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  5. Welsh for 'sarnie'?


Welsh for 'sarnie'?

  • 2328

In a similar vein to 'cuppa', is there a Welsh equivalent to 'sarnie'? Or for the more Northernly-English inclined 'butty'?

Americans should probably ignore this, especially if they are going to get worked-up about it. ;-)

May 30, 2016



With the amount of English that pours into the Welsh dialects, I could imagine it just being the same. Perhaps spelled 'sarni' instead.

I'm a Welsh native and a lot of the vocabulary in my area is borrowed from English just because of the English influence in our area. You would be hard pressed to find any of the 'proper' Welsh being used in an informal environment based on the fact that it's not every day that you'll hear someone talking about an economic recession i.e. 'dirwasgiad'; instead if you were to hear a Welsh speaker in my area talking to you about something of that nature, they would most likely just take the English word and give it a bit of a Welsh pronunciation. So instead of hearing them say 'dirwasgiad' they would say something like 'resesiwn'.

Another thing to take into account is that a lot of words and concepts are new and may not have ever had a place in the language's vocabulary during the saintly days of yore, so you'll see a lot of weird equivalents cropping up if you look through a dictionary, like 'gwn' or 'ffon' or 'tin' (gun, phone and tin).

Anyway, long ramble aside, I hope I've helped.

  • 2328

Thanks, that's all very interesting; with great examples. I guess I was more curious about the extent of generally British-wide 'terms' that may have Welsh-language equivalents, as appears to be the case with 'cuppa', rather than simply Welshifications (if there is such a word) of an English word. If that makes sense? So I wondered if 'sarnie’ might be another example. Although, English words given Welsh pronunciation/spelling are often a lot of fun. :-)

The thought occurred to me because of the largely American/non-Commonwealth bewilderment over the use of the word 'cuppa' within the Duolingo course. :-)


Well, I'm not very sure I can think of anything quite like 'cuppa' off the top of my head; I think I've heard Welsh people say 'swn mynd adre' i gael cwppa' which means 'I'm going home to have a cuppa'. So, yeah, cuppa's made it into Wales.

I can't think of any other examples like 'cuppa' except for maybe a few abbreviations of some words. For example, in a Welsh speaking school you would have religious studies classes or social studies classes which are called 'astudiau crefydd' and 'astudiau cymdeithasol', however because it's a bit of a mouthful, you'll hear students abbreviate them to 'ast. cref.' or 'ast. cym'. They probably also do it because they like swearing: 'ast' means 'bitch' in Welsh. :-P


Just a quick note the word for "bitch" is actually "Gast" but since you'll pretty much only use it as an insult in a construction like "Mae ____ yn ast" or "Dach chi'n ast" most people only come across the mutated variant.

EDIT: Just thought to include that "Gast" is also the word for "Bitch" in the female dog sense too.

  • 2328

Fascinating stuff, Paul and Ellis. Thanks. :-)


The one they use a lot for cuppa in Pobol y Cwm is 'dishgled' and it means a cup of tea, of course.

  • 2451

In actual fact the Welsh word 'brechdan' is hundreds of years older than the English 'sandwich'

The Welsh University Dictionary, http://geiriadur.ac.uk/gpc/gpc.html, has a reference as far back as 1400. with a quote describing the making of an item of food in exactly the same way as the sandwich which itself became popular in the 19th century.

The word 'paned' which we've translated as 'cuppa' into English is actually a contraction of the word 'cwpaned' which is a modern spelling of the word 'cwpanaid' which means 'a cup full'. It has a wider use in that it is also used as a measure of something.

Again this is a much older word than the English word 'cuppa' which arguably only became popular with the mass drinking of tea.

  • 2328

Excellent information, Richard. :-)

  • 2328

The OED suggests the 1920s for the origin of 'cuppa' - so very recent in comparison - and fits with your suggestion concerning the mass drinking of tea. Before then it would have been expensive and out of reach for most of the population.


I left a reply to the cuppa question elsewher. In the Welsh TV soap Pobol y Cwm they say 'dishgled' for a cup of tea (UK English 'cuppa'). I haven't heard sarnie used, or a similar Welsh term, which to me sounds rather London centric. They do have a lot of 'rhôl bacwn' from the 'caffi', though. I expect a version of 'butty' would only be found in North Wales. Another point is in 'Pobol y Cwm' is I haven't heard 'sglodion' which is used in Duolingo, and boy do they eat a lot of chips in Cwmderi, the Pobol y Cwm's fictional Welsh village somewhere in Carmarthenshire; it is always 'dsips'.

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