Cymraeg (Welsh): Pronunciation

Outsider

Senior Member
Portuguese (Portugal)
Note: This is a spinoff thread. Click on quotes below to see the original discussion.
Come to think of it, wouldn't some Welsh people actually pronounce the name of their country a bit like "wheels", i.e., phonetically /wi:lz/, with a long /i/ sound as in "feat" or "leaf"?
This is exatly what I'm saying, on BBC Nes 24 headlines I heard /wilz/. It was not a long /i/.
If we're going to be such purists, then the correct way to say Wales is Cymru (in Welsh, please). :p ;)
 
  • It has been a life-long pleasure listening to English people trying to pronounce Llanelli, a town near my place of birth.:D

    I went to school in Wales - Llanrwst. I really can't understand why the LL sound presents so many difficulties for so many non-Welsh people - well the Anglo Saxon types anyway. Put tip of tongue behind the middle of your top teeth and gently blow air out of the mouth...bingo! A genuine LL sound. Then ask your way to Machynlleth, Llwyngwril, Llangollen, Llanystymdwy, Llanfairmatharfarneithaf and if you have the time:

    Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllantisiliogogogoch.

    :eek:
     
    The general consensus seems to be that Welsh people say "whales" and English people say "wails"! Take your pick.:)

    On one other contribution, My Catalan and Spanish students can do the "tongue between the teeth and blow out of the side of the cheeks" bit to pronounce "ll" with only a little practice.

    That doesn't surprise me one single bit......other nationalities seem to master the Welsh LL sound in no time at all but it seems to be quite beyond the ability of most English people, or perhaps a desire to do so. Sadly there does seem to be a tendency among many English people generally to make fun of the Welsh language and Welsh people generally. :(

    A Greek lady singer by the name of Nana Mouskourri (hope I got the spelling right!) sang the whole of the Welsh national anthem.... in Welsh...and Welsh speaking people said it was word perfect...including the LL and CH sounds.
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    A Greek lady singer by the name of Nana Mouskouri (hope I got the spelling right!) sang the whole of the Welsh national anthem.... in Welsh...and Welsh speaking people said it was word perfect...including the LL and CH sounds.
    Although I do not speak Welsh, I find it a beautiful language in writing. I've read a bit about its phonology, and I think the hardest sounds to pronounce would be rh, nh, and ngh. :)
     

    DavyBCN

    Senior Member
    UK - English
    Although I do not speak Welsh, I find it a beautiful language in writing. I've read a bit about its phonology, and I think the hardest sounds to pronounce would be rh, nh, and ngh. :)

    I'm quite surprised - but pleased - that this thread is still being permitted in the English Only forum.:) If you want to try a really difficult word in Welsh try Arglwydd - the Welsh word for God. I will absolutely refuse all and any requests to write it using English phonetic symbols!
     

    Porteño

    Member Emeritus
    British English
    Tks Westmercian

    I've been trying to remember that last name for ages! Of course to a 'Southerner' it's quite impossible to pronounce although I recall a school friend (of Welsh ancestry) who used to conjugate as in 'amo, amas, amat for fun!
     

    DavyBCN

    Senior Member
    UK - English
    Can you please giv us the pronunciation? Anyway why do you say purist? is it possible to pronouce as in my last post?

    PS: It's really impossible to understand welsh, I heard S4C Digital but it is really impossible...

    The pronunciation of Cymru is quite easy - the English word come followed by re as in reed. I was born in South Wales and eagerly await North Wallians (now there's a thread in itself) with a different pronunciation.
     
    I went to school in Wales - Llanrwst. I really can't understand why the LL sound presents so many difficulties for so many non-Welsh people - well the Anglo Saxon types anyway. Put tip of tongue behind the middle of your top teeth and gently blow air out of the mouth...bingo! A genuine LL sound. Then ask your way to Machynlleth, Llwyngwril, Llangollen, Llanystymdwy, Llanfairmatharfarneithaf and if you have the time:

    Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllantisiliogogogoch.

    :eek:


    The trouble is, most people have never heard it and cannot imagine what it sounds like. One needs to hear that , then it all fits nicely. What sound could you compare it to?
     

    DavyBCN

    Senior Member
    UK - English
    The trouble is, most people have never heard it and cannot imagine what it sounds like. One needs to hear that , then it all fits nicely. What sound could you compare it to?


    At various times I have asked Spanish, French, Catalan, Italian, Portugese, Argentinian and Italian students if they have anything similar in their languages, always with a negative answer. There is definitely nothing like it in English. I have also been unable to find anything on the net which gives it as a separate sound, only examples of Welsh being spoken which does not highlight the pronunciation. Sorry folks.:( . Will post here if I find anything.
     

    Y CYMRO

    New Member
    WELSH & ENGLISH
    The pronunciation of Cymru is quite easy - the English word come followed by re as in reed. I was born in South Wales and eagerly await North Wallians (now there's a thread in itself) with a different pronunciation.

    As a Welsh speaking North Walian I would pronounce Cymru differently but to a South Walian. This is down to the difference in the pronounciation of the letter 'u' which as explained by DavyBCN is similar to 'ree' in South Walian but the North Walian pronounciation cannot easily be defined in written English because I cant think on an English equivalent. (Suffice to say that this topic would be a thread in itself)
     

    Y CYMRO

    New Member
    WELSH & ENGLISH
    I'm quite surprised - but pleased - that this thread is still being permitted in the English Only forum.:) If you want to try a really difficult word in Welsh try Arglwydd - the Welsh word for God. I will absolutely refuse all and any requests to write it using English phonetic symbols!

    Arglwydd actually does not translate as 'God' but as 'Lord', God translates as 'Duw'. A term such as 'The Lord God' would translate as 'Yr Arglwydd Dduw', with 'Duw' mutating to 'Dduw'. Mutation in the Welsh language is very complex and certainly could take up a whole sting in this forum.
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    There are a few links at the bottom of the Wikipedia page I linked to above. See the link in my previous post, for instance.
     
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