Welsh letter frequency and a Welsh typeface? (and now favourite Welsh phrases!)

I’m working on a little project at the moment that involves the frequency of use of letters in Welsh.
I found this online
but I’m a little dubious if they can’t get the letters of the alphabet right, has anyone got any got any better sources of information?

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Would Scrabble tiles help at all?

Welsh-language Scrabble sets use these 105 tiles:

2 blank tiles (scoring 0 points)
1 point: A ×10, E ×8, N ×8, I ×7, R ×7, Y ×7, D ×6, O ×6, W ×5, DD ×4
2 points: F ×3, G ×3, L ×3, U ×3
3 points: S ×3, B ×2, M ×2, T ×2
4 points: C ×2, FF ×2, H ×2, TH ×2
5 points: CH ×1, LL ×1, P ×1
8 points: J ×1
10 points: NG ×1, RH ×1

Since there are specific tiles for the digraphs that are considered to be separate letters in Welsh orthography (such as DD), it is not permissible to use the individual letters to spell these out. Diacritics on letters are ignored.

The digraph PH also exists in Welsh, but is omitted because it is used almost exclusively in mutated words, which the rules disallow. K, Q, V, X and Z also do not exist in Welsh. J does not exist in traditional Welsh either, but it is included as it is used in some borrowed words.


Yes, of course, many thanks, that’s an great solution and may well do the trick!

Part 2 of this question that I should have added before - is there a font or typeface that feels ‘cymraeg’ to people.

Oh, and there was I beginning to think my hated name might actually be acceptable if J had joined the alphabet, but it hasn’t, not really, it is just a reluctantly accepted import, like Jac. My full name has a Q as well, and gets shortened to include K. I hate it!

Only speaking for myself, I can’t say I think of any as feeling more ‘Cymraeg’ than others, but what I would say is that in my experience there are some fonts don’t support accented letters like ŵ, so I suppose they are less Cymraeg in that respect.


Now that’s something else in the mix that I hadn’t thought of (hastily jotting down notes!!) fairly easy to do though in the way I’m using the letters.[quote=“siaronjames, post:5, topic:8249”]
more ‘Cymraeg’ than others

Yes, I’m not sure either. There is an Irish or Gaelic typeface that I often see, so that may well be what people may also think of as ‘Welsh-ish’

Yes, I noticed that it was added to the original frequency list I saw,
Is the letter ‘J’s’ used in so many Welsh surnames an anglicisation of something older in Welsh then?

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Very early on - before printing - (and in both English and Welsh), there was no “j” and the letter always used was “i”. In certain phonetic combinations (and David Crystal explains it infinitely better than I ever could in a book of his I’m reading at home :wink: ) the “i” became a “j”. So the name Jones (and John) in Wales, for example, would have developed from Ioan, Ionas or Sion.
I had an uncle who’s name was Jevan - a version of Ieuan.


Diolch, a perfect explanation!

For reasons which people who know the series will probably understand, this always feels a bit “Cymraeg” to me:


This one -

Spell It Out: The singular story of English spelling
David Crystal
Profile Books, 6 Sep 2012

Why is there an ‘h’ in ghost? William Caxton, inventor of the printing press and his Flemish employees are to blame: without a dictionary or style guide to hand in fifteenth century Bruges, the typesetters simply spelled it the way it sounded to their foreign ears, and it stuck. Seventy-five per cent of English spelling is regular but twenty-five per cent is complicated, and in Spell It Out our foremost linguistics expert David Crystal extends a helping hand to the confused and curious alike.

He unearths the stories behind the rogue words that confound us, and explains why these peculiarities entered the mainstream, in an epic journey taking in sixth century monks, French and Latin upstarts, the Industrial Revolution and the internet. By learning the history and the principles, Crystal shows how the spellings that break all the rules become easier to get right.


“… some fonts don’t support accented letters…”
so you get compromises like this:
(Graphic designers, look away NOW)


I must admit I did something similar recently because I was hurtling towards a deadline with no brakes and precious little steering. If I had had more time I would have done what I normally do - a regular w with a caret (^) photoshopped above it.


I’m not brilliant on fonts, I have to say (apart from knowing which I hate and are hard to read!). How about looking at some particularly Welsh websites (Welsh tourist board, Cymdeithas yr Iaith, etc) to see what they use? Or at editions of the Mabinogion and so forth?

Or, here’s a jolly wheeze - why not see what you can see online of the digitized contents of the National Library of Wales to see what was popular with ‘old’ Welsh texts?


An excellent idea, I’ll have a browse later. I’m sure things targeted at tourists may be a good start, also the text on the Millennium Centre.
Online digitized might be interesting. I’m going to have hundreds of letters laser-cut so I don’t have to stick to a standard font, I’m reliably told that I can vectorize any basic image to work with a laser-cutter, hmmmmm, time to ponder…


I have recently taken up calligraphy and did a weekend course in Ynys Môn last summer, where we looked at different ‘modern’ fonts. Obviously all the beautiful writing has consistent letter forms running through it, that’s why it looks so good. It helps for writing in Welsh to think about some of the letters that come up next to each other often, such as w and y. As I found out, it looks better if they are both based on the same shape, ‘v’ in this case. If the w is two 'v’s put together and the y is a v with a tail rather than a ‘u’ with a tail, then next to each other I think they ‘flow better’. Although you might want to go for variety :slight_smile:


First samples of letters back, laser-cut and ready to play with! In the end found that Urbanfonts had a good selection of celtic styles that, through a fairly simple bit of jiggling were good to go in the laser cutter.

Now I was wondering if anyone had a short sentence in Welsh which relates to either the learning of Welsh or the Welsh language, or just a favourite bit of Welsh from your learning that you wouldn’t mind sharing and hopefully to become part of the piece that I’m working on?

Here are a few from me…
Firstly, two things I have on the wall in my living room…

‘Cenedl heb iaith, cenedl heb galon’
‘Gwyn eu byd y tangnefeddwyr’

I love this from T.H Parry Williams’ ‘Hon’ - ‘Ac mi glywaf grafangau Cymru’n dirdynnu fy mron.
Duw a’m gwaredo, ni allaf ddianc rhag hon.’

My favourite Welsh word is ‘canys’.

A quote I often share on social media is ‘Welsh learners give the best cwtshis’ which I would translate as ‘Gan ddysgwyr Cymraeg ceir y cwtshis gorau’

Hope some of these help. I shall post more when I think of some. :slight_smile:


Surely “Bydded i’r hen iaith barhau” has to be in there!


‘Saith gwaith amgenach, dwywaith mor bell’

‘Caiff iaith brenhinoedd Cymru fod fyth ar ei wefus fach’



Yma o hyd!

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