Tiny questions with quick answers - continuing thread


Shwmae - Hi all :flushed::clown_face:

Quick question!

I hear different Welsh speakers say the placenames Aberystwyth (aber-ist … or aber-uh’st) and Powys ( po-wys … or … Pow-ys) differently?
Is there a correct pronunciation for them or both ways fine? Am I hearing dialectal influence?

Connections with other languages

Going by ‘pure’ Welsh phonetics, aber-uh’st and po-wys could be said to be technically better, but basically…

yes and yes :grinning:


So who says the non-technical version? I heard the less technical version from people living in Mid Wales growing up, but confusingly my welsh speaking family would say different pronunications for the same place when speaking English or Welsh!? never got an explanation lol


I grew up on the Mid Wales border where the less tech version was mainly used and we always referred to Aberystwyth as Aber.
Ll was pronounced L even though people lived in villages with names starting with Ll. I still find this difficult to remember to use with local place names.
Lots of the villages with Welsh names are still pronounced in English form and where there is also an English name this is generally used instead of the Welsh one.
I try my best to use Welsh dialect and name when I can but this is strange to most people and you end up repeating yourself or explaining.
This will be a hard nut to crack.


probably due to english influence that if they aren’t pronouncing ll

Ravenstein in 1878, a German-English geographer-cartogher did a tour of Britain and Ireland in 1878 notes exact lingual boundaries. Even back then the Maesyfed area (radnoreshire) had lost most of its Welsh between 1650s and 1850s



Yes, I’ve noticed this on occasions too - I’ve wondered though whether it might be something to do with the fact that when a Ll village name is preceded by many prepositions the Ll is mutated to L, e.g. Dw i’n mynd i Lansilin, and a lot of the time when people mention a village they’re talking about going to/coming from it, so L might tend to get used all the time instead of Ll??


As a child, although I didn’t sense animosity, I definitely got the feeling it wasn’t “the done thing” to use Welsh pronunciation. Not from my parents, my mother always wanted to learn and would have loved SSIW and my father was a South Walian and proud.


Another example is Gwersyllt in the Wrexham area (north) … it used to be right on the lingual boundary which had existed for a long time. Although the lingual border has shifted westwards, the legacy is that many non-Welsh speakers there pronounce it like any English resident… Gwuh-silt … no pronunciation of ll.

English monoglot influence


Interesting map, got the magnifying glass out and I used to live on the border of an over 60% area, Llynclys. So near and yet so far.


Swydd Amwythig/ Shropshire? I read that Trefonen was majority Welsh speaking until 1930s but that was literally the last stand of indigeneous Welsh within the English border. Almost all Welsh speakers in England today are self-taught or immigrants from Wales. (I say almost all…because who knows…did it ever truly die out in trefonen from farming families?)


Just my non-native take on it:
Yes it’s similar in South Wales. It’s difficult to be certain of how to pronounce some place names, depending on which language you are speaking and not wishing to come across as pedantic or on the other hand, lazy. Ive been corrected both ways in the past, but mostly in a helpful way.

The wy sound can be tricky: oo-i or oy. Also Ll , ae, au, eu, etc. There’s no infallible geographical pattern to it - I find it easier to just copy someone. Or a couple of people, one speaking Welsh and one English :slight_smile:

Anyway, if it gets weird, I keep this in my back pocket - Not many people pronounce my town, Newcastle properly (not even me).

A question to finish, please:
What is the correct “whys” pronunciation in Gwenwhyseg, please?.

Connections with other languages

To add a small point to Richard’s reply, you will often hear on soaps, and similar “beth sy?”
(or “be’ sy?”), which more or less means “what’s up with you?” or “what’s the matter with you?” or similar.


Yes, my aunt’s family, only a couple of miles to the south of Trefonen were a Welsh-speaking farming family.

Am byd bach! I was only talking about Llynclys with @RichardBuck last week at our meetup in Oxford


Sorry to disturb, but the quick one:
In the FB group " Dw i’n dysgu Cymraeg / I’m learning Welsh" we (well I did actually) opened the discussion about the ti/chi thing and it came to my eye that “chi”, no matter who is it addressed to, is always written with non-capitalized c. In my language there’s a rule that when you address someone respectively you use word “Vi” (Chi in Welsh) written with capital V (it would be C in Welsh). This is out of respect and because normally written “vi” would address the group of people you’re talking to (just like in Welsh with chi).

Now the question: Does the rule of writing Chi with capital C, when addressing someone respectively, aply in Welsh too or not?

I thought I’ve seen it written that way some times but putting question in front of me by another member of the group, I’m not sure anymore. She said to me that she never have seen Chi written that way even in the respective manner.

Thanks for the answer.

Tatjana :slight_smile:


Its not a rule in Welsh to capitalise the formal. Only propernouns (names, and placenames) get capitalised in Welsh. :slight_smile:


Hi John – I didn’t reply at first in the hope that someone more authoritative might chime in.

You’ve got a spelling mistake there, and I’m not sure if it’s an actual mistake (i.e. you’re not sure of the spelling) or just a typo or an autocorrect thing, so please forgive me for correcting that first: it should be Gwenhwyseg, with the w and the h the other way round.

Wikipedia says that it’s from Gwennwys, meaning the inhabitants of Gwent. The presence or absence of the -h- in it is something that happened in Middle Welsh depending on whether or not the next syllable was stressed – so it’s like brenin/brenhines for ‘king/queen’, or aros/arhosodd for ‘to wait/he waited’. I guess the original change of -nt- to -nh- is just another of those word-internal mutations, as it looks so much like fy nhadau.

But if you already knew all that, and your question was basically just, “is it more ‘whee’ or ‘oi’ or more ‘hooey’?” on the stressed syllable, then I’m probably no help, except insofar as replying brings it back to the bottom of the thread again where maybe someone who knows better will notice it…


I’ve heard it pronounced on S4C and Radio Cymru where the stressed syllable sounded to me more like the old-fashioned pronunciation of the English word ‘whisk’ minus the ‘k’ (i.e. like ‘hwis’) - but I wouldn’t take that as gospel…


Great, thanks to both of you. The stuff about the H helping with the stress really helps with the spelling also. I seem to naturally and incorrectly put it after the W, as in what where, whisk :wink: etc. So hopefully that will trigger my brain from now on.

Thanks also for the whisk type pronunciation. I thought that it would be, although strange that S Wales seems to be the area for the alternative oy type sound.

Just thinking that there must be certain words that ignore the N/S divide. Like “Bwyd” and yet “Bwyta”.


bwyta as in in bitta or boyta. I’m in the bitta camp myself - sounds better to me, but then again gwen hoy sig seems better than hwsig, but then again who really cares and I’m generally wrong.


Is neu also pronounced ne?

I heard it on the radio, it really seemed to mean neu in a list, but the u was nowhere to be heard.
Well after all the similarities we’re finding with latin and Italian, this would be going the opposite way, because means nor here! :smiley: