Francesca explains the Welsh expressions used in her Wartime in the Valleys books
Someone asked me a while ago about the Welsh phrases used in the Wartime in the Valleys series. Although it’s implied that my characters are speaking Welsh much of the time, as many would have in the Valleys a hundred odd years ago, I’ve been careful to use only a few expressions, to add a flavour of the area.
I think some people have struggled with these expressions so, as the third in the Valleys series is going to be published in a week, I thought I’d write a blog post including all the phrases used and their translations. I’ve been through all four books (as there’s another, Trouble in the Valleys, due out in the spring), so hopefully have found them all.
I’m not a Welsh speaker myself, as my Welsh mother wasn’t either, only speaking a few phrases, but I’ve been endeavouring to learn some on Duo Lingo. Whether I’ll ever feel proficient enough to talk to a native seems currently unlikely. Unless it’s to say ‘Bore da,’ to my Welsh speaking friend Angela Johnson (author of another novel set in Wales, Arianwen) as we meet for a coffee. It’s been an interesting experience, learning the language of my past ‘fathers’. I think my mum would have enjoyed the opportunity to have a go at Duo Lingo too, if such a thing had been around in her time.
My favourite Welsh phrase of my mother’s? Ych y fi! You have to hear it said to appreciate how much it evokes what it means, which is Ugh! But to give you an idea, it’s something like ‘uh-ch ah vee‘, where the ch is a guttural sound at the back of the throat.
As Truman Burbank (sort of) said in The Truman Show , ‘Bore da, and in case I don’t see ya, prynhawn da, noswaith dda a nos da!’
|Bore da||Good morning|
|Prynhawn da||Good afternoon|
|Noswaith dda||Good evening|
|Nos da||Good night|
|Diolch yn fawr||Thank you very much|
|Nadolig Llawen||Merry Christmas|
|Siôn Corn||Father Christmas|
|Bach (m) / fach (f)||An endearment (literally ‘little’)|
|Cariad||An endearment (meaning ‘love’ / ‘sweetheart’|
|Ych y fi!||Ugh!|
|O Duw!||Oh God!|
|Diolch i Dduw!||Thank God!|
|Y Newyddion||The News|
|Gymanfa ganu||A singing festival|
|Eisteddfod||A competition including poetry and music|
|‘Y Delyn Aur’||‘The Golden Harp’|
|‘Dawel Nos’||‘Silent Night’|
|‘Calon Lân’||‘A Pure Heart’|
|‘Ar Hyd y Nos’||‘All Through the Night’|
Hope in the Valleys is out on 20th January, currently available as an e-book and paperback, and can be pre-ordered from these outlets:
Link to Amazon in all countries: author.to/FrancescaCapaldiAuthor
Apple UK: https://apple.co/3cqsH5O
WH Smiths: https://bit.ly/34CHbxN