March 18, 2016



Like peil in Irish?


Or like 'pelota' in Spanish


Can anyone people explain what that symbol '^' above the Ê is, what it does, what it's called and is it standard in Welsh writing and the Welsh alphabet? Thanks


It's called a circumflex in English and a to bach "little roof" in Welsh. It shows that the vowel is long.

For example, gwyn "white" has a short y sound and gwŷn "pain" has a long y sound, so the presence or absence of the mark is significant.

There's no word pel with a short e as far as I know, but pêl is still spelled with a to bach to show the vowel is long when that might not be expected.

As far as I know, its use is standard in Welsh writing (i.e. leaving it off is incorrect, strictly speaking). But vowels with a circumflex don't have a separate place in the alphabet.


Thanks for your reply. Well explained.


In my school in Wales, our teachers always called them a roof, not a circumflex; I wonder if that's true of most native speakers, or whether it was just simplifying things a bit.


Philip did say that the Welsh call them "little roof" :)


It's sometimes also called 'hirnod' - "long sign" or "long mark".

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