Is this correct?

I’m posting this purely out of curiousity. My university (Cardiff uni) has recently renamed its premier nightclub as y plas, and to accompany its launch they have released a video on how to pronounce its name. Are they correct in insiting it’s plas as in rhyming with farce in english? Since I have only just finished the vocab 1 units I would have assumed it rhymed with glas (rhyming with mass in English). So are prifysgol Caerdydd correct with their assertion or is it a matter of accent/idiomatic pronunciation as opposed to an absolute rule?

Hi Joel, ‘plas’ (palace, mansion) does normally rhyme with ‘glas’ (blue), doesn’t it? "Mass’ is pronounced a little different, according to the venerable MacMillan dictionary, at least:

I got the impression that the video was more about how to pronounce ‘y’. Is it a nice place?

Hi Joel - I hope you’re enjoying Cardiff Uni as much as Cat and I enjoyed it.

Pronunciation of Y Plas is fairly much as the bloke with the loud speaker says it. It rhymes with farce if you say farce with the right accent, but you could think of the “a” as a long version of the a in mass. That is, say “maaass” and you’ll have the rhyme (and the southern word for “out” of course - mas)

It only rhymes with “farce” if you speak a “non-rhotic” dialect of English - i.e. you don’t pronounce your Rs in words like “farce”. Most accents from Scotland and Ireland and North America would pronounce the R, though, in which case the best way to describe it to someone with that type of accent is probably what Iestyn said: like “mass” but with a lenghier “ah” sound.

To me, “y plas” rhymes pretty well with “pass” as pronounced with a Received Pronunciation English accent. Though take that with a grain of salt, since I speak American English.

English pronunciation is such a minefield that I think Welsh learners are probably best steering clear of it for using it as a guide to Welsh pronunciation.

For fun, I put the following through (Welsh Gwyneth and Geraint):

plas. tan. tân.

I was wondering why plas didn’t have a to bach if it has a long “a”. However, although it sounded longer than “tan”, it didn’t sound as long as “tân”.

Although I can hear the difference, I doubt if I could reproduce the difference, at least not reliably.

Thanks for the help everybody! I tend to instinctively elongate a when reading Welsh words however I was just curious as to when an elongated a becomes a bit too elongated.

Thanks Iestyn, I’m thoroughly looking forward to going back in order to enquire about joining the Welsh speaking society which I hope will reinforce what I’ve been learning over the last couple of months.

Also in answer to whether it’s nice I am yet to find out, they have spent a large sum of money on refurbishing the entire second floor of the student union (one of the perks I suppose of being what I think is Britain’s largest student union) and the new nightclub and pub (the taf if anyone’s familiar with it) will be unveiled in a couple of weeks. Exciting times indeed for those who enjoy… err studying (or maybe that should be gweithio’n galed)…

Maybe they should have named the nightclub “Y Gweithdy”, as an ironical touch (and also to confuse those of an older generation with prejudiced ideas about students). (Or perhaps “Y sifft nos”). :smile:

Diane: To me, “y plas” rhymes pretty well with “pass” as pronounced with a Received Pronunciation English accent

Yep, that works for me too. Out of interest, is RP familiar enough to the average American that statements like that would help them pronounce things? (You don’t count, see, cos you’re a fellow language geek who’s interested in this kind of thing ;-))

Kinetic: Out of interest, is RP familiar enough to the average American that statements like that would help them pronounce things?

No, not by that name, at least. Since Joel identified himself as studying at Cardiff, I figured he was likely British and would recognize the term. But you could probably ask most Americans to imagine what a word would sound like if, say, Hugh Grant or Emma Thompson said it, and so reach the same goal by another road (an SSIW specialty). :slight_smile:

Thing is, I speak RP English (more or less), but I say “mass” in the same way as my northern English wife says it, which is the same as the first part of the word “massive”, and it rhymes with the way that she says “class” & “pass”.

But I rhyme those last two with (my non-rhotic) “farce”, and I know some English RP speakers who rhyme “mass” that way as well. (They may well be Roman Catholics talking about the religious service of that name - not sure if they also pronounce mass as in “quantity of matter” that way. If you know the Granada TV 1981 series version of “Brideshead Revisited”, you will sometimes hear Sebastian referring to “mass” in that way when he means the service.

I also know other RP speaker who say “graph” with the same “a” sound as my northern wife, and also the way I say “graphical”, but for me, “graph” has the same vowel sound as “farce”.

That’s why I say English pronunciation is a minefield.

How about “mat” for the short sound,
And “say ‘ah’” for the long sound?

Are there any English dialects where “mat” has anything other than a short sound, and is “say ‘ah’” well enough understood throughout the English speaking world as a different, long vowel sound?

Just a thought, if we are going to use English examples for vowel sounds.

Works for “a”, perhaps, but you run in to trouble with “e”, where there is no equivalent for the long vowel.

[Unless you speak English with a Welsh accent, where the English word “game” can be pronounced exactly the same as the Welsh word “gêm” ;-)]

So I do agree with Mark Elwood to a łarge degree, but maybe there is a way round this, it were, for a lot of the vowel sounds?

And, to be frank, “say ‘ah’” would probably lead to a lot of very weird pronunciations, but if (if) “mat” is short throughout the English speaking world, then is there a word in which the vowel is long throughout theEnglishspeakingworld?

Would be good if we could have some sort of base to answer questions like this from.

There’s always the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet, not India Pale Ale)

And this one time, both! Oh, what a marvellous day.