Other than its rugged coastline, Wales is also known for its Celtic Welsh language and the openness and warm hospitality of its people. The Welsh accent is one of the most-loved accents in the UK.
This melodic, charming accent is challenging to master. What’s even more confusing is the fact there isn’t just one accent. People from different parts of Wales speak different accents. This results in different pronunciations, dialects, and slang.
This guide will provide you with a detailed overview of the Welsh accent so you can determine if it is right for your audiovisual production.
Welsh Accent Vs. British Accent
What does a Welsh accent sound like?
The Welsh accent is described as melodic and sing-song and is easily recognizable to people in the UK. Compared to other British accents, Welsh speakers stretch their vowels and tend to go from high to low pitch.
Listen to the Welsh English Accent from one of our professional voice artists:
When compared to Received Pronunciation accent, the pronunciation of the vowels is quite different. Another major difference is the way the vowel ‘i’ is pronounced. In the Welsh accent, ‘i’ is pronounced as ‘e.’ For example, ‘pit’ is pronounced as ‘pet.’
Another major distinctive factor is that in Welsh, all syllables in a word are pronounced equally. In British English accents, emphasis is placed on the first syllable.
Welsh Accent Pronunciation
As soon as you cross the border into Welsh, you’ll notice the distinct pronunciation and intonation of the Welsh accent. Here are a few interesting points to keep in mind if you’re trying to learn the accent.
Pronunciation of the Syllables
Welsh speakers do not emphasize a single syllable when pronouncing a word. For example, when saying ‘orange’ in Received Pronunciation, the second syllable is shorter. In Welsh, the syllables are not emphasized, so they will be pronounced equally.
Pronunciation of the Vowels
What makes the Welsh accent so different from standard English is how the vowels are stretched when pronounced. Most notably is the way ‘i’ is pronounced, as discussed above. For example, ‘bit’ sounds like ‘bet’ and ‘hit’ sounds like ‘het.’
There are several words that are specific to the Welsh accent and many words have made their way from Celtic Welsh language into the Welsh accent. Here are a few unique words you should know about:
- Bamps– grandfather
- Daps– trainers
- Buzzing– excited
- Lush– lovely
- Tidy– great
How to Do a Welsh Accent
If you are interested in speaking with a Welsh accent, it is important to know that it may take a lot of time and practice. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you get started:
- Elongate the vowels without overdoing them. For example, the word ‘plane’ should be pronounced as ‘pla-ane’ while ‘going’ should be pronounced as ‘go-o-en.’
- Isolate specific sounds by stretching out the vowels and emphasizing them. This is what gives the accent a melodic sound.
- Don’t forget the tapped ‘r’ sound. While this is similar to the rolling ‘r’ sound, it is more like a quick tap to give it a short roll instead of making the sound longer.
- Watch native Welsh speakers to see how their mouths move. Watch their lips to learn how to form your pronunciations easily and more accurately.
- There is no substitute for practice. You use the accent more frequently to feel comfortable using it. This will also make it easier for you to grasp how to pronounce a particular word. You can also comfortably slip in and out of the Welsh accent with enough practice.
Famous Welsh Speakers
There are plenty of excellent Welsh accent examples among celebrities.
Perhaps two of the most famous celebrities with a noticeable Welsh accent are Rob Brydon, a hilarious comedian, and actor Michael Sheen. Both of these are good examples of how melodic and rhythmic this accent can be.
Other than these, newsreader Huw Edwards and singer Charlotte Church are good examples. A surprisingly good example of the Welsh accent is Fireman Sam from the animated children’s show by the same name.
If you are planning to use the Welsh accent for a voice-over project, it is important to work with experienced Welsh voice actors.
This is a challenging accent that requires a deep understanding of the nuances of intonation and pronunciation to sound authentic and realistic. Fortunately, GoLocalise can help.
Our language directors, sound engineers, and project managers can ensure that the quality of your project is top-notch.
Get in touch with us today for authentic Welsh voice-over services!