Pronounciation / Ynganu
If you'd like to get some more practice with your ynganu, then this five minute video on WelshPlus on YouTube is short, sharp, and snappy :)
Cymraeg is an almost completely phonetic language, so the first thing to do is to get the alphabet (yr wyddor) learnt - this will stop you from trying to pronounce Welsh words through your own, native alphabet. The above link's video will help you come on leaps and bounds before getting stuck into the rest of the course. Also pay close attention to ch dd ff ng ll ph rh th as they are all one letter in Cymraeg and therefore will sound differently; "t" is pronounced "tuh" but "th" like "the".
The circumflex accent shows that the vowel is always pronounced as a long vowel. Unmarked vowels may be long or short.
This is explained in the WelshPlus pronunciation videos that we recommend - see earlier posts in this discussion or just look on the web for ‘welsh plus youtube pronunciation basics’.
The meaning if some words can change depending on the accent being there or not - look up these examples in a dictionary:
- gem, gêm
- gŵydd, gwŷdd
- gŵyr, gwŷr
- glan, glân
- man, mân
That isn't terribly helpful for the dipthongs. How does the sound differ in 'gwydd' if the circumflex is over the w or the y (oy, oo, aw, ee) ? Very difficult for learners and speakers in different parts of Wales. I have heard 'oy' and 'wee' for an egg. I'd be grateful for your pronunciation of goose/presence/ trees/plough/ crooked/men.
Hi. I'm not a Welsh specialist but I am a linguistics professor who also has to teach basic phonetics! (And I know what the Welsh should sound like as I have Welsh-speaking relatives.) So, to say 'ch', pretend that you want to say a word like 'car' that starts with a hard 'c'. Your tongue will be contact with your hard palate. This is what is known as a 'stop' sound (i.e. the air can't come out until you lower your tongue). The 'ch' sound is a fricative (like 's' and 'f') and rather than completely lowering your tongue, just lower it a little way and blow through. In phonetic terms, 'k' (a hard c) and 'ch' have the same place of articulation, so your tongue is now in the right place. And if you lower your tongue slightly, you'll get the noisy airstream associated with a fricative (which is the manner of articulation that you are aiming for). The 'r' sound is a little more tricky - this may work, or you may need to practise a bit, but I can tell you where your tongue should be. Pretend that you're about to say 'l'. Your tongue should be in contact with the bony ridge behind your upper teeth. Now, the tricky bit. You want your tongue tip to repeatedly hit against the ridge while you breathe out. Think of it a bit like a drum roll. When you're practising, you might find it helpful to move your tongue backwards really slightly. I hope that helps!