Welsh: Pronunciation and Places
I have been doing the Welsh course for quite some time. I am having difficulties in pronouncing the words in Welsh. How can I pronounce them properly as I do not know the letter to letter Welsh pronunciation. How can I improve my pronunciation?
Another language problem of mine in Welsh is- it is difficult to remember the Welsh places for English places.
So, are there any tips, tricks and suggestions for my problems?
Thanks in advance!!:)
YouTube is the best place to learn pronounciation. But I will give you important things to remember, because many of the sounds are in English too.
C = always pronounced like English "k"
in Welsh, "f" is pronounced like English "v", but "ff" and "ph" are both English "f"
"w" is a vowel, it makes a "oo" sound
We're learning the southern Welsh, so "i" and "u" are pronounced the same (like English "ee") and "y" is a longer version of "i". In northern Welsh, the "u" is a lot like the French "u".
"dd" is pronounced almost like "th"
"s" + "i" = si, pronounced "sh"
never pronunce "ll" as a regular "l". "Ll" is a soft hissing sound made by putting your tongue in an "l" position and forcing air out of your mouth.
"r" is trilled (like Spanish "rr"), "rh" is not.
As for the place names, maybe write them down on physical flash cards or make a Welsh-English list of each place, or better yet mark them on a map in both English and Welsh. This might help you remember.
Good luck with Welsh!
I will definitely watch YouTube videos and thanks for the pronunciation guide! As for the places, it really is a good idea to mark the places on a map so that I can remember them. Thanks for your comment!
One question... Does Welsh have dialects too? ( you mentioned that the Welsh course here is the southern Welsh.
Yes, the main ones are Southern Welsh and Northern Welsh, the biggest difference being the pronunciation of the vowel "u". You will be understood by Northern Welsh speakers if you learn to speak Southern Welsh.
There are 4-5 main dialect areas in Wales. The idea of just two 'north' and 'south' dialects with great differences between them is mistaken. This map shows an approximate outline, but the boundaries are much more fuzzy and fluid than the map suggests - http://mapsontheweb.zoom-maps.com/post/86299969977/updated-map-of-welsh-dialects-more
Some examples of variations are here - http://www.peoplescollection.wales/collections/376944 with an example of some transcribed dialect from Sir Faldwyn here - http://www.museumwales.ac.uk/articles/2011-03-29/The-Welsh-dialect-of-Carno-Montgomeryshire/
As there is a much stronger national Welsh media presence these days (S4C, Radio Cymru, Golwg, Y Cymro, Barn, etc), a lot of the dialect differences are becoming weaker, and quite a lot of dialect mixing goes on as people travel further afield for education and work. Accents can vary quite a bit, but not to the extent that people from the various areas cannot understand each other fairly easily. Most Welsh course for adults and in schools teach a reasonably standardised form of Welsh in any case, based on the available textbooks.
A greater difference in Welsh is between the various registers of formality, from casually spoken Welsh to rather old-fashioned formal Welsh as seen in the 1955 Bible, for example. The 1988/2004 Bible changed to a more normal literary Welsh, but that is still very different from colloquial Welsh as introduced on this course. Between 'literary' and colloquial Welsh there is what some people have taken to calling 'official Welsh' such as you will see in public and commercial administration documents, the minutes of the Welsh Assembly and in some academic writing.
A good magazine for learners to get used to basic, fairly informal written Welsh is 'Lingo'.
There are several YouTube videos showing the Welsh alphabet and its pronunciation.
Thanks for your suggestion! The YouTube videos will definitely help me learn Welsh better and pronounce the words properly.
The recorded pronunciations by real people of many individual words are available at www.gweiadur.com - a very good on-line dictionary. Just click on the speaker symbol if there is one next to a word. They want you to register, but it is free.
Otherwise, go to www.ivona.com and you can type in the text and have it spoken by either 'Welsh, Gwyneth' (as used on this Duo site) or 'Welsh, Geraint' - they are both reasonably good, although with a few oddities.
I have just finished the Duolingo Welsh course and my advice is that you should not trust the pronunciation at all. I learned some of the language as a child as so I was happy to learn some new vocabulary as complex sentence structures but throughout I was very aware of how bad the pronunciation is. There are notes throughout to say not to leave feedback on the recordings but my question is 'so when will it be fixed?' This does not teach you how to speak the language at all. Learn to speak with another method if you can.