If you’re visiting Wales but aren’t sure how to greet people, you’ve come to the right place! Here we cover five different ways of saying “hello” in Welsh, some of which will sound quite familiar to English ears! Pob lwc! 🙂
A safe way of greeting people in Welsh is to use the very same word that is used in English: helô (or hylô depending on how you prefer to spell it). It can be used in both formal and informal contexts.
Helô Carys, sut dach chi heddiw? – Go lew, diolch.
Hello Carys, how are you today? – Not bad, thanks.
Haia is a very informal greeting that can be heard all over Wales. It is identical to the English hiya.
Haia del, popeth yn iawn?
Hiya lovely, is everything okay?
3. Shwmae / Su’mae
Shwmae (southern) and su’mae (northern) are two basic textbook greetings you’ll encounter as soon as you start studying Welsh. The literal translation is “how are (things)” but they are often used in the place of or alongside helô to greet someone.
Shwmae, sut dach chi bore ‘ma?
Hello, how are you this morning?
4. (Wyt) ti’n iawn?
Sometimes Welsh people will skip saying hello altogether and jump right into asking how you are. The expression you’ll hear most often is Wyt ti’n iawn? (informal) or Dach chi’n iawn? (formal). In the case of the informal version, this is usually shortened to Ti’n iawn? or just Iawn?
Ti’n iawn, Dylan? – Iawn, diolch!
How are you, Dylan? – Fine, thanks!
5. Bore da / Prynhawn da / Noswaith dda
As in English, there are different greetings you can use depending on the time of day. Bore da (good morning) in particular is used a lot as a substitute for helô in the mornings, especially in formal settings such as schools, businesses or restaurants. Prynhawn da (good afternoon) is often shortened to p’nawn da in speech. Noswaith dda means good evening.
Bore da, Mr. Roberts. Oeddech chi eisiau fy ngweld i?
Good morning, Mr. Roberts. Did you want to see me?
How to say “Hello, my name is…” in Welsh
If you want to introduce yourself in Welsh after saying hello, you can add on the following expressions:
Fy enw i ydy Dewi. / Fy enw i yw Dewi.
My name is Dewi.
This is the most complete way of saying “My name is ____” in Welsh. Notice how the noun enw (name) is flanked by fy and i on either side. Broadly speaking, ydy (or ydi) is used more in the north while yw is preferred in the south.
Enw fi ydy Dewi. / Enw fi yw Dewi.
My name is Dewi.
This is the abbreviated, more informal form of the sentence above. The word enw is followed by fi. Children often prefer this form but you will hear adults using it as well.
Dewi ydw i. / Dewi dw i.
I am Dewi.
This is the way you’ll be taught to introduce yourself on most formal Welsh courses. Ydw i is simply the more formal version of dw i.