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Useful Welsh Phrases

Updated: Mar 2, 2023

It is important to understand why the whole of the UK should fight to ensure the Welsh language survives. It isn't a job for native Welsh only, it is rooted in the very heart of our combined history, and we all have a part to play in ensuring it survives. Please do take the time to read the little bit of background I've written on the left.

Gwynedd, the county we are situated in, has the highest percentage of Welsh speakers in Wales, 65%. This is due to the areas economic success in the 1800s from the slate mining trade. The slate trade was a purely Welsh speaking industry. For a lot of people in the local area, Welsh is their first language despite the adversity the Welsh have faced through history trying to hold on to their culture and language. Did you know Welsh is borne from the only indigenous language of the UK (English is NOT) and it is argued that it may actually be the oldest in all of Europe. It evolved from Brythonic which everyone in Wales, England and Southern Scotland spoke until the Romans invaded in 43AD. English was a product of the invaders, and began to wipe out the Brythonic languages. As some food for thought, you may want to look up the history on the Welsh Not, and the translation of the bible to Welsh. Also - did you know that 'Wales' actually means foreigner or outsider and was a term put on the Welsh from the invaders. The native name for the country is Cymru (cum-ree) which comes from the Brythanic 'combrogi' which means 'fellow countryman'. Isn't that beautiful? It will mean the world to our community if you would try out some phrases whilst you are exploring. It may not seem it right now, but Welsh is actually quite phonetic, and is a beautiful language to learn.

The language itself is so old, that modern words don’t tend to have a translation, so sometimes, you will hear Welsh being spoken with a mixture of Welsh and English words, and sometimes even whole sentences. We call these ‘borrowed words’. The language is so old that the letters K, Q, V, X, and Z are not even included in the official Welsh alphabet, but are, in modern times, found in these borrowed words.

Letters a few you'll see around: DD = nasal 'th' as in 'the' U = 'i' as in 'tin' Y = 'u' as in 'urn' LL = airy 'th'. put the tongue on the roof of your mouth and blow air out from the side of your tongue CH = 'ch' as in 'Loch Ness' F = 'v' as in 'very' G = is always hard like 'got'

oh and learn to roll your Rs! so try the place name Dolgellau Dol geth l(make the th airy) l-eye try another, Machynlleth Mach (like loch) un leth (make the l airy) try another, Yr Hen Ficerdy (the old vicarage) err hen vick-err-dee Phrase

  • Thanks = Diolch = dee-och ('och' like in 'loch')

  • Thanks so much = Diolch yn fawr = dee-och un var ('un' like the french for one, un)

  • No probs/No problem/Dont mention it = Dim prob = dim prob

  • How are you/Hi = Sut mae = sit-my ('my' like in 'my cat')

  • Bye = Hwyl = hoy-l ('hoy' like in 'ahoy!')

  • You good? = Ti'n iawn? = tin ee-a-wn (but smooth it together like one syllable)

  • very good thanks = da iawn diolch = da ee-a-wn dee-och

  • Hello = Helô = hello

  • Good morning = Bore da = bor-e-da ('e' like in 'met')

  • Good afternoon = Prynhawn da = prinn-awn-da ('awn' like the 'ou' in 'mound')

  • Good evening = Noswaith dda = Nos-waith-dthar ('wai' like in 'waiter')

  • Good night = Nos da = noss-da

  • Welcome = Croeso = kroy-so

  • I'm John this is Jackie = John ydw i, dyma Jackie = John doo-ee, damma Jackie

  • Whats your name? = Beth ydy'ch enw chi? = Beth-erderch-enoo-chee (the ch are both as in loch)

  • Cuppa? = Paned = pah-ned

  • I love Wales = Dw i'n caru Cymru = doo-in carry cum-ree Numbers

  • Un - One - 1

  • Dau - Two - 2

  • Tri - Three - 3

  • Pedwar - Four - 4

  • Pump - Five - 5

  • Chwech - Six - 6

  • Saith - Seven - 7

  • Wyth - Eight - 8

  • Naw - Nine - 9

  • Deg - Ten - 10

Places ‘Llan’ - a bit like 'parish of' 'Cwm' - valley 'Aber' - near water

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