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

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2.6 Welsh names

In the activity below you will practise how to pronounce some common Welsh names.

Activity 7

Try to pronounce the following Welsh first names, and then check your answer against the audio recordings.

1

Rhys

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2

Sioned

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3

Carys

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4

Dafydd

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5

Bedwyr

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6

Rhian

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7

Llinos

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8

Angharad

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9

Lowri

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10

Euros

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11

Non

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12

Iestyn

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13

Meredydd

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14

Rhiannon

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Welsh names

Many of these names date back to the time of the Welsh Princes – Rhys, Gwynfor, Rhodri, Dafydd, Angharad. Others come from the Mabinogion – a series of very old Welsh stories – Llŷr, Rhiannon, Olwen, Branwen, Bedwyr.

A recent trend seems to favour names with the name of a place added, for example Megan Iorwerth Enlli (Bardsey) or Elin Llŷn (Lleyn).

What about surnames? It has become fashionable to use the father’s first name for a surname, such as Aled Ifan or Lowri Dafydd.

You will also hear ‘ap’, which means ‘the son of’, followed by the father’s first name, for example Rhun ap Iorwerth (Rhun the son of Iorwerth) and Dafydd ap Gwyn (Dafydd the son of Gwyn).

You might not know it, but your own surname might have a Welsh origin. The surnames Bowen, Bevan, Powell and Pugh come from the combination of ‘ap’ or ‘ab’ plus the father’s first name. Both ap and ab mean ‘son of’, so Bevan comes from ‘ab’ + ‘Evan’, the son of Evan, Powell from ‘ap’ + ‘Howell’, the son of Howell (Hywel), and Pugh from ‘ap’ + ‘Hugh’, the son of Hugh (Hyw).