SSi Forum

Llefrith or llaeth


I’ve seen other bits on the forum about this. I’ve just switched to North Welsh after doing the introductory South Welsh course. Makes sense because it’s Betws y Coed that I visit most often. Just reading about the north/south divide on milk and the general opinion is that llaeth stops around Dolgellau. But in the Co-op in Llanwrst, four miles down the road, they have a Llaeth dy department so I’m sticking with llaeth.


I look at all languages as methods of communication. I would always go firstly with what will make the person I am speaking with understand. If the person understands both then I would go with what I find most comfortable.

For example I live in the south and am very fortunate that I live in Pontcanna in Cardiff which has a number of shops with Welsh speakers so I can practice (I started to learn Welsh in August but life obstacles appeared so my partner and I started to learn again this week). If you want to stick with “llaeth” because it’s most comfortable then more the power to you :smiley:


When I was in Caernarfon for the recent Parti Penblwydd, someone making me a cup of tea asked me if I wanted llefrith. I was suddenly too tongue-tied to answer!


The fact that a shop (which is in effect part of a chain when it comes to signage, I would reckon) uses “Llaeth” does not imply that this word is favoured by locals. I see both “Llaeth” and “Llefrith” in shops in Caernarfon, where most everyone says “Llefrith”. More likely, the sign suppliers are based in “Llaeth” country, or the management person who specified the sign is from that persuasion.

I can and do accept that people will use all forms of tafodiaith (local dialect), but I would have expected Betws-y-Coed to be in Llefrith country. The place does attract quite a mix of people, though, so maybe people will say either of the “LL” words for the white drink from cows. Some people may even say M-I-L-K, but we can help them, can’t we :wink: ?


Llaeth is also the word for dairy (adjective), so if you’re seeing signage in a supermarket, that would be one explanation.


Llaethdy/llaeth-dŷ/llaeth dŷ is common throughout Wales as a word used for the dairy (house)/milk house - where the milk is stored and cheese and the butter produced. So it would be normal to see ‘llaethdy’ as a word for the dairy section in a shop or supermarket. I’ve also seen it used on holiday cottages which are converted farm buildings.

In north Wales, llaeth on it’s own means buttermilk - sometimes you’ll hear the term llaeth enwyn. But milk is still llefrith and using llaeth in certain situations in north Wales may result in a helping of buttermilk… :wink:


That clears it up nicely. Thank you. Since Latin at school I have had an interest in the root of words and, strangely enough, llaeth has always suggested in my mind a picture of cream rather than milk - to ‘cream off’ something. SSi Welsh is a fantastic learning method. I was fluent with the South Wales introductory course but as I worked through the intermediate South Wales course I felt, with great respect, that I was assimilating too many colloquialisms and abbreviations so, as it is Betws y Coed that I visit often, I switched to the North Wales course and I am just going through the North introductory course to make sure before moving on to the intermediate North. I find Northern Welsh just a bit more poetic and lyrical. Does that make sense? At the farm where I stay I have heard ‘Betws y Coed Welsh’ described as ‘Biblical Welsh’ and I kind of see the point especially as Bishop Morgan translated the bible into Welsh at Ty Mawr Wybrnant all those years ago. So, thank you for such an excellent course. I must learn now to go back to my North Wales accent for ‘Cymraeg’.



That’s curious!
For me instead, it was one my first “oh crazy, there’s Welsh words that look like Italian!” :smiley:
Llaeth = latte = milk, even though they don’t really sound very similar. But still, it’s much easier to remember than the other.

p.s. By the way…I enjoy all accents, but if you asked me which one sounds more poetic and lyrical I would certainly say South! I suspect it’s all very subjective. :slight_smile: