The Welsh Language

welsh language spearers

 

Welsh is an ancient Celtic gaelic language, of the same family as Cornish and Breton gaelic. Scots and irish gaelic are of a slightly different root. To illustrate the differences, my mother who spoke Welsh before she learnt English, could understand the Breton tongue, but was lost with the Irish gaelic!

Today around 20% of all people in Wales speak Welsh fluently, so the language is very much a living language. The visitor to Wales is unlikely to have to speak any Welsh, but an understanding of the language will make your trip more enjoyable

The spoken language is lyrical and flowing, poetic in sound. But the written language is difficult to come to grips with. Here are a few aids to understanding

  • aber = estuary
  • afon = river
  • bach = small
  • bont = bridge
  • bwlch = pass
  • bryn = hill
  • caer = fort
  • coed = wood
  • coch = red
  • cwm = valley
  • dol = meadow
  • fawr = large
  • glan = shore
  • gwyn = white
  • llan = holy settlement
  • llyn  = lake
  • maen = boulder
  • mynydd = mountain
  • ogof = cave
  • pen = headland
  • pistyll = waterfall
  • pwll = pool
  • rhiw = slope
  • rhos = moor
  • traws = across
  • tre = town
  • ty = house
  • ynys = island
  • ystwyth = winding
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