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Welsh Language Services
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Gwyndodeg is the Welsh dialect that is spoken in the northwest of Wales. It is also called the Gwynedd dialect. Like the other dialects, it has differences in the vocabulary and pronunciation that set it apart from the other dialects. For example, the word for “fox” in Gwyndodeg is “llwynog”. In contrast, in the Welsh dialects Dyfedeg, Sir Benfro, and Gwenhwyseg it is called “cadno”.
Powyseg is the Welsh dialect that is spoken in the northeast of Wales. It is also called the Powys dialect. A word that exemplifies the difference between this dialect and the others is the word “hedge”. In Powyseg, the word “hedge” is said as “shetin”. On the other hand, in Gwyndodeg it is said “gwrych”. In Gwenhwyseg it is said “perth” and in Dyfedeg it is said “clawdd”. Still, in Sir Benfro it is said “claw”.
Dyfedeg and Sir Benfro
Dyfedeg is the Welsh dialect that is spoken in the southwest of Wales. It is also called the Dyfed dialect. The Sir Benfro dialect is considered to be part of Dyfedeg. Still, there are some notable differences between the two. As previously mentioned, while “hedge” in Dyfedeg is “clawdd”, in Sir Benfro it is “claw”.
Gwenhwyseg is the Welsh dialect spoken in the southeast of Wales. It is also called the dialect of Gwent. It is thought to have once been one of the most widely spoken Welsh dialects although there are very few speakers of it now. A difference in this dialect is that while in Welsh the word for “aunt” is “modryp”, in Gwenhwyseg it is “bopa”. There are many words in this dialect that differs to the words used in the others. Also, in this dialect as well as the other Southern ones, the word for “grandmother” is “mamgu” while in the Northern dialects it is “nain”. This demonstrates that many of the differences between these dialects are between the Northern and Southern part of Wales.
Patagonian Welsh is actually not spoken in Wales but in Argentina. It originated in a Welsh settlement in Argentina. Although Patagonian Welsh is for the most part mutually intelligible with the other Welsh dialects, it does have its differences. It has been influenced by Spanish which is the official language of Argentina. For example, the word in Patagonian Welsh “baseando” comes from the Spanish word “paseando” and it is very different from “am dro” which is how it is said in Welsh.
A common greeting is a light handshake and saying “how do you do” which is responded to with another “how do you do”. Both men and women shake hands although women will extend their hand first before a man shakes it. The Welsh are also British since Wales is part of the UK. Therefore, they share many greeting norms and communication styles with other British countries.
The British, including the Welsh, are reserved and rely on indirect communication. Being very direct in conversations is considered disrespectful. They are usually not loud when in public and they do not have expressive body language. They do not interrupt those who are speaking for that is seen as rude. Self-deprecating humor is very common. It is not common for them to publicly complain even if there is a reason to, or to give direct criticism.
Personal Space and Touching
Personal space is valued and touching is not common. Touching is usually avoided unless it is a close friend or relative. It is also not common for affection to be displayed publicly. Since personal space is valued, standing or sitting very close to someone when there is more space available would make the other person feel very uncomfortable.
Eye Contact and Gestures
It is common to maintain eye contact during a conversation although it shouldn’t be perceived as staring. Maintaining eye contact is considered respectful but staring is considered rude. Breaking eye contact every now and then will prevent the person from feeling uncomfortable. It is also important to make equal eye contact with everyone in the group. A gesture that is considered obscene is making an inverted “peace sign” with your palm facing you. This sign is very offensive. Tapping on the side of your forehead is a gesture made to indicate that you are dumb. For women, it is considered proper for them to cross their feet at their ankles instead of at their knees when sitting.
Welsh Culture Reference Guide
The only country where Welsh is the official language is Wales. There are around 562,000 speakers of Welsh in Wales. Welsh is one of the two official languages, the other being English. This is where most Welsh speakers are located. Other Welsh speakers can be found in different countries.