Welsh is a phonetic language, which means that every letter is always pronounced the same way. The only variation is the amount of stress given to different words. There are the inevitable exceptions. Firstly the letter Y, which can be pronounced either ‘clear’ or ‘obscure’; and when the letter S is followed by an I – this forms a ‘sh’ sound.

The Welsh alphabet has 28 letters as opposed to 26 in the English language. The letters J, K, Q, V, X, and Z are omitted from the Welsh, although J has be been used in recent times owing to the absorption of some English words e.g garej for garage and of course in that most Welsh of surnames, Jones. There are an additional 8 letters: ch, dd, ff, ll, ng, ph, rh and th. If you advance sufficiently to be able to do Welsh crosswords, these count as a single letter and go into one square! There are seven vowels: A, E, I, O, U, W and Y.

Approximate English pronunciation of each letter.




a :   Either long as in part or short as in hat

e :   Either long as in pale or short as in well

i :    Mostly long as in need, but sometimes short as in win

u :   As the ee in weed in the South, or like the i in win in the North

o :   Either long as in door or short as in hop

w :   Either long as oo in school or short as the oo in look

y  :  The clear sound as for u above. The obscure, as the u in under




ae, ai and au :   As the English eye. i.e mae is pronounced my

eu and ei :         As the ay in pray

ew :                   Similar sound to ‘eh-oo’ or as in mount.

i’w and y’w :       Similar to ‘ee-you’ or yew or you

oe :                    Similar to oy or oi

ow :                    As in tow, or low

wy :                    Similar to ‘oo-ee’ or as in win

ywy :                  As ‘owie’

aw :                    As in cow




b :      As in Boat

c :      Always hard as in cart

ch :    As the sound ch in the Scottish, Loch or the composer Bach

d :      As in door

dd :    As th in that.

f :       As v in wave

ff :      As f in force or ff in effort

g :      Always hard as in glove

ng :    As ng in sing

h :      As in horse

l :       As in long

ll :      Similar to l with a th in front of it. A sound made in the mouth

m :     As in man

n :      As in nail

p :      As in paper

ph :    As in pharmacy or the f in front

r :       As in red but slightly rolled

rh :     Combine letters quickly but sounds as if h comes before r

s :      As in sort

t :       As in tree

th :     As in thorn


More space would be required to give a fuller idea of Welsh grammar but try the paragraph below, which is in “English” using the Welsh alphabet.


 Gwd lwc. Ai hop ddat yw can ryd ddys and ddat yt meiks sens tw yw. Iff yw can ryd ddys dden yw ar dwing ffaen and wil haf no problems at ol yn lyrning aw ffaen Welsh alffabet.



Good luck. I hope that you can read this, and that it makes sense to you. If you can read this , then you are doing fine and will have no problems at all in learning our fine Welsh alphabet.







& Phrases






of Wales



Sing 4