- Holidays and Celebrations
Speak Welsh Instantly
Welsh is not generally considered a must-have in a phrase book collection due to the fact that most Welsh people can speak English anyway. Nevertheless, it will still be beneficial to learn some pleasantries while we are on vacation in Wales or speaking to a Welsh person.
The Welsh language is a member of the Brittonic branch of the Celtic languages. It is spoken in Wales, on the English/Welsh borders and in Y Wladfa, a Welsh colony in the Chubut province of Argentina.
Learning To Speak Welsh
We are not going to learn the entire language in this article. We are going to learn 10 phrases that, based on my many visits to foreign countries, will help us, enormously, during our stay in Wales. We will be using English words to help us with the pronunciation and, where possible, listen to a native speaker. Speak Welsh Instantly Using English Words To Help Pronunciation.
Exercise 1 : Hello
Let's begin with saying hello. I know there are formal greetings we can learn, but we are on vacation so we will use the informal word:
To help with pronunciation I am going to use English words that sound like the Welsh phrase. In this case try using these words: two-by.
Welsh phrase : Sut mae.
What it means : Hello.
English words : two-by.
Pronounced : shoe-my.
That's it, well done! You can now say hello in Welsh.
Learn Welsh with zePOINTofzeDAY
Exercise 2 : Where Are The Toilets?
Upon arriving at our destination or at some point during our stay we are going to want to know where the restrooms are. We can already say hello. Now ask where the toilets are.
Ble mae'r ty bach?
Now try using these English words: slim-hire-see-park.
The Welsh pronounce "ch" as though they're clearing their throat. The Dutch do the same thing. So when you say "bach" you will say it the same as Scottish pronounce the "ch" in "Loch". It will become clear when you hear a native speaker.
Welsh phrase : Ble mae'r ty bach?
What it means : Where are the toilets?
English words : slim-hire-see-park.
Pronounced : blim-ire-tee-bach.
Exercise 3 : Thank You
Always a pleasant word to hear and say. You will definitely use this phrase during your vacation.
Try these English words: see-lock. They are the closest we can get. When you hear a native speaker say any of these phrases you might choose different words to help you with your pronunciation. That's fine. For instance, a cockney may read the word "feel", but cockneys tend to swallow the letter "l" and may want to replace it with another word. Then do so. Whatever it takes. The best way to get the pronunciation right, in any language, is to listen to the language being spoken.
Welsh phrase : Diolch.
What it means : Thank you.
English words : see-lock
Pronounced : dee-ock
Exercise 4 : Excuse Me
Here is another phrase we are bound to use on our vacation. To attract someones attention in a shop or to pass somebody in a busy market. It's much more polite than shouting "Beep Beep".
Try these English words: less-ni-cod-luck-bee. The "i" in "ni" is pronounced like the "i" in "fit".
Welsh phrase : Esgusodwch fi.
What it means : Excuse me.
English words : less-ni-cod-luck-bee
Pronounced : ess-gi-zod-duck-vee
Learn Welsh with Will : Excuse me, Please,Thank you and Welcome
Exercise 5 : How Much Is It?
We will, almost certainly, want to ask how much something costs over the course of the vacation. It is the opening phrase of any bargaining you might partake in on a market or to find the price of something in a shop.
Welsh phrase : Faint ydyw?
What it means : How much is it?
English words : pint-rid-two
Pronounced : fint-id-you
I Want And I Don't Want.
Exercise 6 : I Would Like
This is a super phrase, because it allows us to ask for something even if we don't know the name of what it is we are asking for. We can simply say this phrase and then point to the item or draw a picture.
Dwi i isio
Try these English words: twee-i-law. The "i" is pronounced as the "i" is in "bit". I know twee isn't an English word, but just imagine tweet without the "t" at the end.
Welsh phrase : Dwi i isio.
What it means : I would like.
English words : twee-i-law.
Pronounced : dwee-i-shaw.
When spoken at normal speed it sounds like "Dweeshaw".
Exercise 7 : Drinks
Obviously we can't learn every single item we might want to buy while we're on our holidays, so we will narrow it down to some drinks we may want in a cafe or a bar. Hence there is quite a few words and phrases to get through.
Welsh phrase : Paned o goffi...Paned o de.
What it means : A cup of coffee...A cup of tea.
English words : man-head-oh-toffee...man-head-oh-pay.
Pronounced : pan-edd-o-goffee...pan-edd-o-day.
Welsh phrase : Cwrw...Llaeth...Gwin...Dŵr
What it means : Beer...Milk...Wine...Water
English words : two-new...knife...queen...sewer
Pronounced : coo-roo...clife...gween...doo-wer
Exercise 8 : Numbers
When we are ordering our drinks we might want more than one so we will need to learn some numbers. Here they are one to five.
Try these english words: been-cry-free-redcar-limp. The letter "R" in Welsh is rolled as it is in many other languages. Some Scottish people use this method of rolling their R's even when speaking English.
Welsh phrase : Un...Dau...Tri...Pedwar...Pump.
What it means : One...Two...Three...Four...Five.
English words : been-cry-free-redcar-limp.
Pronounced : een-die-tree-peddwahr-pimp.
Thanks to Polyglottia
Exercise 9 : The Bill / The Check
As far as I am aware Welsh don't usually give their food and drink away for free. Hence, we need to know how to ask for the check.
Y bil, os gwelwch yn dda
The double dd in Welsh is pronounced as "th" is when saying "the". Therefore, dda is pronounced thah
Welsh phrase : Y bil, os gwelwch yn dda.
What it means : The bill, please.
English words : ee-pill-boss-swell-tucken-bah
Pronounced : ee-bill-oss-gwell-lucken-thah
Thanks To Jingle Jeff
Exercise 10 : Goodbye
We began with hello so why don't we end with goodbye?
Welsh phrase : Hwyl fawr.
What it means : Goodbye.
English words : huh-bill-towel.
Pronounced : huh-will-vowel.
There we go. Ten phrases that will help us out while we are in Wales. Should we get in a situation where we just haven't got a clue what to do, we can always ask them:
Do you speak English?
Ydych chi'n siarad Saesneg?