Wnaethon / wnaethoch pronunciation

I have a quick question about the pronunciation of wnaethon and wnaethoch.

For most words “ae” seems to be pronounced like English “eye” but in the words wnaethon and wnaethoch most people (at least the ones I’ve heard) seem to pronounce it like the “ei” in “gweithio”. Is that some kind of regional variation or is it a standard pronunciation?


I don’t know how much of a ‘rule’ this is, but someone posted on one of the learners’ groups on Facebook the other day, that the ‘ae’ combination comes at the beginning of a word it sounds like ‘ay’, but when it comes towards the end of a word it sounds like ‘eye’. I have to confess, I had never thought about it!

I haven’t noticed any regional variation, but perhaps someone with more experience will be able to comment on that.

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S’mae Flying Pigeon?

Good question! One thing I can say is that you can 100% trust the pronunciations you hear in the Challenges, so you can confidently use wnaethon ni and wnaethoch chi out in the wild and know that you will be understood. As Sara said in her reply “…never thought about it…” is the perfect place to be, so trust the lessons and let your accent develop naturally without trying to remember any so-called “rules” that always get broken anyway.

I hope that you are enjoying learning Welsh the SSi way; keep us up to date with your progress here on the forum, and keep those questions coming!




There is also a third way of pronouncing it…a bit like the English “aah” (as in “aah Bisto!” :slight_smile: ).

This is how Iestyn seems to pronounce the “ae” in “Cymraeg”, although on the northern course it’s more like English “eye”.

I’m wondering if in words like wnaethon and wnaethoch, the “ae” somehow gets affected by the presence of the following syllable (i.e. “on” or “och”).

Because (unless my memory is really letting me down), on the northern course 1, I think we learned to pronounce e.g. “(w)naeth hi” or “(w)naeth o” with an (English) “aah” sound.

But by the time we got to “(w)naethon ni” and “(w)naethoch chi”, it was more like an (English) “ay” sound. (like the “a” in “navy”). (or like the “ei” in “gweithio” in the north).

However, I think I need to go back and have a listen to the Course(s) and see if I’m remembering correctly. But I think it was similar when we eventually got to “aeth hi” and “aethoch chi” etc.

(and also to listen in the wild, or rather to Radio Cymru, which is about as wild as I can manage).

(tagging @Flying_Pigeon )


@aran If I pronounce ‘ae’ like English ‘eye’, which I pretty well always do, will I be seen (heard) as odd?

No, not particularly (unless you’re speaking Welsh to random shop-keepers in Scotland, in which case there’s a fairly good chance you will). :slight_smile: