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The Quirkiness of Welsh English

Updated on August 22, 2010
Get wise in Wengish
Get wise in Wengish

Even as a native English speaker, you may be forgiven for going to Wales and missing out on or misinterpreting half of what is being said. It is true that there is a strong accent which varies from place to place within as little as a few miles. Even Welsh people from South Wales might have trouble decifering what those from the north are saying.

It is in the south, in the Valleys, that Wenglish is at its strongest which is what we are really focusing on here, the are a few quirky little classics for your information if ever you should find yourself in "God's Country":

1# I loves that song, I do - This style of phrasing is found all over South Wales. Other popular examples are "You knows it", "I hates ......". Whilst being a bit peculiar grammatically, the meaning is clear and you shouldn't get confused.  It's a nice turn of phrase really.

2# Tidy Butt - Be sure never to confuse this one with having any reference to bodily parts. This is used as the English might say "nice one, mate" or, basically, OK. The term "butt" is a familiar way to say "friend" and may also be found in its full form "butty boy".

3# Now, in a minute - most frustratingly, as a newcomer to the country, you will hear this all over the place. It leaves you uncertain as to whether the speaker means now or in a minute, and comes as one phrase, to mean, as far as I have been able to ascertain, "soon".

4# Where to - as in the phase "Where to is the library?". Where the extra little "to" comes in nobody seems to know, but most likely you won´t have any problems understanding the meaning when it comes to it.

5# Lend/Borrow - this one on the other hand has got the potential to confuse anyone and everyone. Take everything you know about when to normally use these verbs (Can you lend me your pencil? Can I borrow your car?) and reverse it, leaving you with sentences like "I´ve just lent 50 quid off me mam".

6# Whose coat is that jacket? - a general favourite, which has become a bit of a catchphrase throughout. It is used to mean "whose coat is that?"

7# By here - pronounced by yur - and means simply "here" used in sentences such as "sit by here" (sit here).

8# Smooth/Scram - the English stroke cats, dogs and rabbits whereas the Welsh smooth them, while the cats, dogs and rabbits scram their owners in Wales, which means to scratch in England.

So there you have it, a few phrases to help you on your way round the beautiful country of Wales. Check out the Wenglish Guide (where to is the link? Ah yes, by there), there's a lot more detail in there!


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    • profile image

      Chris 10 months ago

      Now in a minute- means the task you require me to complete is on my list. However it has low priority.

      The word now can mean soon.

      The wife: "Chris, can you bring the washing in off the line?"

      Me: "Yeah, I'll be there now "

      5 minutes later

      The wife:" You said 5 minutes ago you'd bring the clothes in"

      Me:"I said I'll do it now"

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      I love this, and having visited Wales (and being descended from Welsh and Cornish forebears), I can relate well to what you write. A really interesting hub.