Talk:Colloquial Welsh morphology

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References and further reading[edit]

A whole bucketload of references and further reading that can be added to this article can be found here. Uncle G 19:05, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

Limited soft mutation[edit]

I've added some information about the limited version of the soft mutation, which does not mutate "rh" or "ll", and have given instances where it occurs accordingly. However, by doing this I have had to divide the list of contexts in which the soft mutation occurs into a list for the limited version and a list for the full version. As a result, I put all the contexts of the limited soft mutation that I know of into that list, but put the remainder in the list for the full soft mutation: this means that some of the entries for the full list may in fact belong to the limited list, because I'm not sure that all the entries on the full list belong there for certain. Can anyone help? Pobbie Rarr 21:51, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

According to Gramedeg Cymraeg Cyfoes, adjectives following 'rhy' should be in the list for the full version. All adjectives following 'yn' should be in the limited list (however used). (And it has a bunch more cases, of course!) --Dienw (talk) 00:37, 28 March 2009 (UTC)
I think Dienw is right - so therefore 'adjectives used adverbally after yn' should be moved to limited. Consider 'yn rhugl' as in 'siarad cymraeg yn rhugl'(speaking welsh fluently) , 'yn llawn'-fully(talu'r pris yn llawn) , 'yn lleol' locally(prynu'r peth yn lleol), 'yn rhad'(ces i'r peth yn rhad). This adverbal use is given at the site - http://users.aber.ac.uk/bmj/Tr/Cym/tr_rhag.html .

Don't people who say 'yn lawn' and 'yn leol' also say it after the predicatively used yn -e.g. "mae e'n lawn'? It seems that 'yn iawn' is being miss-transcribed as 'yn lawn' in electronic texts. I'll move the text tomorrow if there are no objections. 119.12.185.102 (talk) 03:41, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

Sorry, could you be more specific about what you mean? What text do you intend to move? garik (talk) 15:15, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
One of the elements in the list for full soft mutation is "adjectives used adverbially(after yn)".- it should be in the limited soft mutation list(as it is in the literary Welsh morphology page - where it's included in 'nouns or adjectives used predicatively or adverbially after yn'). I suppose in spoken Welsh any degree of diversity could occur but complying with the literary Welsh is fine here so why add more complexity? I'm looking for some authoritative source to prove me wrong.119.12.185.102 (talk) 13:32, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
I think you're quite right. In fact I've gone ahead and made the change. I've also added a note about variation in the spoken language and altered the bit about the spread of soft mutation in spoken Welsh and added a source. In particular I removed the "jin a thonic" joke (basically OR) and the claim that the change is due to the mechanisms no longer being understood. Given the spread of literacy and education over the last few centuries, the proportion of Welsh speakers who have some metalinguistic grasp of how mutation works has almost certainly gone up, not down. garik (talk) 15:39, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

Verb doubts[edit]

I have a little Welsh dictionary (Hippocrene Practical Dictionary) whose verb appendix gives totally different conjugations of "bod", "cael", "mynd" and other verbs. For example:

Bod: present: wyf(ydwyf), wyt(ydwyt), mae/yw/oes, ^ym(ydym), ych(ydych), ^ynt(ydynt) imperfect: oeddwn, oeddit, oedd, oeddem, oeddech, oeddynt future: byddaf, byddi, bydd, byddwn, byddwch, byddant etc.

Cael: present: caf, cei, caiff, cawn, cewch, cânt, etc.

Mynd: present: af, ei, â, awn, ewch, ânt etc.

What are these? Dialectal variations? Why are they important enough to be the only forms in the dictionary? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Cpom (talkcontribs) 01:22, 1 November 2006 (UTC)

The forms in your dictionary are the literary forms, while the forms on this page are the spoken forms. Ultimately I'd like to see the complete conjugations of both the literary language and the spoken language given, although that may be more appropriate for b:Welsh than for this page. —Angr 06:22, 1 November 2006 (UTC)

Nasal mutation[edit]

The article says that nasal mutation is really only used in two circumstances in spoken Welsh, but it doesn't say which two (of the three?) situations are being referred to. Can someone add this information? Thanks. --SameerKhan 07:38, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

I think the two situations referred to are the two where it crosses a word boundary (after fy and after yn); people tend to forget about it occurring after the an- prefix since once a word like annheg has been learned, nasal mutation doesn't have to be actively applied to it anymore. I don't think NM is losing ground after the prefix an-; only in word-initial position after fy and yn. —Angr 07:53, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

Thanks! I see, so people are presumably just memorizing words like annheg instead of productively applying the rule an+teg? Sounds plausible to me. And regarding the "fy" and "yn" situations: you say these two words introduce the only place where people have to really apply the nasal mutation rule (since they presumably know the word with the unmutated consonant first and then have to derive the mutated form in this situation)... are you also saying that in these two places, the nasal mutation is not as commonly used as the soft mutation in the spoken language? So people are always mutating the consonant, but often to the soft consonant instead of the nasal after "fy" and "yn"? Also, I'm curious - what exactly is the status of aspirated mutation in spoken Welsh these days? If anyone has an idea, please let me know. As a phonologist, I'm always curious as to how much abstract phonology can be maintained in a (relatively) endangered language. --SameerKhan 09:58, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

I'm not in a position to comment much about the spoken colloquial language, but my understanding is that if Nasal Mutation is not used after fy and yn, then Soft Mutation is. Likewise with the Aspirate Mutation; as I understand it, when it's avoided in the spoken language, it's replaced by Soft Mutation, not by the absence of any mutation. —Angr 11:04, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

Thanks! --SameerKhan 21:55, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

Another case of nasal mutation is with 'blynedd' and 'blwydd'. According to Gramedeg Cymraeg Cyfoes this occurs after 'pum', 'saith', 'wyth', 'naw', 'deg/deng' and any numeral incorporating the forms 'deg' and 'ugain'. For example, "naw mlynedd". It adds that this formally applied to 'diwrnod', too, but that this is no longer the case. I'm not a speaker so I don't know if the same is true for 'blynedd' and 'blwydd' or not... —Preceding unsigned comment added by 82.6.117.146 (talk) 23:30, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

The aspirate mutation, if unused in the spoken language, is not replaced with the soft mutation - no mutation occurs, so Te a choffi (tea and coffee) can be said as te a coffi. 'c' after 'a' (meaning 'and') is the most common spoken usage of the aspirate mutation, but even that's sporadically applied. Theoretically, coffi a te should be coffi a the but it rarely is. :) YngNghymru (talk) 23:52, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
This is generally true -- though I've certainly heard "te a goffi". garik (talk) 09:12, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
Really? I've never seen that. Although since mutations, like certain vocabulary and verb forms, have a tendency to vary depending on location, preference, formality and all sorts of other factors, that's certainly plausible. YngNghymru (talk) 17:31, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

Welsh syntax[edit]

Noticing that we have articles on Welsh phonology and Welsh morphology, I've created an article called Welsh grammar that links to both, as well as to a currently non-existent article called Welsh syntax. I notice, however, that the Welsh morphology article goes somewhat beyond its remit in treating topics that are really properly syntactic rather than morphological. What are people's opinions? Should we move some of the more syntactic stuff to a new article called Welsh syntax, or rename this one Welsh grammar? garik (talk) 14:35, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

Well, Welsh morphology is already about 40K big, so spinning out the syntactic stuff to Welsh syntax is probably a good idea. I don't feel any great need for an article called Welsh grammar, though. There's no Irish grammar article; it's just a redirect to Irish syntax. —Angr 15:18, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
I suppose it's the purist in me that thinks there should be one — after all, if we make it a redirect, why redirect to syntax rather than to Welsh morphology or Welsh phonology? Both of those are part of Welsh grammar. And I don't see that having a separate page does any harm. garik (talk) 16:35, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
It could redirect to Welsh language then. I just don't see the point of an article that doesn't say anything except "Please see these other articles" but still isn't really a disambiguation page. —Angr 16:39, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
The advantage I see is that it makes it clearer to people what more specific articles are actually available. That said, this information is available with only slightly more difficulty on the Welsh language page, so I see your point. garik (talk) 16:50, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
Though that's not to say that a Welsh grammar article couldn't be expanded to include more general information about the structure of Welsh, perhaps with reference to related languages. garik (talk) 17:37, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

I don't like articles that are just a list of links to other articles (disambiguation pages excepted). The main Welsh language article does not need to link to a Welsh grammar article. Just have it link to Welsh morphology and Welsh syntax. FilipeS (talk) 17:58, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

I tried preparing a Welsh syntax article a while ago but ran out of steam. I was thinking of something like:
  • Nominal syntax: adjectives; genitive by apposition; pseudo-participles
  • Verbal syntax: VSO order; bod + yn; soft mutation on complements; impersonal constructions (or maybe impersonals should go in morphology?)
  • Subordinate clauses: lack of relative pronouns; particles y, mai, taw
  • Prepositions? These seem to straddle morphology and syntax, with amdana i, amdanat ti, etc involving the former and ar fy nghyfer i, ar dy gyfer di, etc the latter.
We'd have to work some other things in there, like general word order, fronting, passives, and indirect objects. The hard part is giving a complete overview without going into detail about every little thing. Strad (talk) 00:11, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
Irish syntax, which I started many years ago and to which I am still the major contributor, isn't a great article, but maybe someone could be inspired by it for how to get a Welsh syntax article off the ground. —Angr 17:06, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

I have started a Welsh syntax article and have posted some issues on the talk page that need the attention of editors. Strad (talk) 04:09, 30 August 2008 (UTC)

Aspirate mutation[edit]

As a newcomer to Welsh language learning, I wonder about the appropriateness of the term "aspirate mutation". Maybe the spelling is tricking me into something, but isn't <ph> /f/ and therefore a simple voiceless labio-dental fricative, rather than an "aspirated fricative" as the article suggests? The same goes for /k/ → /x/ and /t/ → /θ/. Note that the latter isn't even the fricative counterpart of the plosive /t/, which should be /s/. If I get this correctly, are we in the presence of a term ("Aspirate Mutation") that bears little relation to the real phonology involved? I'm looking forward to the comments of anyone who knows better. JREL (talk) 19:56, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

Yes, you're right. The term Aspirate Mutation has a venerable history behind it, but is phonologically inaccurate, as the mutation involves spirantization (fricativization), not aspiration. —Angr 20:25, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

Mood conjugations[edit]

I said yesterday that Welsh has a subjunctive mood but my edits have been undone. Why? Welsh has a subjunctive mood some I'm changing it back. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.27.43.124 (talk) 12:37, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Did you see the edit summary of the revert? This page deals only with colloquial Welsh, not literary Welsh. I'm not sure colloquial Welsh does have a subjunctive, at least not beyond some fixed idiomatic phrases. —Angr 14:51, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
I see what you mean. Of course the subjunctive isn’t used in colloquial speech so maybe it shouldn’t be included if this article talks about colloquial Welsh. However the other point I mentioned about the affirmative, interrogative and negative forms should be included since they are conjugations of the most commonly used auxiliary verb which is used in colloquial speech. So maybe I’ll put that back and get rid of the subjunctive.
On a more general note, surely an article on Welsh grammar should at least have a section about literary Welsh with the numerous verb inflections (including subjunctive) shown? 86.27.43.124 (talk) 22:14, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
I've been thinking about that. I wonder whether it wouldn't make more sense to have a separate article on Literary Welsh where that's covered, and even, if necessary, a separate Literary Welsh grammar or Literary Welsh morphology. I think trying to put everything into a single article will wind up getting confusing. —Angr 22:24, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
The only true subjunctive I can think of in Colloquial Welsh is in the fixed expression da boch chi, where boch is a subjunctive form of bod. The claim of Colloquial Welsh having conjugation for mood is iffy: there is a set of conditional endings that can be used like a subjunctive, but morphologically the conditional set is part of system of tense inflection consisting of present, preterite, future, conditional, etc. I think saying that Colloquial Welsh has a contrast of mood would lead readers to expect a present indicative, a present subjunctive, a preterite indicative, a preterite subjunctive, etc. Strad (talk) 06:34, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Maybe we should avoid mentioning mood in this article but we should definitely keep the bit about the affirmative, interrogative and negative forms since they are used everyday in colloquial Welsh. I wonder how many Welsh speakers know that the subjunctive exists, it's limited to Literary Welsh (which must obviously be learnt by native speakers) so it shouldn't be mentioned here but we should definitely make an article on Literary Welsh. I think one article will suffice with a grammar section. I don't think there's that much to say about it. I'm a native Welsh speaker but I'm not fluent in Literary Welsh (not many people are) but I'll have a go. Is that okay with everyone? Glanhawr (talk) 15:33, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
The subjunctive is there in 'tra bo...' and 'da bo, da boch', etc. as well as being in the linguistic competence of most able speakers and readers. The division between 'colloquial' and 'literary' is in itself artificial - they are not separate languages but registers of the complete linguistic system. You wouldn't have two pages for English grammar, one which listed 'colloquial' forms such as 'I dunno, you dunno, he dunno' and the other which listed 'I do not, you do not' etc. It's a misnomer. Much of the difference between 'literary' and 'colloquial' Welsh is merely pronunciation, anyway, and it's again misleading and unnecessary to distinguish. One wouldn't (again) have a 'Colloquial English' grammar where 'I lurve, you lurve' was classed as a 'variant' of 'I love, you love etc.' 06:20 27th Feb. 2009.
Not being a speaker, it is difficult for me to say, but isn't the situation a bit different for Welsh in that formal Welsh is much more different from spoken Welsh than formal English. Formal/literary English is very similar to "standard" spoken English - to the sort of English a non-English speaker might be taught, say. But formal/literary Welsh is much more different from any form of spoken Welsh a non-Welsh speaker might be taught. So if you're learning Welsh, you learn both whereas somebody learning English wouldn't (typically) learn two forms of the language (to anything like the same extent). For example, compare talwyd fi/ces i fy nhalu , telid fi/ro'n i'n cael fy nhalu and telir fi/dw/bydda i'n cael fy nhalu. I can't really think of an equivalent in English. The spoken forms are certainly not the equivalent of 'dunno' or 'lurve', are they? Similarly, the emphasis on concise verbs, the use of formal forms of the present tense of 'bod', the dropping of pronouns and the use of formal forms of prepositions makes the differences much more than a matter of pronunciation. (Though as a learner, I really wish it were little more than a matter of pronunciation... I could escape all the "translation" exercises from formal to informal and vice-versa!) --Dienw (talk) 00:01, 28 March 2009 (UTC)
For what it's worth, we do have separate pages describing the grammar of colloquial English variants like AAVE. It seems like it would be a difficult feat to cover the grammar every register of a language in a single page. Strad (talk) 16:11, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
The lead does state that this article is going to discuss only Colloquial Welsh, but in practice it doesn't. The tables of verb forms give all sorts of things that are found only in the literary language. —Angr 16:17, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
Probably this has been discussed before, but surely it would make sense to either move this page to Colloquial Welsh Morphology (and perhaps add a separate article on Literary Welsh Morphology), or discuss both in this article. garik (talk) 16:37, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
I agree - it would be better to call this article Colloquial Welsh Morphology and then create another one called Literary Welsh Morphology - literary Welsh is far more fusional and synthetic and would never, ever be spoken. I'll move it if everyone agrees. As far as this article goes I think it's fine, of course there are overlaps between the two standards but everything here would be considered colloquial. Glanhawr (talk) 15:12, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Soft mutation[edit]

I have removed "any word following a noun phrase" from the list of "Common situations where the full soft mutation occurs" because, in the absence of an example, it is not clear what this circumstance amounts to. -- Picapica (talk) 09:41, 13 June 2009 (UTC)

That seems a pretty clear circumstance to me. Could you explain what's not clear about it? An example off the top of my head would be "Ci du welodd y dyn". garik (talk) 10:40, 13 June 2009 (UTC)

It's "what it amounts to" that isn't clear. Any word following any noun phrase. 1) Isn't that "any word" in fact always the inflected verb of a focused sentence? 2) "Ci du" is a noun phrase, all right, but "Nhw" in, for instance, "Nhw welodd y dyn" isn't. Isn't this more to do with subjects such as "Ci du", "Nhw", etc. occupying the positional slot of the question words "Pwy?" / "Beth?" (which themselves trigger mutation -- although I don't think this is yet mentioned in the article) in such focused sentences? Have to dash at the moment, so haven't had time to phrase that more elegantly (or look up the grammar books!), but do you see what I'm getting at? -- Picapica (talk) 12:39, 13 June 2009 (UTC)

Here are my responses:
1) No. For example, it could be the object of the sentence (e.g. gwelodd y ci ddyn). 2) Both "ci du" and "nhw" are noun phrases. This is something linguistics students always take a while to get their heads around! A noun phrase can consist of a single word, and that word can be a pronoun. 3) As you can see from the example of "gwelodd y ci ddyn", this is not only something about focused sentences.
Certainly this is a generalisation that doesn't necessarily have much to do with psychological reality. It's not clear that Welsh speakers have in their heads something like a rule "soft mutate words directly following noun phrases". But that's an issue for all grammatical descriptions! It's not clear what kinds of rules speakers of any language carry around in their heads.
It is worth adding that, although the noun phrases in question are not restricted to the the focus of focused sentences, almost all other cases are the subject of the sentence. So you could break this down to: any word following the subject of a sentence and any word following a noun phrase in focus position. I notice that the article only mentions objects following the subject, but this is too restrictive. But in any case, the point is that the statement "any word following a noun phrase in Welsh has soft mutation" is true (of those words that mutate) and more concise than mentioning focus and subjects specifically. It also includes pwy and beth (though these would be included under the subject rule if we mentioned that separately). garik (talk) 13:07, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
(Edit conflict, not a response to Garik) 1) No, "any word" is not always the inflected verb of a focused sentence. The soft mutation of direct objects of finite verbs (e.g. Prynodd y ddynes feic) is included here, as is the soft mutation of other words that immediately follow the subject of a sentence, e.g. Gall y dyn ddreifio'r car and All y dyn ddim dreifio'r car. Soft mutation also occurs after prepositional phrases (which by definition themselves end with a noun phrase), as in Yr oedd Prŷs yn rhagweld [yn 1721] dranc yr iaith Gymraeg; Mae [yn yr ardd] gi; Mae chwant [arnaf i] fynd adref; Wrth [i Aled] ddod allan, mi aeth Mair i mewn. And soft mutation even occurs after other phrases, such as an adverbial phrase in yn ffaelio ['n glir lân] ddyscu'r gelfyddyd. The fact that mutation occurs after prepositional phrases and adverbial phrases in addition to noun phrases has led researchers such as Bob Borsley and Maggie Tallerman (who these examples come from) to postulate the "XP Trigger Hypothesis", according to which any word c-commanded by any syntactic phrase (regardless of type) undergoes soft mutation. 2) According to syntacticians, pronouns like nhw constitute NPs by themselves. So do empty category NPs like "little pro" and wh-trace: Gwelodd (pro) ddraig; Pwy a welodd (t) ddraig?. +Angr 13:20, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I neglected to mention prepositional phrases, adverbials and the like. The Borsley-Tallerman description is rather compelling. garik (talk) 13:41, 13 June 2009 (UTC)

Dubious[edit]

The claim that there is an officially identified "Colloquial Welsh" and "Literary Welsh" is dubious. As Literary Welsh morphology is a substantial duplicate of this article, I intend to merge it here. Neelix (talk) 21:11, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

After merging "literary" and "colloquial" articles, it all became rather messy. Here are some problems that I have spotted: 1)the literary pronouns "ef", "chwi" and "hwy" are not given. At the same time "hwythau" appears in the emphatic forms section. 2) in 3rd person plural only the form "talen" is given, while in literary Welsh it should be "talent" (which is not followed by a pronoun, unlike talen - this should also be mentioned) 3) literary forms (like euthum, aethost) are ommited in the irregular verbs section 4) literary negations with "ni(d)" (which actually causes the mutation in negation) are not mentioned. Could someone please mend it! I myself cannot, as English is not my first language. However artificial or "dubious" the literary-colloquial distinction may seem, it nevertheless exists and you cannot just get rid of literary forms.

83.21.51.164 (talk) 18:07, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

I don't know what you mean by "officially identified", but it is certainly not dubious that Colloquial Welsh and Literary Welsh are distinct, and that part of their distinction includes differences in morphology much more significant than the differences between colloquial and literary registers in many other languages like English. If Literary Welsh morphology is indeed a substantial duplicate of this article, that just means more work has to be done on highlighting the differences rather than that two articles need merging. —Angr (talk) 12:13, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
I can't believe this! Neelix, pardon me, but are you drunk? Do you know the first thing about the topic? "Literary Welsh morphology" wasn't a duplicate of "Colloquial Welsh morphology", the endings and morphemes differ in many, many ways, as mentioned by others, especially in the verbal and pronominal paradigms, and a more than cursory look at the articles would have shown that, but you apparently never looked at them for more than two seconds and probably just noticed that the "Mutations" sections look the same (because the mutations really are the same, unlike many other features). The claim that the two varieties are different, which you consider "dubious", is found in all the literature cited in the article: Gareth King, in Modern Welsh, writes, on p.2, "A distinction must first be made between the Colloquial (or Spoken) Welsh in this grammar and Literary Welsh. The difference between these two is much greater than between the virtually identical colloquial and literary forms of English - so great, in fact, that there are good grounds for regarding them as separate languages" - and so on, throughout the book. As the other two users say the same thing, I'm going to revert your misguided changes.--Anonymous44 (talk) 14:43, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Well, I don't think the articles should be merged, but there are great difference between colloquial and standard grammar in other languages as well. In German for example, the difference is huge. General features of colloquial German are: almost complete avoidance of the genitive case; loss of weak singular noun inflection; avoidance of the simple past and the past subjunctive (except for some frequent verbs); complete loss of the present subjunctive and more. Nevertheless, there are no "Grammars of Colloquial German". There are just grammars, and some of them have notes on colloquial usage. I suppose that would work with Welsh too. But let's leave it as it is. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 109.40.72.19 (talk) 19:49, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

Broken link[edit]

"Clic Clic Cymraeg (a Welsh course)" is broken on october 23rd 2011.--DarkFlemy (talk) 03:57, 24 October 2011 (UTC)

Emphatic Pronouns[edit]

I have been learning Welsh for over three years, and although I am familiar with the Emphatic Pronouns listed here, and have no problem understanding their use by a Welsh speaker, I have absolutely no understanding as to when I should use them myself (beyond a couple of stock phrases such as "Finnau chwaith" or "Finnau hefyd"). Is there anyone out there that could expand upon the section here? Even if a couple of examples need to be given, this would surely be better than what is given here (which doesn't explain anything). — Preceding unsigned comment added by 188.30.136.202 (talk) 18:18, 28 November 2012 (UTC)

Adjectives uninflected[edit]

I'm not a Welsh-speaker nor a linguist, but the article states that feminine adjectives are "usually not inflected" before saying that they receive an initial mutation. To my understanding, that is inflection. We're used to describing endings or vowel changes as inflection, but why shouldn't initial mutations be inflections? Especially if using them or not using them marks the difference between two genders. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 109.40.72.19 (talk) 19:31, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

There's a separate set of inflections involving vowel affection (gwyn/gwen; tlws/tlos); that's what's being referred to. There were many of these historically, but most of them are archaic, even in Literary Welsh. These adjectives are subject to soft mutation in the appropriate environment, like everything else. But, there are other things than gender agreement that can trigger soft mutation. GeckoFeet (talk) 22:31, 22 June 2013 (UTC)