what3words launches in Welsh. 16 facts about Welsh language



The what3words addressing app is now available in Welsh. Cymraeg, or Welsh, has been added to support Welsh businesses, thousands of Welsh-speaking people, and the Welsh Emergency Services who use the app on a daily basis. 

A global addressing system that has divided the entire world into 57 trillion 3m squares, what3words allows anyone to find, share and navigate to an addresses using the free what3words app or online map at what3words.com. For example, the public car park at the National Trust Powys Castle and Garden can be found at ///limits.pads.rust or ///amgen.fflwcs.darluniodd in Welsh.  

Some Welsh words include unique welsh characters such as ŵ and ll and place names can look unfamiliar or difficult to pronounce for foreign visitors. The entrance to the train station at Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll, for example, is at ///nuptuals.convinced.feed or ///trochfa.anfon.plygiant in Welsh. 

what3words addresses are assigned by an algorithm that places simpler and more commonly-used words in each language in the more populated areas where the language is spoken. Because Welsh is also spoken by a small community in a couple of villages in Argentina, after emigration there in the 19th century from Wales, a lot of simple Welsh words can also be found in this region.

what3words enlisted the support of 45 Welsh language consultants, including the Welsh Language Digital Media Specialist at the Welsh Government, National Library of Wales and the Language Technologies Unit at Bangor University, in order to create what3words addresses in Welsh for the entire world. 

Says Jamie Brown, Head of Language Development & Localisation at what3words: 

“We hugely enjoyed working on Welsh – one of the oldest languages still spoken in Europe, but for which modernisation has been a key part of survival. Our large team of native speakers come from a community that’s passionate about the language, its rich and varied vocabulary, and its use in technology. They showed us how to pronounce ‘ŵ’ (our first language including this letter) and ‘ll’, why we shouldn’t use mutated words, and explained the concept of our new favourite word ‘hiraeth’. Distinctively melodic, yet concise and practical, Welsh lends itself perfectly to what3words.” 

To find the what3words address of your favourite location in Wales, visit Addressing the world. For a full list of Emergency Services that accept what3words addresses in the UK, visit: https://what3words.com/news/emergency/uk-emergency-services-rollout-what3words-in-control-rooms-to-save-resources-time-and-lives/ 


16 charming and unique facts about the Welsh language, as discovered by what3words

  1. In Welsh, the way you would say Cheers! is iechyd da! It may sound a bit like yaki da to English ears, but the ch sound should be pronounced like the Scottish ch in the word loch.


  1. Jones, a patronymic surname especially common in Wales, is from ancient Welsh-Celtic origins meaning “John’s son”


  1. Welsh is also spoken by a small community of several thousand people in a couple of villages in Argentina, after emigration there in the 19th century from Wales


  1. Welsh is the only official language within the UK (it’s only official in Wales, but there’s no law anywhere that actually lays out an official status for English)


  1. There is no standardised or definitive form of the Welsh language, with significant differences across five dialects, including the one that’s spoken in Argentina!:

    • Y Wyndodeg, the language of Gwynedd

    • Y Bowyseg, the language of Powys

    • Y Ddyfedeg, the language of Dyfed

    • Y Wenhwyseg, the language of Gwent and Morgannwg

    • Y Wladfa, Patagonian Welsh


  1. The Welsh term for the language, Cymraeg, descends from the word combrogi, meaning “compatriots” or “fellow countrymen”


  1. Idris is a Welsh and Arabic masculine name. The two names are spelt identically but are unrelated. In Welsh, it translates to “Ardent lord”, from udd (lord, prince) + ris (ardent, enthusiastic, impulsive) and is the name of the Giants Chair mountain Cadair Idris (Idris’ Chair) in Gwynedd. 


  1. Welsh is written in a Latin alphabet of 29 letters, of which eight are digraphs: ch, dd, ff, ng, ll, ph, rh and th. “w” and “y” are also considered as vowels in Welsh. 


  1. Welsh was one of 55 languages chosen by NASA and used on their 1977 Voyager Program. The Voyager Golden Record included the Welsh greeting “Iechyd da i chwi yn awr ac yn oesoedd” (“Good health to you now and forever”). 


  1. “Cwtsh” meaning cuddle is a favourite word of many Welsh speakers, but couldn’t be included on the what3words map because of spelling variation (cwtch, cwts)


  1. The Welsh-sounding town of Llewelyn near Bangor in Saskatchewan province, Canada, was founded by the Canadian government to re-home families who had emigrated from Patagonia after their homes were destroyed by floods in 1902.


  1. With many Welsh speakers remaining in parts of Canada, the country still celebrates St David’s Day and hosts several traditional Welsh festivals including Gymanfa Ganu (a Welsh festival of sacred hymns) and Eisteddfodau (a festival of Welsh literature, music and performance dating back to the 12th Century). 


  1. “Hiraeth”, which had no direct translation in English but roughly means homesickness, is another favourite Welsh word, has made it onto the map! Yay! 


  1. The longest place name in Europe, the village of llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch on Anglesey, is now a lot easier to talk about! 


  1. “cymreigio” means to translate into Welsh, and is on the map.


  1. ŵ is a character on the Welsh map, which doesn’t occur in any other language (at least none others that we’ve got to yet!). According to one of our Welsh team, legend has it that this character is so rare, printer manufacturers in the 90s used it as a code to tell the printer to create a new document – meaning trying to print any length of text in Welsh would result in chaos!

Chris Price
For latest tech stories go to TechDigest.tv