Learn Welsh With Byron – Lesson 2

sheep-farts2

Lesson 2 – Understanding swearing in Welsh

It’s not as straightforward as it seems. Some of the phrases are odd. Some are perplexing. A few are just downright weird.

Some, you can have a stab at  – so to speak. For example a vagina is known in Welsh  as a ‘llawes goch’  literally a ‘red sleeve’. I can see some sort of logic behind that one. Some are a little stranger. For instance if you were terrified of something, perhaps a red sleeve, then, in Welsh you could be said to be ‘cachu planciau’ – literally  translated as ‘shitting planks’. Why planks? Who knows.

If something was deigned to be worthless it would be designated  ‘dim gwerth rhech dafad’  – translated into English as something  ‘not  worth a sheep’s fart’.

The Welsh equivalent of ‘go forth and multiply ‘ or ‘F… off’ is ‘dos I chwarae efo dy nain ‘ – ‘go play with your granny’.

If you wanted to express to someone that they should, hurry up or do something quickly then there are number of options;

Option 1 ‘mewn dau gachiad’ –  translation – ‘in 2 shits’;

Option2 – ‘mewn cachiad chwanan’ – translation – ‘in a fleas’s shit’;

Or my favourite – Option 3 – ‘mewn cachiad nico’ – ‘in a goldfinches’ shit’ ! ? Don’t ask. I have no idea either.

A weak cup of tea can taste like, ‘piso dryw’ –  ‘wren’s piss’, and finally the female genitalia, or red sleeve, can alternatively be called a ‘pwdin blew’ – ‘a hairy pudding’.

Next time – Mutations ( You’ll enjoy that ).

(kindly provided by clwb malu cachu (www.clwbmalucachu.co.uk ) )

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Blog for my new book – discussion with Agent

BookCoverImage

My agent asked me to describe my writing-

  • I said it consisted of a number of themes and genres.
  • Go on he said.
  • Its about crime, humour and mystery I said.
  • Good he said.
  • Golf, and elements of the supernatural – angels.
  • OK.
  • Massive themes encompassing God, fallen angels and mortality.
  • Very good.
  • The action is set in Wales.
  • Ah.
  • In the 1930s ish.
  • I see.
  • Other real characters that appear are Bobby Jones…
  • The golfer?
  • Walter Hagen…
  • The golfer?
  • And Amy Johnson.
  • ?
  • The airline pilot woman, (pause) and golfer.
  • I see.
  • (pause)
  • Other writers have a mix of genres I said.
  • They do.
  • Shakespeare wrote plays, sonnets, historical dramas, comedies, tragedies, regicide.
  • He did.
  • With books set in Italy, England, Turkey, the Czech Republic.
  • Correct.
  • With themes of madness, love, feminism, murder, the supernatural.
  • All true. He said. He didn’t put all of them in one book though did he?
  • Maybe not.
  • Are you deliberately trying to hurt me?
  • ?
  • How would I pitch this book? – a Welsh, crime, fantasy, sporting, mystery thriller, set in the era of hard boiled private eyes, concerning religion and humour.
  • Above all humour.
  • Above all humour. Can you see my problems?
  • ? I said.
  • Where would customers find it on the shelf of a bookshop For instance? Welsh writing? Humour? Crime? Fantasy? Sport?
  • Good point. They would find it next to Malcolm Pryce. I said. Ask his agent.
  • It’s hard. So hard.
  • Why are you crying?
  • Byron Kalies – ‘It’s About a Murder, Cariad.’ out soon (Fiction – general)

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Literary Agent – Worst Job in the World?

worst-jobs

Worst Job than a Literary Agent?

I wouldn’t be a literary agent if my life depended on it. Could you image a more unpleasant job? Well, maybe a few (like the illustration above), but really. It must be like being a parent to a needy, whinny child who needs constant reassurance, love and patting on the head – without any of the good bits. Even before that stage you would have to wade through a torrent of needy, whinny or arrogant, presumptuous pitches. It’s this that must make it so, so, so bad. If you ever had any modicum of compassion to begin with you couldn’t possibly have any left at the end. Could you?  How can you retain any sense of humour? Any degree of patience? Any respect for humanity? You can’t. The evidence is below in a list of the ‘best’ elements of pitches kept by my friend and Welsh literary agent, Chrissy Bach  – enjoy.

(with massive acknowledgements to ‘Slushpile hell’).

‘This sublime submission will leave you in an uncontrolled and irreversible state of ‘wow’’.

‘My attached 2000 word novel will make you laugh, make you cry, make you stand up and cheer. It will help raise the bar in human literary prose.’

‘I happen to have pen-ed a witty, hilarious book.’

‘Attached is, quite possibly, the funniest book known to humanity. After reading it I am convinced you will call me up and offer me a contract. I await your call.’

‘I want you as my agent. The book is ready. The writing is final. I do not want a word changed. It is a very good, well-written book.’

‘I guess my love of writing started in the second grade when Miss Harris gave me a large red tick on my composition on ‘What I did in the holidays’. I can still remember that composition. I wrote about the two weeks I spent in Porthcawl…’

‘You’re my last hope. I have sent this to many, many other agents without a positive reply. I’m counting on you.’

‘A quick question before I send my pitch. How many words are there in a novel?’  

‘My 432,000 word novel may seem to start a little slowly, but after the first nine of so chapters the pace changes dramatically.’

‘My dream agent Andrew Wylie, is not taking on ‘new’ writers, so I’m querying you.’

‘Attached is my synopsis and first four chapters. If I don’t hear from you by the end of the day I will give you a call. I have your home number.’

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Steepest Golf Holes

entabeni

We were playing the 8th hole at Cradoc golf club. It’s a tough old climb.

Pensioner Dave, one of our party. then recounted an avalanche of steep golf holes – the 3rd at West Mon, Tidy Pull, the 11th at Monmouth, several at Mountain ash, practically all of them at Pontypool. He mentioned more, but we weren’t listening (by the way if you have any suggestions for steepest golf hole in Wales, please let me know). He then mentioned a course he had only heard about. This is the 19th hole at Entabeni which as I understand, is in mid Wales. I dug out a clip from ‘You Tube’. Enjoy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyRe8SBjKf4

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Is Anyone on Twitter Not Writing a Book?

sheep-at-computer

Is Anyone on Twitter Not Writing a Book?

I ask this because, obviously, I am and I‘m wondering who is going to have the time to read it, and more importantly.buy it. In the spirit of prevarication / research I’ve started to explore the twitter / writer phenomenon. I began, and ended, with the question – why do people write? Specifically. why do people write and tell you why they write on twitter?

I decided to look at twitter bios – I thought this may give me a clue. Three hours later I feel so, so sad and exhausted. If I see one more ‘I write because nobody listens’ I will cry. Don’t try this at home. I feel you all owe me one now. I’ve spared you the time, energy and heart break.  I’ve gathered the best / worse/ saddest / funniest and most moving.

I like the straightforward ones –

‘Please buy my book. I owe people money.’

‘I write books, so I can buy food. Sometimes they have sex in them.’

‘Writer, dreamer, procrastinator. Author of fantasy books, curator of nonsense.’

‘Author. I make stuff up and write it down.’

I like the sad ones –

‘I write the TV commercials you’ll never see because you got up to use the bathroom.’

‘Married stay at home mom of two kids, a dog, and a cat with more cleavage than me. I write because it’s safer than jumping out of a plane half drunk.’

‘I write books and not just because I can’t bear the thought of a real job. But that’s part of it.’

I like the strange ones –

‘I’m not smart. I just wear glasses’.

‘Wordy bird. Reader, Master of Arts. Twitter addict. Compulsive RT-er. Old soul. Author of ‘Letting Go’. Had a glass of champagne at my cousin’s wedding once.’

‘I write because writing is therapeutic . and i apparently am in need of therapy.’

I quite worry about the very strange ones –

‘I feel words all day long. They reach inside me. Tug at my heart. Make me think. Want to share. My Atmosphere. Would like an agent for my memoir.’

‘I write because I keep searching my lost soul in the strings of words I weave. Have a far-fetched dream of making sense.’

‘I write because the dead girl told me to.’

‘I write stuff on my hand because it helps me remember things and when I can’t think of something I make grunting noises til I can figure it out… ‘

I love these –

‘I write because they won’t let me play with the scissors anymore.’

‘I write fanfiction. It’s a fun hobby and I’ve met a lot of wonderful people because of it. :) I’m not a pro writer & I’m not trying to promote my work.’

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The Difference between Writing Fiction and Non-Fiction

timetravel

Non-fiction is as easy as falling off a piece of cake – excuse the mixed metaphor, compared to fiction………….in some ways. Particularly in one quite essential way………………. In terms of retaining your sanity.

I write golf books. Books about golf courses. I know. I know. How many ways are there to describe grass?. It’s a challenge. There is slightly more to it than that, but in terms of dramatic comedic effect let’s leave it at that. But once you’ve done the work it’s there. It’s pinned and nailed down. It doesn’t move.

However, writing a novel is like trying to nail water to a piece of glass.  Every time you get something sorted – you write a lovely little speech, describe something mystical or marvelous – something happens with the plot. A character needs to be in two places at once, or they disappear, or the location is wrong, or they’re in the wrong century. Look, I’m not trying to write ‘The Time Traveler’s wife’ here. It’s not complicated. Well, it’s not complicated in my head at least. I’ve got the characters on cards, on ‘Scrivener’ and in numerous, numerous notebooks.  I just wish these characters would just stay still instead of moving around all over the place. Whenever I want someone to just appear and say something pointed and plot-movingonly (it is a word), they are somewhere else. Sometimes they’re in Colorado having breakfast with a nun, or they may be dead or not yet born. All very, very inconvenient. So I change it and then the next crisis comes when the nun in Colarado turns up looking for someone to have breakfast with.

I hate it when people say that the characters ‘develop a life of their own’ as if that were a good thing. I’m on my 8th final draft at the moment and it’s driving me crazy. I want this done now. I want them to all stay where they should be whilst I finish the book. I can then go back to writing about grass, meadows, swards, pastures, weed, marijuana, green, mary jane, narcs and informants.

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A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Nob

In a rare, I wish, diversion from writing, I started wondering what photo of myself I would put on the inside of my soon to be finished, yeah right, book cover.

This is vital to me now. I’m having a bit of a plot crisis. Without giving too much away, I’m stuck trying to get person A to tell person B something about event X without involving an element of time travel.  So naturally I need to put the book on hold and focus on the photograph I will select to put on the inside back cover.

I want to look intelligent, but not too academic. Funny with an air of gravitas at the same time. I want to exude a feeling of, ‘this is someone I would like to go for a drink with, or a game of golf.’ On the other hand I want to be a person you can identify with as someone who would be comfortable alone at times thinking really deep thoughts.

I just needed a photo of me that will do this. I looked. The photos I have of me make me look like, well – you tell me:

Exhibit A:

byrona

I’m not sure what feeling I was trying to portray on this day. Probably an air of aloofness, casualness. The jacket and the jumper (really?) should suggest some kind of rebelliousness. Not quite James Dean but a bit ‘hey look at me – I’m cool and hip’ (what! people don’t say hip any more?, nor cool?).  Note hands in my pockets. I would have been told off for that when I was younger but look at me now – Living on the edge. Edgy as f***.

Note background – wall. It says I’m urban. I’m down with the yoofs, living off my wits, off the streets. It’s my old house in Formby. Lancashire. A quote from Wikipedia explains the town in 10 words;

“Formby is affluent with high owner-occupation and car ownership”

But that was then. This is now. I don’t live there anymore man. I’m keeping it real now – back to my roots. Back to Welsh valleys – yeah. Which is actually sort of true, as it happens. Not a purely conscious choice but hey… let’s stay in the now, man.

So this photo doesn’t really fit the bill.

Exhibit B, m’lud.

byron1

In this one I think I was aiming for a little bit arty, a little bit edgy here as well. Black and white as well – rad eh?

Note the indistinct painting behind that should say ‘look at me I’m an artist’. In actual fact it was a drawing my young pre-school child did and, like the pretentious, nurturng , supportive parent I am – I put it in a frame and hung it on the wall.

That’s the image I think I’m going for here. Kind to children. Maybe I need a small animal to be rescuing, or a certificate of my support of the RSPCA somewhere, just on the edge of shot.

Also note my stern, unsmiling look. This is partly, mostly, based on being a serious artist. It’s also partly based on my arm getting tired holding the camera. This must have been the twentieth shot I had taken as it really is difficult to focus the camera at this angle. .

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, also note a radical change – indistinct clothing – proletariat clothing. No shirt and tie for me, man. I’m no slave to the system. You don’t catch me working for the man. Well, actually you do. I was working for the Civil Service office in Southport at the time.

Still, it looks a little better than exhibit A, even though it is 2,000% more pretentious. And it is probably one of the world’s first selfies. God I was so ahead of my time.

I shall continue my quest and get back to you ………………….

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Why Do You Play Golf?

Why Do You Play Golf?

There’s a fundamental question you need to ask yourself when you play golf. This is not the obvious question golf books / non golfers would suggest the questions you ask yourself are;

it’s not;
a. how much am I  willing to spend on the game ? or
b. how much time am I willing to commit ?

Those aren’t real questions. Once you’ve got ‘the bug’ you know what the answer to those questions will be;
a. as much as I can afford  and then some more
b. see answer to a. above

No, the fundamental question to ask about golf is, “What do I want to get from a round of golf; enjoyment or getting the lowest score?”

How you answer this question will influence your whole approach to the game. I read a book from John Daly recently and his first chapter was all about… turning up early and practicing – the irony, I thought. However it made absolute sense though. If you are serious about getting the lowest score you can then you need to spend 20 minutes or so warming up. Otherwise you will lose 3 shots each round (a conservative estimate to me).

How many players in your club spend 2 minutes let alone 20 practicing before a round? Stretching and taking 3 swings with a 5 iron don’t really count.

If you want to play golf for fun then don’t leave the house until 5 minutes before your tee time. Or, stay in the bar until someone comes in to tell you your playing partners have teed off. However, don’t be surprised when you come in with another 100+ round.

It may well not be as straightforward as that though. You, like me, may well feel that you really want to score as low as you can because that’s where the fun is. That’s the challenge. So we may occasionally get to the club a few minutes early and have a quick half-hearted putt before we stroll to the first tee.

Part of the problem is not a big deal but just requires some thought and a little courage. In psychology / management jargon it’s about making a choice – Do you want to look good? Or do you want to get the job done?

A classic example of ‘looking good’ instead of ‘getting the job done’ crops up when you are 3 feet short of the green. How do you deal with shots just off the green. Do you, like me, sometimes choose a pitching wedge from 6 feet wide of the green rather than use a putter?  I know a putter will get me closer on 8 out of 10 occasions yet somehow it doesn’t feel right. I feel that I should use a wedge. There’s a pressure on me, a macho, male thing about having to copy the professionals. I can see it in the faces of most of my playing partners – they all feel the same. They’d rather lose a hole going for that ‘tiny gap between the trees and fading it around the corner’ shot than adopt the sensible ‘just chip it back on the fairway’ route. This isn’t everyone – just most of them. The one that doesn’t do this plays off scratch. Perhaps there’s a lesson there.

Ironically the main problem comes when I’ve hit the best drive of my life on the shortish par 5 7th. I know now that I should hit a nice iron, chip over the pond and have a putt for a birdie.
However…. there are demons in my head saying;
“Go on, get a 3 wood and go for it.”, “When will you ever get the chance of doing this again?”, “Go on – wimp.”
So I do and it goes in the pond, I duff the chip, 3 putt and hit driver off every tee thereafter and come in at double figures over my handicap.

So are you saying be boring and don’t take any risks?
Well not really – I’m advocating take a sensible risk and don’t sulk if it goes wrong and don’t carry on taking risks if it works… if you’re committed to getting the best score you can. If you committed to having fun then, in the words of the enigma that is John Daly, “Grip it and rip it.”

However if you are committed to getting a lower score, as I am, then perhaps the next time I’m on the edge of a par 4 in 2 I’m going to reach for a putter, lag it up and tap in for a par……. well, maybe as long as none of my regular playing partners are watching.

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‘Bring Me the Head of Sergio Garcia’ Tom Cox – review of perfect book with perfect title

tomcox

“Here. Listen to this bit ….. After he was disqualified for playing the wrong ball he drove off thinking of the only consolation he had. The only hole he had played properly. Listen – “I smiled to myself: the first hole was supposed to be the hardest, and at least I could give myself a pat on the back for completing that. As if on cue, my clubs fell off the back of the buggy.’”. I stood there waiting for my partner to laugh or cry – she did neither. She didn’t really get golf.

“So what about his cat? “, she added. “This was before the cat… well he peed on his bag…. but it doesn’t matter. Oh forget it.” She really didn’t get golf.

Bring me the Head of Sergio Garcia’ is an amazing book. It’s the perfect blend of stupidity, humour, pathos, stubbornness and golf. It is the first novelish / biographyish book about golf that really works. I had, unfortunately, been given one of Dan Jenkins’ appalling tomes a few months ago and it had almost ruined my taste for any golf books.  I’m so glad I bought Tom Cox’s book. It restored my faith in writing about golf and made me incredibly jealous at the same time. He writes so effortlessly and apparently casually that you know it has taken a long time and a great deal of care. It’s pitched (pun intended) perfectly for all of us middle aged, used to be good at something once, sportsmen / writers who want to believe ‘they could have been contenders. It’s hilarious. Buy it. Now.

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Learn Welsh With Byron – Lesson 1

bale

Lesson 1 – How to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in Welsh

It’s quite straightforward.

Just follow the table below (kindly provided by clwb malu cachu ( www.clwbmalucachu.co.uk ) ) – assuming of course you know whether you want to speak in existential present, past or future, imperfect, imperfect preterite, or inflected preterite or, of course, inflected future.

We’re simple folk.

Next time – How to swear in Welsh.

Interrogative Yes No
Existential present
is/are there? oes? oes nac oes
Existential imperfect (past)
was/were there? oedd? oedd nac oedd
Existential future
will there be? fydd? bydd na fydd
Present
am i? ydw i? wyt/ydych nac wyt/ydych
are you? (wyt) ti? ydw nac ydw
is he? ydy/yw e? ydy nac ydy/yw
is she? ydy/yw hi? ydy nac ydy/yw
are we? ydan ni?/(yd)yn ni? ydych/ydyn nac ydych/ydyn
are you? (y)dach chi?/
(yd)ych chi?
ydw/ydyn nac ydw/ydyn
are they? ydyn nhw? ydyn nac ydyn
Imperfect (written)
was i? oeddwn i? oeddet/ oeddech nac oeddet/ oeddech
were you? oeddet ti? oeddwn nac oeddwn
was he? oedd e? oedd nac oedd
was she? oedd hi? oedd nac oedd
were we? oedden ni? oedden nac oedden
were you? oeddech chi? oeddwn/oedden nac oeddwn/oedden
were they? oedden nhw? oedden nac oedden
Imperfect (spoken)
was i? o’n i? o’t/o’ch nac o’t/o’ch
were you? o’t ti? o’n nac o’n
was he? oedd e? oedd nac oedd
was she? oedd hi? oedd nac oedd
were we? o’n ni? o’n nac o’n
were you? o’ch chi? o’n nac o’n
were they? o’n nhw? o’n nac o’n
Future
will I (be)? fydda i? byddi/byddwch na fyddi/ fyddwch
will you (be)? fyddi di? bydda(f) na fydda(f)
will he (be)? fydd e? bydd na fydd
will she (be)? fydd hi? bydd na fydd
will we (be)? fyddwn ni? byddwn na fyddwn
will you (be)? fyddwch chi? bydda(f)/byddwn na fydda(f)/fyddwn
will they (be)? fyddan nhw? byddan na fyddan
Inflected preterite (simple past)
did i…? -es/-ais i? do naddo
did you…? -est ti? do naddo
did he…? -odd e? do naddo
did she…? -odd hi? do naddo
did we…? -on ni? do naddo
did you…? -och chi? do naddo
did they…? -on nhw? do naddo
Preterite of ‘bod’
have I been (to)? fues/fu^m* i? do naddo
have you been (to)? fuest ti? do naddo
has he been (to)? fu(odd) e? do naddo
has she been (to)? fu(odd) hi? do naddo
have we been (to)? fuon/fuom* ni? do naddo
have you been (to)? fuoch chi? do naddo
have they been (to)? fuon nhw?/fuont hwy* do naddo
*more formal
Inflected future
will I? -a i? do naddo
will you? -i di? do naddo
will he? -ith e/o? do naddo
will she? -ith hi? do naddo
will we? -wn ni? do naddo
will you? -wch chi? do naddo
will they? -an nhw? do naddo
Galla – can
can I? alla i? gelli/galli/gallwch na elli/alli/allwch
can you? alli/elli* di? galla na alla
can he? all e? gall na all
can she? all hi? gall na all
can we? allwn ni? gallwn na allwn
can you? allwch/ellwch chi? galla/gallwn na alla/allwn
can they? allan nhw? gallan na allan
*elli di is more common
Medra (north) – can
can I? fedra i? medri/medrwch na fedri/fedrwch
can you? fedri di? medra na fedra
can he? fedr* fo? medr na fedr
can she? fedr hi? medr na fedr
can we? fedrwn ni? medrwn na fedrwn
can you? fedrwch chi? medra/medrwn na fedra/fedrwn
can they? fedran nhw? medran na fedran
*often pronounced ‘fedar’
Gallwn – could
could I? allwn i? gallet/gallech na allet/allech
could you? allet ti? gallwn na allwn
could he? allai fe? gallai na allai
could she? allai hi? gallai na allai
could we? allen ni? gallen na allen
could you? allech chi? gallwn/gallen na allwn/allen
could they? allen nhw? gallen na allen
Medrwn – could
could I? fedrwn i? medret/ medrech na fedret/fedrech
could you? fedret ti? medrwn na fedrwn
could he? fedrai fo? medrai na fedrai
could she? fedrai hi? medrai na fedrai
could we? fedren ni? medren na fedren
could you? fedrech chi? medrwn/ medren na fedrwn/fedren
could they? fedren nhw? medren na fedren
Byddwn – would
would I? fyddwn i? byddet/byddech na fyddet/fyddech
would you? fyddet ti? byddwn na fyddwn
would he? fyddai fe? byddai na fyddai
would she? fyddai hi? byddai na fyddai
would we? fydden ni? bydden na fydden
would you? fyddech chi? byddwn/bydden na fyddwn/fydden
would they? fydden nhw? bydden na fydden
Baswn – would
would I? (fa)swn i? (ba)set/(ba)sech na (fa)set/(fa)sech
would you? (fa)set ti? (ba)swn na (fa)swn
would he? (fa)sai fo? (ba)sai na (fa)sai
would she? (fa)sai hi? (ba)sai na (fa)sai
would we? (fa)sen ni? (ba)sen na (fa)sen
would you? (fa)sech chi? (ba)swn/(ba)sen na (fa)swn/(fa)sen
would they? (fa)sen nhw? (ba)sen na (fa)sen
Dylwn – ought to/should
ought/should I? ddylwn i? dylet/dylech na ddylet/ddylech
ought/should you? ddylet ti? dylwn na ddylwn
ought/should he? ddylai fe/fo? dylai na ddylai
ought/should she? ddylai hi? dylai na ddylai
ought/should we? ddylen ni? dylen na ddylen
ought/should you? ddylech chi? dylwn/dylen na ddylwn/ddylen
ought/should they? ddylen nhw? dylen na ddylen
Dylswn – ought to/should
ought/should I? ddylswn i? dylset/dylsech na ddylset/ddylsech
ought/should you? ddylset ti? dylswn na ddylswn
ought/should he? ddylsai fe/fo? dylsai na ddylsai
ought/should she? ddylsai hi? dylsai na ddylsai
ought/should we? ddylsen ni? dylsen na ddylsen
ought/should you? ddylsech chi? dylswn/dylsen na ddylswn/dylsen
ought/should they? ddylsen nhw? dylsen na ddylsen
Hoffwn – would like
would I like? hoffwn i? hoffet/hoffech na hoffet/hoffech
would you like? hoffet ti? hoffwn na hoffwn
would he like? hoffai fe? hoffai na hoffai
would she like? hoffai hi? hoffai na hoffai
would we like? hoffen ni? hoffen na hoffen
would you like? hoffech chi? hoffwn/hoffen na hoffwn/hoffen
would they like? hoffen nhw? hoffen na hoffen
Leiciwn – would like
would I like? leiciwn i? leiciet/leiciech na leiciet/leiciech
would you like? leiciet ti? leiciwn na leiciwn
would he like? leiciai fe? leiciai na leiciai
would she like? leiciai he? leiciai na leiciai
would we like? leicien ni? leicien na leicien
would you like? leiciech chi? leiciwn/leicien na leiciwn/leicien
would they like? leicien nhw? leicien na leicien

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