Brythonic language spoken natively in Wales
Phrasebooks > Welsh phrasebook

Welsh (Cymraeg) is a language spoken by around 20% of the population, or around 600,000 people, in Wales (according to the 2011 Census). There is a sizable Welsh-speaking diaspora in the rest of the UK, but especially in England, along the border and in its larger cities. The language is also spoken by several thousand people in the Chubut province of Argentina, as well as by substantial numbers of people scattered around the world. All Welsh speakers old enough to attend school in Wales also speak English, while those in Argentina speak Spanish.

Pronunciation guideEdit

Welsh is a relatively phonetic language, with most letters having only one pronunciation. Complications may arise with the various consonantal digraphs, particularly "dd" which is represented in English as "th" as in "breathe", while "th" is represented in English as "th" as in "think"; "ll" is a famously difficult (and common) sound for non-Welsh speakers to produce - made by positioning the tongue at the top front of the mouth and blowing, and represented here as "lh". "Ch" is always pronounced like the German name "Bach" or the Scottish "loch"; the sound which appears in the English word "church" is represented by "ts".

There are relatively minor pronunciation differences between northern and southern Welsh, most notably that "i" on the one hand and "u" and "y" are two distinct sounds on the other in the north, while in the south these letters are pronounced identically as the sound of "i".

Unless overridden by an accent mark, the stress in Welsh words nearly always falls on the last but one syllable of a word. As syllables get added to words, for example to denote a plural or a female person of a particular occupation, the sound of a word can change dramatically.

Welsh is written in a version of the Latin alphabet containing 28 letters, including 8 digraphs which count as separate letters for collating purposes (and crossword puzzles): a, b, c, ch, d, dd, e, f, ff, g, ng, h, i, l, ll, m, n, o, p, ph, r, rh, s, t, th, u, w, y.

The letters j, v, x and z do not exist in normal Welsh usage, but have been adopted from English for limited use e.g. in personal names. "K" is regarded as redundant in Welsh as the sound is always represented by "c", but it is found in the prefix "kilo-", although "cilo-" is always acceptable.

Grammatically, Welsh is relatively complex with two grammatical genders, masculine and feminine, which all nouns are assigned to, and also masculine and feminine forms of the numbers "two" "three" and "four" which have to match the gender of the object being counted; there are also two separate counting systems, decimal (base 10) and the more traditional vigesimal (base 20). The phenomenon of mutation is a characteristic of the Celtic languages, where the initial letters of words change depending on the grammar of the sentence, which can make tracking words down in a dictionary difficult.

VowelsEdit

Vowels in Welsh can have accent marks, most commonly the circumflex (^), called the to bach (little roof), which lengthens the sound of the vowel, and the acute (´), which shortens it. Occasionally the diaresis appears, dividing two vowel sounds from each other. Vowel sounds tend to resemble those of major continental European languages rather than English.

There are seven vowels in Welsh, which have both short and long forms. The following sounds are only approximations in English:

a
like "pat" and "father".
e
like "pet" and "pear".
i
like "pit" and "machine".
o
like "pot" and "port".
u
In South Wales, like "pit" and "machine".

In North Wales, more like a French "u" as in "tu"

w
like "u" in "put" and "oo" as in "moon".
y
like "i" in "pit" and "machine".

ConsonantsEdit

b
like "b" in "bed".
c
like "c" in "cat".
ch
like "ch" in German "Bach" or Scottish "loch".
d
like "d" in "death".
dd
like "th" in "the".
f
like "v" in "van".
ff
like "f" in "fun".
g
like "g" in "garden".
ng
like "ng" in "pong". Sometimes, like in "finger".
h
like "h" in "heart".
l
like "l" in "link".
ll
place the tongue at the top of the mouth, and blow.
m
like "m" in "meet".
n
like "n" in "news".
p
like "p" in "pen".
ph
like "ph" in "philosophy".
r
like "r" in "red" (well rolled, as in Scottish pronunciation).
rh
an aspirated, breathy "r".
s
like "s" in "state".
si + vowel (NOT a consonant, but a sound)
like "sh" in "shore".
t
like "t" in "time".
th
like "th" in "think".

Common diphthongsEdit

Only southern forms unless otherwise stated. English approximations are also given.

ae
like "eye".
ai
like "eye".
au
like "aye", with a rounded closing sound. When used as the plural marker, often pronounced "ah" in the north and "eh" in the south.
aw
like "ow!".
ei
like "ey" in "hey!"
eu
like "ey" in "hey!", but with a rounded closing sound.
ew
like "eh-oo" said quickly.
ey
like "ey" in "hey!".
iw
like "you".
oe
like "oy" in "boy".
oi
like "oy" in "boy".
ou
like "oy" in "boy".
uw
like "you".
wy
like "oo-ee".
yw
like "you" (in monosyllables).
yw
like "uh-oo" (in polysyllabics).

The differences between some of the diphthongs are often very subtle.

Phrase listEdit

BasicsEdit

Hello.
Helo. (Hello)
Hello. (informal)
S'mae? (s-my? (north) shoo-my? (south))
How are you? (formal)
Sut ydych chi? (north) Shwd ych chi? (south)
How are you? (informal)
Sut wyt ti? (north) Shwd wyt ti? (south)
Fine, thank you.
Iawn, diolch. (yown, DEE-ol'ch)
What is your name? (formal)
Be' ydy'ch enw chi? (bay UHdi'ch ENoo ch'ee?)
What is your name? (informal)
Be' ydy dy enw di? (bay UHdi duh ENoo dee?)
My name is ______ .
______ ydy f'enw i. (_____ you ven-oo ee.)(South) ______ (North)
Nice to meet you.
Braf cwrdd â chi. (Brahv corth ah khi)
Please.
Os gwelwch chi'n dda. (Ahs guWELLuch in tha)
Thank you [very much].
Diolch [yn fawr]. (DEE-ol'ch [un vowr])
You're welcome.
Croeso. (CROY-so)

There are no exact equivalents of "yes" and "no" in Welsh; the concept is conveyed grammatically with regard to agreement between the person and tense by indicating agreement or disagreement e.g. "yes there is" or "no there is not", which is said in different ways depending on how the question was phrased. If the question begins "Oes...?" or "A oes...?" ("Is there...?") then the reply is "oes" or "nac oes"; if the question begins "Ydy...?" ("Is...?") then the reply is "ydy" or "nac ydy" etc

Yes.
Ie (ee-yeah)
No.
Na (Nah)
Excuse me. (getting attention)
Esgusodwch fi. (es-gis-OD-oo'ch vee)
Excuse me. (begging pardon)
Esgusodwch fi. (es-gis-OD-oo'ch vee)
I'm sorry.
Mae'n ddrwg gen i. (My uhn th'roog gen ee)
Goodbye (Formal)
Da bo chi. (Da BO ch'ee)
Goodbye (Informal)
Hwyl! (hooill)
I can't speak Welsh [well].
Alla i ddim siarad Cymraeg [yn dda]. (Alh'a ee thim SHARad kym-RYE-g [uhn tha])
Do you speak English?
Ydych chi'n siarad Saesneg? (UD-ich ch'een SHARad SAYES-neg?)
Is there someone here who speaks English?
Oes rhywun yma sy'n siarad Saesneg? (Oyss RHEEW-in UMma seen SHARad SAYES-neg?)
Help!
Help! (Help)
Look out!
Hendiwch! (HEN-dyoo'ch!)
Good morning.
Bore da. (BOR-eh dah)
Good afternoon.
Prynhawn da. (PROINhaun dah) (North)
Good evening.
Noswaith dda. (NOSS-why-th thah) (South) (NOSS-waith-thah) (North)
Good night.
Nos da. (NOHS dah)
Good night (to sleep)
Nos da. (NOHS dah)
I don't understand.
Dw i ddim yn ddeall. (DWEE thim in THEEall)
Where is the toilet?
Ble' mae'r ty bach? (Blay my'r tee bahch?)

ProblemsEdit

NumbersEdit

0
dim (dim)
1
un (een)
2
dau (die) (m); dwy (doo-ey) (f)
3
tri (tree) (m); tair (tire) (f)
4
pedwar (PED-war) (m); pedair (PED-ire) (f)
5
pump (pimp); pum (pim) before a noun
6
chwech (ch'way'ch); chwe (ch'way) before a noun
7
saith (sayeth)
8
wyth (oo-ith)
9
naw (now)
10
deg (day-g); deng (deng) before a noun
From this point, the first term is the vigesimal form, the second is the decimal form. Replace "dau", "tri" and "pedwar" with "dwy", "tair", and "pedair" as appropriate.
11
un ar ddeg (een ar thayg); un deg un
12
deuddeg (DAY-theg) deuddeng (DAY-theng)before a noun; un deg dau
13
tri ar ddeg (tree ar thayg); un deg tri
14
pedwar ar ddeg (PED-war ar thayg); un deg pedwar
15
pumtheg (PUM-theg), pumtheng (PUM-theng)before a noun; un deg pump
16
un ar bymtheg (een ar BUM-theg); un deg chwech
17
dau ar bymtheg (die ar BUM-theg); un deg saith
18
deunaw (DAY-now); un deg wyth
19
pedwar ar bymtheg (PED-war ar BUM-theg); un deg naw
20
ugain (IG-ine); dau ddeg
21
un ar hugain (een ar IG-ine); dau ddeg un
22
dau ar hugain (die ar HIG-ine); dau ddeg dau
23
tri ar hugain (tree ar HIG-ine); dau ddeg tri
30
deg ar hugain (DAYG ar HIG-ine); tri ddeg
40
deugain (DAY-gine); pedwar deg
50
hanner cant (HAN-ner kant); pum deg
60
trigain (TRIG-ine); chwe deg
70
deg a thrigain (DAYG ah THRIG-ine); saith deg
80
pedwar ugain (PED-war IG-ine); wyth deg
90
deg a phedwar ugain (DAYG ah FED-war IG-ine); naw deg
91
un ar ddeg a phedwar ugain (een ar thayg ah FED-war IG-ine); naw deg un
100
cant (KANT); can (can) before a noun
200
dau gant (die gant)
300
tri chant (tree ch'ant)
1000
mil (meel)
2000
dwy fil (doo-eey veel)
1,000,000
miliwn (MIL-ioon)
number _____ (train, bus, etc.)
rhif _____ (Rheev)
half
hanner (HAN-ner)
less
llai (lhie)
more
mwy (moo-ee)

TimeEdit

now
rwan (ROO-an)[North]; nawr (NOW-r) [South]
later
hwyrach (HOOIR-ach)
before
cyn (kin)
after
wedi (weddy)
morning
bore (BOR-eh)
in the morning
yn y bore (un uh BOR-eh)
afternoon
prynhawn (PRUN-hown) - commonly pronounced p'nown
evening
noswaith (NOSooaith); noson (nosson)
in the evening
gyda'r nos (GIdar nohs)
night
nos (nohs)

Clock timeEdit

one o'clock AM
un o'r gloch y bore (een oh'r glo'ch uh bor-eh) - 1:00 y.b.; 01:00
two o'clock AM
dau o'r gloch y bore (die oh'r glo'ch uh bor-eh) - 2:00 y.b.; 02:00
noon
hanner dydd (HAN-ner DEE-th) - 12:00 pm
one o'clock PM, 13:00
un o'r gloch y p'nawn (een oh'r glo'ch uh p'nown) - 1:00 y.p.; 13:00
two o'clock PM, 14:00
dau o'r gloch y p'nawn (die oh'r glo'ch uh p'nown) - 2:00 y.p.; 14:00
quarter to seven, 18:45
chwarter i saith - 6.45 y.h.
quarter past seven, 19:15
chwarter wedi saith - 7.15 y.h.
half past seven, 19:30
hanner wedi saith - 7:30 y.h.
midnight
hanner nos (HAN-ner nohs) 12:00 y.b.

DurationEdit

_____ minute(s)
_____ munud(au) (MINNID(eh))
_____ hour(s)
_____ awr, pl. oriau (our, plural OR-yai)
_____ day(s)
_____ dydd(iau) (DEEth, plural DUTH-yai)
_____ week(s)
_____ wythnos(au) (OOITH-noss, plural ooith-NOSS-eye)
_____ month(s)
_____ mis(oedd)(mees, plural MIS-oeth)
_____ year(s)
_____ blwyddyn, pl. blynyddoedd (BLOOITH-in, plural blun-UTH-oeth)
daily
yn ddyddiol (uhn dhuh-iol)
weekly
yn wythnosol (uhn ooith-NOSS-ol)
monthly
yn fisol (uhn VIS-ol)
yearly
yn flynyddol (uhn vluh-NUTH-ol)

DaysEdit

today
heddiw (HETH-you)
yesterday
ddoe (THOY)
the day before yesterday
echddoe (ECH-thoy)
tomorrow
yfory (uh-VOR-ee)
this week
yr wythnos hon (uhr WITH-nos hon)
last week
yr wythnos diwethaf (uhr WITH-nos xxx)
next week
yr wythnos nesaf (uhr WITH-nos NESS-av (commonly pronounced "nessa'"))
Sunday
Dydd Sul (deeth seel)
Monday
Dydd Llun (deeth lheen)
Tuesday
Dydd Mawrth (deeth MOW-rth)
Wednesday
Dydd Mercher (deeth MER-cher)
Thursday
Dydd Iau (deeth IAI)
Friday
Dydd Gwener (deeth GWEN-er)
Saturday
Dydd Sadwrn (deeth SAD-oorn)

MonthsEdit

January
Ionawr (ION-our)
February
Chwefror (CHWEV-ror)
March
Mawrth (MOWRTH)
April
Ebrill (EB-rilh)
May
Mai (MY)
June
Mehefin (me-HEV-in)
July
Gorffennaf (gor-FEN-nav)
August
Awst (OWST)
September
Medi (MED-ee)
October
Hydref (HUD-rev)
November
Tachwedd (TACH-weth)
December
Rhagfyr (RAG-vir)

Writing time and dateEdit

Dates are written day/month/year. So if you see 04-12-2003, you know that's y pedwerydd o Rhagfyr, not April 12. A date (18-12-1963) fully spelled out is y deunawfed o Ragfyr mil naw chwe tri (you specify the number of thousands, then the individual number of the hundreds, tens, and units; for years from 2000 onwards say "dwy fil" (two thousand) followed by the significant number, omitting the zeroes - thus 2005 is "dwy fil a phump" (two thousand and five), compared with 1987 which was "mil naw wyth saith" ((one) thousand nine eight seven).

The ordinals are as follows. The feminine form is given with feminine nouns.

1st - 1af, cyntaf
2nd - 2il, ail
3rd - 3ydd, trydydd (m.), trydedd (f.)
4th - 4ydd, pedwerydd (m.), pedwaredd (f.)
5th - 5ed, pumed
6th - 6ed, chweched
7th - 7fed, seithfed
8th - 8fed, wythfed
9th - 9fed, nawfed
10th - 10fed, degfed

Times are either written in the 24 hour clock or with hours and minutes separated by a colon or dot and suffixed by "y.b." (y bore),"y.p." (y p'nawn) or "y.h." (yr hwyr) equivalent to "a.m." and "p.m.".

ColoursEdit

black
du (dee)
white
gwyn (m) / gwen (f) (gwin/gwen)
grey
llwyd (lh'oo-id)
red
coch (KO'ch)
blue
glas (glaas) - note that this word is also used to describe the colour of grass.
yellow
melyn (MELLIN)
green
gwyrdd (m) / gwerdd (f) (gwirth/gwer'th)
orange
oren (ORRen)
purple
porffor or glascoch (POR-for or GLASko'ch)
brown
brown (brown)

TransportationEdit

Bus and trainEdit

How much is a ticket to _____?
Faint yw tocyn i _____ ? (Vy-nt yoo TOK-in ee)
One ticket to _____, please.
Tocyn i _____, os gwelwch yn dda. (TOK-in ee ____ oss GWEL-ookh uhn thah)
Where does this train/bus go?
Ble mae'r trên/bws hwn yn mynd? (blay mire trayn/boos hoon uhn mind?)
Where is the train/bus to _____?
Ble mae'r trên/bws i _____ ? (blay mire trayn/boos i ____)
Does this train/bus stop in _____?
Ydy'r trên/bws hwn yn galw yn _____ ? (Uh deer trayn/bws hoon uhn GA-loo uhn _____)
When does the train/bus for _____ leave?
Pryd mae'r trên/bws i ______ yn gadael? (preed mire trayn/boos i _______ un GAD-ile)
When will this train/bus arrive in _____?
Pryd fydd y trên/bws hwn yn cyrraedd _____ ? (preed veeth uh trayn/boos hoon un KUHR-ithe _____)
a one-way ticket
tocyn sengl
a return/round trip ticket
tocyn dwy ffordd

DirectionsEdit

Where is the _____?
Ble mae'r _____ ? (blay my'r _____)
North
y Gogledd (uh GOG-leth')
South
y De (uh day)
East
y Dwyrain (uh DOOY-rine)
West
y Gorllewin (uh gor-LH'EW-in)

TaxiEdit

Taxi
Tacsi

LodgingEdit

Hotel
Gwesty
Bed & Breakfast
Gwely a Brecwast
Campsite
Gwersyll, Maes Gwersylla
tent
pabell (pl: pebyll)
caravan
carafan
self-catering
hunan arlwyo

MoneyEdit

Pound
Punt
Penny
Ceiniog

EatingEdit

Milk
Llaeth (south), Llefrith (north)
Bread
Bara
Chips (fries)
Sglodion
Fish
Pysgod
Cheese
Caws
Sausage
Selsig
Cake
Cacen, Teisen
Chocolate
Siocled
Coffee
Coffi
Tea
Te
Water
Dŵr

BarsEdit

Pub
Tafarn
Cheers (good health)
Iechyd da
Beer
Cwrw
Bitter
Chwerw
Real ale
Cwrw go iawn
Wine
Gwin
White wine
Gwin gwyn
Red wine
Gwin coch
Half a bottle
haner potel
Crisps (potato chips)
Creision (Tatws)
Nuts
Cnau
whisky
chwisgi
vodka
fodca
rum
rym

ShoppingEdit

Shops
Siopau
Shop
Siop
Dairy
Llaethdy
Bakery
Popty
Butcher
Cigydd
change
newid
open
ar agor
closed
ar gau
buy
prynu
sell
gwerthu

DrivingEdit

road
ffordd
motorway
traffordd
services
gwasanaethau
car park
maes parcio
insurance
yswiriant
accident
damwain
Is there a petrol station here?
Oes na orsaf petrol fan hyn?
Where's the road to Pandy?
Ble mae'r ffordd i'r Pandy?
The road via Gwersyllt is quicker.
Mae'r ffordd drwy Gwersyllt yn gyflymach.
Try to avoid Cefn-y-Bedd.
Ceisiwch osgoi Cefn-y-Bedd.
Is there a prettier route to Brymbo?
Oes ffordd perta i fynd i Frymbo?
Turn left at the old steel works.
Trowch i'r chwith ger yr hen waith dur.
There's nothing to see there.
Does dim byd yna i weld yno.
There's a petrol station in Rossett but Sainsbury's is cheaper.
Mae na orsaf petrol yn Yr Orsedd ond mae Sainsbury's yn rhatach
You can park in Heol Hyfryd for free.
Gewch chi barcio yn Heol Hyfryd am ddim.
Don't park in Bryn Hyfryd it's a rough area.
Peidiwch a pharcio ym Mryn Hyfryd - mae'n ardal ryff.

AuthorityEdit

Police
Heddlu

Fire Station Gorsaf Dan

This Welsh phrasebook is a usable article. It explains pronunciation and the bare essentials of travel communication. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.