Clarifying similar Welsh words

Egluro geiriau Cymraeg tebyg / Clarifying similar Welsh words

in Language Advice/Resources

Mae nifer o eiriau Cymraeg sydd wedi’u sillafu a/neu eu hynganu yn yr un ffordd, ac mae’n gallu bod yn lletchwith i wybod pa un yw pa un. Dyma ddechrau rhestr sy’n amlinellu’r geiriau hyn gan gynnig mnemonig i ddangos y gwahaniaeth.
There are a number of Welsh words that are spelt and/or pronounced similarly, and it can be tricky to know which is which. Here is the beginning of a list which outlines these words and gives a mnemonic to aid telling the difference.

Arglwydd = lordArwydd = a signThe letter l is replicated in both arglwydd and lord
Bwlch = a gap/spaceBlwch = a boxIt's not the best mnemonic, but I remember this through thinking; "That blooming box was in the way", and the bl is replicated at the start of blwch.
Byd = worldBwyd = foodBwyd has the same number of letters as food.
Camgymeriad = mistake Cymeriad = (a) characterCam = step, and st is included in mistake
Cerddor = musicianCerddwr = walker/pedestrianExtending cerddor makes cerddoriaeth (music).
Cefndir = backgroundCefnder = male cousinCefn = back and tir = ground/earth; therefore cefndir = background.
Ci = dogCu is used in Tad-cu and Mam-guci, with a lower case c, looks a little like a d, and therefore connects to dog.
Cyfarth = to barkCyfarch = to greetThe c in cyfarch is also used in congratulations, and one is more likely to issue a congratulations at the time of greeting than at the time of barking.
Chwith = leftDe = rightIf you cup the first finger and thumb of each hand you make a c-like shape on the left and a d-like shape on the right; therefore chwith is left and de is right.
Diflasu = to bore/wearenDiflannu = to disappearI had trouble with finding a mnemonic for this; the best I can can offer is that the double nn in diflannu matches there being a double pp in disappear.
Diwylliant = cultureDiwydiant = industryThe l in culture is shared with the ll in diwylliant.
Eang = wideEuog = guiltyThe u in euog matches the u in guilty.
Eleni = this yearLlynedd = last yearLlynedd commencing with a ll is similar to last year starting with a l.
Ffôn = phoneFfon = stickThe roof on the â looks like a telephone receiver sitting on a phone.
Gorfod = have to or a necessityGormod = too much The m in gormod is included in too much.
Hon = this (feminine)Hwn = this (masculine)The w of hwn is an upside down m, which repesents masculine
Hon, hwn & hyn = thisHonna, hwnna & hynny = thatThis is a shorter word than that, and so hon is shorter than hwn.
Mis Gorffenaf = JulyGorffennol = the pastGorfennaf literally means the end of summer (gorffen = to finish and haf = summer).
Melin = millMelyn = yellowThe y in yellow is represented in the y of melyn.
Pen-ôl = posteriorPen-lin = kneeGlin = lap, as in gliniadur = laptop computer. Therefore pen-lin is the top/end of the lap. Plus the ô in pen-ôl is replicated in posterior.
Sylw = to noticeSylweddoli = to realiseIt takes a bit longer to realise something than to notice something, and therefore the word is longer.
Syndod = a surpriseSyniad = an ideaThe i in syniad is replicated in the i of idea.
Ti = you (informal)Tŷ = houseThe roof of the ŷ looks like the roof of a house.
To bach = little roofTŷ bach = literally small house, but in practice means bathroomThis requires a bit of imagination, but the ŷ of tŷ bach could look like a posh sink with taps above it.
Note: a to bach is the Welsh description of the circumflex which can appear on â, î, ô, ŵ and ŷ to indicate a lengthing of that sound.
Ton = waveTôn = tuneTôn is longer, so can you hold a tuuuuune...
Trafnidiaeth = transportTrefnidaeth = an organisationThis pair is sneakily similar, but trefn means an order or sequence (noun, not verb), and therefore is represented in trefnidaeth. Furthemore, the beginning of trafnidiaeth sounds like travelling, which relates to transport.

While making unintentional errors when using Welsh is perfectly acceptable, I hope that this helps people avoid stating things that I have, such as: “Mae James yn gamgymeriad, nag wyt?” a “Rwyt ti’n gallu rhoi’r cwpan ar dy ben-ôl”. If you have some suggestions to add, send them through to me at