Datblygiad cystrawen y rhifolion yn y Gymraeg

Datblygiad cystrawen y rhifolion yn y Gymraeg
(The development of the syntax of numerals in Welsh)

David Willis

The rules determining the forms of nouns and adjectives after numerals and the associated initial-consonant mutations in Middle Welsh are often puzzling to Modern Welsh readers of the language. This article sketches the rules and provides a synchronic account of them. It is shown that they are based on a coherent system where number (singular, dual, numerative, plural) is central. The linguistic changes that have occurred since then are documented in detail and dated using textual evidence. It is argued that these changes can best be understood as steps along a pathway towards a new, equally coherent system where all numeral phrases are treated as singular, and gender rather than number determines both form and mutations.

Photo: Nadia Shaabana


  	David Willis, ‘Datblygiad cystrawen y rhifolion yn y Gymraeg’, Gwerddon, 28, March 2019, 64–87.


    Welsh language, syntactic change, numerals, grammatical agreement, grammatical number.


  1. Baerman, M., Brown, D., a Corbett, G. G. (2005), The Syntax–Morphology Interface: A study of syncretism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).
  2. Borsley, R. D., Tallerman, M., a Willis, D. (2007), The Syntax of Welsh (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).
  3. Deuchar, M., Webb-Davies, P., a Donnelly, K. (2018), Building and Using the Siarad Corpus: Bilingual Conversations in Welsh and English (Amsterdam: John Benjamins).
  4. Ellis, N. C., et al. (2001), ‘Cronfa Electroneg o Gymraeg (CEG): Cronfa ddata eirfaol, miliwn o eiriau, sy’n cyfrif amlder defnydd geiriau yn y Gymraeg’. Adnodd ar-lein: https://www.bangor.ac.uk/canolfanbedwyr/ceg.php.en [Cyrchwyd: 3 Medi 2019].
  5. Evans, D. S. (1964), Grammar of Middle Welsh (Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies).
  6. Howells, D. (1970), ‘Miscellanea 1. The use of the singular form of the noun after numerals’, Studia Celtica, 5, 83–6.
  7. Jenkins, D. (1973), ‘Llydyn; hych’, Bwletin y Bwrdd Gwybodau Celtaidd, 25, 117–18.
  8. Jenkins, D. (1989), ‘Hych, llydyn: bylch’, Bwletin y Bwrdd Gwybodau Celtaidd, 36, 111.
  9. Koch, J. T. (1983), ‘The loss of final syllables and loss of declension in Brittonic’, Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies, 30, 201–33.
  10. Lewis, H., a Pedersen, H. (1937), A Concise Comparative Celtic Grammar (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht).
  11. Lieber, R. (1983), ‘New developments in autosegmental morphology: Consonant mutation’, Proceedings of the West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics, 2, 165–75.
  12. Liljegren, H. (2016), A Grammar of Palula (Berlin: Language Science Press).
  13. Liljegren, H., a Haider, N. (2011), Palula Vocabulary (Islamabad: Forum for Language Initiatives).
  14. Morgan, T. J. (1952), Y Treigladau a’u Cystrawen (Caerdydd: Gwasg Prifysgol Cymru).
  15. Morgenstierne, G. (1941), Notes on Phalūra: An unknown Dardic language of Chitral (Oslo: Jacob Dybwad).
  16. Morris Jones, J. (1913), A Welsh Grammar (Oxford: Oxford University Press).
  17. Nurmio, S., ‘Studies in Grammatical Number in Old and Middle Welsh’, traethawd PhD, Prifysgol Caergrawnt, Caergrawnt, 2015.
  18. Nurmio, S., a Willis, D. (2016), ‘The case of the Welsh numerative’, Journal of Historical Linguistics, 6, 297–339.
  19. Roberts, R. G. (2012), ‘Arolwg o hynodion gramadeg y rhifolion mewn Cymraeg Canol cynnar’, Dwned, 18, 33–47.
  20. Thomas, P. W. (1996), Gramadeg y Gymraeg (Caerdydd: Gwasg Prifysgol Cymru).
  21. Willis, D. (2009), ‘Old and Middle Welsh’, yn Ball, M., a Müller, N. (goln), The Celtic Languages, 117–60 (London: Routledge).
  22. Willis, D., a Mittendorf, I. (2004), ‘Ein historisches Korpus der kymrischen Sprache’, yn Poppe, E. (gol.), Keltologie Heute: Themen und Fragestellungen, 135–42 (Münster: Nodus).