Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A grammatical note

During last night's meetup the question came up as to why one says nos da (good night) but noswaith dda (good evening). I thought it was because noswaith was feminine and nos masculine, but recourse to my dictionary disposed of that hypothesis - both are feminine. I promised to research the matter, and this is what I found: nos is indeed feminine, and logically should be followed by dda, but (according to my grammar books) it is one of a small number of feminine Welsh nouns ending in "s" which don't cause soft mutation in the following adjective. Wythnos (week) is another example. As a side note, it appears that "night" nouns in general tend to be feminine - e.g. nos (night), noson (evening, night), noswaith (evening, night), noswyl (eve of a religious feast). (References: Stephen J. Williams, A Welsh Grammar; Peter Wynn Thomas, Grammadeg y Gymraeg; Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru). -GRG

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