SSi Forum

Having trouble saying certain sounds or sound combinations? Ask here! Ll / Ch / R / Rh / Ng / U / W




Maybe a trick here is to say it as one word even though you know it’s three words, and you’ll recognise it written down. In speech words tend to nudge up together anyway - we do it in our first languages pretty subconsciously, so it won’t sound wrong.

Craig’s kinda done that in his phonetic spelling above, so use that to practice “nos yn ôl” then to build on that and to thow in some variations, try saying these, starting off slowly and then speeding up:

(I’m going to write them in Welsh rather than phonetically and arranged for speaking practice so they’ll look a bit strange, - the bits in bold are where the stress goes)

Wyth nos-y-nôl (a week ago/last week)
Py thef nos-y-nôl (a fortnight ago)
Pen wyth nos-y-nôl (a weekend ago)

Hope that helps (and hope the way I’ve written it isn’t too confusing)


I am clearly thick. I have always pronouned wythnos and Myfanwy as oo-i-thnos and Muh-vanooi, not ahi or oi!!


Nah, no thickness there. That’s what I say, and I own the name. :grin:


I didn’t know it was 3 words until I found out how to spell it. When I hear it in the lessons it sounds like it’s all one word.

@craigf’s phonetic version seems fairly easy and sounds a bit different from what I was trying to say, but it’s still tricky to say straight after “wyth”. Probably just need to spend an entire wythnos practising saying it. :wink:


As a natural Northerner…

I would naturally pronounce wythnos as oo-ith-nos. An easy way to remember is that it is the word wyth and nos fused together.

I would naturally pronounce Myfanwy as Merv-ann-ooi.

I have always recognised the ooi sound at the beginning of wythnos and at the end of Myfanwy to be exactly (or eggsactly) like the pronounciation of ŵy.

And the same for the ooi/ŵy sound in the middle of…

  • gwyliau - holiday
  • swyn - magic/spell
  • crwydro - to wander
  • mwydro - to moither
  • frwydro - to explode

…and so on. I hope this makes sense. I’m happy to do some recordings if any one would like. :slight_smile:


I think it’s worth reminding everyone that there are many instances of differing pronounciations and so if a suggestion is posted, it’s not necessarily the definitive / most ‘correct’ pronounciation, and that there are more pronounciations and different tricks to training your tongue around them - try them all and then stick with the one that works for you.

The other thing to bear in mind (I’m sure it’s cropped up before on another thread) is that when trying to spell things phonetically without using actual phonetic symbols (which many, including me, are not familiar enough with for them to be useful), we tend to automatically do that in our own accent and what we think as being phonetically right to us can be read differently by someone else and give them the wrong idea.

It’s a bit of a minefield I think - but plenty of listening and speaking practice really makes a huge difference.


Thanks to both of you for what I was wanting - reassurance that I’d be undestood! Which is largely academic as I am in Yr Alban. But it is fun to find just how much of a gog I became over the years before I ever found SSiW!
Am i right that ‘cariad’ means ‘the one I love’ , ‘beloved’ rather than ‘a lover’ which has all sorts of unfortunate connotations in English?


Cariad can also mean ‘a lover’ but you’re right, it’s perhaps more commonly taken as beloved / sweetheart / darling / loved one.


Oddly, that slight R sound would be very typical of someone from New York City; which, as it happens, is where I was born :grin: Had I not left as a child to be raised on the opposite coast, I might well say it that way, too.

Aren’t accents interesting things?


Ah sorry, I mislead you! I’m referring to the shortened version of Mervin/Mervyn (male name) which I would say without the emphasis on the ‘r’. I’m familiar with that New York City accent you mention and know exactly what you mean by that slight ‘r’ sound. But I would say Merv/Merve with the emphasis on the first ‘e’ and wouldn’t sound the ‘r’ at all. A bit like mehve?

Does this make sense at all, or am I just confusing everyone further? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


No, actually, that’s exactly the way I say it. When asked my name, I usually tell people MUH because an awful lot of American English-speakers can’t quite discern that the ‘eh’ is a bit shortened and not drawn out in ‘mehve,’ but somehow, they do hear and understand ‘muh.’ I have no idea why.

You ought to hear the mess that gets made out my last name (Ifans), which is why I threw in the towel long ago and just use Evans for everything but legal forms.

Finesse in both hearing and replicating a language’s peculiar sounds and lilt is a fine art. That’s where I’m really falling down on the job: I have a very distinct flat, West Coast accent which doesn’t play well with speech yn y Gymraeg. I have to work on that.

(edit to take out a couple of extraneous words. Wps)


As Siaron said, there is a bit of …wee/oi and even oowee going on. It’s all pretty subtle, but I’d say that the oi sound is mostly found in some of the Western parts of South Wales.


Really useful Catrin. There is a temptation for us English first language speakers to pronounce “wythnos” as “with-nos” (English vowel sounds), which perhaps one can get away with (especially in rapid speech), but is probably not strictly correct in any Welsh accent/dialect.


I think it’s time we revived this old thread - it could become a really useful resource! :slight_smile:


To detail the thread a little, I would love to be able to roll my 'R’s - I’ve never been able to do it, despite trying since I first moved to Wales as a child some 30 years ago!

"speech therapy" techniques

Hi Ian, I’ve moved your post here in the hope you’ll find more answers. Hope it helps. :blush:


One recent phrase that came up was “Mae’n ddrwg gen i”. That “ddr-” remains difficult for me. I notice I can do it better if I go faster. If I try to draw it out, the transition from tongue-between-the-teeth “dd” to tongue-behind-the-teeth “r” goes through this dead zone where, as Foghorn Leghorn may have said in the Saturday morning cartoons I watched so long ago, “your lips are flapping, but there’s nothing coming out.”

I suspect that part of what’s happening is the “back” of my tongue is trying to help over that transition, which throws the whole thing off.