Place Names Outside of Wales

I may be putting the proverbial cart well before the horse, but I have a burning desire to know how place names beyond the borders of Cymru are commonly referred to yng Nghymru? Do they typically get translated into Cymraeg when equivalent words exist or do they remain in the primary language of their location? I could probably find an answer to this on Google, but where’s the fun in that!? :grinning:

For instance, if someone wanted to say ‘I come from New York’ {as in the state/province–although New York City is a great place to visit} would it be more common to say ‘Dwi’n dod o Efrog Newydd’ or ‘Dwi’n dod o New York’? What about Montréal? Rome? Christchurch, New Zealand?

I’m hoping others might share my interest in learning y Gymraeg for other international place names too, so please feel free to add to the list.

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I’ve got a copy of the Welsh learner’s dictionary by Heini Gruffudd and it has a list of place names, geographical names and names of countries.

If you are speaking Welsh then use the Welsh place name, if speaking English use the English.

That one or is there one “maxi” edition too? :slight_smile:

Aha, this is the one …

I always ask before I really search, but anyway. Links could be useful if someone wants to buy it.

You’ll note that this one doesn’t get translated into English, for example - we don’t call it “Kingsmount” or even go the Norman French route and call it “Mount Real”.

Rome = Rhufain
New Zealand = Seland Newydd

I believe Ljubljana also isn’t translated into Cymraeg despite it’s kind of translated into German “Laibach” and Italians call it “Lubiana” … The closest translation into Cymraeg would be “annwyl” or “Caru” what really doesn’t sound like name for the city to me. The old name (Roman one) for Ljubljana, “Emona” is even less translatable though …

Well this on the part of our (Slovenian) capital city …

Not really an international example, but when I started learning Welsh in Cardiff, and being very new to all things Cymraeg, I was amazed to find out that there was a Welsh name for the “English” island I grew up on (the Isle of Wight = Ynys Wyth). The Island (as locals call it) is pretty insular (unsurprisingly) and the fact that people just a hundred miles northwest of where I grew up were speaking a different language and using a different name for my home still tickles me. (Although of course there’s nothing particularly unusual about that!)

Again, not really an international example (as such), but there are MANY towns and cities in England, Scotland and Ireland that have Welsh translations. Some examples are:-

Llundain = London
Manceinion = Manchester
Lerpwl = Liverpool
Caint = Kent
Caer-gaint = Canterbury
Amwythig = Shrewsbury
Caeredin = Edinburgh
Dulyn = Dublin
…to name a few!

There is also a book on Welsh place names in Wales, called Y Llyfr Enwau by D. Geraint Lewis, published by Gomer.


I think most Brits call it that too, including those in Wales!
Basically, I think, if a place gets mentioned enough, like Seland Newydd for rugby, it gets translated, if not, it doesn’t!! However, if the English have given it a name, that probably crosses Offa’s dyke if there isn’t a name yn Gymraeg! :smile:

I’ve been told that they also refer to the British mainland as “North Island”. :slight_smile:

I believe Ljubljana also isn’t translated into Cymraeg

I suppose you can try and spell it using a Welsh alphabet, Lŵbiana or something similar.

That being said, my old Geography teacher insisted that we used the English words “China” and “Japan” in our work rather than the Welshified “Tsieina” and “Siapan”.

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Tsieina and Siapan are lovely, I vote for making them the standard spelling in English too.

This thread has made me wonder anyone is ever going to understand where I’m from, though, if they see"Fitebsc". Lŵbiana is a bit easier to guess.


Diolch yn fawr pawb!

Sounds like I need to purchase a copy. It’s officially been moved to the top of my “Dysgu Cymraeg” list!

I was amongst only a few hundred undergraduates ever to have majored in Canadian Studies within the US (with a concentration in Québec Poli-Cultural History, no less!) so I’m grateful that ‘Montréal’ transcends language borders. :wink: It’s also partly the reason for my interest in this particular topic. Despite taking French for five years in secondary and two semesters in university I am by no means fluent, but loved listening to Radio Canada and would always be a little surprised when they would use the Anglicised names for places outside of Francophone regions.

I thoroughly enjoy reading about your adventures in learning Cymraeg in Slovenia and look forward to “SaySomethingInSlovene” one of these days. Not to go too far off topic, but are any Cymru place names translated into Slovene?

Brilliant! :sunny:

I spent a fair amount of time (translation: far too much time) leafing through this particular book on my last visit to Ynys Môn in December. My brother was the lucky recipient at Christmas. Perhaps he’ll loan it to me?

I second that!

Not where I came from… I was brought up on the southwest side of the Island, we only became aware of the existence of a mainland in 1975 :smile:


It all comes down to rugby, doesn’t it? I suppose I should probably take some time to better understand it sooner than later. :rugby_football:

Did your geography teacher give a particular reason for this? Or was it just a personal preference sort of thing? I had a Canadian Studies professor who insisted that people from the US refer to themselves as ‘états-unienne’. But I received a most perplexed stare from someone in France when I used that term. Thankfully the gentleman kindly replied, ‘oh, you mean americain!’. About that… :grinning:

Tsieina is just really the English name spelt according to the conventions of Welsh spelling, The Chinese themselves call their country Zhōnghuá so if it were translated into Welsh it would be something like Gwlad Canol (the middle country) or maybe Deyrnas Canol (middle kingdom), Zhōnghuá is of course the phonetic equivalent of the Chinese characters in English, the other alternative would be to render it in Welsh spelling.

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Not that I would know but will have to do some researches actually.

Thank you.

Yup. It’s hard to say Ljubljana, isn’t it. Sometimes even for us Slovenians … You have two “lj” to say in one word, what is actually prety hard.

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Not really, but I think it probably was personal preference. She probably thought that “Tsieina” and “Siapan” weren’t ‘real’ Welsh words but,as @cap said, the English words with Welsh spelling, so it was better to use the actual words you were trying to use. Obviously we’d use “yr Almaen” over “Germany” but since proper Welsh words for Japan and China either don’t exist or aren’t common, the English ones would have to do (in her opinion anyway). I personally prefer the Welsh spellings because it’s different and makes more sense in a Welsh context, but that being said the word Tsieina is a bit messy.


Here’s a list of a few of the more difficult countries …
America = America
Affrica = Africa
Awstria = Austria
Awstralia = Australia
Brasil = Brazil
Canada = Canada
Denmarc = Denmark
Israel = Israel
Mecsico = Mexico
Norwy = Norway
Pacistan = Pakistan

You’re welcome. :blush: