Is it possible to reverse translate from Wenglish?

In one of the earlier challenges, @Iestyn had a chuckle to himself, teaching us some Valleys Welsh. I think it was “wedyn” used as the Wenglish “after” meaning later.

As Wenglish seems to be a transliteration from Cymraeg into English, is it safe just to translate back again into Cymraeg?

I’m thinking of stuff like “I’ll be there now in a minute” and “I’ve been speaking Welsh for a 12 month”.


To me, Wenglish is a free mix of both languages.
Your examples are just dialects of English! My non-Welsh gran always said ‘twelve month’ for year. The first example is one I might say!

Ah yes. My post was largely tongue in cheek. However, I can’t help noticing how many of the constructions that we have been learning seem to crop up in Wenglish. Admittedly the words are in English. Just curious, I am :slight_smile:

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Oh, clearly the idioms cross over!

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“Milk you want, not bread” just got me right in the feels - because I recognised thats how I have always said things in English.

I got the realisation there that Valleys English must have been learnt about a hundred years ago (or a lot more) from direct Welsh translation.

Oh, what could have been!


I think the origin of many Wenglish constructions, especially Valleys Wenglish, lies in Welsh syntax - even though those who speak Wenglish have not in many (most?) instances ever spoken Welsh themselves.
eg The ubiquitous “b’ere” and “b’there” come from ‘fan hyn’ and ‘fan’na. I know a woman who regards herself as posh who thinks the correct versions are ‘by here’ and ‘by there’ :slight_smile:
Less common these days but I remember my grandparents used to say ‘five and twenty past …’ and ‘five and twenty to …’ when referring to the time. Welsh syntax even though my grandfather could not speak any Welsh - unusual for his generation.


So did my stepdad. He always used to announce it in his ‘proper voice’. He was a Londoner born and bred, though, no Welsh there at all. Perhaps he was taught the time by a Welsh school master? I just thought that was an old fashioned way to say it. Rather nice too. :relaxed:

Yes. If heard that from late middle aged and elderly people right across England.

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Oh they were certainly the way used by the aspiring folk in a far wider area than the valleys. As for five and twenty, that is totally ubiquitous and generational. My English gran used it. I have been known to say it! I am 76, past the ‘three score years and ten’ of the Bible! (John Wycliffe’s Bible 1380s!)

Since starting to learn Welsh, I’ve come to assume that the well-known “stage Welsh” “isn’t it?” (at least it was well-known at one time) probably came from translating “nac ydy?” or “tydy?” or similar phrases.

Mercifully perhaps, “stage Welsh” isn’t as common as it used to be, but other expressions I can vaguely remember are “look you” (or “now look you”), and maybe “indeed to goodness”.
However, I’ve never come across any actual Welsh versions of those.

I went a-googling to see if I could find any more examples of “stage Welsh”. I didn’t find any, but I did find the following, which is quite interesting:

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Look in Duolingo, Bach! O’nd yw and varients for ‘isn’t it"’ and 'sdim for ‘you know’.I knew o’nd ydy e for isnt years back but hadn’t seen it written so thought ond ydy e = but is it. Why os dim for you know, I have no idea. Closer to dim ots I’d say!

I heard that all over the place with my family here in Canada, including my Grandmother, who was English but lived in Wales for a time. I always just thought of it as sort of normal!

Well in the north, there is “sti” from “wyddost ti” and “ddchi” from “wyddoch chi”.

Gareth King says that in the south they use “timod” and “chimod” instead of the above, but I don’t know where they are derived from

Duolingo says t’mod and ch’mod are short for ti’n gwybod and ch’n gwybod. I haven’t a clue how come!

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For “five and twenty” - there’s the old nursery ryhme that includes “five and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie.”

I was thinking of that, only yesterday.

My mother always said “I’ll do it again.” meaning “I’ll do it later.” Also, I am sure that I remember Iestyn in old course 2 saying “We’ll worry about that again.” I don’t think we were supposed to worry about it now.

Of course the whole family, living in England, said “a couple” when we meant a few. English spouses despaired because for them a couple was strictly two. My sister excelled herself by going into a shop and saying “I’d like a couple of Wet Nellies please - oh - I mean six custard tarts.” Does anyone else call them Wet Nellies, or was that peculiar to our family?


Wel, limiting “a couple” to mean strictly two seems unnatural to me. If I want to mean two, I’d say two (or “a pair of”, if appropriate). Funnily enough, in german both meanings use the same word, but capitalization matters:
“ein Paar Schuhe” = a pair of shoes
“ein paar Schuhe” = a couple (>2) of shoes
(In spoken language the meaning is usually clear by context.)

A couple is two (I hang my head in English shame). BUT if there is a need for a couple to be possibly more than two, then of course it becomes a coupla three (lifts head again with West Country pride - with added hope that this is actually a West Country thing…). Oh and the p in coupla becomes one of those sticky noises in the back of your throat to save you the effort of using your mouth at all. :grin:


That’s fascinating, and quite subtle.

Oh well, peculiar then in both meanings.:slight_smile: