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Our guide to Welsh words and phrases that you need to know will come in handy when you’re visiting Wales and want to impress the locals with the lingo!
The Welsh language is Britain’s oldest language and one of the oldest languages in Europe. It has spent 4,000 years evolving and has become a complex, yet beautiful language.
Those visiting Wales can usually speak English, however not every person can speak Welsh. In fact, it’s estimated that under 18% of the Welsh population speak the language.
As a Welsh speaker, I have put together some useful Welsh sayings to get you by on your next visit!
Test your Welsh knowledge below and find 16 essential Welsh words and phrases you need to know…
How Well Do You Know Your Welsh?
Test your understanding of the lingo of Wales with our Welsh words and phrases quiz. Think you know the Welsh word for microwave? See if you can score 7/7!
As far as Welsh words go, Cymru is one that you should know.
Cymru is the Welsh name for Wales, which comes from the plural of Cymro, a Welshman. The English name, Wales, derives from the Anglo-Saxon word ‘foreigners’ or particular foreigners who were under the influence of the Roman Empire.
Do you want to know how to pronounce Cymru? The pronunciation of Cymru is [ˈkəmri] in the south and [‘kəmrɨ̞]* in the north. Those who are unable to read IPA will pronounce Cymru as “come-ree”.
If you are wondering how to ask ‘how are you’ in Welsh, look no further!
While some people prefer to say “sut dach chi?” to express respect to someone they don’t know very well, others prefer to use the informal “sut wyt ti?” Welsh phrase when speaking to friends and family.
The longest word in Welsh is the name of the North Wales village, located on the Isle of Anglesey.
One of many interesting facts about Wales, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch is the second-longest name in the world! With 58 characters and 19 symbols, the word comes second to a hill in the North Island of New Zealand, which has an 85-letter name.
If you need a little help with pronouncing the longest word in Welsh, look at the video below…
Unsure how to say hello in Welsh?
The simplest way to greet someone in Welsh is by saying “helô”. This Welsh word can be used on both formal and informal occasions.
An informal way of saying hello in Welsh is ‘haia’, which is similar to the English ‘hiya’. While ‘ti’n iawn’ is similar to the English slang word ‘alright’.
Contrary to belief, Wales is renowned for its rainy weather and grey skies. As a result, the next Welsh idiom we’ll explore is commonly used in tandem with raincoats and umbrellas!
The Welsh idiom ‘bwrw hen wragedd â ffyn’ is a somewhat humorous way of describing a particularly heavy rainstorm with strong winds. Its English translation is ‘it’s raining old ladies and sticks’, which has a similar meaning to its raining cats and dogs!
Our next Welsh saying is pob lwc! This is how you wish someone good luck in Welsh.
You pronounce the Welsh phrase roughly as “poor-b look”.
The Welsh word for the microwave is one of the most frequently searched Welsh words on Google!
The widely accepted word for microwave in Welsh is just meicrodon, although there are numerous other inventive variations such as meic and meicro.
Popty ping is a slang variation that may have already come up in conversation. While some native speakers find it funny, others despise it because it makes the Welsh language sound silly!
The Welsh language is full of funny phrases and interesting idioms and we just had to share this one!
The literal translation of this funny Welsh saying is ‘to pull a wasp’s nest onto your head’! You would use this phrase when someone has done or said something that upsets a lot of people!
Cwtch is one of the most famous Welsh words that is used by both Welsh and English speakers. To most people, cwtch means an emotionally significant hug, which evokes a sense of home.
The most wonderful thing about this Welsh word is that there isn’t a literal English translation! There are plenty of similar English words, such as cuddle and snuggle, but none have the same affectionate sentiment as a cwtch.
Wondering how to say goodnight in Welsh? It’s simply, ‘nos da’, with nos meaning night and da meaning good.
Similar Welsh phrases include ‘bore da’ meaning good morning, ‘prynhawn da’ meaning good afternoon and ‘noswaith dda’, meaning good evening!
When the clock strikes 12 on New Years’ Eve or you’re celebrating a special occasion, raise your glass and toast to ‘iechyd da’.
This Welsh saying is essentially a cheer to good health!
When visiting a popular seaside resort in Wales, it may come in handy to know how to order fish and chips in Welsh!
Impress the local chippy or one of these seafood restaurants in North Wales by ordering the classic ‘pysgod a sglodion’ on your next visit!
Wondering how to say thank you in Welsh? It’s simply diolch!
To impress the locals even more, you could say ‘diolch yn fawr iawn’, which translates into thank you very much.
The English translation of da iawn is ‘very good’. You can use it to praise someone for their work or to describe how you are feeling!
To pronounce this Welsh word, it’s simply ‘die ya-wn’.
Another Welsh phrase you need to know is os gwelwch yn dda. The English translation of this word is, ‘please’.
To pronounce the phrase could be a little tricky but it’s ‘os goo-ell-oock un da’.
A final funny welsh phrase that we must share with you is gwell gweld pen buwch na chynffon tarw!
The English translation is ‘better to see a cow’s head than a bull’s tail’, which means better to see what you can trust than what you can’t.
See the full list of Welsh words and phrases here!
If you have your holiday cottages in Wales booked and your Welsh sayings to hand, take a look at our Wales travel guide and begin planning your getaway! Alternatively, take a look at our guide to British slang words and expressions.
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