Welsh in the North and Welsh in the South
Can anyone provide insight on differences between North and South Welsh? If I learn Welsh as spoken in the north, will I be understood by the Welsh speakers in the south? In what part of Wales is Welsh more frequently spoken?
Welsh is one language. People from the north can understand people from the south and vice versa, although there are dialect differences. North Wales has a higher percentage of Welsh speakers, but South Wales has a numerically higher number so it depends on how you want to look at it.
Welsh has 4-6 main regional dialects, not just two. See the notes for the section ‘Dialects’, where there are links to some other materials and maps. The boundaries between the the regional dialects are hard to define, with considerable areas of overlap.
There are perhaps more significant differences between the colloquial and formal registers of Welsh than there are between the regional dialects.
Accents vary a fair bit across Wales, English as well as Welsh, but it does not usually take very long to tune into a particular local accent. Various different accents and dialects can be heard on TV and radio, so it is easy to become familiar with them. People also move around for work and education, so you will hear many different accents in any of the larger towns in Wales.
Thank you EllisVaughn and ibisc for these insights and the materials reference -- I find the extra materials quite helpful. I was taken aback by the Welsh Challenge supporting videos distinction between North and South Welsh and the need to select one or the other which prompted my question. As the unit makes no distinctions I can focus on it. The North Wales higher percentage of Welsh speakers in the population suggests it might be the best choice for running into Welsh speakers. . . .
Have you seen the "Now You're Talking" (incorrectly uploaded as "Now Your Talking") videos on YouTube? They're from a 90s educational series for learning Welsh, and I find they mention regional differences quite often, with the bonus that you can hear natives speakers saying them.
That show is helpful to know about. I had come across it before but glad you point out that it does explain North South distinctions. The podcasts on BBC Cymraeg station are also good for listening, though I am too new to recognize distinctions yet.