2012-06-21 pronunciation of monosyllable sin Welsh

 


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(delwedd 0322)



PRONUNCIATION OF MONOSYLLABLES IN WELSH

 

Monosyllables have either a short or a long vowel.

 

1 Open-ended monosyllables have a long vowel

 

That is, monosyllables with a, e, i, o, u, w, y

Exception: monosyllables with y (= ə)

ffa beans

lle place

mi I, me

ti you

ci dog

lli flax

da good; also (especially South Wales) cattle

si rumour

to roof

bo it might be

llo calf

llu group

cu loved

tu side

du black

llw oath

sw zoo (1)

house (2)

rhy too (big, long, heavy, etc)

 

monosyllables with y (= ə)

ty (obsolete) your

dy (modern Welsh) your

fy my

hy! exclamation of scorn

 

(1) sw is often spelt with a circumflex, though none is needed

(2) (= house) is spelt with a circumflex to differentiate it from ty (= your),

though any confusion between the two is unlikely since ty is obsolete

 

EXERCISE:

i/ Read out these words

1 du

2 tu

3 llo

4 glo

5 ci

6 to

7 da

8 gwe

9 bri

10 tri

 

ii/ What do they mean? (some are not in the list given above)

 

ANSWERS

1 du black

2 tu side

3 llo calf

4 glo coal

5 ci dog

6 to roof

7 da good

8 gwe web

9 bri renown

10 tri three

 

2 Closed monosyllables have a long vowel if they are closed with the following consonants: b, ch, d, dd, f, ff, g, s, th. Also l, n and r in these cases: i + l, u + l, i + n, u + n, i + r, u + r.

 

mab son

bach little, small

tad father

lladd kill; cut

haf summer

tref town

caf I shall have

rhaff rope

nyth nest

had seed

mad good (obsolete)

glas blue; green

byd earth, world

coch red

Sul Sunday

mul mule

cul narrow

hil lineage

cil corner, nook

mil thousand

rhydd free

gwas las

saff safe

mur town wall

cur pain

hir long

sir county

 

EXERCISE:

i/ Read out these words

1 haf

2 rhaff

3 coch

4 mil

5 glas

6 nyth

7 Sul

8 rhad

9 cul

10 ras

 

ii/ What do they mean? (some are not in the list given above)

 

ANSWERS

1 haf summer

2 rhaff rope

3 coch red

4 mil thousand

5 glas blue; green

6 nyth nest

7 Sul Sunday

8 rhad cheap

9 cul narrow

10 ras race

 

3 Closed monosyllables have a short vowel if they are closed with the following consonants: c, ng, j, l, ll, m, n, p, r, sh, t, tsh, z (in most cases they are words from English; some are colloquialisms and are not accepted as Welsh words; but many in -m, -n and -r are from old Welsh, from an original mm, nn, rr)

 

pac pack

baj badge

dall blind

call sensible

pall lack

gang gang

llong ship

loj lodge

dal to hold

wel well

dwl stupid, dull-witted

Y Rhyl town name

Gwen womans name (white, beautiful)

gwn gun

jaz jazz

dol doll

top top

bat bat

bar bar

watsh watch

witsh witch

mam mother

brwsh brush

swm sum

trwm heavy

rhwng between

llan church; village with a parish church

tar tar

llyn lake

siop shop

ffresh fresh

mor so (small, long, etc)

 

 

4 Some words should, according to the final consonant, have a long vowel, but in fact the vowel is short. Strictly speaking this short vowel is indicated by a grave accent, though this rule is rarely followed, or only partially followed, in Welsh texts (again, they tend to be words from English)

 

 

bl bill

Bl Bill, William

bn bin

tn tin

cb cab

ps lift, ride (in a car)

bg bag

cb embankment

sd sound, firm

drl drill

d odd

stff stiff

th name of the letter th

swl shy

pn pin

prn scarcely

gs guess

ns until

gs gas

sẁs a kiss

fflch flash

 

There are some words with a y which represents [ə], though from the spelling we might expect the y to represent a full vowel [i]

yn (preposition in; particle for forming adverbs; predicative particle)

yn (colloquiall) my

y the

yr the

y relative particle

yr relative particle

ys it is (obsolete)

myn (used as the first word in some oaths)

syr sir

 

5 Some words should, according to the final consonant, have a short vowel, but in fact the vowel is long. This long vowel is indicated by a circumflex (many are words from English) (many in -n and -r are from old Welsh from an original single r, n)

 

ffrm frame

ŷm we are

bm I have been

rl real

jl jail

trn train

tn fire

st seat

tm team

lln literature

sip shape

gŵn I know

 

Some words which we might expect to have a circumflex are exceptional and do not have one: hen (= old), dyn (= man), oll (= whole, all), holl (= whole, all)

(We might expect hn, dŷn, ll, hll)

6 Closed monosyllables have a short vowel if they are closed with more than one consonant:

 

bardd poet

sarff serpent

shilff shelf

parc park

banc bank

pinc pink

arth bear

marc mark

gwallt hair

plant children

cant hundred

lamp lamp

corff body

parth district; hearth

 

7 In North Wales, there is a long vowel where the standard language has a short vowel

before -llt, -sg, -sb, -st.

It is sometimes indicated by a circumflex. Unstandard long vowels are perhaps best represented in texts for learners of Welsh by a colon, though this is unorthodox.

 

gwallt (gwllt, gwa:llt) hair

dallt (dllt, da:llt) understand (Northern form of deall)

mellt (mllt, me:llt) lightning flashes

Pasg (Psg, Pa:sg) Easter

Nest (Nst, Ne:st) womans name

gwisg (gwsg, gwi:sg) dress

llosg (llsg, llo:sg) burnt; something burnt, chilblain

Llan-rwst (Llan-rŵst, Llan-rw:st) name of a village

cosb (csb, co:sb) punishment

hallt (hllt, ha:llt) salty

 

7 In South Wales, there is a long vowel where the standard language has a short vowel

before -ll..

It is sometimes indicated by a circumflex. Unstandard long vowels are perhaps best represented in texts for learners of Welsh by a colon, though this is unorthodox.

 

llall (llll, lla:ll) other

nall (nll, na:ll) other

pell (pll, pe:ll) distant

toll (tll, to:ll) toll

gwell (gwll, gwe:ll) better

dall (dll, da:ll) blind

 

8 In South Wales the diphthong ae [ai] becomes a [a:], and the diphthong oe [oi] becomes o [o:]. These unstandard long vowels are often written with a circumflex (, ) though the recommended speeling is eith an apostrophe (a, o). It is perhaps best represented by a double vowel letter, though this is unorthodox (aa, oo)

 

coed (cd, cod, cood) wood.

maen (mn, man, maan) stone; bakestone

saer (sr, sar, saar) carpenter

oer (r, or, oor) cold

 

9 The diphthongs ae, oe and wy have a semi-long first element which remains in both open and closed monosyllables. It could be represented in texts for learners of Welsh by a raised dot, though this is unorthodox (ae, oe, wy)

 

 

cae (cae) field

haen (haen)layer

ddoe (ddoe) yesterday

poen (poen) pain

llwy (llwy) spoon.

llwyd (llwyd) grey, brown.

 

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