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Discovering Wales and Welsh: first steps
Discovering Wales and Welsh: first steps

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2.5 The Welsh alphabet

There are 29 letters in the Welsh alphabet. This is the order that they will appear in a Welsh dictionary:

  • a, b, c, ch, d, dd, e, f, ff, g, ng, h, i, j, l, ll, m, n, o, p, ph, r, rh, s, t, th, u, w, y

As you can see, the following letter combinations count as single letters:

  • ch, dd, ff, ng, ll, ph, rh, th

Here are some notes on how to pronounce some of the sounds of Welsh:

  • ch pronounced like the ‘ch’ in the German composer’s name, Bach, and the Scottish word loch.

    dd pronounced like the ‘th’ in ‘the’ and ‘this’.

    th pronounced like the ‘th’ in ‘thin’ or ‘thick’.

    ff pronounced like the ‘f’ in ‘friend’ or ‘foe’.

    f pronounced like the ‘v’ in ‘of’.

    ng pronounced like the ‘ng’ in ‘sing’.

    ll pronounced by placing your tongue into the top of your mouth, with the tip of your tongue almost touching or just touching your top middle teeth, and then blowing out gently.

    ph pronounced like an ‘f’, or like the ‘ph’ in ‘phrase’ and ‘phobia’.

    rh pronounced as if the ‘h’ and the ‘r’ were reversed – ‘hr’.

    u pronounced like the ‘e’ in ‘me’ and ‘she’.

    w pronounced like the ‘oo’ in ‘mood’ and ‘food’.

    y pronounced in three different ways, depending on where it is in the word. You have heard it pronounced like the ‘e’ in ‘the’.

    s+i pronounced like the ‘sh’ in ‘shop’.