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  north vs south

Much is often made of the differences between the Welsh spoken in the North and the South of Wales, but in truth there are many local dialects. Broadly speaking, though, it is easiest to divide the dialects into Northern (or ‘Gog’) and Southern (or ‘Hwntw’) types.

Mostly the differences are in just accent and vocabulary, and only very occasionally in grammar. If you have a good course book or teacher, they will explain the differences as and when you come across them, but it’s always useful to have a list of vocab that varies. So here it is!

English Northern (Gog) Southern (Hwntw)
apron barclod ffedog
come (imperative) tyrd/tyd dere
corn y^d llafur
cows gwartheg da
cup cwpan cwpan/dysgl
cuppa/cupful cwpanaid/paned disglaid/disied (dished)
dirty budr (pron. "budur") brwnt/bowlyd (from baw = dirt)
fox llwynog cadno
girl geneth/hogan merch/roces
girls genod (cf genethod) merched/rocesi
go (imperative) dos cer
grandfather taid tad-cu
grandmother nain mam-gu
he/him o/fo e/fe
he/him (extended pronoun) yntau fintau
I should, ought to (etc.) dylswn i dylwn i
I would (etc.) baswn i byddwn i
I would like (etc.) leiciwn i hoffwn i/licwn i
inflected preterite ending -ais -es
key agoriad allwedd
lightning mellt lluched/mellt
me (extended pronoun) finnau innau/minnau
milk llefrith llaeth
money pres arian
now rwan nawr
out allan ma's/mas
pencil pensel pensil
pound (weight) pwys pownd
raspberries mafon afan
road ln ffordd/heol (pron. "hewl")
smell (n) oglau/aroglau* gwynt
hill (on a road) gallt tyle/rhiw
to be able to medru gallu/galler
to collect nuts/nutting hel cnau casglu cnau
to cry crio llefain
to fail to methu ffili/ffaelu
to fall syrthio/disgyn** cwympo
to finish cwpla gorffen
to look edrych/sbio edrych/disgwyl (pron. & sometimes spelt "dishgwl")
to love, to be mad about lyfio*** dwli ar (to dote on)
to start cychwyn dechrau
to want eisiau/isho moyn/mofyn/isie
upstairs i fyny grisiau lan str/lan lofft
with efo gyda
woman dynes menyw
you (extended pronoun) chdithau tithau
you (informal) chdi ti

Plus there are also some words in English that have several counterparts in Welsh. As usual, it’s best to follow local usage.

acre erw, cyfair, acer
hedge perth, gwrych, clawdd, shetin
handkerchief neisied, nicloth, hances, cadach
lad crwt, crwtyn, rhocyn, hogyn, còg


* Note: ‘aroglau’ is not a plural, even though it looks like one - the correct plural of aroglau is arogleuon. But, because aroglau looks like a plural, some people create a ‘backform’, i.e. they remove what they think is a plural ending to create a ‘singular’, arogl. This is, though, incorrect.

** Note: depends on what/who has fallen, e.g. a person falling over will ‘syrthio’, but rain falling on the roof will ‘disgyn’. In the South, to fall in love is to ‘cwympo mewn cariad’, but in the North you ‘syrthio mewn cariad’.

*** Note: in the North ‘lyfio’ is only used in a non-sexual way, e.g. ‘dwi’n lyfio dy ffrog’ (I love your dress), or ‘dwi’n lyfio chdi’ (I love you - to a friend). Caru, the more common word for love, is used only when talking about your partner. Thus, you can ‘lyfio caws’ (love cheese) but only ‘caru dy gariad’ (love your boy-/girlfriend).

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© suw charman 2002, 2003 unless otherwise stated

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