Pronounciation - dd and f

Hi, I am very sorry if you have already covered this but I’ve had a good scout around but can’t find anything that quite fits my question - but did note what Aran said in 2014 about dd, th, f, v and checking the vocab list.

Firstly though, thank you all very much indeed for putting this course together. I’ve found it excellent in every way. I used my Welsh for the first time yesterday - albeit briefly and tentatively. My host, who is a first language speaker from N. Wales was surprised and delighted!

I’ve been learning for about a month now (no, really) and have got to Challenge 12 today where we are using "she’d better, he’d better etc) I’ve listened and listened but can’t work out whether the sound after “well” is a f or dd sound. It sounds as if it’s a “f” sound (Aran) and sometimes “dd” (Cat). I have looked at the vocab list (for the first time and can see what it looks like formally - well iddi hi – she’d better etc) but my question is how should it sound when spoken. To me “she’d better” sounds pretty much the same as saying “well i fi” when Aran says the shortened form. I’ve had the same problem with what sounds to me like “be fe fe’n” which I see on the vocab list is “Byddai fe’n”. These are the only examples where the sound is not clear to me so I wondered whether there was something special about these colloquial forms. I should add that I’m from south London originally and there is a bit of a temptation to turn th into v (e.g. brother - bruvver.) so maybe it’s just my ears.

Thank you very much indeed


Congratulations for being off to such a flying start, and for having used your Welsh ‘in the wild’ already :star2:

This is, I think, more about how our brains fill in gaps/mishearing that aren’t familiar to us - rather than any actual sound shifts in colloquial speech - so when you’re hearing ‘well i fi’ instead of ‘well iddi hi’, I can promise you that I’m making the ‘dd’ sound/mouth shape - same with ‘byddai fo’n’… it just turns out that it can be surprisingly tricky to unpick dd from f and vice versa… :slight_smile:

But don’t worry, because it works in reverse most of the time, too - if you say ‘byfai fo’ in casual conversation, most first language speakers will hear ‘byddai fo’ - it’s only when it plays around with meaning that you might get hiccups, like ‘well i fi’ instead of ‘well iddi hi’ - but in that case, you’ll get people going ‘uh? ti neu hi?’ and it gets sorted out… :slight_smile:


Croeso / welcome. :smile:
I don’t know if this will help you but, if you can say (and hear) the “TH” and "V"s in the English phrase “THis Very eVening” you are very close to being able to say and hear the Welsh “dd” and “f”. There is no “v” in the Welsh alphabet by the way (at least not in my dictionaries). :smile:

Another big variable, of course, is the quality of the reproduction system (earphones / loudspeakers etc) at the listener’s end.


I’m glad I’m not the only one with that problem. I’m from north London and I think I’ve had to use the vocab lists for almost every word that contains dd and/or f, although I don’t have nearly the same problem with th and ff. Huw has a good point about your speakers as I do find them easier to work out with headphones. However, I think because in my case the sounds have been interchangeable for several decades my brain doesn’t always notice the difference.

One thing I have found on this course is that it’s surprising how much detail you don’t actually hear when you’re listening to speech even if you understand it perfectly and how much your brain fills in the blanks without you noticing.