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The Rhondda Valleys

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Rhondda Valleys Information and History

Rhondda Speak.

The people of the South Wales valleys use words that are not really heard elsewhere. They are words that are often the result of the transition from Welsh to English in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and are still in very common use to this day.

Many Rhondda born and bred people have trouble with their h’s for example, and the word house might sound like you were saying ouse. For this reason, and our strong Welsh accents, we are often portrayed as if we were of low intelligence. We have all heard the comedian, who loves nothing more than to put on an exaggerated welsh accent and come out with something like “Who’s coat is that jacket”? Small mindedness must surely be one criteria for judging lack of intelligence?

I will try and build up the number of valleys words as time and memory permit. If you can suggest any more I would be pleased to consider adding them to the list.

Cwtch - This is a very special word in valleys speak, and has several meanings. One of the most endearing words a child could hear, and meaning a cuddle. A cwtch from Mum or Dad would be a loving hug and cuddle. A sweetheart might ask longingly for a cwtch. A cwtch would also refer to the space under the stairs, as in “The brush is in the cwtch”. There was also the ‘coal cwtch’, which was the shed you kept the coal in.

 

Twmp - a protrusion of land higher than that surrounding it, regardless of size.

Banking - a piece of land that stands out from the rest, between two rows of terraced houses built on an incline, as many Rhondda houses are.

Twp - a normally derogative reference to or about a person, intimating that they were stupid. It means the same in welsh.

How be? – Self explanatory words of greeting. In my opinion, it derives from the welsh greeting ‘sut mae’, meaning pretty much the same thing.

Dewdew – An exclamation of surprise, for example after being told a remarkable story. ‘Duw’ in welsh is God. It is therefore similar to someone saying “Good God”.

Neeever – One of the most commonly heard words to show one’s total surprise at what one is being told.

Uchafee – An expression to say you found the subject or action dirty, or to warn a child that something is dirty to touch. From the welsh words Ach i fi meaning nasty to me.

Black Pat - A Cockroach.

Butty - Friend or mate. It is also used in another way, whereby someone looking for a pair of socks e.g., who could find only one, might ask if anyone had seen the 'butty' to the sock he had found, i.e. the partner to it.

Buthere - usually preceded by Up, Down, In, Out or Over. Our way of saying 'By there'.

Buyere/Buyyu - normally answered in response to the question "where are you"? or "where is it"? it is the reply that means I am here or it is here.

Goyin - indicating that you were about to depart as is “I’m goyin ome” or enquiring as to where your friend was off as in “where you goyin then”.

Cumbuyu - "Come by here".

Mun - Preceded by many words e.g. when asked how you are you might reply Awright mun - meaning Allright Man.



If you have any old Rhondda family photos or pictures of the towns and villages please scan them in at least 1280 pixels width and email them here.

 

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