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If you’ve been keeping up with all-things Snowdonia, you’ll see that over 5,000 people recently voted to name Snowdon and its surrounding National Park after its traditional Welsh name. This motion was originally put forward by local councillor John Pughe Roberts in April 2022, and was met with much encouragement. This comes after years of important, historic Welsh names and words being scrapped or replaced in favour of English instead. While it marks an important moment for the native language, we also understand that it might take a long time for both our return guests and new visitors to get adjusted, which is why we’ve put together this short guide.
What are the new names for Snowdon and Snowdonia?
Snowdon, the mountain itself, is called Yr Wyddfa, while Snowdonia will be known as Eryri. In terms of pronunciation, Yr Wyddfa is “urrh with-far.” An important thing to remember about the Welsh language is that the ‘dd’ you see in many words is not pronounced like a D in the English alphabet. Instead, it has a softer, ‘th’ sound.
As for Eryri, this is said like “err-ruh-ree.” You’ll get bonus points if you can roll your Rs and speak in your very best Tom Jones-esque dulcet tones.
Why are Welsh names important?
At Tŷ Afon, we recognise the importance of preserving this special language and celebrating our land of song, poetry and folklore. Welsh, or Cymraeg, is an integral part of this, as it speaks to our ancient ancestors. The park's head of cultural heritage, Naomi Jones, said that Welsh place names were part of Eryri's "special qualities.”
Naomi went on to add that "By referring to our most renowned landmarks by their Welsh names, we give people from all over the world the opportunity to engage with the Welsh language and its rich culture. This is very encouraging and gives us confidence that this change in the authority's approach will be accepted for the benefit of the Welsh language and as a mark of respect to our cultural heritage."
We really couldn’t have put it better ourselves - when you journey to this magical, mythical part of the UK, how better to immerse yourself in its beauty than feel the native song dance across your own tongue.
Unique Welsh expressions
During your stay with us, you might want to flex your language skills even further by throwing in some of these common words and phrases taken directly from the mouths of locals.
In the style of true Welsh hospitality, a paned is like a cuppa, but so much more. If you’re invited for a paned, you’ll be expected to take a seat, unburden your troubles and warm yourself by the fire with a lovely hot drink. For a happy life, we suggest taking several paneds a day.
A unique Welsh word that means ‘to cuddle’ this common phrase is traced back to words meaning small storage space or cubbyhole. Whether it’s with a dog, friend, loved one or child, make sure you squeeze in a few cwtches during your stay.
“Llyncu mul” Cluhn-kee meel
This quirky expression means to sulk. The literal translation is to swallow a donkey, which we definitely don’t recommend. The hardest part of this pronunciation is getting the ‘LL’ sound right at the beginning of Llyncu. Unlike any sound in English, it requires you to touch the roof of your mouth with your tongue while gathering air in an almost hissing sound. For a cheat method to make things easier, you can pronounce it using a ‘cluh’ sound instead, or, use the other word for sulking, which is ‘pwdi’ (poodi).
“Mae’n bwrw hen wragedd â ffyn!” Mine boo-roo hen raggeth a fin
A great one to remark if it happens to be raining, this idiom is taken from the English expression ‘it’s raining cats and dogs,’ with a little Welsh twist. The Welsh twist, in this scenario, is transforming ‘cats and dogs’ into ‘old women with sticks.’ Don’t ask, because we really don’t know. This expression quite literally means ‘ it’s throwing old women with sticks.’ Don’t forget to pronounce the soft ‘th’ sound at the end of wraggedd to ensure you sound authentic.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how much, or how little Welsh you’re able to speak during your time with us, as the warm welcome remains the same. If you’d like any help or advice during your stay, don’t hesitate to ask one of the team, many of whom speak Welsh as their first language at home.