Try some Welsh when visiting Bala, Wales

An introduction to the Welsh Language, some Welsh to try for fun and some examples

An introduction to the Welsh Language

Welsh is one of the oldest European languages, certainly the oldest actively surviving.

Welsh is a Celtic language and has close links with Breton and Cornish. Scottish and Irish Gaelic belong to a separate branch of Celtic languages.

In the Bala area around 80% are Welsh speakers. All the primary schools and the local secondary school teach in both Welsh and English.

The following “letters” (digraphs) appear in the Welsh, but not in the English, alphabet: ch, dd, ff, ll, ng, ph, rh, th.

People often say, "That's a funny word ... it's got no vowels in it!" when they see Welsh words. This is because the Welsh language uses some additional vowels (w and y) to those used in the English language. (Welsh vowels = a, e, i, o, u, w, y).

Some examples of different pronunciation:- dd as a softer form of th; f as v; but ff as f; ll is an uniquely Welsh sound (eg. as in place names starting “llan”).

Try some Welsh

How to make friends in Bala (for fun!):

  • Hi!, How are you? - "Sut ma'i"! (Pronounced: Sit My)
  • Would you like a drink?  - “Gymerwch chi lymed?” (Pronounced: Gum-er-wck-ee l-uhm-ed)
  • Do you come here often?  - “Dod yma’n aml?"- (Pronounced: D-oh-d umm enamel)
  • Fancy a kiss? - “Tisio sws?” (Pronounced: Tee shaw soos)
  • Cheers! -Iechyd da (Pronounced: yeah-ck-id dah)

Survivors guide to Welsh (Cymraeg) (Useful Welsh words and phrases):

  • paint oh goo-roo - a pint of beer please
  • ie (ee-ay) - yes
  • na (nah) - no
  • diolch (dee-olck) - thanks
  • os gwelwch yn dda (os goo-ell-oock uh-n tha) - (if you) please
  • da (dah) - good
  • da iawn (dah ee-awn) - very good
  • iechyd da! - good health!
  • lechyd da! (yeah-ck-id dah) - cheers!


  • croeso (Cro-ee-sso) - Welcome
  • croeso i Gymru (Cro-ee-sso ee Gomeree) - Welcome to Wales
  • helo (heh-lo) - hello
  • sut ydech chi? - (sit udah ki) How are you?
  • bore da (b-oh ray dah) – Good morning
  • p’nawn da (P-knaw-n dah) – Good afternoon
  • noswaith dda (nose-wah-eeth tha) - good evening
  • nos da (Nose dah) – Good night 
  • hwyl (hoo-eel) - cheers as in cheerio
  • hwyl fawr (hoo-eel vawrr) - bye for now
  • hwyl (“hooeel”) - goodbye
  • tata or hwyl (tata“hooeel”) - bye

Eating out:

  • paned o de (pan-ed oh day) – cup of tea
  • te (tay) - tea
  • bara(bah-rah) - bread
  • cwrw (coo-roo) - beer
  • paned o goffi (pan-ed oh go-fee) – cup of coffee
  • bara brith (bah-rah breeth) – fruit loaf
  • llaeth/llefrith (clah-eeth/clay-vrith) – milk
  • cawl (cah-ool) – soup
  • gwin (goo-een) – wine
  • siwgr (shoo-goor) – sugar
  • bwydlen (boo-eed-len) - menu
  • Plîs – Please.
  • Da iawn (Pronounced: Dah ee-ah-oon) – Very good.
  • Gaf i ..............? - May I have ...........................?
  • ga i baned o de?(gah ee bah-ned oh day?) - may I have a cup of tea?
  • ga i coffi? (gah ee go-fee?) - may I have a coffee?
  • ga i weld y fwydlen? (gah ee weld uh voo-eed-len?) - may I see the menu?
  • ga i dalu, os gwelwch yn dda? (gah ee dah-li oss goo-ell-oock uh-n tha - may I pay, please?
  • Os gwelwch yn dda - Please
  • Faint ydi o? - How much is it?
  • Diolch - Thank you
  • Diolch yn fawr (Pronounced: Dee-olck uh-n vah-oor) – Thank you very much.

 Counting in Welsh:

1 Un
2 Dau
3 Tri
4 Pedwar
5 Pump
6 Chwech
7 Saith
8 Wyth
9 Naw
10 Deg

Counting up to a hundred:
a) The simplified / straightforward method:
11 is Un-deg-un, 12 is Un-deg-dau, etc... up to 20 which is Dau-ddeg.
21 is Dau-ddeg-un, 22 is Dau-ddeg-dau, etc up to 30 which is Tri-deg, etc, etc
A hundred is Cant.

b) The traditional method is quite complicated and based on counting in fives, tens and twenties!
12. Deuddeg
13. Tri-ar-ddeg
14. Pedwar-ar-ddeg
15. Pymtheg
16. Un-ar-bymtheg
17. Dau-ar-bymtheg
18. Deunaw (An exception! This means two-nines!)
19. Pedwar-ar-bymtheg
20. Ugain

Careful!! Dau Ddeg is the way to say "Twenty" in the simplified numbering system, and Deuddeg is the way to say "Twelve" in the traditional system. They sound similar.
It gets more complicated above 20! With 40 called Deugain (Two twenties); Tri-ugain (Three twenties); Pedwar-ugain (Four twenties)
50 Pum Deg in the easy form is “Hanner Cant” in traditional form (half of a hundred!) Stick to the easy method!!