Gwenhwysig materials

Yn gyntaf, Aled ydw i (neu Toffidil ar gyfer anonymity) a chroeso cynnes i chi gyd. I was just wondering if anyone knew if there were any links to recordings and transcipts of Gwenhwysig conversions or other texts – I would love to hear the dialect and how it is or was naturally spoken. Are there any speakers left or is it extinct?

Also I guess because hymns were such a large part of my youthful exposure to the language I am also interested in any links to what dialects may have been the inspiration behind some of the great language embedded in our famous hymns and arias – there seem to be so many beautiful sounding words, simple twists on phrasing and unique styling that you never hear or read much in modern texts. You wouldn’t use these things in speech I guess, but I’m naturally intrigued when I read and hear words put together in styles like the following using words like ig!!!, iti???, wrthddrychau etc.

e.e. Rhodder iti fythol foliant: Uno wnawn fel hyn ig ganu: Ef uwchlaw gwrthrychau’r byd: O wrthddrychau penna’r byd : ddyddiau f’oes.

@Iestyn is definitely the man to talk to on this… :sunny:

Thanks Aran,

In the main I would just like to hear some snippets of Gwenhwysig and if people still speak it - I’ve read some very old articles where there were concerns about the dominance of the dialect as if it was going to be harmful to the language in some way, also an education report saying that it was hopeless trying to get children in some of the valleys to speak English, because as soon as they finished school they reverted back to using Welsh. obviously a very popular dialect once upon a time - where is it now.

edit: Just found this transcript - which gives a really good feel for the drift and feel of a conversation between two farmers in 1888. Some interesting words (Mae’n dda digynnig - it’s extremely good; ysgweitheroedd - more’s the pity), but very easy to make out what’s being said and how it might have sounded (mae rhyw wynecon dysbrad yn yng nghevan i, rwy’n faelu cysgu’r nos hanar da - there’s some terrible pain in my back and i didn’t sleep well half the night - perfect Wenglish there).

forwelwch yn awr

If you contact Antoni Morgan at Coleg Gwent in Pontypŵl he is very knowledgeable on the subject having given several lectures in Monmouthshire.
On Saturday 6th August there is to be a session in the Pabell Len of the eisteddfod concerning Gwenhwyseg. Frank Olding the Monmouthshire eisteddfod chairman has organised this and he also knows a lot about the dialect.
On Heno tonight the new president of the eisteddfod who lives in Barry said that she has considerable interest in the dialect particularly as the eisteddfod is being held in Monmouthshire (Gwent) where the dialect was very important when Welsh was the major language of the county.
I believe there might be some recordings of conversations in St Fagans.



Many thanks for the contacts and information. It is a great idea for the Eisteddfod this year, I saw links when trawling around yesterday to Gwenhwysig and the Eisteddfod when it was in Casnewydd. I also saw someones blog yesterday which mentioned learning Gwenhwysig at a college, but it didn’t say where that was. I also saw that someone had an unpublished PhD thesis in the area. So I guess there is a considerable body of knowledge out there to tap into and I suspect the dialect is probably still alive in some places. I guess I’m intrigued why something so buoyant at the time of our industrial pomp virtually dissapeared so dramatically.

Thinking of Barry, I grew up near the Vale of Glamorgan, in a village where all the old grave stones were in Welsh and there were pockets of Welsh speakers when I grew up in some of the villages, places like Treoes and Llangan who spoke Welsh that must have been handed down through their generations. I know that there are a lot of Welsh speakers in the county now, but many have moved to the area and brought other dialects with them or been educated in more contempory Welsh through the current school system and may have little knowledge of older dialects in the area.

Diolch yto. I don’t know if I want to learn it, but I definately would like to hear it. I’ll try to contact Antoni Morgan and see if St Fagans have some old recordings etc.

Edit: now haveing seen so many links to sources of info etc and how much research has been done here, then starting to wonder why I never encountered the sources before - trouble is, that some of the reading that looks good - one that looks very very interesting by Mari C Jones is $457. Blethering on now, but I see a nice little language hobby to get stuck into this year. Also didn’t appreciate how much Gwenhwysigisms are actually in the southern SSIW and I guess Iestyn is actually naturally throwing them into the mix that we’ve been learning. Also probably about time I got the Gareth King books, since it’s probably all covered in there I strongly suspect.

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Antoni Morgan is a tutor who works with the Welsh Department of Coleg Gwent in Pontypŵl so you would need to ask the deparment (in English or Welsh) for his contact details.
I guess, as you have already found, there is a lot of information about Gwenhwyseg. It is just a case of selecting the books etc most suitable for your needs.
If you Google Gwenhwyseg the fifth item includes a piece by Frank Olding about the dialect.


The Frank Olding bit is a brilliant read - saying Rhugos as Ricos (as everyone does as well as without realising it - up y ricos - think I ad a Bopa from up y Ricos or round there somehwhere as it appens) and aberdar as it’s spelt in English - Aberdare is down to Gwenhwysig - magic!. The Cae Pysgotlyn morphing into Cape of Scotland, becuase of English mappers mishearing the Gwenhwysig is priceless.