Sooner or later on your Cymraeg adventures, you will notice tafodiaith – that is, regional dialects from around Wales (and beyond) with variations in the use of words.
In 2010 I think there is a greater diversity of tafodieithoedd around Wales than there is of, say, dialects of English in England. I think this can be linked to the comparative recency of proper broadcasting and probably a whole load of other factors.
This might sound daunting for a learner but you will learn to love it I hope. It’s part of life’s rich tapestry (and all that). As Super Furry Animals once sang “dwi’n deud llefrith, ti’n gweud llaeth“. Or roughly: “I say milk (the north Walian way), you say milk (the south Walian way)”. Similar sentiment to “you say tomato” except without the “let’s call the whole thing off” part.
Sometimes a person can predict another person’s precise village of origin from their tafodiaith. Will this always be the case? I don’t know.
The above book, Cymraeg, Cymrâg, Cymrêg, has become an object of fascination for me. I knew it was a gem from the moment I saw the title and cover, referencing slight pronounciation variations in the name of the language itself. (This is a scan from the copy from Carmarthen Library, if you must know – hence the sticker.)
Unfortunately it’s out of print so earlier this year I shared a map of names for sweets on my personal blog.
Huw Waters has added his own thoughts and map scans from the prized book, again a library copy. (He’s looking to borrow a reel-to-reel tape player so he can share an old recording. Anyone?)
And now as it happens Bethan Thomas, one of the original authors, has alerted me to the fact that the newly launched People’s Collection Wales has some elements from the book such as those fascinating maps, with more to come.
The site also have a collection of audio recordings of people speaking, from Llanymawddwy to Llannerch-y-medd to arbitrarily pick two. I’m combing the Rhosllanerchrugog recording to see if I can spot the famous nene.
Some of the blog posts to which I’m linking will be pretty hardcore if you’re new to the language. Google Translate can be helpful but don’t rely exclusively on it. See if you can grab a fluent speaker to help you.