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While less than 1 in 5 people living in Cardiff classed themselves as Welsh speakers in the last census, there’s a special dialect that thrives in the capital city.
Composed of ‘Wenglish’ words (hybrids of the English and Welsh language), Welshisms (things you only hear inside Wales) and quirky local references, we speak our own language, one that can seem baffling to the uninitiated.
Here we translate 25 of the most commonly overheard words and phrases into plain English. Which of these have you heard in town?
1. “Not gonna lie to you…”
Used before saying anything that expresses an opinion or states something
e.g. “Not gonna lie to you, this queue is long”
2. “To be honest, like…”
Similar to the above, used to precede something that’s an opinion. Came into play waaay before TBH was a thing.
e.g. “to be honest, like, I don’t really want to go out”
3. “Not being funny…”
Again, similar to the above, it’s said before something that could be perceived as opinionated, just to soften the blow
e.g. “Not being funny, your dog’s a bit crazy”
4. “Tha’s lush, that is” / “I loves it”
For when something is really nice (rarely used to compare something to a dewy field of grass)
e.g. “Your dress is lush, it is. I loves it!”
Used to describe something good, something that gets a thumbs up
e.g. “You’ve done a tidy job on that”
An adjective to describe a cheeky, chatty or mouthy person
e.g. “She was so chopsy, she kept answering back!”
An alternative to ‘hello’. It isn’t a question, despite the questioning tone in which it’s said.
e.g. When you bump into a friend when out, you exchange an “alrigh'” just before you walk past each other
8. “Thanks, Drive”
MUST be said under all circumstances when leaving a bus. All bus drivers are called Drive.
e.g. “Ta, Drive”
When someone is really angry
e.g. “I was absolutely tamping when he broke my bag”
10. “Humming” / “buzzing” / “minging”
Something that is disgusting and smelly, should be avoided at all costs
e.g. “Eurgh, this old yoghurt is buzzing!”
11. “Ych a fi!”
Saying "ych a fi" to an English person an expecting them to understand what you mean #WelshProblemsDay
— Lisa Owen (@Lisalicky) May 30, 2015
The equivalent of saying ‘That’s gross’! Pronounced ‘uh-ka-vee’ if your not Welsh. If you are Welsh, the ‘ch’ sounds like that in the word ‘loch’
e.g. “Ych a fi, Sam! Take your shoes off before coming in the house!”
12. “Bad” / “not good”
While hip and street kids may use bad to mean good, in Cardiff we stick to the original meaning, only ‘bad’ means ‘very bad’
e.g. “Oh mate, that bowl haircut is bad”
13. “Where to’s it?”
For asking the location of something, an alternative to ‘where is it?’
e.g. “Where to’s the shop you got that from?”
14. “By there”
Used instead of ‘there’ when giving an indication of where something is
e.g. Person 1: “Have you seen my keys?” Person 2: “Yeah, they’re over by there”
15. “I’ll be there now, in a minute”
Used to buy yourself time and ask someone to wait before doing something or going somewhere. It isn’t an actual measure of time, but it’s around a minute of two, or once you’ve finished what you’re doing.
e.g. Parent: ” Food’s ready” Child: “I’ll be there now, in a minute” (while still colouring in)
16. “In a bit”
Doors for tonight's show open in half an hour. See you in a bit!
— Clwb Ifor Bach (@ClwbIforBach) June 15, 2015
A longer distance between times than ‘in a minute’, usually used to mean later today or some time in the near future.
e.g. “See you in a bit”
17. “What it is is”
Phrase used as a way into explaining something, despite the lack of clarity in the phrase itself
e.g. “What it is is the man said he’d call back later”
18. “Butt” / “Beaut”
A friendly affectionate term for a friend or associate, the former for guys and the latter for girls
e.g. “Alright, beaut?”
I dunno if I need a cwtch, 3 bottles of rosé or a nap
— Welsh Girl Problems (@ProblemauMerch) June 12, 2015
A special, squishy, warm hug that most Welsh people have perfected
e.g. “Come and have a cwtch”
Term used to describe someone pulling a sickie or bunking off work/ school/ a commitment.
e.g. “Tom wasn’t in again yesterday. He’s such a mitcher!”
21. “Dew, dew!”
Used to express shock, surprise or being taken aback (more often said by older generations)
e.g. “Dew, dew! The rain is non-stop!”
22. “Grampu” / “bamps”
Welsh word for grandad and its shortened mutated form
e.g. “I went to visit my bamps last night”
23. “I’ll have half and half”
Asking for a half and half in a chip shop in England and having them stare at you as if you're simple
— Welsh Problems (@WelshProblems) June 12, 2015
For when you can’t decide what carbs you want, go half rice and half chips (obviously)
e.g. “Chicken tikka with half and half, please”
24. “…and a bottle of pop”
Generic term for a fizzy soft drink. Could cover anything from Tango Cherry to Caffeine Free Coca Cola. It’s all pop.
e.g. “One tea and one pop, please”
25. “All the threes”
Reference to Dragon Taxis, the saviours who drive you home after a big night in the ‘Diff.
e.g. “I’ll call all the threes – they’ll be here in ten”
Main image: Cardiff Castle by Jon Candy