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The World of Funny Welsh Words

Hubpages is where I explore my inner writer. I started with a few sales hubs but now specialise in what interests me and hopefully others.

funny-welsh-words

Put on your humour hat and waltz into the world of funny Welsh words!

Welsh is a beautiful, ancient language. It is the language of beautiful poetry and is mesmerizing when you hear it spoken well, but even the most patriotic Welsh person must admit that some of the words in Welsh can be idiosyncratic and sometimes giggle-worthy!

This is a lighthearted lens written by someone who has been learning Welsh over the past few years who respects the language but also sees the funny side of learning Welsh as a complete beginner.

On this page, you will find a wealth of wacky Welsh words that will tickle your funny bone. From the infamous "popty ping" to the humorous Welsh word for "carrots," Welsh and non-Welsh speakers alike will be able to savour the comical string of sounds this lovely language boasts.

Photo courtesy of Sham Hardy on Flickr

Cornelius Rooster or "Ceiliog Cornelius' - The Welsh Connection

Cornelius cockerel

Cornelius cockerel

I am always on the lookout for interesting and amusing connections to the wonderful Welsh language and as I write this, June 2014, have justI stumbled upon an interesting story involving the official harpist to Charles, Prince Of Wales and Mr. William Keith Kellogg of breakfast cereal fame.

Nansi Richards Jones (May 14, 1888 to December 21, 1979 ),who was born on the Welsh borders became so proficient at playing the Welsh and pedal harps that she was known as "The Queen Of The Harp."During one of her visits to America, she visited the home of William Keith Kellogg in Battle Creek, Michigan. At the time Mr. Kellogg was looking for an interesting way to market his Corn Flakes cereal. Nansi, noticing the similarity between the Welsh word 'ceiliog' (pronounced kayleeog) meaning"cockerel" or "rooster"and the surname,' Kellogg' , she suggested he use a picture of a cockerel on the Kelloggs Cornflake package and so the rest is history.

Dylan Thomas October 27, 1914 - November 9, 1953

Dylan Thomas is the world famous Welsh poet born 100 years ago October 27, 2014. Unfortunately, he died at the young age of 39 many miles from his beloved Wales in New York City but he hasn't been forgotten. There have been many celebrations throughout 2014 celebrating the man and his writings.

He wrote the most amazing melodic, rhythmic poetry and plays and created many unforgettable, amusing characters. If you haven't yet encountered Dylan's works, check him out. He was a master with words as you will discover when you read his work or hear his words spoken.

I have written a capsule entitled 'Dylan Thomas: Centenary which tells you a bit about the man and his works and includes some videos of the man himself reading his own works which you may find interesting. Please see the "link" section at the end of this hub article.

Flickr

Flickr

The Welsh Word for Microwave

Pop your tea into the "popty ping"!

We learn a lot in our classes but a lot of time is spent drinking piping hot cups of tea and chowing down on shortbread biscuits. When my tea became chilled, due to too much conversation and not a lot of sipping, I asked if I could put the tea in the microwave. What is the Welsh word for a " microwave", I asked and she said... "put it in the popty ping"! I fell in love with the word and, when my English friends ask me to teach them a Welsh word, this one never fails to impress.

"It goes into the popty ping!"

"The....whaaaat?"

"The popty ping. Popty is the word for "oven" in Welsh, and ping is the sound the microwave makes when it has finished its business!

To this day, popty ping is still my favourite Welsh word, though I was rather miffed to discover that microdon is actually the far more common term. Unfortunately, English words often crop up in a Welsh conversation. I will spend a bit of time on this subject a little later.

Microwave photo courtesy of pasukaru76 on Flickr

More Serious Information About Wales - And Resources To Help You Learn The Welsh Language (If You Are That Way Inclined)

Flickr

Flickr

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The Longest Word in Welsh

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllanty

siliogogogoch is not only a funny Welsh word, but it is also the longest place name in Europe!

It actually translates as Saint Mary's Church in the hollow of the white hazel near a rapid whirlpool and the Church of Saint Tysilio of the red cave

This ridiculously long, tongue-twister of a word refers both to a large village on the island of Anglesey and the train station located within. The village was so named in the 1860s as a publicity stunt to attract tourists to the village after the creation of the Britannia Bridge and the North Wales Coast Railway Line between Holyhead and London. The villagers hoped that the attraction of such a long name would be cause enough for travellers to stop in their town and purchase goods. It turns out that their predictions were correct. Even today, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysilio

gogogoch is a very popular destination for tourists in Wales, who arrive by the hundreds to take pictures by the railway station sign and purchase souvenirs at the gift shop.

If you are interested in learning how to pronounce the longest word in Welsh, click on this link. It will take you to the town's official website where they provide you with a sound file to imitate, pronunciation instructions, and an Anglicised spelling of the name.

Photo of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch station courtesy of Duncan on Flickr

Other Very Long Welsh Words and Expressions - Try twisting your tongue around these troublesome terms!

Try saying, "ddiddordebau", the word for interests or hobbies; "llongyfarchiadau" -" congratulations"; "cyfrifiadur", the word for "computer". By the time you say ' pleased to meet you', " braf eich cyfarfod chi", the person has probably disappeared rownd i gornel, round the corner.

If you ever feel the earth move you are probably experiencing an earthquake which in Welsh is daeargryn. However if there is more than one then the word is 'daeargrynfeydd'. This happens a lot in Welsh where the plural substantially lengthens the word. So different to the English 's'.

You are not being rude if you say, "Esgusodwch fi!", which is a very polite, 'Excuse me' and if a Welshman says,"os gwelwch yn dda", they are only saying ,'please'. That is probably why many Welsh speakers often say, plis instead.

ofnadwy expresses the word, 'awful' very well as does the word, bendigedig!for 'excellent'!

  • Gorsafawddachaidraigodanheddogleddollonpenrhynareurdraethceredigion

    (A train station in Wales which actually has more letters than the officially recognised longest word in Welsh.)

  • Llanhyfryddawelllehynafolybarcudprindanfygythiadtrienusyrhafnauole

    (The unofficial name for the village of Llanfynydd in Carmarthenshire)

More Welsh tongue twisters and idioms.

We have to give credit to Ruth, our Welsh teacher, Anthrawes Cymraeg, for these gems. She loves language and history, especially Welsh History and Welsh Folklore. She makes our classes interesting by passing on her knowledge of the sayings, tongue-twisters and idioms that she has known since childhood that have been passed down from her parents and from her grandparents. As we learn them, I will pass on the information to you so keep posted.

In English we have a saying, "close the door after the horse has bolted", obviously meaning that you have left it too late to do something. In Welsh the expression is a little more risque. They say,"codi pais ar ol piso" or "lifting your petticoat after having a wee". The meaning is the same but expressed in quite a different way.

To say "too much of a good thing" the Welsh have a great expression, "gormod o bwdin dagith gi", translated as "too much pudding chokes the dog"!

Here are two wonderful tongue-twisters:

"Codi cyn codi cwn Caer" - "get up before the dogs of Chester". This expression goes back to when the Welsh would rustle the sheep from their English counterparts and Chester, being very close to the Welsh border, was one of their targets, so they had to get up before the dogs of Chester became aware of their presence and warned their masters.

"Beibl i bawb o bobl y byd" - I love this one. It really rolls off your tongue. It can be translated as "a people's bible for everyone in the world".

The Welsh Word for Tired - Are you feeling a bit "wedi blino" today?

Flickr

Flickr

Isn't the word "wedi blino" just so much more evocative than the word "tired"? Just think of bushed, blah, and blasé - blino doesn't really appear out of place at all among these tired expressions, now does it?

Plus, wedi blino is made up of a grand total of two words, not one! Double the words, double the emphasis! And...double the exhaustion?

Photo courtesy of dsb nola on Flickr

Funny False Friends in Welsh - Welsh words that sound like English words

The Welsh words listed here look and even sound like English words, but are actually "false friends." In other words, they sound the same, but have a completely different meaning.

For instance, don't go saying that you are hurt in Welsh if you fall down the stairs. All you'll be saying is that you are "silly" and that is hardly cause to ship you off to the hospital!

  1. English: Carrots = Welsh: Moron

    (Not the English "moron" meaning stupid.)

  2. English: Nothing = Welsh: Dim

    (Not the English "dim" as in slow or dim-witted.)

  3. English: Old = Welsh: Hen

    (Not the English "hen" as in chicken.)

  4. English: Children = Welsh: Plant

    (not the ones that grow in the ground but, come to think of it, children do grow like plants.

  5. English: Dough or Pastry = Welsh: Toes

    (not those little digits on the end of your feet.

  6. English: Challenge = Welsh: Her

    (Sounds like the English word, "hair")