From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Welsh English, Anglo-Welsh, or Wenglish (see below) refer to the dialects of English spoken in Wales by Welsh people. The dialects are significantly modified by Welsh grammar and nouns, and contain a number of unique words. In addition to the distinctive words and grammar, there is a variety of accents found across Wales.
John Edwards has written and spoken entertainingly about a specific form of Welsh English — that found in the south-east area of Wales — as Wenglish. Some people, generally outside Wales, use the same word to refer to any form of English spoken in Wales.
Pronunciation and Peculiarities
Some of the features of Welsh English are
- Distinctive pitch differences giving a "sing-song" effect.
- Lengthening of all vowels is common in strong valleys accents.
- Pronouncing a short 'i' as 'eh' e.g. edit would become 'ed-et' and benefit would be 'benefet'
- A tendency towards using an alveolar trill /r/ (the 'rolled r') in place of an approximant /ɹ/ (the 'normal English r').
- Yod-dropping does not occur after any consonant, so rude and rood, threw and through, chews and choose, chute and shoot, for example, are distinct.
- Sometimes adding the word "like" to the end of a sentence for emphasis, or using it as a stop-gaps.
Influence of the Welsh language
As well as straightforward borrowings of words from the Welsh language (cwtsh, brawd), grammar from the language has crept into English spoken in Wales. Placing something at the start of a sentence emphasises it: "furious, she was". Periphrasis and auxiliary verbs are used in spoken Welsh, resulting in the English: "He does go there", "I do do it", particularly in the so-called Wenglish accent.
There is also evidence of the misappropriation into English sentence forms of Welsh verbs. The Welsh verb dysgu (meaning both to learn and to teach) is mistranslated in the common Wenglish form, "He learned me to drive," in place of the correct English usage, "He taught me to drive," although the reverse error is not usually heard.
Regional accents within Wales
There is a very wide range of regional accents within Wales.
The sing-song Welsh accent familiar to many English people is generally associated with South Wales. Accents from South Wales can be heard from the actors Richard Burton and (to a lesser extent) Anthony Hopkins, or on recordings of Dylan Thomas. Swansea accents are prominent in the film Twin Town. The popular Welsh actress Catherine Zeta-Jones also has a Swansea accent. The singers Shirley Bassey and Charlotte Church, meanwhile, are from Cardiff. The accent of Newport is also distinctive, quite different from that of Cardiff just a few miles down the road.
The accents of North Wales are markedly different. In North West Wales the accent is less sing-song, with a more consistently high-pitched voice and the vowels pressed to the back of the throat. The "R" sound is rolled extensively and the dark L is used at the beginning or middle of words, for example in "lose", "bloke", and "valley". The sound IPA: [z] is often pronounced unvoiced (the sound does not exist in Welsh), so "lose" is pronounced the same as "loose".
In North East Wales, the accent can sound like that of Cheshire or Staffordshire. Scouse-like Liverpool accents are used around Holywell, Queensferry and Flint. Around Wrexham, accents are similar to Scouse and younger people in particular have begun to use more Scouse-like vocabulary, such as "la","lyd" and "kid." To the ears of an Englishman a Wrexham accent can sound Scouse or just generally like Northern English. Similarly, in eastern parts of South East Wales, accents can have some characteristics of the English West Country accent.
The accents of West-Wales, especially North Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion, are gentler in nature than either the "valleys" or the Northern Welsh accents and are, by repute, one of the more beautiful British accents to listen to. In Pembrokeshire, the accent is highly anglicised, strange as it is so far from England.
An online survey for the BBC () reported in January 2005 placed the Swansea accent in the bottom ten accents likely to help a career, although "Cardiff folk ranked only a few places higher".
It is worth noting that accents in Wales vary even within a relatively short distance. Within Swansea itself there is a strking difference between the West Swansea accent (which sounds relatively English) compared to the rest of Swansea. The Neath accent is different again. Within Carmarthenshire, there is a noticeable difference between the Carmarthen, Llanelli and Ammanford accents. Llanelli accents tend to be very broad, Ammanford accents tend to have a softer Welsher lilt, while towards Carmarthen there is more of a hint of anglicisation on the accent.
Influence outside Wales
While English accents have affected Anglo-Welsh, it was by no means a one way traffic. In particular, Scouse and Brummie accents have both had extensive Anglo-Welsh input through immigration, although in the former case, the influence of Anglo-Irish is better known.
- Talk Tidy:John Edwards, the inventor/populariser of the term "Wenglish" and his books and CDs on the matter.
- Some thoughts and notes on the English of south Wales : D Parry-Jones, National Library of Wales journal 1974 Winter, volume XVIII/4
- Samples of Welsh Dialect(s)/Accent(s)
- Welsh proud of 'unpopular' accent. Retrieved on June 30, 2005.