Genedlaethol v Gwladol

Can anyone tell me what exactly is the difference in usage between Genedlaethol and Gwladol?

We have Yr Eisteddfod Genedlaethol - the National Eisteddfod

And Yr Iddiriedolaeth Genedlaethol - the National Trust

But Y Gwasanaeth Iechyd Gwladol - the National Health Service

I know cenhedlaeth can mean both ‘nation’ and ‘generation’, while ‘gwlad’ means country - but that doesn’t seem to explain the different choices.

Is there a logic to the selection of the one over the other? Or is the answer just ‘it is what it is’?


[whistles, looks off into the middle distance]

Um… otherwise… you can gwladoli something, but you can’t cenedlaetholi anything.

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We were discussing this in my Welsh class the other day, following the Welsh Government decision to gwladoli (nationalise) the railways in Wales.

Gwladol means “national” in the sense of “the state”. So Y Gwasanaeth Iechyd Gwladol is the state-run health service. Gwalodi means nationalise i.e. bring into state ownership.

Cenedlaethol means national in a more general sense. The Eisteddfod and the National Trust aren’t part of the state, so gwladol would not really be appropriate here. Cenedlaethol makes more sense in this context.


Ooh, thank you! That’s really helpful and makes a lot of sense.

We talked about this in my Welsh class last night @Hishiv. I learned that while gwladol can relate to other countries, cenedlaethol can only relate to Cymru. :slight_smile:

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That’s interesting. Although, I have heard people on Radio Cymru say cyfnod clo cenedlaethol when talking about national lockdowns in England, France etc. :man_shrugging:t4:

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No, that is not true. For example,
Bibliothèque nationale de France is Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Ffrainc;
National Musuem of the United States is Amgueddfa Genedlaethol yr Unol Daleithiau.

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I just noticed this topic last night and found it really interesting. I was also wondering if going back to the nouns, whether possible interpretations might be:
Cenedl - Nation of people
Gwlad/Tir - Country or land. (Perhaps State as mentioned above fits here)