Note: This section is only completed up to Present 1.
Tips and notesEdit
Croeso/Welcome to the Welsh course on Duolingo.
A link to the National Centre for Learning Welsh can be found here
Let's start! - GreetingsEdit
Bore da = Good morning
This has two parts:
bore = 'morning',
da = 'good'
Note that the usual word order for describing things in Welsh is noun then the adjective, so the Welsh Bore da (literally 'morning good') becomes 'Good morning' when translated into English.
In the first lesson, we use some Welsh first names to help to make the sentences:
Dylan, Dewi and Owen are men's names, Morgan can be used by both men and women, and Megan is a woman's name.
Note - Personal names are not translated or changed in spelling between Welsh and English.
Please take the time to read the following notes...
Section notes - 'Hints and Tips' - are there to help youEdit
Most sections of this course - except those which only introduce new vocabulary - have notes such as these explaining new patterns and usages, or giving general language hints, or giving general background information about a topic in Wales.
Do take the time to read them carefully so that you can get the most out of the course. We keep them updated in response to feedback, especially to points and questions raised in the discussion forums of the course.
Nearly every sound in Welsh is also found in British English. Note that Welsh uses two letters as vowels that are usually treated as consonants in English, w and y.
A fuller description of the Welsh alphabet is a little further on in the course.
There are some very good short videos on YouTube to help in learning how to pronounce Welsh. (Search for welshplus youtube pronunciation basics)
We strongly recommend that you work you way through all of them - they are very clear, and far better than trying to follow any written description of Welsh pronunciation. Go back to them at intervals as you work your way through the course. If you are still unclear about the pronunciation of individual words, many have live voice recordings next to their entries in the www.gweiadur.com on-line dictionary.
On the web site you will find an area for discussing particular sentences and for general questions and discussion.
Please do not report audio problems.
The audio on this course is produced by a computer-generated voice. This means you can hear the sound of Welsh throughout the course, rather than only rarely if we had had to record each of the many thousands of sentences.
On a few occasions the voice might sound a bit artificial, but generally the voice has a good, neutral accent and gives the correct pronunciation or close to it. There are occasional known glitches with the voice - unfortunately the course team can do nothing about this, so please do not report audio faults. We may be able to get them fixed in the future. If you do have problems with the audio, sometimes updating your browser or your 'Flash' software to the latest version may help. If you are using the Duolingo app on a mobile device, make sure that you have the latest version of the app and the latest version of your device's operating system.
The Ivona computer-generated voiceEdit
The Ivona company is now (as at Sep 2017) part of the Amazon group of companies. The voice used in this course is available to try out at http://www.textaloud.com. Enter the Welsh text that you want to hear into the box, and then use the drop-down menu to choose 'Welsh, Gwyneth' or, if it is available, 'Welsh, Geraint'.
A note to Welsh speakersEdit
Croeso i Duolingo! Please note that this course is based on a colloquial register of Welsh as taught in the Welsh for Adults Mynediad and Sylfaen levels and equivalents. It does not address formal registers of Welsh, nor the many dialect or very informal or slang forms of Welsh. Unfortunately, then, you may find that responses using those get rejected, and we would ask you please not to suggest alternative answers based on them. However, please do contribute to the course discussions!
Note that we do not attempt to give all possible ways of translating phrases, just the more common ones.
Also note that we teach standalone verb-nouns (mynd for example) as the 'xxx-ing' or 'to xxx' forms in English ('going, to go') rather than just a single word ('go'). This is to avoid learners getting them mixed up with related nouns or commands ('go!')
Further information about learning Welsh is here
When introducing ourselves by name or occupation in Welsh, we always emphasise the name or occupation. We do this by putting our name, Sioned, say, at the front of the sentence:
Sioned dw i - I am Sioned = (literally, "Sioned am I")
Sioned would not say 'Dw i'n Sioned' - that is the wrong order of words for this kind of sentence - the name, role or occupation, etc, has to come first.
Remember - It can be interesting to learn the Welsh and English equivalents of personal names, but we do not translate people's names between the two languages.
Welsh has no indefinite article (a / an). So, a dragon could say:
Draig dw i - I am a dragon (lit. "A dragon am I").
Confirming someone's name - perhaps you misheard itEdit
To confirm someone's name or occupation, we can form a question simply by raising our voice a little at the end of the phrase:
Sioned dych chi? - Are you Sioned?
Draig dych chi? - Are you a dragon?
Note - you would not ask 'Dych chi Sioned?' - that order of words is incorrect when asking about names and occupations or roles.
Asking a NameEdit
The question Pwy dych chi? means Who are you? It can sound abrupt in English, but it is perfectly acceptable in everyday Welsh speech and is often heard.
Note - In these lessons, the new characters Gareth (male), Sioned (female), and Eleri Lingo (female) are introduced. Apart from learning a few more common Welsh first names, these will give you some useful listening practice. The word draig (dragon) is also introduced.
Note - This unit introduces the letter and sound /ch/, which is not used in English, but it is pronounced the same as 'Loch' in Scotland. If you have not already done so, look at the videos here to learn how to pronounce things in Welsh.
Opportunities for learning Welsh in WalesEdit
In Wales, there are many locally-held classes aimed at teaching Welsh to adults under the title 'Cymraeg i Oedolion' or 'Welsh for Adults'. The two basic courses are usually called Mynediad (entry-level) and Sylfaen (basic level). There are related courses aimed at people with young children called 'Cymraeg i'r Teulu' ('Welsh for the Family').
This unit supports the Welsh for Adults Mynediad, Unit 2 and Welsh for the Family, Unit 1
Further information about learning Welsh is here
This unit supports Welsh for the Family, Unit 3
Please remember that there are occasional known glitches in the computer-generated voice - unfortunately the course team can do nothing about this, so please do not report audio faults. They have already been noted and they may be able to be fixed in the future.
Every verb can be used to make simple sentences in a standard way using forms of another verb, bod (meaning 'being' or 'to be'):
We have already met two forms of bod:
dw i - I am, and
dych chi - you are
hoffi means 'liking' or 'to like'
To say 'I like', we link 'I am' (dw i) with 'liking' ('hoffi') using a small word which does not actually translate into English when it is used like this - 'n (that is, 'apostrophe n'). So, 'I like' is made up of:
dw i + 'n + hoffi, giving us,
dw i'n hoffi - 'I like'
Note how dw i and 'n join together.
And so, following the same idea but this time using dych chi ('you are'), we get:
Dych chi'n hoffi... which means 'You like...'
So, what do you and I like? Coffee, perhaps, and the Welsh for 'coffee' is coffi:
Dw i'n hoffi coffi - I like coffee
Dych chi'n hoffi coffi - You like coffee
But we don't like coffee...Edit
The usual word for 'not' in Welsh is ddim:
Dw i ddim... - I am not...
Dw i ddim yn hoffi... - I do not like
Note that our 'n has changed to yn and is separated from dw i ddim by a space - that is because Dw i ddim ends with a consonant, not a vowel.
Dw i ddim yn hoffi coffi - I don't like coffee
Dych chi ddim yn hoffi coffi - You do not like coffee
Note that Welsh makes no distinction here between the English 'do not' and 'don't.'
Do we like things?Edit
With dw i... and dych chi..., we can turn them into questions just by lifting our tone of voice at the end of the sentence, as we do when asking a question in English:
Dych chi'n hoffi selsig? - Do you like sausages?
Dw i'n hoffi coffi? - Do I like coffee?
Some language variationsEdit
Welsh has a number of dialects; four or five main ones, with large areas of geographical overlap. Differnt generations also tend to use different language patterns, too, just as with any modern language. You may live on one of those areas and you may already be learning some slight variations from the forms we generally use on this course. Don't worry about it, just ask your local tutor for advice if this applies to you.
One common variation is in a phrase we introduce in this section - dych chi (you are). In parts of north-west Wales in particular you may be learning this as dach chi, which reflects a local pronunciation. All the way through this course you can respond with dach chi instead of dych chi if you wish. Later in the course you will also meet dach chi being used as a prompt. It is important to become familiar with some simple dialect variations as they do come up in the national media and you will here them all over Wales because people travel around so much - we don't change the way we speak just because we are working and living in or visiting a different area. There is some more information about the Welsh dialects in the notes for the later section called 'Dialects'.
Further information about learning Welsh is here