holes, six holes pêl (b), un bêl, dwy bêl, tair pêl, chwe phêl - a ball, one ball, two balls, three balls, six balls pen, un pen, dau ben, tri phen, chwe phen - a head, one head, two heads, three heads, six heads

You'll find that under 'numbers, 2': https://duome.eu/tips/en/cy#Numbers2


Thanks! Knew I was missing something from the notes.


Just deleted most of this post as I saw someone else had answered the same question!

But one other piece of advice: find a table of mutations, in the notes or an image on the web, print it out and hang it on your wall.


Great, aspirate was just something that caused choking in my life, now it alters language too! I think this is another module to stay low on and expect nothing to be related to what I learned before. That was I am unsurprised that no word relates to what I knew it as before. Thanks for the explanation Ellis Vaughan, have screen shot your explanation for me to try to comprehend.


It sounds like "Ga i dri hoffi." That's what I entered and was accept. It says the meaning is "May I have three coffees?" If it's saying it's "choffi" as shown in the top comment, why didn't it tell me I had a typo?


Two things. Firstly Duolingo is a bit erratic with what it ignores, or calls an error or a typo. In particular it has no way to tell the difference between a less important error that makes no difference to the meaning, and one that changes the meaning or gets the grammar wrong.

As for it sounding like an /h/, ch can sound anything between a /k/ and an /h/ depending on language and dialect. In many dialects of Irish, it sounds pretty like an /h/, whereas in some Scottish Gaelic dialects it sounds quite like a /k/. Or look at Welsh chwech which is related to Greek hex (as in hexagon). Or think of the Welsh words that start with a c that probably changed to a ch sound in Germanic, before ending up as a /h/ in English:

ci (cŵn) - hound
cant - hundred


thanks. I also understand the differing usage of "ch", as when you consider the Scouse use and how it varies at the beginning and end of a word, compared to how it is used in London, for example.


That is a really interesting point. I am no expert on Scouse but I am aware that /k/ can be realized as [x] - i.e. like a ch in Welsh, so this is presumably what you mean. Having read the Wikipedia article I guess this is what happened:

  • Read this BBC article first
  • Scouse is a fairly new dialect, developing between the 17th and 19th centuries when immigrants (mainly from Wales and Ireland) arrived in the small fishing village called Liverpool which had a rural NW-England accent.
  • Most of these immigrants would have spoken Welsh or Irish.
  • They all had two different phonemes (sounds with different meanings) (arguably three in Irish) - c and ch, as in modern Welsh. Because of dialects within Welsh and Irish, and because phonemes can sound different according to where in a word they are or what sound they are next to, all sorts of sounds would have got mixed together [ç, x, χ, k, ʰk].
  • Because there is only one phoneme in English - there is no 'Celtic ch' there would be no confusion. For example there would be no need to distinguish between lock and loch as loch is not a standard English word.
  • So all these sounds were shoved into one big melting pot resulting in the current situation.


a good history of the speech. I think of it as like the north and south German of "ch" and "ck" for "ich" and such. Growing up in the area between Liverpool and Wales I can hear the sounds, though it is very interesting on the changes. For another interesting pronunciation thing, check out "look in the cook book" in Scouse or "cuckoo". Don't know what caused that "oo" to stay in those words. Scouse really started to develop after the river of N Wales, the river Dee, began to silt up and so the port opened higher up on the next river.

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