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Telling the time in Welsh

Learning to tell the time in Welsh can be split into the hours, half past and quarter to, everthing else and a quick nod towards mutations.

The hours

Nouns in Welsh can be masculine or feminine. Time is feminine and the feminine form of 'it is' mae hi'n is used. This is frequently heard as mae'n. The only other words needed are O'r gloch is o'clock and the numbers from numbers 1 to 10

A quick glance at (and listen to) the example above, will show you that the numbers are slightly different to the one to ten that you have learnt previously. They have mutated, and in fact mutate after the yn which is shortened to n.

Half past the hour

Once you know that hanner awr wedi is the Welsh phrase for 'half past', half past the hour is easy to form in Welsh. The Welsh word order (apart from mae hi'n literally 'is she') is identical to the English.

mae hi'n 'it is' hanner awr wedi 'half past' dau 'two'.

Quarter past the hour

As in the above, knowing that chwarter wedi means 'quarter past', the identical structure of the time expressions makes them easy to understand.

Mae hi'n 'it is' chwarter wedi 'quarter past' pedwar 'four'.

Quarter to the hour

i 'to' is the important word to remember. chwarter i 'quarter to' is again used in a similar way to the English.

Mae hi'n chwarter i ddeg 'It's quarter to ten'.

The i causes a soft mutation.

Hanner dydd 'midday' and Hanner nos 'midnight' are also used. Hanner has the literal meaning of 'half', giving the very logical translation of 'half day' and 'half night'.

Using the time

Time is obviously easy to practice. Whenever you look at your watch (or just as likely phone), try and express the time in Welsh.

And as a bonus many Welsh grammatical constructions are similar or identical to the English (and of course many are not), making them easier to learn for us English language speakers.

These time related examples have an identical word order to the order used in English.

Since six o'clock Ers chwech o'r gloch
I don't drink coffee after five o'clock Dw i ddim yn yfed coffi ar ôl pump o'r gloch

See also the numbers 1 to 10, numbers 10 to 20, days of the week and other Welsh phrases.