Middle Welsh Consonants

Consonants | Vowels

This is a table of the Middle Welsh Consonants in the Modern Welsh alphabet.

This table is organized with the letter in the first column, a phonetic symbol in the second column (feel free to ignore it if the phonetic symbol doesn't mean anything to you,) links to audio files in the third column and a description of how to pronounce the sound in the fourth column.

AUDIO NOTE: Click on the link next to the speaker graphic to hear the audio file. This is not a native speaker, so it's an approximation only.

NOTE : Some Welsh words have had their diphthongs modified to match Middle Welsh pronunciation.

Letter
Phonetic
Audio
Description
b
/b/

Speaker Iconba.wav

Speaker Iconbod 'to be'

Always pronounced as the "b" as in "boy" or "cable".
c
/k/

Speaker Iconca.wav

Speaker Iconcam 'crooked'

Always pronounced as "hard c" or "k" as in "coy", "crazy", "Mac".
ch
/x/

Speaker Iconcha.wav

Speaker Iconiach 'healthy'

This sound is not found in English. It is the "guttural" sound found in German "Bach" and Scots Gaelic "loch" and Hebrew/Yiddish "Chanukah".

To pronounce it, push the back of your tongue to your throat wall, then breathe through it loudly.

d
/d/

Speaker Iconda.wav

Speaker Iconda 'good'

Always the "d" of "dark", "bid".
dd
edh, crossed d

Speaker Icondd.wav

Speaker Icondydd 'day'

This is equivalent to English "soft th" (or "dh") as in "bathe", "thy". Do not confuse this "hard th" of "bath", "thigh" - that is Welsh "th".
f
/v/

Speaker Iconfa.wav

Speaker Iconhaf 'summer'

Confusingly for English speakers, Welsh "f" is equivalent to English "v" as in "vat". Some English borrowings in Welsh with "f" include:

Welsh: fideo, finegr, folt
English: video, vinegar, volt

ff
/f/

Speaker Iconffa.wav

Speaker Iconfforch 'fork'

Welsh "ff" is equivalent to English "f" as in "fire", "fluff". Some English borrowings in Welsh with "ff" include:

    Welsh: ffilm, ffarm, fforest
    English: film, farm, forest
g
/g/

Speaker Iconga.wav

Speaker Iconglanhau 'to clean'
Speaker Iconcig 'pig'

Except for Welsh ng and ngh, Welsh "g" is always pronounced as "hard g" as in "gill", "big".

It is NEVER pronounced as "soft g" or "j".

h

/h/

Speaker Iconha.wav

Speaker Iconhi 'she'
Speaker Iconanghleu 'inaudible'

As in English 'half. In Welsh, "h" can come before "l,r,m,n"
ng
engma, n with g hook

Speaker Iconnga.wav

Speaker Iconllong 'ship'
Speaker Iconngwin 'my wine'

A single sound as in English "sing", "dinghy" (i.e. the "g" is silent"). Unlike English, Welsh can put "ng" at the BEGINNING of words.
ngh
aspirated engma

Speaker Iconngha.wav

Speaker Icon nghi 'my dog'
Speaker Iconanghred 'pagan'

Pronounced as in English "sing", "dinghy" followed by a strong puff of air. Can be split into syllables.
gw
/gw/

Speaker Icongwa.wav

Speaker Icongwyn 'white'
Speaker Icongwlad 'country'
Speaker Icongwreig 'woman'

Usually close to English "gw", but Welsh "gw" can appear before "l,r" as in gwlad 'country' and gwraig 'woman'.

In these cases, pronounce "g" with rounded lips AS IF pronouncing the "oo" of 'goon'. Both words have only one syllable.

j
voiced alvelopalatal affricate

 

Not officially part of the Welsh alphabet, but used in English borrowings and Welsh surnames such as Jones.
l
/l/

Speaker Iconla.wav

Speaker Icondel 'may he come'

Pronounced as in "Lola". Avoid "dark l" as in "kill". Rarely found as the first letter.
ll
voiceless lateral fricative

Speaker Iconlla.wav
Speaker Iconpell 'far'
Speaker Iconllwyd 'grey/brown'

Technically a voiceless lateral fricative. Not found in English or many other languages. To pronounce it, place your tongue AS IF to make regular "l". Breathe through loudly and release.

HINT: Welsh "ll" can be perceived as "fl" as in "Floyd/Lloyd" both from Welsh llwyd 'grey/brown'.

m
/m/

Speaker Iconma.wav

Speaker Iconmam 'mother'

Pronounced as English "m" as in "mama" and "Kim".
mh
/mh/

Speaker Iconmha.wav

Speaker Iconmhen 'my head'

At the beginning of words, it is prounced as English "m" followed by a strong puff of air. Can be split into syllables.
n
/n/

Speaker Iconna.wav

Speaker Iconnerth 'strength'

Pronounced as English "n" as in "nun" and "nonesense". Some Welsh words are spelled with "nn".
nh
/nh/

Speaker Iconnha.wav

Speaker Iconninheu 'we'

Speaker Iconnhad 'my father'

At the beginning of words, it is prounced as English "n" followed by a strong puff of air. Can be split into two syllables.
p
/p/

Speaker Iconpa.wav

Speaker Iconpen 'head'

Pronounced as English "p" as in "papa" and "nap".
ph
/f/

Speaker Iconpha.wav

Speaker Iconphen.wav 'her head'

As in English "phone", "graph" (i.e. "f").
r
/r/

Speaker Iconra.wav

Speaker Iconcwrw 'ale'

Trilled as in Spanish, Italian or Scots. Some Welsh words are spelled with "rr". Plain "r" is rarely found at the beginning of words.
rh
/rh/

Speaker Iconrha.wav

Speaker Iconrhos 'roses'

At the beginning of words, it is pronounced as a trill followed by a hard puff of air.
s
/s/

Speaker Iconsa.wav

Speaker Iconseith '7'

Always as "s" as in "silk", "gas". It is NEVER "z" as in "rose" or "churches"
si
esh, long s

Speaker Iconsia.wav

Speaker Iconsiop 'shop'

It is sometimes (but not always) prounounced as English "sh" as in "shop", "cash".

Some English borrowings into Welsh spelled with "si" include:

    Welsh: siop, sied BUT siswrn
    English: shop, shed BUT scissor
sb
/sp/
Speaker Iconsbort 'sport'

Welsh "sb" is similar to English "sp". Some English borrowings in Welsh with "sb" include:

Welsh: sbeit, sbel, sbort
English: spite, spell, sport

sg
/sk/
Speaker Iconsgôr 'score'

Welsh "sg" is similar to English "sk". Some English borrowings in Welsh with "sg" include:

    Welsh: sgrîn, sgriw, sgôr
    English: screen, screw, score
t
/t/

Speaker Iconta.wav

Speaker Icontad 'father'

Pronounced as English "t" as in "Tom" and "potato".
th
theta

Speaker Icontha.wav

Speaker Iconwyth '8'

This is equivalent to English "hard th" as in "bath", "thigh". Do not confuse this "soft th" of "bathe", "thy" - that is Welsh "dd".
w
/w/
/u/

Speaker Iconwa.wav
Speaker Iconw.wav

Speaker Icondwr 'water'
Speaker Icongwen 'white-fem'

  1. Vowel - To represent English "long u" as in "tutu".
  2. Consonant - To represent English "w". But see Welsh"gw" for an exception to uses #1 and #2.

 

y
  This is a vowel. See the vowel chart for details.

Audio, graphics, text, © Elizabeth J. Pyatt, 2002, 2003. All Rights Reserved.