10 Easy Welsh Phrases to Try Out with Your Friends
How many Welsh phrases do you know? Everyone knows that, in English, we say Hello. In Irish, we say Dia dhuit. But what’s the word for Hello in Welsh?
That's right! In Welsh, we say Helô.
The Welsh language may not be as widely spoken as other languages we usually write about on this blog, but we believe it's a beautiful language worth learning and exploring.
Welsh, in case you didn't know, is of Brythonic origin, otherwise known as British Celtic, and was spoken in Britain before the Roman invasion, which makes it one of the oldest languages still in use.
For centuries, the Welsh language has been carefully preserved and documented, with evidence of its existence stretching back to as early as 600 AD.
With its complex grammar rules, this language can be difficult to learn, but there are 10 easy Welsh phrases that you can try out with your friends and thus help this ancient and beautiful language thrive for many years to come.
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This welsh word literally translates to “cuddle” or “hug”. But, for Welsh speakers, the term has a deeper meaning, as it evokes feelings of love, care, affection, and support. Additionally, a cwtch is a safe place where you can store secret or valuable objects. These two meanings combine to create a powerful and meaningful phrase that suggests warmth, hospitality and safety.
Dros ben llestri
One of our favourite Welsh phrases, this expression is made from dros ben, which means “residual, extra, extreme”, and the word llestri, which means dishes. But it has nothing to do with excessive food or putting an extra plate on the table. At least, not necessarily. In Wales, this phrase is used to say that someone is being over the top. So, next time one of your friend is overreacting, you can say Dros ben llestri to let them know what you think!
Ling di long
Do you ever leave your house on a sunny morning without a particular purpose or destination? If so, you may like to know that there is a Welsh phrase that literally means to “walk without a goal.” Interestingly, the official English translation for this word is lackadaisical, a word almost as obscure as its Welsh counterpart!
You may not know the word but, if you've ever stayed in a foreign country for a long time, you surely know the feeling. Hiraeth, which is often translated as "homesick", is an emotion that is almost impossible to explain in words (similar to “saudade” in Portuguese). The Welsh phrase perfectly captures the longing for a place, not necessarily home, but of familiarity and security. More generally, it refers to a feeling of nostalgia for something we've lost, even if we can't quite say what it is.
If you go to Wales, you surely will want to stop for a beer or two in one of its traditional pubs. When that happens, why not try the Welsh phrase Iechyd da, which literally means "good health"? This expression is usually used when making a toast and wishing everyone good luck, success and health. So, next time you are in Cardiff, don't say Cheers. Instead, say Iechyd da!
More Welsh Phrases: Dwt
A dwt (rhymes with 'put') is a little person, but this word is also a way of saying that someone is small in a cute way. Saying Rydych chi mor dwt ("You are so small") is like saying "You are so cute". It's a great Welsh phrase to use when talking to a niece or a nephew, but also when you want to show someone how much you appreciate them.
Cenedl heb iaith, cenedl heb galon
The first proverb in our list of essential Welsh phrases, this one is pronounced ‘ken-edl heb yayth, kenedl heb gal-on’ and it means ‘A nation without a language is a nation without a heart’. The saying, as you can tell, refers to how Wales has historically fought to preserve their language and the cultural heritage that comes with it in the face of external forces that would have rather seen it disappear.
Pronounced "tee coffi", this is one of the most confusing Welsh phrases in our blog, one that may make you think of tea-flavoured coffee or a strange combination of these two beverages. However, it's much simpler than it seems. Ty, in fact, means house, while coffi means… well, coffee. So a Ty Coffi is simply a Coffee house.
Have you just spotted a friend in a crowd while you're dancing in a club? This phrase (pronounced ‘oon-core moon-core’) literally means "Him over there!" and is a great way to let someone know you've seen them and you want to say hi. The version for "Her over there!" 'Onco fonco’ (pronounced ‘oncore von-core’) is no less fun or useful! Just make sure you’re using your glasses when you use it! Otherwise, you may end up saying Hi to a random stranger!
Llond fy mol
Welsh people are very generous and hospitable, especially when it comes to serving food and drinks to their guests. Llond fy mol is a phrase people use to indicate that they are full and do not wish to continue eating. If you're visiting friends or family in Wales, it's one you will want to remember!
We hope you enjoyed reading about these 10 Welsh phrases!
From terms of endearment to patriotic proverbs, Welsh phrases are as diverse and interesting as the country itself.
Would you like to go beyond Welsh phrases and start working on your fluency in this expressive language? At Listen & Learn, we offer online Welsh lessons with certified native-speaking Welsh teachers so you can immerse yourself in the language and culture of Wales without leaving your home!
Contact us today to learn more. We look forward to helping you on your journey!