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Gallia County, Ohio

Welsh Pronounciation Guide


We decided to add this as a part of the Gallia county site because after the French came to Gallia county, the Welsh came in and created a significant number of Welsh communities in this county. Many of the early documents you may find while doing genealogy ressearch for Welsh ancestors will be written in the native Celtic language of the Welsh and I have not found a good guide online in pronounciation of these early town names or words. We hope you find this helpful. The Celtic pronounciation will be in parenthesis'

Here are a few quick tips to remember when pronouncing Celtic vowels. They are "pure" sounds similar to Italian and Spanish.

a ("ah")
e ("ay" or "eh")
i ("ee")
o ("oh")
The letters w ("oo"), y ("ee", "i", or "eh")
u (pronouced with a deeper "ee")

The Welsh language has five consonants not normally occuring in the English language. They are:
ch (a gutteral sound like the German ch),
dd ("th" like the word "then")
ff (like the English sound of "f")
rh (a breathy rolled "r")
ll (a cross between "l" and "s")

A single f in Welsh is pronounce like a "v".
All "r's" are rolled.

When pronouncing multisyllabic words the emphasis falls on the next to last syllable. For example:
dyffryn is pronounced "DUH-frin"
capel is pronounced "CAH-pel"
Eglwys is pronounced "AYG-looees" making sure that the "oo" and "ee" sound like one smooth syllable.

Many of the Welsh immigrants who settled in Gallia county came from Mynydd Bach. This is pronounced "MUHN-ithe BACH" with the ch formed well in the back of the throat. Come on, try it...

Another Welsh word to learn is Llangeitho pronounced "Llahn_GAY-thoh".

Two Welsh American publications found in your research will make reference to Y Cyfaill which is pronounce "uh CUH-vayll" and Y Cenhadwr, pronounced "uh ken-HAHD-oor."

From Berwyn E. Jones:  The "ll" sound in Welsh is an aspirated L sound One can learn to say it by first saying "the" and then "throw," pointing out that the first TH is voiced (i.e., using vocal chords) and the second is aspirated. Then say "la" (a voiced l) and then "lla" (an aspirated l).

Common meanings of Welsh Place-Names

aber: mouth of gwaun: undulating moorland
afon: river gwyn: white
allt: wood, slope hafod: summer dwelling
bach (fach): small isaf: lower
bedd: grave llan: (church) enclosure
cae: field maen: stone
caer: fort maes: field
capel: chapel mawr (fawr): great, big
carn: cairn melin (felin): mill
carreg: stone morfa: bog, sea-marsh
castell: castle myndd: mountain
coch: red newydd: new
coetan: quoit ogof: cave
craig: rock pen: head, top
cwm: valley (small) pont: bridge
dinas: hill-fortress porth: harbour
dyffryn: valley (larger) rhos: moorland
eglwys: church rhyd: ford
moel (foel): bare hill tref: town, homestead
glas: blue (or green) tw: house
glyn: deep valley uchaf: upper, higher
gwaelod: bottom ynys: island

SOURCE: Knowles, Anne Kelly. Calvinists incorporated: Welsh immigrants on Ohio's industrial frontier. 1997:The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL (ISBN: 0-226-44853-3)   

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