Welsh English

Welsh English
Native toUnited Kingdom
RegionWales
Native speakers
2.5 million[citation needed]
Latin (English alphabet)
Language codes
ISO 639-3
GlottologNone
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Welsh English (Welsh: Saesneg Gymraeg) comprises the dialects of English spoken by Welsh people. The dialects are significantly influenced by Welsh grammar and often include words derived from Welsh. In addition to the distinctive words and grammar, a variety of accents are found across Wales, including those of North Wales, the Cardiff dialect, the South Wales Valleys and West Wales.

Accents and dialects in the west of Wales have been more heavily influenced by the Welsh language while dialects in the east have been influenced more by dialects in England.[1] In the east and south east, it has been influenced by West Country and West Midland dialects[2] while in north east Wales and parts of the North Wales coast, it has been influenced by Merseyside English.

A colloquial portmanteau word for Welsh English is Wenglish. It has been in use since 1985.[3]

Pronunciation

Vowels

Short monophthongs

Long monophthongs

Monophthongs of Welsh English as they are pronounced in Abercrave, from Coupland & Thomas (1990:135–136).
Monophthongs of Welsh English as they are pronounced in Cardiff, from Coupland & Thomas (1990:93–95). Depending on the speaker, the long /ɛː/ may be of the same height as the short /ɛ/.[8]
Diphthongs of Welsh English as they are pronounced in Abercrave, from Coupland & Thomas (1990:135–136)
Diphthongs of Welsh English as they are pronounced in Cardiff, from Coupland & Thomas (1990:97)

Diphthongs

  • Fronting diphthongs tend to resemble Received Pronunciation, apart from the vowel of bite that has a more centralised onset [æ̈ɪ][11]
  • Backing diphthongs are more varied:[11]
    • The vowel of low in RP, other than being rendered as a monophthong, like described above, is often pronounced as [oʊ̝]
    • The word town is pronounced with a near-open central onset [ɐʊ̝]
    • Welsh English is one of few dialects where the Late Middle English diphthong /ɪu/ never /juː/. Thus you /juː/, yew /jɪʊ̯/, and ewe /ɪʊ̯/ are not homophones in Welsh English.

Consonants

  • A strong tendency (shared with Scottish English, Northern English and some South African accents) towards using an alveolar tap [ɾ] (a 'tapped r') in place of an approximant [ɹ] (the r used in most accents in England) is present[12] while some accents influenced by Welsh may use an alveolar trill [r][13]
  • Most Welsh accents are non-rhotic, however variable rhoticity can be found in accents influenced by Welsh while some speakers in Port Talbot may supplant the front vowel of bird with /ɚ/, like in many varieties of North American English[14]
  • Some gemination between vowels is often encountered, e.g. money is pronounced [ˈmɜn.niː][15]
  • As Welsh lacks the letter Z and the voiced alveolar fricative /z/, some first-language Welsh speakers replace it with the voiceless alveolar fricative /s/ for words like cheese and thousand, while pens (/pɛnz/) and pence merge into /pɛns/, especially in north-west, west and south-west Wales.[15][16]
  • In northern varieties influenced by Welsh, chin (/tʃɪn/) and gin may also merge into /dʒɪn/[15]
  • In the north-east, under influence of such accents as Scouse, ng-coalescence does not take place, so sing is pronounced /sɪŋɡ/[17]
  • Also in northern accents, /l/ is frequently strongly velarised [ɫː]. In much of the south-east, clear and dark L alternate much like they do in RP[14]
  • The consonants are generally the same as RP but Welsh consonants like [ɬ] and [x] (phonetically [χ]) are encountered in loan words such as Llangefni and Harlech[15]