Geirfa o'r Rhondda. Rhyw bedwar ugain o eiriau o restr a gyhoeddwyd gyntaf yn 1914. Wordlist from the Rhondda Valley. Some 80 words from a list published first in 1914.
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TEITL: MORGANNWG - CWM RHONDDA YN BENNAF
TITLE: GLAMORGAN – MAINLY THE VALLEY RHONDDA
FFYNHONELL: “Cymru” - Rhif 46. Blwyddyn: 1914. Tudalen 23
SOURCE: From “Cymru” magazine, Number 46. Year: 1914. Page 23
Mae gennym ni ddwy fersiwn – yn gyntaf yn y blwch isod y fersiwn wreiddiol â phedwar ugain a dau o eiriau (hefyd â rhifau o’u blaen - er nad oes rhifau yn y rhestr wreiddiol). Ar ei hôl ceir yr un rhestr â'n sylwadau ninnau mewn llythrennau gleision.
We have two versions - the first one in the box below is is the original list of 82 words from the magazine “Cymru” (though in the original version the words aren't numbered). Following this is the list annotated with our comments in blue text.
YR UN RHESTR A’R UN FLAENOROL, Â’N SYLWADAU WEDI EU HYCHWANEGU ATI
LIST AS ABOVE, WITH OUR COMMENTS ADDED
01 acha [ucha?] top acha pen ty = on the top of a house
A contraction of ar uchaf - on (the) topmost (part) of
02 ala to spend “Lle ti'n ala d'amser?” = where do you spend your time?
In fact, hala - but in the south-east the 'h' is usually dropped in most words
03 bendith y mama fairies
Bendith y mamau - Literally (the) blessing (of) the mothers. The -a instead of -au is typical of the south-east
04 bider clever “Llaw fider iw e draw” = he over there is a clever one
“Llaw fudur yw e draw”. In fact, budr, which in the North means 'dirty'. In words of this type there is an epenthetic vowel - in Welsh, between the last two consonants the vowel is repeated - budur. In the South 'u' and 'i' are pronounced identically, so the spelling bidir is also seen. Why this should be bider I'm not sure.
There are historical examples of
final u > e (Latin dîes Mercuri > dydd Mercher = Wednesday), and
of y > e (Tredegyr - the trev of Tegyr - > Tredeger, and because
the final e in the south-east becomes a, Tredegar). And if the
form is bider, why hasn't it become bidar as one would expect?
The usual form is budur / bidir.
In the sentence llaw is 'hand', but can also mean workman, and friend, fellow, both in the south and in the north.
05 blac-pats cockroaches
06 bopa modryb (gair plant)
(gair plant = children's word) A childish form of modryb - probably reduced to mob, with a diminutive -a; (moba). In Welsh initial b and m can interchange (boba). In the south-east, a b- at the beginning of a penultimate syllable is devoiced to p- (bopa).
07 brachga to ride “brachga acha cefan ceffyl”
In fact from 'marchogaeth' (= to ride on horseback), march (= horse), marchog (= horseman, knight); -aeth (= suffix for forming a verb).
The sentence is marchogaeth ar uchaf cefn ceffyl - literally 'to ride on top of the back of a horse'. The m has been replaced by b - this interchangeability is a feature of Welsh – the soft mutated form of b is f [v], and the soft mutated form of m is also f [v]. This is perhaps why the confusion occurred, For example, the thumb is bawd. An inch was originally bawd-fedd (“thumb measurement”) which became bodfedd (reduction of aw to o in the penult syllable occurrs in many other words). But the modern Welsh word for thumb is modfedd.
Cefn becomes cefen, with an epenthetic vowel; this is typical of the south, though in the north this doesn't happen with -fn. (Dwfn is deep; in the south, dwfwn, in the north dyfn; and trefn is order – in the south, trefen and in the north trefn).
In the south-east final e >
a. The village of Cefncoedycymer ('the hill with the wood which is
by the confluence') above Merthyr is locally known as Y Cefan - the hill.
08 bratu to waste needlessly
From afradu (= to waste); af- (= negative prefix), rhad (= grace), -u (= suffix to form verbs). Afradu > 'fradu.
The loss of a pretonic syllable at the beginning of a word is very common in Welsh. An example is adnabod (= to know), colloquially nabod.
Because f [v] is often a soft-mutated form of b in some words there is a temptation to 'restore' this b, even where it is unjustified. Hence 'fradu < bradu.
In the south-east, a d- at
the beginning of a penultimate syllable is devoiced to t- (bratu).
09 can (blawd)
Can is the southern word for flour, standard blawd. It is from a Celtic word for 'white', and a related word in Welsh is cannaid (= white, gleaming white). By Merthyrtudful there is a stream name Cannaid, and a village Abercannaid.
Latin 'candidus' has the same root - as in English 'candid' (= frank), 'candidate' (in Latin, someone dressed in a white gown).
Blawd is related to blodeuyn / blodyn (= flower), just as in English “flour” and “flower” are in fact one and the same word, albeit with different spellings.
In Catalan, 'the best part of the flour, top-quality flour' is la flor de la farina, and in French it is la fleur de farine, which probably explains the use of blawd in Welsh and flower in English – originally referring to the best part of the powder produced by milling grain, and later the powder in general.
In the south-west of Wales fflw^r
is used - from the Middle English pronunciation of “flour” [fluur].
10 can bara (blawd at wneud bara)
'flour (of) bread' (flour for making bread)
11 carc (gofal) carc
'care, caution'. The standard word is gofal. From an old English word cark (= care), from Norman, from Latin CARCÂRE < CARRICÂRE (= to load, to take charge of).
12 celfi house furniture rhif unig, celficyn
The usual word in the south for furniture - in the North dodrefn. The singular form is celficyn. Celfi means “tools, furniture”, and the singular form to be expected, and which also exists, is celfiÿn, since celfi is a collective nouns, and -ÿn is a singulative suffix. Maybe -ÿn was confused with the diminutive suffix -cÿn, as in bryncÿn (= hillock)
13 cernola a queer place
This word does not seem to occur in literary Welsh. Perhaps it is “cern olau”, Cern is a feminine noun meaning “side of the head, cheekbone; hillside, exposed slope; corner”, and golau is light, illuminated; sunlit. So – sunlit hillside? Or maybe the explanation is altogether different.
14 cetyn a good while “Ma fa wedi mynd ys cetyn.”
“He's been gone for a while”. From cat (= piece), + (diminutive suffix -yn). The vowel y has affected the previous a, causing it to open out to e. The Welsh word cat is from a Middle English word cat (= piece).
15 citsho to catch “Citsha yn'o fa.” [Cydio, di-dj-tsh]
Also 'get hold of'. “Catch it, get hold of it”. Yn'o is ynddo, in it, with the loss of the consonant dd. Fa is south-eastern for fe = he, it
16 conach to grumble
17 conyn a grumbler
stem con- from conach
(= to grumble), with
the suffix for making nouns -ÿn.
18 crofen rind “Crofen cig moch, crofen caws.”
“Bacon rind, cheese rind”. Form of crawen, also in Cornish as krevenn (= crust, scab), and Breton as kreun (= crust of bread).
19 crwbyn a lump “Fa gwnnws crwbyn ar i ben a.”
“A lump rose on his head”. Crwb (=lump) (the word is also found in the North), and -yn (= diminutive suffix).
20 cwato to hide “Ma fa'n cwato.”
“He's hiding”. From dialect English quat (= to hide)
21 cwdi-hw owl
Usually gwdi-hw. Imititaion of an owl's call. In the North tylluan / dylluan
22 cwlffyn a chunk “Cwlffyn o fara.”
“A lump of bread.” Cwlff (= lump, chunk), and -yn (= diminutive suffix).
23 cwmws straight “Mor gwmws a sâth.”
In standard Welsh mor gymwys â saeth (= as straight as an arrow). Final -wy is usually reduced to w (Afon Ebwy > Afon Ebw). This has influenced the y in the first syllable. In the South ae > aa in monosyllables, hence saeth > saath. Other examples are ymlaen (= forward) > blaan, maen (= bakestone) > maan, llaeth (= milk) > llath. In fact, in the Rhondda, aa is, in common with the rest of the south-east, pronounced ää (this represents the sound similar to that is English air, dare, where, etc). The pronunciation aa is typical of the south-west (west of the Tawe valley) .
24 cwnïaeth (cwmnïaeth)
company, companionship. mn reduced to n
25 cwnni to rise “Cwnn lan.”
Get up. Cwnnu (often spelt cwnni, since in the south u and i are pronounced the same), is from an original cychwynnu, a variant of cychwyn (= to begin). Standard Welsh uses codi (= to rise, get up).
26 cwpla finish
A form of cwblháu (= to finish); cwbl (= the whole), -háu (= suffix for making verbs, usually from adjectives)
27 cwt a tail “Cwt y gath; cwt y ci.”
“the tail of the cat; the tail of the dog”. Cwt is also 'queue' in South Wales. The northern form (and the standard form) is cynffon, from cyn- (= dog) and ffon (= stick)
28 damshal to tread upon “Damshal ar i drâd a.”
One of many forms of damsang (= tread upon). Damsang ar ei draed e – to step on his foot. See 23 for trâd / traad instead of traed, though in in Rhondda it would be in fact trääd.
29 derwan any kind of tree “Derwan fala; derwan gnou; derwan eirin.”
Derwen is usually oak tree. In the south-east it has become a generic name for tree – standard written form derwen afalau, local pronunciation derwan fala (= apple tree), standard written form derwen cnau, local pronunciation derwan gnau (= hazel tree,”tree of nuts, tree of hazelnuts”; standard written form derwen eirin, local pronunciation derwan irin (= plum tree).
30 dino (deunaw)
Deunaw (= eighteen). Final -aw generally in Welsh becomes o (croesaw > croeso = welcome). In deunaw however the naw is preserved in most of Wales because it is clearly dau + naw (two nines). The sense has impeded the usual reduction, but it seems from this example that in the Rhondda the expected reduction has happened. In the south-east the sound [ei] in the penult becomes [ii] (in fact, a half-long vowel) - diinaw
31 dishgwl to look
From disgwyl, which in modern Welsh is 'to wait'. The old sense has of 'to look' been retained in the south. In various parts of Wales there is the place name disgwylfa (= look-out). Final wy > w, and s after i becomes sh in the south.
32 drwg hurt “Gas a lawar o ddrwg?”
'A gafodd e lawer o ddrwg?' 'Was he badly hurt?' (did he get a lot of hurt?). Cas (he - she- it got) is the form used in the south for standard cafodd. An e in the final syllable in the south-east becomes a- hence llawer (= much; a great quantity, a laot) is llawar.
33 dwetydd (diwetydd) afternoon
A compound of diwedd (= end) + dydd (= day), the day's end.
34 dyshefo (yn yr ymadrodd “Duw dyshefo ni!”)
35 enad sense, intellect “Yr hurtyn di-enad.”
“The dull fool.” enaid = literally, soul. The change of final ai > e is usual in colloquial spoken Welsh, and in the south-east e > a.
36 erfyn to await “Ma fa'n d'erfyn di.”
“He's awaiting you, he's waiting for you.” In standard Welsh, erfyn = implore, beg
37 gwanu to run away “Gwân i odd'ma!”
Gwân hi oddi yma. “Foot it from here!”. From gwadn (= sole of the foot), which is the south is gwaddan. The 'dd' has been lost to give gwân, the root of the verb gwanu = foot it, run off. Odd' 'ma is from oddi yma (= from here).
38 ifancach (ieuengach)
This is the usual form in spoken Welsh throughout Wales, though the literary form is ieuangach.
39 isht similar “Ma fa'n gwmws isht a'i frawd.”
Mae ef yn gymwys yr un sut â'i frawd. He's the same likeness as his brother. From French suite (= continuation); the same word was also taken into English, as in a suite of rooms In modern Welsh pa sut 'what likeness' has come to mean 'how' (colloquially sut in the North, shwd in the South)
40 ishta (eistedd)
To sit. The loss of the final -dd occurs in many words in Welsh. Eiste-. In the South the penult ei is reduced to ii - (before a sinle consonant) or i- (before a consonant cluster), hence iste. In the South, too, i+s gives ish. And the sinal -e becomes -a in the South-east. In this wasy we end up with ishta.
41 Jawch Yn y llw “Jawch ariôd!”
Diawl erioed. In the oath 'Devil from the beginning'. Jawch is an altered form of Jawl, from diawl , with palatalisation di > j. In the South oe > oo, hence oed = age, ood. Erioed = in all the past; never until now, from er (since) + ei (his, its) + oed (age). In the south, er has become ar in this expression, as if it were the preposition ar = on.
42 jawl (diawl) “Jawl a myto i.”
Y Diawl a'm bwyto i. May the Devil eat me. Standard bwyto is byta in spoken Welsh.
43 lan up “Lan a lawr.”
Glan = bank, hill. I lan is literally 'to hill, uphill'. Llawr is 'floor, valley bottom'. I lawr is 'to floor, bottom'. In such adverbials in spoken Welsh, the preposition i = to is dropped. Hence lan a lawr = up and down.
44 llutw ashes
From lludw = ash. Also lliti in the south-east
45 llwytyn sparrow
From llwyd = grey + diminutive -yn. The d at the head of a penultimate syllable is generally unvoiced to t in the south east. Llwydyn > llwytyn. The literal meaning is '(the) little grey (bird)'
46 llychetan lightning
In the South, flashes of lightining is lluched. The root is a Celtic element *LEUK- = bright, related to Latin 'lux' = light, lûcêo = shine. In Cornish the corresponding word is luc'hez, and in Breton luch'ed. The singular of lluched is formed by adding -en : llucheden. The d at the head of a penultimate syllable is generally unvoiced to t in the south east, and final e becomes a in the south-east.
47 llyfanu to grind “Llyfanu bwall”
Llyfan bwyell. From llyfn? = smooth. In bwyell the penult wy becomes w (as in gwybod > gwpod, to know) and final e becomes a.
48 loshin lozenges, sweets
The general southern word for sweet or sweets. From English lozenge.
49 mashgal shell “Mashgal wy, cnou, &c.”
'Eggshell, nuthell, etc'. Standard masgl. With epenthetic vowel masgl > masgal. Inexplicable palatisation s > sh.
50 meiddu to excel “Pwy feiddws?”
A southern word. Standard spelling maeddu. Probably related to Irish maidhm = break, burst.
51 mwlwg rubbish
In Ceredigion, the word mwl = chaff, rubbish, from an obsolete English word 'mull' = dust, ashes, rubbish. This seems to be mwl with an unusual ending -wg.
52 mwstwr noise
In the north mwstwr is a crowd. From this would come the sense of noise. In origin it is from English, from French 'moustre' (no longer in modern French) = soldiers, from Latin mônstrum, from monêre = to advise.
53 nishiad kerchief “Nishiad boc.”
Handkerchief. From an older English word nycette = handkerchief.
54 owa uncle (gair plant)
(gair plant = children's word). From ewythr = uncle. The first syllable, eith a change of vowel e > o, and a suffix –a
55 pewin peacock
In standard Welsh, paun
56 pia magpie
From English, (now Margaret + pie > magpie), in turn originally from French pie, from Latin pîca = magpie, related to Latin pîcus = woodpecker. In modern French the word is still 'pie'.
57 pili-pala (gloyn byw)
Butterfly. The other name in use in Welsh is literally 'live ember', but the second elelment at least is probably a deformation of another form - byw is very likely an altered form of Duw = God, since the Cornish and Breton names also contain 'Duw'.
58 pinna côd clothes pegs
Pinnau coed - 'pins (of) wood'. The final -au is -a in Gwentian, and oe > oo.
59 piwr (pur) “Bachan piwr yw a.”
'He's a splendid fellow'. Piwr is literally 'pure', but in the south-east is fine, generous, nice, splendid, excellent, etc
60 pornownso to pronounce
A form of English 'pronounce'. There is a tendency for some words in pr + vowel to become p + vowel + r (prynu = to buy, pyrnu; paratói = to prepare, pyrtói)
61 potsh mushed potatoes
Probably from some English word
62 pwdi (digio)
Pwdu is the usual spelling. To get angry, to sulk. Apparently from an earlier form of English 'pout'.
63 scitsha (esgidiau) (di-dj-tsh)
Shoes. Loss of the first syllable e- (the loss of a first syllable a common phenomenon in spoken Welsh) > sgidiau. In the south the plural suffix -iau becomes -e, and in the south east -a. However, this is not exactly the case here - the -i is present, and causes the palatisation of the preceding -d.
64 scwto to push
Also 'to shake'. Apparently from ysgwyd = to shake (adition of a verbal suffix -o, loss of the first syllable y-, reduction of penult wy > w, devoicing of d > t)
65 sha towards “Mynd sha Merthyr.”
Mynd tua Merthyr. A palatalised form of tua (origin: tu = side, â = with).
66 shang-di-fang topsy-turvy “Ma popath yn shang-di-fang yno.”
“Everything is upside down there”. Popeth = everything, with the usual final e > a.
67 shaw show
A word borrowed from English. In the North sioe (as if English shoy). In the South, as if English show(er), shou(t).
68 sponar sweetheart (male)
From English 'spooner'.
69 swrn the ankle
A word confined to the South-east.
70 tampo to rebound
Also - to be enraged. From an English dialect word 'tamp'.
71 ticyn a little
72 tocins money
From English 'tokens'.
73 tost sick, ill
Apparently from a Latin word tostus = ??
74 tre home
In Old Welsh, tref was a farmstead or small village. Rather as Enlgish tuun = farm has become town, tref in Welsh now means town. In the south-east, though, it has retained something its old meaning.
75 twmpyn much, a lot “dw i ddim yn hito 'run dwmpyn.”
Literally mound, molehill, ant hill. “! don't care one bit” - 'I don't heed the one molehill'. From English dialect tump = mound.
76 tyrnpyn lump “Cwnnws tyrnpyn mowr ar i ben a.”
'A big lump rose (i.e. grew) on his head'
77 twrw thunder lluosog, tyrfa
From Welsh twrf, from Latin turbô whirlwind, turbâre = throw into confusion. Rf > rw is not unusual in Welsh.
(cwrw (= beer) was historically cwrf > cwryf > cwrwf > cwrw)
78 tyla a steep acclivity
Further west, tyle. Apparently related to Irish tulach = hill
79 yffarn (uffern)
In oaths, = hell
80 yfflin a bit, particle “Do's gita fi ddim yfflin.”
'I don't have even a particle, I've none at all'
81 wedjan sweetheart (female)
Or spelt wejan. From English wench, with the feminine diminutive suffix -en, which is -an in the south-east.
82 wilïa (chwedleua) talk
Chwedl is Welsh is legend, tale. Chwedlau is the plural form; chwedleua would be 'to relate tales'. The meaning was widened in the south to 'to talk'. The southern form of chwedl was chweddl / chweddel. So the base form is in fact chweddleua. The dd dropped away - chwe'leua. The penult eu is generally pronounced as ii. - chwe'liia. Chw- is reduced to w- : we'liia. The first e closed to give i, probably influenced by the following i - wiliia.
DIWEDD / END
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