Twitter course in writing cynghanedd has restarted

The anonymous poet who runs the Twitter feed @cynganeddu has restarted giving lessons in writing Welsh strict-metre poetry. He gives a task. You come up with a solution to it, tweet it to him, and when you have it correct, he retweets it. I think the beginner tasks each last one day; he’s continuing with tasks for more advanced folks (the ‘adar’) at a pace of one a week.

Warning: this is not for the faint of heart! I can easily spend two hours trying to write a single correct couplet of 14 syllables. You don’t want to know how long writing a 30-syllable englyn takes me.

Kinetic, jump on in, the water’s fine…

My hat off to you Diane, sounds like torture!

Just to test the waters in English, would this qualify:

I considered, but can see dread

Would that be draws, if it is not just nonsense?

I think that’s almost but not quite right, because of where the accented syllable falls. On the first part of the line, you’ve got “cns:d(rd)”, i.e. the stressed vowel (represented by a colon) falls between the S and the D, whereas in the second part you’ve got “cnsdr:d” the stressed vowel is between the R and the D.

However, I reckon “I considered conceding” is a valid croes :slight_smile:

Kinetic has it right! Another line in English that would work as a (four-syllable) cross is:

Indoors, no death.
nd:(rs) / nd:(th)

A lot of English words are HARD to handle in cynghanedd because the stress pattern is different; words where (as in Welsh) the stress is either on the last or next-to-last syllable work best.

Diane - any idea how people usually handle proest in English? The vowels of Welsh are divided into groups for the purposes of determining whether words proest or not, aren’t they, and as far as I know there are no such divisions for English…?

Good question. You could argue that beech:seat as hen:ben, I suppose…

I just looked up cynghanedd on wikipedia, I did not even understand the the english description of it !

Diane - Cynghanedd is a million miles beyond where I am at the moment, but I’d love to know more about it. Would you mind keeping posting on it as the course progresses? I’d be really interested.

This is a great way to start. I’ve been through it once but it was a while back and I’ve forgotten everything, so it will be back to the drawingboard for me this year. I’m really keen to get into it.

Id love to know more about writing poetry in Welsh! It was what got me interested, in fact! Im a complete beginner and have just done lesson two of level 1, but hearing Mererid Hopwood read the poems in her book ‘Singing in Chains’ got me hooked!
If wants to chat about writing poetry I’d love it. And maybe be a chat person by Skype or FaceTime?
Im currently using some sock puppets to chat to! And patient Ro is helping me…

Well above my understanding but here’s, Twm Morys, talking about Cerdd Dafod and Cynghanedd…


For those advanced in their Welsh studies and wanting a challenge (underline: CHALLENGE!), the anonymous bard who runs the Twitter course in writing cynghanedd has started it up again today!

To join in the fun, follow @cynganeddu on Twitter. Every morning he teaches something in a tweet or two, then poses a task. You complete the task and reply to him (in a tweet) with your answer. If it’s wrong, he’ll tweet you back with the problem. When you get it right, you’ll know because he’ll retweet your answer!

He’s starting at the very beginning of what’s necessary to write and appreciate cynghanedd: understanding accented and unaccented words in Welsh. (He also assigns tasks for non-beginners, but the beginning ones will be challenging enough pretty quickly.)

I will be honest, when I did the “course” a few years ago, I found myself pretty quickly having to work on a task for hours to complete it. Writing cynghanedd gets really complex, really fast, and not having a first-language-speaker’s fluency and breadth of vocabulary is a hindrance. But I really enjoyed it, and I think you could learn a lot just to start being able to appreciate the miracle of well-crafted Welsh strict-metre poetry, even if you didn’t complete the tasks.


Ufff. It look so complicated to me I don’t even dare to follow the twitter acount what to participate. :slight_smile:

But I’m curious though…

What is twitter? Is it a form of texting? Do you need superfast broadband?

Hi, Doug. No, you don’t need fast broadband for Twitter; many people use it from their smartphones.

You use Twitter by going to the website ( and/or by downloading the Twitter app to your phone or tablet. It is a way to see messages of 140 characters or fewer that people post publicly. Your responses and Twitter posts are also public.

You would get started by going to Twitter, signing up for an account (i.e., picking a username that becomes your public face), and then searching for people who interest you and “following” them. In the case of the cynghanedd course, you would search for and follow @cynganeddu .

Hope this helps!

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Hi Tahi,

Thanks for the explanation. While I am interested in cynghanedd, Twitter sounds like a step too far for me. I don’t like the idea of “stalking” or being stalked so I’ll stick to reading books.

If this sounds ungrateful then I am sorry but I am naturally cautious with anything on the internet.


Twitter is a slightly cumbersome format for lessons but I’m guessing the platform has been chosen to try an hook in people who wouldn’t normally try on the basis that, after all it’s ONLY 140 characters. Plus the fact the whole learning process is visible means the people who wouldn’t normally even know of the existence of cynghanedd will see it opping up in their friends feeds.

It works as an awerness raising exercise as well as getting new people to give it a go.

The lessons are good and start right at the beginning - you literally just start by tweeting pairs of “matching” words or words of different types used in the form.

But it’s only week two and we’re already making unp little lines of one type opf poetry.

It’s interesting - you’re so focussed on the matching process that you find yourself making up any onlr thing to connect them! It works as a creative prompt as well as sounding pretty on the tongue.

“Nant o arian yw’r niwl” is my favourite of mine so far.


Also the feedback is excellent, fast and detailed - way above what most inline crses (SSIW excepted!) would give you, especially am ddim!


Oh dear. I have this rooted objection to Facebook and Twitter, but am interested in cynghadedd. I suppose there is no chance the person involved would do it via a website instead?
Grumpy old curmudgeon of a ddraig!

Can’t see it - it’s been on Twitter the past three years and when interviewed about it the reasons given are to:

“Fel y crybwyllais, rhannu fy angerdd am gerdd dafod a lledu’r grefft gynhenid gymreig hon gymaint a phosibl ymysg ein siaradwyr cymraeg a thrwy hynny cyfuno’r hen a’r newydd – cynghanedd cannoedd o ganrifoedd oed a twitter, a hefyd cynyddu defnydd o’r gymraeg ar y we.”

I think they/he/she see Twitter as part of the point.

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