Could someone please clarify how to pronounce this. Is it ‘nayth’ or ‘narth’?? Im doing course 2 and it seems to use both.


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Are you doing north or south?

I must say (since doing northern Courses1 and 2, 1-2 years ago), I have often wondered about the “correct” pronunciation of this. My memory is that it sounded mostly like “naahth”.

However, this is odd, in a way, since other occurrences of the “ae” dipthong (like “Cymraeg”) were more like (English vowel sounds) “eye”.

Whereas southerners (and the southern course) seems to go with “Cymraahg”.

There again, with the related “aeth” “aethon ni” “aethochi” (past tense of “mynd”) I hear people saying (English vowel sounds) “ayth” “aythonee” “aythochee”.

So, it’s an interesting question.
(However, there is rarely a single “correct” answer to pronunciation questions in Welsh!)

Maybe @aran or @iestyn could comment.


I’m finding that to be rather true, so for now any new words (not from the course) get pronounced as i see them but probably wrong, i just hope that like when we here a foreign visitor pronouncing something oddly, from context we guess the meaning and carry on, then people in Wales will correct me gently when i ask them to do so.

Cheers J.P.


If you’re doing the north course you can hear a subtle difference between the way @aran and @CatrinLliarJones say it. It’s difficult to get a decent phonetic idea across but Aran says it quite straight (nahth) but Catrin has the very slightest “eye” sound creeping in towards the end, very subtle.


I have always said it to rhyme with English ‘aye’ or I or Cymraeg Dai!! But that is south west or parts of the north. @Iestyn always says ‘ah’ which grates on me!! (Sorry @Iestyn). His Cat tends to sound a bit more like ‘aye’! Nothing is ‘correct’, all will be understood, and it is wrong to screw up one’s nose and flinch the way I do!!! :wink:

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Either is fine, but ‘ayth’ is a little more formal, I’d say - which is why you hear it creeping in with Catrin - any time she sees a microphone, she starts to feel as though she’s in church…:wink:


@Aran I was wondering whether there was a difference in pronunciation between just “aeth” (or “wnaeth” or any of the similar verbs), and “-aethon”, “aethoch”, i.e. whether adding on the extra syllable somehow changed the way the first syllable was said.

Um, yeah, I think it would in general - ‘aython ni’, ‘aythoch chi’, for sure… :sunny:


While we are dissecting sound differences (very difficult in text, I realise) I wonder if anyone else has the perception that the “wy” combination sounds a bit different between northern and southern?

e.g. the word “hwyl”. I always thought of this as “hoo-wheel” for a long time.
Then I noticed people who I tend to think of as southern speakers giving it more of a “hoy-eel” sound.

Then I happened to listen to an old Catchphrase lesson, and the teacher voice was saying how he didn’t like to hear learners pronouncing the “wy” as two letters, as it should be a single sound. He gave the example of “Clwyd”. (Well, the county has been abolished now for LG purposes, but I suppose the river still exists, so we still have to worry about it…).

Then I started listening more to this sound (and worrying, I suppose, which one shouldn’t do, but still…).

Have a listen to http://gweiadur.com/en/Pawb/hwyl (sorry, registration needed) and/or type “hwyl” into one of the 2 Welsh voices on https://www.ivona.com
(or any similar word if you like).

Then compare with Idris Morris Jones at about 01.27.40 here as he says goodbye.

I’m fairly sure he’s a northern speaker.

What he says is closer to what I thought it was (influenced by northern SSiW lessons).
Am I really hearing a difference, or is it really about the same?

If anyone else has any relevant sound samples to point to, point away! :slight_smile:

Edited to add another sample link with someone saying “hwyl”:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06pywty at about 44:50
(Dylan Iorweth is a northern speaker, I believe).

I’ve just started on my training to be an ‘official’ Welsh for Adults tutor in the south west and I was absolutely delighted to get the course materials where they stress the natural local spoken version of Welsh. There is a sort of loosely phonetic approximation to help and I would say that at least 95% of the pronunciation is exactly the way that Iestyn says it in the southern SSiW course.

I just have to learn to say ‘lico’ instead of ‘hoffi’ and I’ll blend right in :slight_smile:


I would say more hoyl. The two vowels are more of the ‘oy’ diphthong than two separate vowels.

Are you doing northern or southern @craigf ?


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But I like “hoffi” more… It goes better with the “coffi” - hehe :coffee:

And on a sirious note: I always wonder if writing down pronunciation varies from language to language as I almost don’t have a clue how to read what you write … It must be different way to do so … So if I hear word I go for that … written things on this just don’t help me too much.

but if you want to know what I’m hearing - “nath” is what I hear and go for that. (wnaeth e = nath e).

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I’m with Tatjana with the “hoffi coffee”, but as for “wnaeth”…

If you make the lip shape for the W, immediately before the N, even though the W is almost silent, it does seem to change the 'attack" at the front end of the word. Now what’s a hearing-impaired person doing doing daring to comment on pronunciation? Actually, because I have to study the way people articulate their mouths, and have these handy-dandy hearing devices that accentuate minor differences to help me interpret what folk are saying, in some ways I am even more sensitive to slight variations in certain sounds. As for whether it’s followed by an “AY” or “AAH” or other variation on a theme–my guess is that there isn’t some invisible line through central Wales that acts as the magical dividing line, but across every hill, stream and valley. Lucky eh, because if whatever we say sounds a little strange, we can just adopt that quizzical look as is to say–“well that’s how we say it in…” :wink:

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To give an example from my course, that’s written as “gwnaeth” for the written form but “nâth” in the ‘pronunciation’ column. I think totally new students would need guidance initially, but once they get used to how the pronunciation guide works they’ll be fine. It also helps tutors who have come from another region of Wales to see what the local pronunciation is. The Centre doesn’t worry too much once the learners get beyond the initial levels as it’s important for them to get used to differences, but they try to keep to local pronunciation for the absolute beginners.

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