YA Historical Fiction

Pronouncing Welsh Names

Nota bene: There is no single way to pronounce things in Welsh.  The language has developed along regional lines over hundreds of years, so I make no claim that what appears below is “correct” but rather reflects how I learned it.

BBC Wales has a great little clickable sound board that overviews each letter of the Welsh alphabet.  A good rule of thumb to remember is that in Welsh words, the stress generally falls on the second-to-last syllable.

Here’s how you pronounce the names of the Welsh characters and places in The Wicked and the Just:

Caernarvon – Car-NAR-von (or Care-NAR-von, depending on how you’re able to crunch the vowels in the first syllable)  The modern spelling is Caernarfon, but the English version appears in the book for reasons that will become obvious as you read.
Gwenhwyfar – Gwen-hwih-VAR (or Gwen-hwee-VAR)
Gruffydd – GREEFF-ith
Peredur – Pair-a-DEER
Dafydd – DAV-ith
Marared – Mar-a-RED
Fanwra – Van-OO-ra
Cadwallon
– Cad-wa-HLON (the “ll” is a tricky sound – it doesn’t translate well to the page.  The best way I’ve heard it described is as the “tl” sound in the word “little”, but that’s really not right either.  Here’s someone else saying it.)
Goronwy – Gor-on-WEE
Gwladys – GLAD-iss
Geraint – GAIR-eye-nt
Madog – Ma-DOCK
Llywelyn – Hloo-ELL-en

Dw i ddim yn medru siarad Cymraeg yn dda, ond dw i’n dysgu.