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The Welsh Language & Culture

In a nutshell. What’s in a word? We reveal all.

The Welsh language tells us so many things. Abergele, for example, means the ‘mouth of the River Gele’. ‘Llan’ at the start of a placename denotes a religious settlement (you’ll find plenty of those around). And when you see ‘llyn’ on the map you can be pretty sure that there’s a lake coming up.

But more than that, the language gives an insight into our culture and way of life. You’ll hear Welsh spoken throughout the region, especially in our rural heartlands. It enriches the experience of travel by helping to create a distinctive ‘sense of place’.

That sense – or spirit – of place is strong on the moors of Mynydd Hiraethog, a trackless expanse of heather, tufty grass and forest flanking the Vale of Conwy, where more than three-quarters of its inhabitants speak Welsh. We said that Welsh can tell you many things. In Hiraethog’s case, that’s especially so, for its name means ‘hills of longing’, a reference to the magnetic, haunting qualities of its remote landscapes.

So if you want to find out more about an area, take a look at its name. In the Welsh language placenames can describe features – and even stories or people – associated with the locality.

You’ll be surprised by how much the language can reveal. ‘Coed’, for example, means wood, ‘bryn’ = hill, ‘ty’ = house, ‘newydd’ = new, ‘nant’ = stream and ‘uchaf’ = higher.

You may also be surprised to discover how influential the ancient Brythonic language we all once spoke, and from which Welsh derives, still is. Bet you didn’t know that Dover came from the Welsh word, dwr, for water.

Croeso i Gymru – Welcome to Wales.

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