Numbers and Counting in Welsh

Learning a new language can be both an exciting and challenging journey. One fundamental aspect of any language is its numerical system. For those interested in learning Welsh, understanding how to count and use numbers effectively is essential. Welsh, or Cymraeg, is a Celtic language spoken primarily in Wales, and it has a unique and intriguing numbering system. In this article, we will explore the basics of numbers and counting in Welsh, including cardinal and ordinal numbers, and how to use them in everyday situations.

Cardinal Numbers

Cardinal numbers in Welsh are used to count objects, people, or to state how many of something is present. They are quite straightforward but differ slightly depending on their usage in a sentence. Here’s a breakdown of the numbers from one to ten in Welsh:

– Un (1)
– Dau (2) – masculine, Dwy (2) – feminine
– Tri (3) – masculine, Tair (3) – feminine
– Pedwar (4) – masculine, Pedair (4) – feminine
– Pump (5)
– Chwech (6)
– Saith (7)
– Wyth (8)
– Naw (9)
– Deg (10)

Notice the gender changes for the numbers two and four. This gender agreement is essential when counting objects or referring to a group of masculine or feminine nouns.

For example:
“Mae gen i ddau gi” (I have two dogs)
“Mae gen i dwy chwaer” (I have two sisters)

When forming numbers beyond ten, Welsh builds on these basics:
– Un ar ddeg (11)
– Deuddeg (12)
– Tri ar ddeg (13)
– Pedwar ar ddeg (14)
– Pymtheg (15)
– Un ar bymtheg (16)
– Dau ar bymtheg (17)
– Deunaw (18)
– Pedwar ar bymtheg (19)
– Ugain (20)

For larger numbers, the pattern continues similarly, where the unit is stated before the ten:
– Deg ar hugain (30)
– Pedwar deg (40)
– Hanner cant (50)

Ordinal Numbers

Ordinal numbers in Welsh are used to describe the order or position of an object or person, akin to ‘first’, ‘second’, and ‘third’ in English. These are formed differently from cardinal numbers and often require a prefix.

Here are the ordinal numbers from first to tenth:
– Cyntaf (1st)
– Ail (2nd)
– Trydydd (3rd)
– Pedwerydd (4th)
– Pumed (5th)
– Chweched (6th)
– Seithfed (7th)
– Wythfed (8th)
– Nawfed (9th)
– Degfed (10th)

Using ordinal numbers in context:
“Dydd Sul yw’r dydd cyntaf o’r wythnos” (Sunday is the first day of the week)

Using Numbers in Everyday Situations

Counting and using numbers are practical skills in everyday life, whether you’re shopping, telling time, or giving directions.

For example, when shopping you might need to know:
“Faint yw hwn?” (How much is this?)
“Mae hwn yn costio deg punt” (This costs ten pounds)

When discussing time, Welsh uses the 24-hour clock in formal situations but often sticks to the 12-hour format in casual conversation:
“Mae hi’n ddeg o’r gloch” (It is ten o’clock)
“Bydd y bws yn cyrraedd am dri ar ddeg” (The bus will arrive at thirteen o’clock)

Practical Exercises

To practice your Welsh numbers, try these simple exercises:
1. Label objects in your house with their Welsh numbers.
2. Try to use Welsh numbers when doing daily tasks like counting money or measuring ingredients in cooking.
3. Engage in conversations with Welsh speakers and practice using both cardinal and ordinal numbers.

Understanding and using numbers effectively in Welsh will not only enhance your language skills but also deepen your cultural understanding of Wales. Whether you’re a beginner or looking to polish your Welsh, spending time mastering these basics will serve you well in your language learning journey.

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