Useful Welsh phrases you can learn in Lockdown

Are you like us pining to get back into the hills, onto the beaches, into the towns and villages of North Wales? While we can’t visit (for now), we can plan for when we do.

How about learning a few useful Welsh phrases?

Next time you visit your favourite bar of cafe here, try greeting the owner or the person behind the bar in Welsh. It can be great fun having a go, and Welsh speakers are more than happy to help if you get stuck.

So let’s have a look at some useful words and phrases you can practice while at home in Lockdown.

General Greetings and Phrases

The great news here is, most of these are phonetic. Where they’re a little tricker to say we’ve added a guide in brackets:

Helo: Hello (how easy is that?)

Bore da: Good morning

Prynhawn da: Good afternoon

Nos da: Good night

Dw i’n dysgu Cymreg (dew een disgi cumrayg): I’m learning Welsh

Su’ mae (S’mae): How are things?

Sut dach chi (You’ll hear it said as S’dach ee): How are you?

Da iawn, diolch (Dai yown, diolch): Very well, thanks

Os gwelwch yn dda (click this link for a pronunciation guide!): Please

Croeso (croy-zo): You’re welcome

Bendigedig: Marvellous or beautiful

Tara ‘wan (or often Ta-ta!): Bye now

Hywl (huel): Also means goodbye

Numbers

One: Un (een)

Two: Dau (die)

Three: Tri (tree)

Four: Pedwar

Five: Pump (pimp)

Six: Chwech (Chwaych – tricky, it’s worth hearing it said and repeating)

Seven: Saith

Eight: Wyth (u-ith)

Nine: Nau (now)

Ten: Deg

Weather

Su’ mae’r tywydd (s’mae t’wyth): How’s the weather?

It’s – Mae’n

Raining: bwrw glaw (buru-glau)

Snowing – bwrw eira

Windy – wyntog

Cold – oer (oy-r, roll the ‘r’)

Sunny – heulog (haylog)

Pronunciation tips

  • ‘ch’ is pronounced as in ‘loch’
  • ‘dd’ is pronounced as the ‘th’ in ‘this’. So heddlu (police) is pronounced ‘hethlee’
  • ‘w’ makes an ‘oo’ sound
  • ‘ll’ is pronounced by placing your tongue as if to say ‘l’, then blowing out of the sides. It takes a bit of practice! It doesn’t quite sound like a ‘k’, however, so it’s not ‘klanberis’!
  • ‘u’ makes an ‘i’ sound, which is why heddlu is ‘hethlee’ and not ‘hethloo’
  • ‘f’ is pronounced as a ‘v’. So on the road, araf (slow) is pronounced ‘arav’
  • ‘ff’ is pronounced as ‘f’, so Ffestiniog is pronounced exactly as it looks

Another useful tip: when saying words with more than one syllable, the emphasis falls on the second to last syllable. So you say bendiGEDig, LlanDUDno or LlanBERis.

So when you do return to North Wales (and we know you will!), why not give some of the words and phrases mentioned above a try? You could be quite the expert by then, and ready to impress your family and friends with a little local lingo!