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Folklore: Pronounciation of Welsh Folk Heroes

GUEST,merthercarole 05 May 12 - 09:28 AM
GUEST,PeterC 05 May 12 - 12:03 PM
Nigel Parsons 05 May 12 - 12:05 PM
Nigel Parsons 05 May 12 - 12:16 PM
Paul Burke 05 May 12 - 02:41 PM
Anne Lister 05 May 12 - 05:39 PM
Phil Edwards 05 May 12 - 05:55 PM
Mary Humphreys 05 May 12 - 06:41 PM
Paul Burke 05 May 12 - 07:00 PM
Phil Edwards 06 May 12 - 05:06 AM
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Subject: Folklore: Pronounciation of Welsh Folk Heroes
From: GUEST,merthercarole
Date: 05 May 12 - 09:28 AM

Hello, I'm very interested in all the old Welsh tales like the Mabinogian but find difficulty in pronouncing the names. Does anyone know of any dictionaries or boks that would help me?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Pronounciation of Welsh Folk Heroes
From: GUEST,PeterC
Date: 05 May 12 - 12:03 PM

this site is probably as good a start as any.

Like English, however, whatever the "purists" may tell you, there are local variations in place name pronunciation although not as marked as in English. When I lived in Aberystwyth the locals would make fun of the "Oxford Welsh" who pronounced the town's name in the "corect" phonetic manner.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Pronounciation of Welsh Folk Heroes
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 05 May 12 - 12:05 PM

A basic Welsh/English dictionary will give you the info. Welsh is, basically, phonetic (much more so than English). However, if you have any difficulties with particular names, then post them here & we'll try to help. (If I get in first & I'm wrong, then I'm sure Sian will correct me!)

Cheers

Nigel


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Pronounciation of Welsh Folk Heroes
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 05 May 12 - 12:16 PM

I cross-posted:
Like English, however, whatever the "purists" may tell you, there are local variations in place name pronunciation although not as marked as in English. When I lived in Aberystwyth the locals would make fun of the "Oxford Welsh" who pronounced the town's name in the "corect" phonetic manner.
Aberystwyth: commonly pronounced A (as in hat) ber (as in the natural 'burr') ist with ('th' soft as in 'pith', not hard as in 'with')
For purists, the third syllable should be 'ust' (as in 'lust').
For 'would be taffies' from Cardiff, Aber-wrist-watch' is close enough!

Also, despite 'received wisdom' that the accent is (nearly) always on the penultimate syllable, the word is a combination of 'Aber' (mouth of a river) & 'Ystwyth' (name of a river) so accent should be on both 'A' (of Aber) And 'Yst' of Ystwyth. (I am open to correction by those more knowledgable)

Cheers

Nigel


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Pronounciation of Welsh Folk Heroes
From: Paul Burke
Date: 05 May 12 - 02:41 PM

There are one or two sounds that are a bit hard for the Saesneg to get their tongues round, like the ll as in Llanelli or Llanfairpwllgowynonffairefer. Put the tip of your tongue at the back of your teeth as if to start a D or a T, but instead of releasing it explosively, let the air leak round the side of your tongue. A hissy sound results. Though I remember an item on BBC Wales only a little over 40 years ago where they surveyed Welsh speakers and found that most put the tip of the tongue off to one side, which is a bit less hissy.

c = always k.
ch - clearing your throat as in J S Bach.
d - for dog
dd - th as in the.
e - generally as in end, sometimes rhymes with day, never as in demon.
f = english v.
ff - english f.
g - always as in goal, never as in gaol. Doesn't form a different sound when followed by h, which gets pronounced separately, tough on the English though that may be. ng seems to be nasalised.
i - as in is, not as night.
ie - the y in yes
l - l as in lalalalala
ll - hissy sound as above
o - like box, not roll.
oe - Oy maseltoff!
r - sounded, using tongue not lips or throat
si - sh but (to my ear) a bit of the i left on it.
rh - r only more so
th - as in thin
u - short i is usually near enough, though one bloke I know often makes it sound like the German u-umlaut as in Duesseldorf.
w - either a consonantal w or the oo in booze.
y - a toughie, never as in yet, usually a u as in bun, sometimes ee as in ty bach (no relation of JS) especially at the end of words, sometimes i - I fake it with what I imagine to be an ancient Greek upsilon. The Welsh probably think I come from a different part of Canada.

The Welsh pronumciation guides I've read seem unanimous in saying that ae, ai, eu, ei and so on are all pronounced "eye", but Welsh speakers I know seem to differentiate, for example "fair" being pronounced more "vuh" than "vire", and the same bloke with the German sounding u separates the e and u so Llandeusant becomes Hhlan-day-ue-sant where the books would have Hhlan-die-sant.

So try the following:

Rhosesneigr
Llanerchymedd
Llanfairynghornwy
Yspytty Ystwyth
Llanrwst
Gyffylliog
Moel Siabod
Penmaenmawr


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Pronounciation of Welsh Folk Heroes
From: Anne Lister
Date: 05 May 12 - 05:39 PM

My personal favourites to practise on (in this area of South East Wales) are Fochriw and Ochrwyth. Oh, and Ynysybwl.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Pronounciation of Welsh Folk Heroes
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 05 May 12 - 05:55 PM

I lived in Wales as a kid & don't have any trouble with names like Ochrwyth or Llanfairynghornwy - they really are phonetic, once you know what the phonemes are. (Although admittedly the letter Y behaves unpredictably.) What always got me and still does is my father's birthplace, Rhosllanerchrugog - I never know quite what to do with the 'Rh', and once I've got over that hurdle I have to make sure I remember the north-Walian 'u' (in south Wales you'd just pronounce the last bit 'reegog', but Rhos isn't in south Wales).

In short, it's a lot easier than it looks, but that doesn't mean it's easy.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Pronounciation of Welsh Folk Heroes
From: Mary Humphreys
Date: 05 May 12 - 06:41 PM

For Rhosllanerchrugog, just blow a bit when saying the first r. And , if I remember rightly, round there more people just say Rhos anyway....


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Pronounciation of Welsh Folk Heroes
From: Paul Burke
Date: 05 May 12 - 07:00 PM

It helps a bit with placenames to know how they are made up. Take Rhosllanerchrugog. Rhos is a moor - llanerch is a clearing- and I've no idea what rugog means, but at least I can dissect the word into pronounceable bits.

Llanerchymedd I love, though it's not a very beautiful place now, it started out as "Honey Glade".


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Pronounciation of Welsh Folk Heroes
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 06 May 12 - 05:06 AM

Yes, it's Rhos as in 'roast' without the T. Like Caergwrle - the locals skip both of the vocalised Rs and say "Ki girly".


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