Tips for pronouncing ‘Archfarchnad’

Bore da, pawb! I’ve had difficulty with using the ‘ch’ sound in words since I started learning Cymraeg several years ago. Now I can manage quite well, until a few months ago when I restarted intensive practice and encountered the word ‘archfarchnad’ (saesneg = ‘supermarket’)

I feel like it’s the two r’s preceding and the n that follows which are giving me trouble, as I’m even struggling pronouncing ‘arch’ and ‘farch’ by themselves - and then by the time I reach ‘nad,’ it’s all fallen apart.

For those of you who can successfully say archfarchnad, how do you manage?

Diolch yh fawr iawn in advance!


You’ve reminded me of this video of primary school age Ukrainian refugees learning Welsh… At about 00:40 the girl says that archfarchnad is her favourite word in Welsh. It might not be helpful, but it is said such delightful relish:


How adorable! I can at least think of this when I get frustrated and be amused

It is a delightful word, I look forward to managing it


If there’s something I can’t pronounce, I just take it one syllable at a time and repeat it about twenty or forty times and then put all the syllables together. That’s how I got okay with saying Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch

As Joshua said, breaking it down into syllables will help, but here’s my addition to the tip -

Start by repeating arch over and over, really slowly at first, then speed up until you feel it’s coming out well.
Then do the same with farch.
(No need to do this with nad, that isn’t a tricky bit!)
Don’t worry too much about getting a roll on the r - if you can, great, but if you can’t, or not rolling it helps you get to the ch, then that’s fine too (not everyone rolls every r!).
Then do the repetitions again putting arch and farch together - archfarch.
Then do the same putting farch and nad together - farchnad
When you’re feeling more comfortable with both archfarch and farchnad, put the whole word back together - archfarchnad, but again do the repetition exercise starting slowly and build up the speed.

It’s all about building ‘muscle memory’ in your mouth, which (like any ‘muscle memory’) comes with repetition. :slight_smile:


A tip I picked up somewhere with unfamiliar words was to learn them starting from the end and then build up until you reach the beginning. I find it does help. So…


Obviously “nad” doesn’t cause problems, but try practising saying “farchnad” until you’re happy with that, then add the “arch” in front.

By doing it that way, instead of running out of steam half way through the word, you’re on increasingly familiar ground as you approach the ending.


Thank you both, I’ll give these both a try :smiley:

I might just add practing ‘nad’ anyway for a little easy victory


I use the same trick. I think I was introduced to it when doing a Pimsleur course and I have used it ever since, including with my own students when I was still teaching. I find it works for whole phrases too.


Split it up.
Say arch, then pause, say farch, then pause, then say nad. Practice a few times, then leave a shorter pause until you can say the whole word. Hope that helps.

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Yes, I was taught it for whole phrases as part of a CELTA - referred to as “back-chaining”.


I’ve made progress! When I remember to, I’ve been spending a few minutes practicing back-chaining, and also just practicing repeating ‘arch’ and ‘farch’ on their own.

It’s still difficult, but it’s getting easier. And I’m finding this is helping with saying ‘ch’ words in general.

Might have to go find some tongue twisters to practice.


Here you go :wink:
Chwech o berchyll bychain cochion. (Six little red piglets.)
Pesychoch chi fel na phesychasoch chi o’r blaen. (You coughed like you’ve never coughed before.)
Chwaraeasoch chwe chŵn chwaraegar chwe chwibanau chwedlonol i chdi. (Six playful dogs played six fabulous whistles to you.)



I think it’s bad grammar just for the sake of the tongue twister (I didn’t write it myself!) - chwaraesoch = plural 2nd person. chwaraesant = plural 3rd person, but if anything, it should be chwaraeodd (singular 3rd person) and also chi not chŵn and chwiban not chwibanau (singular nouns after numbers).

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Too busy looking up literary forms I never use to think about basics of agreement that I know & use every time I open my mouth in Welsh. :rueful expression:


Just a little update - still not perfect, but it’s much easier now! I feel far less like I’m stumbling clumsily through the thing - now it’s more of a silly saunter.