Gwylio or gwatchad

Just wondering what the correct way to say watching is ? I’m assuming gwylio is the correct way to say it and gwatchad is the slang term for it but it seems every Welsh speaker I’ve spoken to around North Wales uses the term gwatchad rather than gwylio

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Life would be so much easier without those pesky Welsh speakers breaking the rules all the time! :wink:
Gwylio has been correct since Roman times, but now that dreaded Saesneg is making its way felt…

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There’s not really a ‘correct’ way to say anything in Welsh (or any language, but Welsh is one of the better examples). If people use a word or grammatical construction and other people understand it, then it’s part of the language. The distinction between ‘formal’ and ‘slang’ in spoken Welsh in particular is very, very hazy, to the point where it’s not really useful at all.
People will use and understand gwylio, gwatsiad, watsio (and in certain circumstances edrych ar and/or sbio ar) and you’re absolutely free to decide which you prefer to use yourself.


Apparently forms of “gwatsied” have been around since the 16th century :blush:


Not saying you are wrong *, but I know more than a few Welsh speakers who would disagree with you there!

  • (not saying you are right, either! :blush:)
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I think things have changed quite recently. The decline of Chapel Culture, for example, means that very few people are now exposed to the formal language of sermons and bible study, and the general ‘informalisation’ of culture throughout the Western world has not been without impact on us.
Yes, there is a more formal Welsh that is used, for example during news programmes on Radio Cymru, but that’s not how people speak in the ‘real world’, is it?

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I agree that the concepts of ‘wrong’ and ‘right’ aren’t appropriate, but just as with any languages there are different forms of things that are appropriate for different situations. But getting a feel for those nuances is a fairly advanced skill, and it’s far preferable for learners just to use whatever comes to hand (to tongue?) in the heat of the moment, as long as they are understood.

But I think it’s a good question to ask, and to be aware that in some situations in the future you might choose to use ‘gwilio’ rather than ‘gwatsiad’ if you were in a more formal situation. Or you might not. But having the knowledge to make the choice is a good thing, IMO.


I wouldn’t advise people to speak in formal Welsh, but that doesn’t mean that a lot of Welsh speakers don’t regard some words as better than others. For whatever reason. Dialect differing from standard, newer words, whatever. That some Welsh speakers don’t like some recent anglicisations in the language. I’m not saying they are right, just that it is so.

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So so true! Absolutely!

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Again, very well put!

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I must confess that as someone who never really finds himself in a situation where formal Welsh might be appropriate, this is something that hadn’t really crossed my mind. But you are right. Of course you are.

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When I lived on Gower I was a Local Preacher (in English - well except for Hymn first lines in a Welsh Chapel short of preachers).
I did not use any sort of special formal language and neither did any other preacher I knew. One thing we did have to do was explain some of the archaic terms in some Bible translations! New English and Good News saved a load of hassle!
However, I would have defined ‘gwatsied’ as Wenglish and I always had my doubts about the Gogledd ‘licio’ for ‘hoffi’!!! (Sorry @aran!!!)

Bet you don’t have much time for “trio” either… :slight_smile:

A lady of our acquaintance is a minister in the Methodist church, and at one stage her ministry took her to a (mainly) Welsh speaking church. She was of English-speaking stock, but did dutifully try to learn the language. I think she could manage the hymns and prayers, but sermons had to be mostly in English. I think she enjoyed her time there, and no one made her feel bad about not being a fluent Welsh speaker.

“gwatsiad” may well be (well, obviously is!) from the English, but it or a similar form seems to have been in the language for a good few centuries. Before the recent avalanche of English words, as it were! Whatever that implies. And “licio” is and has been used in the South more commonly than “hoffi”. It is only by people doing ssiw that I have heard it referred to as a particularly North/South thing. Could be wrong though, of course!

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Nope, you’re not wrong. I believe lico is more common in the south than hoffi. Hoffi is becoming more popular because it is taught in schools and to adult learners, but lico (together with the conditional licwn or licsiwn) is what you hear most in casual conversation.


Agreed, Owain and Rob. I have no idea why I tend to use hoffi over licio, but I do, and never realised that it was a bit odd until SSiWers starting asking about it.

Now, it is a part of the course, and I can;t really take it back in the interests of “true local dialect”. Having said that, I don;t think that anyone has ever commented on my use of hoffi, or thought that it sounds odd or anything, so it makes little difference.

The SSiW belief taht “licio” is northern and “Hoffi” is southern comes from the misleading names of the courses. We call them “southern” and “northern”, because if we called them “SSiW as Iestyn speaks” and “SSiW as Aran speaks” then people would be even more confsed as to which one to choose. But the fact is that there is no such thing as “the Northern dialect” any more than there is a “Northern dialect” in English (same for south, obvioulsy). THere are about as many dialects in Wales as there are speakers!


To be honest, dw’i hoffi ‘hoffi’ because, at an earlyish age I developed a fondness for coffee!! When I found that saying that could be rendered as “Dw’i hoffi coffi!” I loved it!! I ‘forgot’ licio and saw it as Wenglish anyway!!
However, I think all of us who were not raised first language Cymraeg are particularly aware of the dangers of English and the creep into Wenglish!
English, of course, isn’t a language, it’s polyglot all by itself. Bits of old British, Romano-British, Latin, the dialects of ancient Denmark (Anglian, Saxon and Jute), Viking Norse, Norman French…and that’s just until 1066!! Think of marriage, wedding, nuptuals, troth, Bride (cf Briodferch), just as one example! This monster polyglot, still growing and grabbing, colonised and tried to crush native tongues. I do not think it unreasonable to try to guard against it!!!
But then I’m an old fashioned Nationalist!!

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For what it’s worth, I certainly don’t find it odd, and am perfectly used to hearing people use “hoffi” as well as “lico” so I never found it odd and certainly wasn’t saying it should be changed!