In standard Welsh, there are different ways of saying “home” depending on the context of the sentence.
The first word cartref, or cartrefi in its plural form, is the generic noun for “home” and is often used in the sense of ‘a home’.
- Roedd tân mewn cartref yn Llanelli. = There was a fire in a home in Llanelli.
- Mae hi’n gweithio mewn cartref gofal. = She works in a care home.
It can also function as an adjective in words such as:
- gwaith cartref (homework)
- bara cartref (home-baked bread)
- bwyd cartref (home cooking)
Note that it will mutate to gartref after feminine nouns as in the case of y Swyddfa Gartref (the Home Office).
Interestingly the mutated form gartref can also function as an adverb when used to express “at home” rather than just “home.”
- Dw i’n gweithio gartref. = I work at home.
- Dw i ddim yn gwybod pwy sy gartref heddiw. = I don’t know who is (at) home today.
The final form, adref, is a directional adverb, meaning that it is used when movement from one place to another is implied. It is often paired with action verbs such as mynd (to go), dod/dwad (to come), gyrru / dreifio (to drive), cerdded (to walk), rhedeg (to run), and so on.
- Pryd wyt ti’n dod adref? = When are you coming home?
- Dw i’n mynd adref rwan. = I’m going home now.
Although there is a pretty clear distinction between gartref and adref in formal Welsh, they tend to mean the same thing in spoken Welsh. In other words, they can be used to express both “at home” and “[in the direction of] home.” As a general rule, the gartref is preferred in the south, whereas the adref is more common in the north.
You’ll also encounter some variation in the pronunciation, with the ‘f‘ at the end of words almost always being dropped.
- cartref —> cytre, catre
- gartref —> gitre, gatre or gytre
- adref —> adre, adra, tua thre (pronounced ‘sha thre’)
Other Words for Home in Welsh
A word that often gets overlooked is acw which can mean “at home” or “at our place” in North Wales.
- Galwch acw am ginio! – Come by / pop round (our place) for lunch!
- Sut mae’r teulu acw? – How’s the family at home?
You can also use the word tŷ (house) in some contexts.
- tŷ haf = holiday home
- Bydda i yn y tŷ. = I will be at home / in the house.
Finally there is the comforting word aelwyd (plural: aelwydydd). It means “hearth” – a word synonymous with home – or “household.”
- Cymraeg yw iaith yr aelwyd. = Welsh is the language of the home.
- Rheolau yr Aelwyd = Rules of the Home (a song by Mynyddog)
To conclude this post, here are three popular Welsh sayings featuring the home. Why not give them a try the next time you use your Welsh!
- Cartref yw cartref, er tloted y bo. = Home is home, however poor it may be.
- Tew yw edrych tuag adref. = It is good to look homewards.
- Does unman yn debyg i gartref. = There’s no place like home.