Home ° 2017


Wales/Cymru: ° Aberdyfi ° Aberystwyth ° Bangor (Gwynedd) ° Borth (Ceredigion) ° Cardiff, Pontypridd, Swansea (Glamorgan) ° Holyhead (Anglesey) ° Fishguard, Milford Haven, Pembroke (Pembrokshire) ° Porthmadog (Eifionydd) ° The Welsh Language ° The Mandans and Owain of Wales

Fishguard, Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire

The Flag of Wales.

This guide to Welsh Language Pronunciation has been borrowed with permission from www.Go4AWalk.com, a site in Wales featuring recommendations, accommodations, needed gear, photography, and more than 13,000 walks and walking ideas.

Vowels | Consonants | Dipthongs


While English is the most common language in Wales, Welsh is still used and actively promoted by some half a million people. It is particularly strong in the Western and Northern regions where the Welsh language remains strong and highly visible - such as on road signs.

For the walker planning to scale the hills and mountains of Wales, a cursory glance at the map will reveal that most mountain tops and geographical features are described in Welsh. At first sight, this seemingly incomprehensible language may be daunting, yet a little knowledge of the language and how to pronounce it correctly will enhance your experience in these majestic surroundings and in reading books about Wales, it's history and people.

The spelling is regular and phonetic, so that once you know the rules, you can learn to read it and pronounce it without too much difficulty.


Just remember that in Welsh ALL the letters are pronounced (even if sometimes its looks impossible).

See if you can read the following out loud. It is english but written using the sounds of the Welsh alphabet:

Ai hop ddat yw can ryd ddys and ddat yt meiks sens tw yw. Iff yw can ryd ddys, dden yw sawnd ryt and ar redi tw gow hycing in wals widd gofforawalc dot cwm. Gwd lwc and Haf ffyn.

Click here to see how it should have sounded.

The Welsh Alphabet:

There are 28 letters in the Welsh Alphabet comprising 7 Vowels and 21 Consonants and 13 dipthongs. The letters:

A | B | C | Ch | D | Dd | E | F | Ff | G | H | I | L | Ll |
| N | Ng | O | P | R | Rh | S |T | Th | U | W | Y

The dipthongs are: Ae | Ai | Au | Aw | Ei | Eu | Ew | I'w | Y'w | Oe | Ow | Wy | Ywy

Officially, Welsh does not possess the letters J, K, Q, V, X or Z, though you will come across imported words from other languages using these letters where no suitable Welsh letter is available, notably Jones (!) and Wrexham (Wrecsam).

| Consonants | Dipthongs

Pronouncing the Vowels:

Welsh vowels have distinctive sounds and it is the difference between these sounds that enables the listener to differentiate between and understand the meanings of, words. An example is the difference between mil = thousand and mul = donkey.

A | E | I | O | U | W | Y

A as in man.
Welsh words: aber (abber); Garn (garn)

E as in bet or echo.
Welsh words: carnedd (caneth)

I as the ee in queen.
Welsh words: ni (nee); mi (mee); lili (leelee); min (meen)

O as in lot or hot.
Welsh words: o'r (oh/rr with a rolled r); don (dohn); pont (pohnt)

U as the 'i' in pita
Welsh words: canu (can-i); cu (key); Cymru (Kum-ri); tu (ti); un (in)

W as the 'oo' in Zoo.
Welsh words: cwm (koom); bwlch (boolch)

Y has three distinct sounds.

The first is 'uh' when used as the definite article
Welsh words: y ci (uh key) = the dog.

The second is similar to the Welsh u
Welsh words: Glyder (gleeder); byd (beed)

The third is similar to the English u in under.
Welsh words: Y (uh); Yr (ur); yn (un);

All the vowels can be lengthened by the addition of a circumflex (^).
Welsh words: T n (taan), l n (laan).

Since the circumflex (^) changes the sound of the word, it also changes the meaning.
Welsh words: Gl n (glaan) = Clean, Glan (glan) = Riverbank or Shore.

| Consonants | Dipthongs

Pronouncing the Consonants:

B | C | Ch | D | Dd | F | Ff | G | H | L | Ll | M | N | Ng | P | R | Rh | S | T | Th

Usually(!) B, D, H, L, M, N, P, R, S, and T are pronounced the same as they are in English (Since all letters in Welsh are pronounced, H is never silent).

C always 'hard' as in cat:
Welsh words: cwm (coomb); carnedd (caneth); Cymru (Kumree)

Ch soft and aspirated as in the Scottish loch or Docherty:
Welsh words: fach (vach); uwch (youch ), chwi (Chee)

Dd as the 'th' in the or seethe:
Welsh words: bydd (beethe); carneddau (caneth-eye); ddofon (thovon); ffyddlon (futh lon)

F as the 'v' in five:
Welsh words: afon (avon); Tryfan (Try-van); fydd (veethe); hyfryd (huvrid); fawr (vowr), fach (vach)

Ff as the 'f' in fight:
Welsh words: ffynnon (funon); ffyrdd (furth); ffaith (fithe)

G always 'hard' as in goat:
Welsh words: ganu (ganee); ganaf (ganav); angau (angeye); gem (game)

Ng as the 'ng' in finger:
Welsh words Yng Nghaerdydd (ung hire deethe); Yng Nghymru (ung Humree)

Ll is peculiarly Welsh and difficult to describe. Form your lips and tongue to pronounce the letter L, but then blow air gently around the sides of the tongue instead of saying anything. The nearest you can get to this sound in English is an l with a th in front of it:
Welsh words: llan (thlan); llyn (thlin); llwyd (thlooid)

Rh sounds as if the h comes before the r with a slight blowing out of air before the r is pronounced:
Welsh words: rhengau (hrengye); rhag (hrag); rhy (hree)

Th as 'th' in think:
Welsh words: gwaith (gwithe); byth (beeth)

Vowels | Consonants | Dipthongs

Pronouncing the Dipthongs:

Ae | Ai | Au | Aw | Ei | Eu | Ew | I'w | Y'w | Oe | Ow | Wy | Ywy

Ae, Ai and Au as the 'y' in my:
Welsh words: ninnau (nineye); mae (my); henaid (henide); main (mine); craig (crige)

Aw as the 'ow' in cow:
Welsh words: mawr (mour); prynhawn (prinhown); fawr (vow)

Eu and Ei as the 'ay' in pray:
Welsh words: deisiau (dayshy), or in some dialects (deeshuh); deil (dale or dile); teulu (taylee or tyelee)

Ew is more difficult to describe. The nearest English sound is probably the Birmingham pronunciation of 'you'.
Welsh words: mewn (meh-oon); tew (teh-oo)

I'w and Y'w as the 'ew' in yew:
Welsh words: clyw (clee-oo); byw (bee-you or b'you); menyw (menee-you or menyou)

Oe as the 'oy' in toy:
Welsh words: croeso (croyso); troed (troid); oen (oin)

Ow as the 'ow' in tow or low:
Welsh words: Rhown (rhone); rho (hrow)

Wy as the 'wi' in win or the french 'oui':
Welsh words: Wy (oo-ee); wyn (win); mwyn (mooin)

Ywy as the 'ui' in fluid:
Welsh words: bywyd (bowid);

That sentence:

Ai hop ddat yw can ryd ddys and ddat yt meiks sens tw yw. Iff yw can ryd ddys, dden yw sawnd ryt and ar redi tw gow hycing in wals widd gofforawalc dot cwm. Gwd lwc and Haf ffyn.

Should have sounded thus:

I hope that you can read this, and that it makes sense to you. If you can read this, then you sound right and are ready to go hiking in Wales with go4awalk.com. Good luck and have fun.

v v
The Bard.
The Bard, c.1817
John Martin

The Welsh were especially fond of poetry and they generally admired poets who could compose in either the ancient form, called cynghanedd, or in relatively freer modern forms. Welsh poets were given bardic titles. The Welsh literary and singing festival or contest, called the Eisteddfod, supposedly began in the year 940 when a Welsh chieftain awarded a chair to a victorious bard. The Eisteddfod consisted of competition in poetry, essays, orations, recitations, prose translations, and the performance of vocal music by large choirs, trios, soloists and glee parties. Numerous Welsh civic organizations and churches conducted Eisteddfodau in America, most often between 1875 and 1915. Five three-hundred-voice choirs from the Pennsylvania coal regions attended the Eisteddfod at the Philadelphia bicentennial celebration in 1882 and competed for prizes of up to twelve hundred dollars.

English translations for some Common Welsh Words
Abaty= Abbey
Aber= River Mouth or Estuary
Afon= River
Allt= Height
Ardal= District
Bach= Small, Little
Bangor= Monastery
Bedd= Grave
Bera= Pyramid
Betws= Chapel
Blaenau= Upland
Bod= Dwelling
Braich= Arm or Branch
Bryn= Hill
Bwlch= Pass, Col, Gap or Saddle
Bychan= Small
Caban= Cabin
Cadair= Chair
Cader= Stronghold
Cae= Field
Caer= Fort or Encampment
Cantref= District
Capel= Chapel
Carnedd= Cairn, Pile of Rocks
Carreg= Stone
Castell= Castle
Cefn= Ridge
Celli= Grove
Ci= Dog
Clas= Church
Clogwyn= Cliff or Precipice
Coch= Red
Coed= Wood
Craig= Crag
Croes= Cross
Cwm= Valley
Cymru= Wales
Din= Hillfort
Dinas= Large Town or City
Drum= Ridge
Drwg= Bad/Evil
Drws= Door
Du= Black
Dwr= Water
Dyffryn= Valley
Eglwys= Church
Emyn= Hymn
Emynau= Hymns
Fach= Small
Fawr= Large
Ffin= Boundary
Ffordd= Road
Ffridd= Pasture
Ffynnon= Spring or Well

Wooded Slope

Garn= Cairn
Garth= Hill
Glan= Riverbank or Shore
Gl n= Clean
Glas= Green, Blue, Grey or Silver
Glyder= Heap or Pile
Glyn= Valley
Gribin= Jagged Ridge
Gwaun= Bog
Gwlad= Country
Gwrach= Witch
Gwyn= White
Gwynt= Wind

Summer House

Hebog= Hawk
Hen= Old
Hendref= Winter House
Heol= Road
Hewl= Road
Hir= Long


Isaf= Lower


Llanerch= Meadow
Llech= Large Rock
Llithrig= Slippery
Lloer= Moon
Llwyd= Brown or Grey
Llyn= Lake
Llys= Palace
Maen= Stone
Maes= Town Square
March= Horse
Mawr= Big
Melin= Mill
Mochyn= Pig
Moel= Bare Hill or Mountain
Seaside, Marsh
Myn= Mine (Pit)
Mynachlog= Monastery
Mynydd= Mountain
Nant= Valley
Newydd= New
Nos= Night
Ogof = Cave
Pant= Valley
Pen= End
Penrhyn= Headland
Pentref= Hamlet
Perfedd= Middle
Pistyll= Waterfall
Plas= Large House
Plwyf= Parish
Pont= Bridge
Porth= Port or Harbour
Pwll= Pool
Rhaeadr= Waterfall
Rhiw= Hill
Rhos= Moor
Rhyd= Ford
Sarn= Causeway
Sir= Shire
Stryd= Street
Tal= Tall or high
Tir= Territory
Traeth= Shore or Beach
Traws= District
Tref= Town
Twll= Hole
Ty= House

Uchaf= Upper
Wen= White
Wyddfa= Burial Mound
Ynys= Island
Ysbyty= Hospital
Ysgol= School
Ystad= Estate

1899. World's Fleet. Boston Daily Globe

Lloyds Register of Shipping gives the entire fleet of the world as 28,180 steamers and sailing vessels, with a total tonnage of 27,673,628, of which 39 perent are British.

Great Britain10,990 vessels, total tonnage of 10,792,714
United States 3,010 vessels, total tonnage of 2,405,887
Norway 2,528 vessels, tonnage of 1,604,230
Germany 1,676 vessels, with a tonnage of 2,453,334, in which are included her particularly large ships.
Sweden 1,408 vessels with a tonnage of 643, 527
Italy1,150 vessels
France 1,182 vessels

For Historical Comparison
Top 10 Maritime Nations Ranked by Value (2017)

  Country # of Vessels







1 Greece 4,453 206.47 $88.0
2 Japan 4,317 150.26 $79.8
3 China 4,938 159.71 $71.7
4 USA 2,399 55.92 $46.5
5 Singapore 2,662 64.03 $41.7
6 Norway 1,668 39.68 $41.1
7 Germany 2,923 81.17 $30.3
8 UK 883 28.78 $24.3
9 Denmark 1,040 36.17 $23.4
10 South Korea 1,484 49.88 $20.1
Total 26,767 87.21 $466.9

The Project

Maritime Nations, Ships, Sea Captains, Merchants, Merchandise, Ship Passengers and VIPs sailing into San Francisco during the 1800s.



Merchant Shipping

Merchant Shipping.Merchant Shipping and Ancient Commerce.  
History of Merchant Shipping and Ancient CommerceMerchant Shipping and Ancient Commerce.
W. S. Lindsay

Kindly Kindly Donate.


DALevy @


Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; CDNC: California Digital Newspaper Collection; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; and Maritime Museums and Collections in Australia, China, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Wales, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, etc.

Please inform us if you link from your site. Please do NOT link from your site unless your site specifically relates to immigration in the 1800s, family history, maritime history, international seaports, and/or California history.