Making mistakes....... in English and Welsh

I was in the local supermarket a few days ago, chatting to my neighbour about how I was feeling tired because I had been volunteering in the Owain Glyndŵr Centre. I explained how I was just covering for the new person that was working there, while they were on holiday.

Then she asked (or I thought she said), ‘How long will he be working there?’, to which I replied, ‘until September’. But I had misheard - she had actually asked about how long I would be working there, so she asked again. :confused: I corrected myself - next Tuesday and Thursday!

The whole conversation was in English. Afterwards I thought that had it been in Welsh (which it should have been), I would have been beating myself up for days about how I had not been able to tell the difference between he and you and been really embarrassed when I spoke to her again. But because it was in English, I thought nothing of it. It was just a mistake, easily done while I was packing my shopping.

I do get words confused quite often. One lesson in Welsh, we were listening to a piece about a man doing different temporary jobs. One job he had was selling something in Rhyl. I only caught the end of the sentence, which I thought ended iâr. Aha, I thought, he’s selling chickens (cyw iâr)! There was much laughter in the class, because he was selling hufen iâ (ice cream) - what else would he be selling in Rhyl? :flushed: I have to admit it makes me smile every time I think about it.

What other things have people confused? I’m assuming it’s not only my Welsh that leaves people with tears of laughter. I have loads of other examples.


Hugely, hugely important piece of learning here.

Second language speakers are SO quick to beat themselves up for misunderstandings - and plenty of them are like this, stuff that you wouldn’t give a second thought to in your first language…:slight_smile:


I constantly and consistently confuse gwahardd and gwahodd. One means to invite and one means to forbid, almost polar opposites. Which is which? No idea!


I constantly make mistakes. In english i start a sentence and sometimes forget what i was going to say. Dim problem.

Yn gymraeg? Wel. Dw i’n teimlo’n gwhanol. Pam? Achos dw i’n trio gwella a felly dw i’n poeni. Deallt?


ban - invite according to my ap!!
But, an old friend of mine, 1st Language Cymraeg, couldn’t get on with ‘inflammable’! “It should mean ‘cannot burn’!” He insisted and put “Flammable” on warning notices, which nobody else understood, so I had to point out to him the need to be locally understood, even if the word was all wrong! Mmmm there is a thread about language pedants!

1 Like

I think we have to realize that all of us are learners even in our mother tongue.


Presumably, purist speakers would have clearly sounded the “r” at the end of “iâr”, but when listening, it would be easy to miss I think (I know I could easily have missed it).

Chicken cream is famous!


A couple of weeks ago I confused dyfalu and difaru, when I was meeting someone for the first time. I meant to say that I had guessed it was her that I was supposed to be meeting and ended up saying that I regretted meeting her! Oops! Fortunately, the person I was saying this to ‘guessed’ that I had confused the two (is it something that learners often get confused?) and the person concerned hadn’t understood what I said! :blush:

1 Like

I almost always need to pause and think those two through in advance… :slight_smile:

I used to get those confused ALL the time too - until I thought of the song ‘Gwahoddiad’ and realised no one would be singing such a beautiful song about banning something, so if I want to invite something my head goes - gwahoddiad - gwahodd - and I’m right :slight_smile:


When I felt confident with Welsh I decided to send my partner a text.
In the text I said I was making dinner. .
What I put was “Wyt ti moyn rhyw” which I persumed “Do you want some”.
I received a “I beg your pardon” text back.
What I had said was “Do you want sex”. She is a fluent Welsh speaker
and had a good laugh at my expense but it could have been a lot more


My neighbours are Welsh-speakers and I fed the their cat for a week while they were on holiday.
When the came back, what I wanted to say (in Welsh) was “I have fed your cat!”, so I said to them:
“Dwi wedi bwyta’r gath.” which, of course, means “I have eaten your cat”!
What I should have said was “Dwi wedi bwydo’r gath”.
They were in hysterics - and so was I!
Moral: don’t worry about mistakes.
I have eaten their cat several times since!!!


It was my grandaughter’s fourth birthday and I had hired the Leisure Centre at Llanrwst for her party. Unfortunately when afterwards I was telling my friends at ‘Panad a Sgwrs’ about it, an errant ‘s’ slipped into the sentence and I said " Dw i wedi llosgi’r Ganolfan Hamdden."
So instead of ‘hiring’ it I appear to have ‘burnt’ it down. Oops!


That got a loud and genuine LOL here! :slight_smile: (Not sure if our cat was so amused though…).

I can’t claim any confidence with these either, so thanks for giving me a reason to look them up. Interestingly, if you look up difaru in Gweiadur, it points you to edifarhau
and if you follow that link:

It gives:


bod yn ddrwg gan rywun am rywbeth (gweithred ddrwg neu fywyd ofer, a.y.b.) (Diolch byth na chafodd ei ladd ar ôl gyrru mor wyllt ond bydd digon o amser ganddo yn yr ysbyty i edifarhau am ei ffolineb.) (~ am) to regret, to repent

I don’t know how useful that is, but it does remind us that the language is richly stocked with odd little variations.

1 Like

Yes, mistakes are inevitable. I’ve made so many I can’t count. Most notable was telling a group of people I had just met in Llanystumdwy that I learned Japanese when I was in ysbyty (hospital) rather than (ysgol) school. Also in talking about a dear old eighty year old merched yr wawr member as such a camgymeriad (mistake) rather than cymeriad (character). Being able to laugh at mistakes is the key.

I agree with Helen. I make them in English often too. But I usually pick up the mistake and correct it. In Welsh, the realization often comes later in a hot flush of horror. Or in the above instances when I see a look of utter shock on the other people’s faces. :slight_smile:


When i was growing up in South Wales i used to do a lot of cycling. I remember once asking my dad about a nearby village i had never come across despite having seen several signs pointing to it. That was of course the well known village, Ysbyty.

Years later i was out mountain biking in north wales with my then first language speaking welsh girlfriend. After several hours around Rhyd Ddu i said we should have a break and asked if there was a pub at that other well known village, Llwybr Cyhoeddus.

Any wonder i left it till 49 to learn!


I’m ashamed to say that I can’t remember which place in South Wales, not far from Gower, our visitors had been to. Neither can I now remember where they said they had been. I do remember my shock. I then said, “I don’t think so. Can you show me on the map?” After this, I explained how to pronounce it so that it was no longer very rude!
Another friend was in a convalescent/recovery home and a visitor came from England, armed with the letter telling her where it was. On the bus, she asked for, “Jellynud,” (English spelling). Total blank from Conductor. She showed him the letter. “Oh!” he cried, smiling, “You want Gellinudd!”

1 Like

Along those lines, I once had an Aussie in Nottingham ask me where Looga barooga road was, which stumped me for a bit and a Spanish man tell me that he’d been to Wales and stayed in Byw way (that took a long time to work out).

Mae ddrwg gen i, @Toffidil, but this aged dragon is still puzzling both those! Can you explain for the thick elderly!