Dw i, Wi, Rydw i, Rwyf?

Posted: April 29, 2016 in All levels, Canolradd, Sylfaen 2, Uwch

Writing “I am” shouldn’t be this complicated……..

The first I learned was “Dw i”, pronounced all as one word, when I first learned it, I even regularly missed out the gap – Dwi’n – and said “Dween”.  I guess it still sounds more or less the same, but now, at level Uwch, I sure use it less.

Why?  Because we’re learning all about the different forms of “I am” and i’m attempting to give the impression I know what I’m doing.

Both Wi’n and Dw i’n (often written Dwi’n) are spoken forms.  They are commonly used as written forms for new learners (new?) What I mean is – up to level Canolradd/Pellach or maybe even Uwch.  It is more commonplace now, as the language is seeing a revival amongst the youth, with many parents not speaking the language, there is less chance of the passing on their experience of a stiffer, formal Welsh and a more relaxed approach to grammar.

The difference between “wi’n” and “dwi’n” ? Well I’m assured we use “wi’n” in the South, as opposed to “dwi’n” in the North, but I live in South East Wales and as such have heard no evidence in this area (Gwent), I have been taught “Dw i’n” in every class I’ve attended.  I previously wrote that I have never yet said “wi’n mynd“. I realise now that I probably do say it and I’ve recently received a comment from a Welsh speaker in Swansea (Abertawe) who uses this form as a natural part of his speech.

Rydw i is often used in written Welsh, but this is a fairly informal style of writing.  All of these three forms so far mean exactly the same thing. I am.

You’ll know by now that “yn” or “‘n” is used before a verb or adjective, following “I am”.

Wi’n = Dw i’n = Rydw i’n

More formally, “Rwyf” or “Rwy’n” are used.  This is the same word, with “Rwy’ ” having dropped its “f” and having the usual “‘n” added following a vowel.  They are not two different words.

However, to be more formal still, don’t drop the “f” and use “Rwyf yn“.  You’ll note that “Rwyf yn” has developed from a contraction of “Yr wyf i’n” or “Yr ydwyf i’n

The most formal way of writing “I am” is writing it in full. “Yr wyf i’n” but as with the “f“, now the “i” can be dropped and “yn” in its full form, giving “Yr wyf yn” or “Yr ydwyf yn“.

Simple, isn’t it?  Here’s a list of suggested uses.

wi’n / dw i’n   →  spoken/informal written (Postcards, letters between friends?)

rydw i’n  →  informal written (E-mail, work memo’s,biographies?)

rwy’n →  more formal written (Essays, job applications?)

rwyf yn →  yet more formal written  (Official letters, school correspondence)

yr wyf i’n/yr ydwyf i’n → (Formal, literary work)

yr wyf yn/yr ydwyf yn → (V. formal, literary work, older books, the Bible, etc)










  1. K. Willsen says:

    Diolch am hyn! Rydw i’n hoffi y blog hwn.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Enw Cyffredin says:

    Just a comment on the usage of wi’n. This is indeed what I use living near Abertawe but I believe that it also exists in Gwenhwyseg, the traditional dialect of Gwent. Not sure if you’re a Gwentian but don’t rule out wi so easily. 😀


    • Yes, I live in Gwent. One of my tutors is a bit of an expert on Gwenhwyseg – he lectures on it, I’ll mention it to him. He’s a real enthusiast, so will probably talk my hind leg off once he gets started. But we don’t get taught “wi” in any of our lessons. We’re covering more and more of spoken Welsh, dialects, etc. every week, and what we’re taught comes from the course produced by the University of Cardiff. We don’t have our “own” course at my current level (Uwch 3). Thank’s for your comment. I appreciate your input,


    • I’ve changed my article. I hope you’ll approve of the changes.


  3. Eoghan says:

    There used to be an article or webpage which gave …I think it was 52 ways of saying ” I am a teacher (of children) ” in Welsh with the emphasis on the translation of “I am”.

    Yr wyf i athro.

    Yr ydwyf i athro.

    Dw i athro.

    Rydw i athro .

    Etc., etc., etc.

    I have been searching for this article/webpage and cannot find it.

    Has anyone else seen this article/webpage?
    Has it been removed from the internet?

    I would appreciate any help on finding this article/webpage.

    Diolch yn fawr iawn.


  4. Eoghan says:

    I am not sure of the numbers of ways.
    52 seems to ring a bell but it might have
    100 ways. Not sure.

    Diolch eto.


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