How To Pronounce Welsh

Those who know me well are aware that I am Welsh and very proud to be so. I don’t speak the Welsh language although I would dearly love to, and so have embarked on a new adventure. I’ve set myself a target of being fluent in the Welsh written and spoken language by December 2018.

Even though I don’t speak Welsh, I’ve always been able to pronounce the longest Welsh place name and often recite it for interested parties, and as a party trick at some parties too. 51 letters in a single place name seems ludicrous to some, yet there are a couple of North-American Indian names that are a little longer or so I’m led to believe.

You may never have heard of the village on the Island of Anglesey, or indeed of Anglesey itself, but this is where the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge (Will & Kate to the Paparazzi) lived whilst Prince William worked as a helicopter Pilot in the Rescue Service.

So, for your linguistic enjoyment here is the place name: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch

Now, if you count the letters you may say that there are 58, but in Welsh ll, ch, dd, ff, ng, ph, rh and th count as single letters. They are called digraphs: two consonants joined together to form a single sound.

In English translation of “Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch” is:

The Church of St. Mary in the hollow of white hazel trees near the rapid whirlpool by St. Tsyllio’s of the red cave”

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