SSi Forum

Tiny questions with quick answers - continuing thread


I hope that this is a quickly answered question…
Someone wrote to me: “Iawn 'te” meaning (I believe ) “Ok, right”.
I also heard it ‘in the wild’ in our village the other day. Now, knowing the propensity for Welsh to have lots of words with an apostrophe replacing various letters I wonder if anyone knows what the actual full word for " 'te " is? It’s one of those little things that annoys me - sad creature that I am… :joy: Diolch!


It comes from ynteu, meaning in that case/therefore/then, so “iawn 'te” = “ok then” :slight_smile:


Brilliant! Diolch o waelod calon! Thanks very much! I can sleep better now!:wink::slight_smile:


Yes, people will stick “te” on the end of a friendly encouragement/gentle question. As we do with …then?

I mentioned once before that I once tried spinning out a Tesco kiosk purchase to get the max Gogledd conversational practice I could for the price of a packet of mints. The lady was very kind but in the end said “trio dy cerdyn te” (Try your card, then) :smiley:


I’m still doing some Duolingo and the voice pronouncing the words is always terrible - but sometimes also makes me wonder:

down ni = why is the “o” pronounced like in English down and not like in ond or meicrodon?


The w changes the sound as in English as you mentioned, so it’s ow. Having said that there are two “o” sounds anyway. As in dros and bod. :slight_smile: I believe that the second one ocasionally has the to bach over it: ô, but as far as I know, only when it wouldn’t be obvious, even to a first language speaker, as in Lôn.


Wait I’m still confused :sweat_smile:

Do you mean that in Welsh, the presence of the “w” after the “o” makes it sound as if it was written “daw”?
Unfortunately I can’t think of another word in Welsh with “ow”!!

Then… isn’t dros and bod the same “o” sound?
Or you mean about length, like that bod a bit longer - right?
But still an “o” not quite like an “a” like in bowl!


Fair point. Sometimes the longer ô is a southern pronunciation, but not always. Golau is the longer o.

regarding the ow it does have a bot more of an o sound than the English equivalent. I’m going to struggle to think of non-English examples now.

OK, so only dowch and down at the moment. Dowch does have an o sound. The others are Rownd, brown, prowd, etc.

So its an English/Scottish border ow sound, with more of an o than an a. Not S English ow. :slight_smile:

Edit: Now I’m annoying myself, you could be right for S Wales after all. Not for N Wales though.


Ok, enough examples for now and you know I aim at S Wales accent anyway so I guess I’ll be fine! :wink:

p.s. oh and you also know my first trip to England was in Tyne and Wear so!


Ah that’s no good because it would be “Doon” there :slight_smile:


Quite frankly, I think, when someone pronounces “ow” in Welsh as if it were English (down), that it is the fact that they speak English influencing the way they pronounce it. I’ve ever always heard “o” pronounced in Welsh as a regular “o” sound, even when followed by “w.”


I’ll have to complain with Duolingo, then!


What we think of as a “long o” in English isn’t really an ‘o’ sound at all, in terms of how most other languages (including Welsh) do a long ‘o’. With the Great Vowel Shift back in Middle English we moved a whole load of vowels around in a chain of sound changes which basically took us from something much more like Italian or German values to something much more English – so, for example, mouse/mice went from being pronounced moose/meece (English spelling; mūs/mīs if we want to look more Latin) to modern maus/mais, which left goose/geese free to go from gohs/gehs (gōs/gēs) to modern gūs/gīs. The mice moved out and then the geese moved in, so to speak.

But just like English “long i” became a diphthong, so that ‘wine’ no longer had the same vowel as vino, but instead was much more like mai (Latin/Italian-style spelling), ‘o’ did the same. Dictionaries that use the International Phonetic Alphabet often represent “long o” with a [ə] (‘schwa’ - the neutral vowel sound of ‘a’ or ‘the’ or German final -e) followed by a kind of u-sound [ʊ]: the English “long o” [əʊ] is thus a sort of a neutral grunt followed by what’s almost a ‘w’ anyway. Welsh ‘ow’ does sound to me quite a lot like English “long o” (so Welsh down ni almost rhymes with English my own, depending on your English accent), whereas Welsh aw sounds like English ow (awn ni adre or down the pub).

So, yeah – if Duolingo makes Welsh down sound like English down I’m pretty sure it’s wrong for pretty much all Welsh accents, but if it sounds more like English own I would think it’s OK.

(…and all my English examples are basically southern British English, where that makes a difference…)


Is the pronunciation of “(Newydd) ddechrau” the same as “Gwella”?
They sound very similar to me but I’m unsure. Diolch


no, ch and ll make different sounds. ch is like in the word loch (as in Ness!) but ll is an unvoiced L sound (it’s ‘blown’ rather than sounded). Awkward to explain in writing. They can sound similar when you’re starting out, but once you get the hang of them, they are different.


Dw i wedi dysgu bod hi’n ‘bendith’


Good for you! Indeed, bendith seems to have been the consensus when I asked that question five years ago.

Isn't; wasn't; wouldn't; couldn't;can't

Sorry, I hadn’t realised how long ago it was. I’ve just started on the forums today and got a little confused but I’m getting there.


I’m glad you answered it now because now I know the answer too :grinning:


And you’re doing great. Most people don’t realize how much stuff - especially answers to your questions - can be found around the forum. But, as you discovered, some of it has been around a while and newer people may not notice it. So YAY to you for helping other people see this answer!