Activity Workshop
 

BBC Catchphrase Lessons 25-30

These audio lessons make up the fifth set of 6 lessons in the BBC's "Catchphrase" course for learning Welsh. You have probably figured out how this works by now.

The fifth set of six lessons covers the following:

  1. More on telling the time, including before and after
  2. Past tense using wedi
  3. Past tense of cael, including what you had for lunch
  4. Describing where various rooms in the home are.
  5. Asking for directions to the bank and describing where shops are.
  6. Describing what's wrong with a car, and whether oil is leaking or not.

For the lessons which have them (which unfortunately isn't all of them), you can use the BBC's course notes by clicking on the appropriate .rtf links. You'll need some office program like LibreOffice to use these, but you can then convert them to txt or html if you wish. Just watch out for the þ and ð and ‰ characters (and others!) which may try to confuse you.


Gwers pumparhugain - Lesson 25

(Five on top of old twenty) instead of "dau deg pump".

More on telling the time

To use the files separately, you'll need the .mp3 (from the BBC), together with the .srt subtitles file. There is no accompanying notes file from the BBC for this lesson, but there is an archived page with some relevant phrases.

A short summary of these time-telling weirdnesses may help here. We already know the numbers 1-12, so we start with the fairly easy "tri o'r gloch" = "three o'clock". Straightforward. So you would think that "it's 3:00" would be "mae hi'n tri o'r gloch" ("mae hi'n" meaning "she is", because the time is feminine). But no. That hidden "yn" mutates the tri into a dri, so it's "mae hi'n dri o'r gloch". Awkward, but ok. So to work out whether to say tri or dri, you need to be aware of whether it's just a time, whether you're saying "it's" a time, or at a time, or before a time, or after a time, ...

So you'd then expect "it's 11:00" to be "mae hi'n un deg un o'r gloch", because everybody knows that 11 is "un deg un". But no, you never say "un deg un" for times, you have to say "unarddeg" (one on top of 10, where the 10 is mutated to ddeg because of the "on top of"). Similarly "deuddeg o'r gloch" and "mae hi'n ddeuddeg o'r gloch".

Now when you want to say quarter past 3, it's the chwarter which gets mutated instead of the tri, so we've got "mae hi'n chwarter wedi tri", but when you have quarter to 3, the "to" mutates the three again, so we're back to "mae hi'n chwarter i dri".

For five-past and five-to, it's the "pump" which gets mutated to "bump", so that's awkward but at least consistent. But for ten-past and ten-to, they don't use "deg munud" but for some unexplained reason "deng munud" (even though according to wiktionary "deng" only happens before a vowel?). And that then occasionally gets mutated to "ddeng munud". Which just leaves twenty-past and twenty-to (using the old hugain instead of dau ddeg), and twentyfive-past and twentyfive-to (which for some reason isn't "dau ddeg pump munud ..." or even "pumparhugain munud ..." but instead "bum munud ar ugain ...").

It's all very frustrating for the learner, and it all seems so arbitrary. No doubt the mutation after "i" feels completely natural to a Welsh speaker, because that's just the way "to" works all the time, and similarly for "am". But as it is, and until somebody can initiate a language reform whereby using the "modern" numbers like "un deg un" and "dau ddeg pump" is acceptable for telling the time, I can't help thinking that it's simply far too complicated and unnecessarily confusing to be worth learning, for the number of times a learner will actually need it.


Gwers chwecharhugain - Lesson 26

"Chwecharhugain", for six on top of twenty, instead of "dau ddeg chwech".

Using "wedi" to form the perfect past tense, saying what you've done and where you've been.

To use the files separately, you'll need the .mp3 (from the BBC), together with the .srt subtitles file. And possibly also the .rtf file for the BBC's notes.


Gwers saitharhugain - Lesson 27

Using the past tense of the verb "cael" (to have), discussing what various people had for lunch or tea.

To use the files separately, you'll need the .mp3 (from the BBC), together with the .srt subtitles file. And possibly also the .rtf file for the BBC's notes.


Gwers wytharhugain - Lesson 28

Talking about the various rooms in the house, whether they're upstairs or downstairs, or in the front/back of the house, above, below or between.

Sorry, this lesson suffers from intermittently poor audio quality.

To use the files separately, you'll need the .mp3 (from the BBC), together with the .srt subtitles file. And possibly also the .rtf file for the BBC's notes.


Gwers nawarhugain - Lesson 29

Asking for directions, including turning left and right, going down the street, crossing the road and so on.

To use the files separately, you'll need the .mp3 (from the BBC), together with the .srt subtitles file. There are no course notes from the BBC for this lesson.


Gwers degarhugain - Lesson 30

(Ten on top of old twenty? Really?)

Can I have five pounds of petrol please, and what's wrong with these windscreen wipers?

To use the files separately, you'll need the .mp3 (from the BBC), together with the .srt subtitles file. And possibly also the .rtf file for the BBC's notes.