A Matter of Spittle? ("ch")
I've been studying Welsh for several months. I don't live where I can hear Welsh spoken, but of course I listen to media everyday and I've extensively reviewed pronunciation videos.
Can anyone elaborate on how to pronounce "ch" correctly? I can hear what it's supposed to sound like, but I can only make that sound if I deliberately gather some spittle on the back on my tongue. This isn't practical during a conversation, especially given that I'm shy and my mouth will go bone dry when I attempt to talk to people in Welsh. Without the spittle, it's just a breathy sound. Like my cat hissing. Dahhhhhi.
Can anyone describe what I'm supposed to be doing with my mouth/tongue/throat to get that, ahem, wetter sound as consistently as I hear it pronounced?
It is very similar to the Scots 'loch' or the German 'bach', although usually slightly further back in the throat. If you can say loch/bach then just stick with that for now - it is how it is pronounced anyway in several Welsh dialects, and trying too hard will just make it very unnatural and over-emphasised.
As a Dutchy the g/ch sounds are native to me & i wouldn't know how to explain them to you. But i do have the same problem with the letter ll, so if anyone has any helpful tips i'd love to hear them.
Well, it's pretty simple. Observe what happens when you pronounce k in English. The upper part of your tongue touches your palate, back inside your mouth. Now try and do the same thing without pressing your tongue against your palate, leave some space between them so that the air can flow. That's it :-)
If you know people who speak Dutch, German, Spanish, Arabic... they can train you.
That's alllmost it. :) The breathy Hhhh sound I get when I do that is not what I hear when Welsh is spoken correctly.
If you can pronounce that kind of "ch", you are very close to the Welsh variant: it's a little farther back inside your mouth, where your soft palate is (what you can see in a mirror at the back of your mouth, that kind of membrane with your gottis in the middle).
Let's try something. Put the tips of your fingers on your throat and pronounce the letter a in Dutch. You should feel vibrations, coming from your vocal cords. Now pronounce the letter l (only llllll, without any wovel after), you should again feel vibrations (your vocal cords are again vibrating). Now pronounce l (el) as if you were whispering and you should hear a Welsh ll. Actually, ll is the same as l, but without vibrations of the vocal cords.