The Welsh are generally known for being very friendly and welcoming, although when it comes to doling out compliments, we tend to prefer a level of ‘actions speak louder than words’ and humility.
If you hail from anywhere in Britain, you probably feel at home with banter and playful teasing as a more common way of showing affection than full-on words of love – but on the other hand, there are places where love and affection flow freely, such as in the connection between a grandparent and their grandchild.
If you’re looking to express a compliment or some affection in Welsh, you might find something useful in the following article.
The word for love in Welsh is “cariad”, and if you want to declare your love for someone you say:
Dwi’n dy garu di / Dwi’n caru chdi (the first is more grammatically correct, the second more commonly heard).
If you want to use the formal “chi”, for example expressing love to your grandmother, you can say: dwi’n eich caru chi / dwi’n caru chi.
Welsh has plenty of endearing terms of affection: I have tried to put a few examples together, reaching out to people across Wales to make sure that we don’t miss any.
As is the case in many languages, Welsh terms of affection for lovers are more frequently used with women, rather than men. As time goes on and society progresses, some might also sound a little sexist or derogatory. Nevertheless, here are some terms of affection that are used in various parts of Wales.
Grandparents, in particular, pepper their precious grandchildren with terms of endearment and affection in Welsh.
The following words have been collected from various people around Wales and their memories of what their grandparents called them.
If you want to compliment someone on their looks, here are a Welsh few words you can use. To create a sentence, first decide whether you’re going to use formal or informal Welsh, and then make sure you use the soft ‘treiglo’ (mutation) for the adjective.
Some other Welsh words for complimenting someone include:
If you’re looking to tell somebody that they are sexy or “hot”, you could use “rhywiol / secsi = sexy
*Useful tip: add “iawn” after any adjective to intensify it, for example “Ti’n ddel iawn” (you’re very pretty), or for a slightly cheeky twist, you could use “Ti’n uffernol o ddel” (literally: you’re hell of pretty!).
Do you prefer, instead, to compliment somebody’s personality? Here’s another grammar tip:
Dwi’n meddwl dy fod di’n…. = I think you are…
Remember, the adjective still needs to take a soft mutation.
If you want to take your compliment to the next level, try:
Chdi/chi ydi’r person mwyaf ____ dwi’n nabod! = You’re the most ____ person I know!
If you want to compliment somebody’s intelligence or skill, here are a few useful words that we use:
If you want to focus on a specific skill, you could also say (fill in the blanks with verbs):
For example, if you want to compliment somebody on their cooking, you could say:‘Dach chi’n coginio yn wych! = You cook amazingly!
The Welsh language has a long history of poetry, which means that we are usually quite fond of using similes and metaphors. Comparing somebody to something, using “fel”, can be a sure-fire way of making sure your appreciation is noted.
If you manage to successfully use some of the above ideas, then you might hear something like:
I hope that some of these words and phrases will come in handy for you when speaking to Welsh people, whether you’re looking for something nice to write in a card, to say to a Welsh grandparent, or to try your luck in the local pubs!
In another article, we discuss how Welsh relates to other Celtic languages.Editor's note: You can use our free language tool to make your own vocabulary lists, and record your own phrases.