I have just enrolled on this course and I was wondering, what is the difference between North Welsh and South Welsh? And which is the most common?
Hi there, rather than answering again (basically “don’t worry about it”), I’ll paste a couple of links to previous discussions:
For the most part the difference between North and South isn’t that great in terms of vocabulary (I have more trouble with the accents!), and any speaker is going to understand both - it’s mostly an issue for early learners (like me ;)) with limited vocabulary.
The FAQ also has a link to a PDF of a summary from the old forum. I’ll paste it here for convenience.
Noswaith dda - Welsh is still the community language in quite a few centres in North Wales (e.g. Bala, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Caernarfon) whereas it has slipped below a 70% threshold in traditional Welsh heartlands in Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire according to the 2011 Census. The largest number of Welsh speakers in the heartlands is still found in Carmarthenshire (78,000) as against 77,000 in Gwynedd but the highest proportions per head of population are in Gwynedd and Ynys Môn. I have dabbled in both forms of the language but have focussed far more heavily on North Wales Welsh because my wife and her extended family are from Gwynedd and Ynys Môn. In the end as most contributors have emphasised, the differences don’t matter much. Once you have reached a certain level you will be able to communicate with people from across Wales. One of the main differences is the possessive i.e. use of ‘gan’ in the North instead of gyda. ( Mae gen i gath as against mae cath gyda fi). Another is the affirmative marker ‘mi’ at the beginning of a sentence e.g. Mi fydd hi’n braf yfory as against bydd hi’n braf yfory. There is also a difference in accent of course. Pob lwc efo dy gymraeg.
This fascinating subject of whether to choose North or South Wales Welsh comes up so often that I wonder if there could be a simple listing of verbs and nouns that covers 50% or more of the differences - or is that heresy!!
It would certainly help me with S4C and with the best will in the world not all of us have the time to do both courses - even if, like me we have the inclination.
Obviously at the head of the modal verbs list for Gogs like me would be eisiau:moyn;
Any ideas If this would be practical - I’m thinking of the “low hanging fruit” that covers quite a lot of the differences - namely the least amount of work to help us bridge. Or has this exercise been done already. Over to you gurus:
We could probably generate a list of our differences from the SSiBorg once we’ve moved the Welsh stuff over into it… in the meantime, you could probably pick up the majority of the important ones by skimming through the content list for the first 6 or so southern lessons…
Thanks Aran - I’m thinking also of the “KISS” principle. The North/South Top Ten Differences - something like that might keep this “simple, stupid” if again this isn’t heresy.
I believe in the South so-called short form verbs are used more frequently - but this we “gogs” can likely figure out how to handle.
As quite a lot of you probably know, I have been learning both North and South Wales (Ceredigion) Welsh. I live in the Dyfi Valley, which is generally North Wales Welsh (with a particular local accent too). I started learning with SSiW before I moved here, learning the Northern version. At the point I had completed lesson 5, I went on the first two weeks of the intensive course at Aberystwyth University (S). Then I continued with SSiW Northern, while working my way through ‘formal’ classes in Aberystwyth, although going to the occasional short courses in Dolgellau (Northern). It’s only over the last year that I have done a formal course in Machynlleth, which is definitely Northern (Bangor University).
So, I thought I might just list a few of the main differences that I notice:
(1) o/fo (N) instead of e/fe (S) e.g. mae o’n mynd i … instead of mae e’n mynd i…
I don’t even notice this now, I just treat it as a different pronunciation.
(2) The use of gan for possession of something, e.g. mae gen i gath, instead of mae cath 'da fi.
(3) Putting ‘mi’ before the short form verb, which causes a mutation, and then sometimes (often) missing the ‘mi’ off, but the mutation remains, e.g. Mi fydda i instead of Bydda i (I will/shall).
This did cause me problems to start with, because every time I heard the mutation, I expected the sentence to be negative and that a ‘ddim’ would be there, only it wasn’t. Sometimes I thought someone was saying something negative, when they were actually being positive! I mentioned this to someone and they were surprised that I had this problem, because they thought everyone in the South put ‘Fe’ at the start of every sentence, also causing a mutation, but that’s something I’ve not come across in Aberystwyth (except in writing)…
In terms of individual words being different, eisiau/isio sometimes causes confusion, because in the South it is I need and then in the North it’s I want - a sliding scale through moyn, eisiau/isio and angen.
I want = dw i’n moyn (S), dw i eisiau (N), and I need = dw i eisiau (S), dw i angen (N),
Llaith doesn’t seem to turn into llefrith until further up the Dyfi Valley, in Dinas Mawddwy!
The word for keys, seems to vary from one person to the next, and I always pick the ‘wrong’ one. If I ask for ‘allweddau’, the response is ‘Oh you want the (a)goriadau’ and vice versa! But I think they’re just being difficult.
Then, there is the use of the answer Oes/Nac oes, to just about everything - well anything to do with possession, including feelings, so in Siop Alys, if someone asks, ‘Wyt ti eisiau coffi’, the answer is ‘Oes’, not ydw/yndw. ‘Ti’n siwr? Oes!’.
Do I stand any chance of getting it right? Nac oes!
I absolutely love this. It is the ultimate anti-dote when Eirwen is deliberately demonstrating her superiority and asking me questions that she knows I will fluff. I can now confidently reply Oes or Nac Oes and claim that I have adopted my Southern personality for the day
Northern - but you can claim to be in touch with your feelings!
I think the Southern equivalent is Wes, but it’s not used in such a range of situations, but someone will probably correct me on that.
So that explains a problem I had!!
My north/south dichotomy seems to swing further gog every day!!
p.s. I seem to recall something about bwrw glaw and bwrw eira not being used … er… I forget if it was gog or de, but they seem pretty universal now!!!
I’v been waiting for the next instalment of level 2 S. so have been revising previous lessons-always plenty of work to do. Then I thought of all those Gog lessons ready and waiting so I have switched to the Northern course for now-or maybe permanentely , who knows. I am getting used to two ways of saying most things.Saves me getting bored anyway.
The whole oes/ydw thing sparked a very animated ‘discussion’ (aka argument) between my partner and our friend, both of whom are first-langugage Welsh brought up in Bangor (so I don’t know that it is necessarily a N/S thing). (The reasoning, I think, is that ‘Ti’n isio?’ is a very truncated form of ‘Oes eisiau arna ti?’, to which of course the answer would be ‘Oes’. But when you hear ‘Wyt ti eisiau?’ of course you want to answer ‘Ydw’. It’s a minefield!)
I’m planning to go Northern after I’ve finished the Southern course 2. Some research into the history of Gwynedd and a look on the map of the distribution of Welsh speakers inside Cymru have convinced me. And it will be lovely to be able to say things both way (and finally start understanding people in Rownd a Rownd).
Yes, when I’m trying to watch S4C or listen to Radio Cymru I feel like shouting “can you all PLEASE speak S Welsh. I have enough trouble with that without added complications!” However having just finished reading my first Welsh book, Which was written in N Welsh I feel I am getting the hang of it now(nawr-rwan) I just happened to start learning the Southern version of the language because I found the first 6 lessons of course 1 on you tube and they were in Welsh S.
I was reading your post in Siop Alys at lunchtime. It made me smile because, just at that point, I heard “Wyt ti eisiau llaith?”. “Oes”, the customer responded!
I don’t think this is an original point, but I’m sure the biggest difference or challenge that we learners have to face is with unfamiliar accents / intonation, etc. The vocabulary differences seem to be fairly small really, in my experience, which admittedly may be limited. What throws you is when they say a whole stream of words that you do really (mostly) know, but don’t recognise because of the way they are saying them.
Sounds familiar - just like being in Glasgow, Liverpool or Newcastle
Or - if you come from Glasgow, Liverpool or Newcastle - Birmingham, Chelmsford or Bude
Or even Northampton!! (I met a chap from there and could not understand a word!!!) Mind, some people from England couldn’t understand a bus conductor in Swansea, not because of his accent, really, but because he spoke too fast!!!
But I keep bothering @aran because I have trouble with @Iestyn’s accent!