Living in Wales – Wenglish (i.e. the English used in Wales)

This post will deal with some of the potential language problems faced by newcomers to Wales.




That is how two friends will greet each other in Wales. It is not, as you might expect, a question asking after someone’s health (e.g. are you alright? Or alright?). It is simply meant as hello, and any attempt to answer it (e.g. I’m fine thanks) will be met with confusion.



Another difficulty encountered by outsides is the Welsh concept of time. If someone says they will do something ‘later’, then they will do it later. If they say they will do it ‘after’(after what you might ask), they will do it later. If they say they will do it ‘now’ they will do it later. If they have said they will do it ‘now’ and you ask why they are not, in fact, doing it now, they will become quite irate and reply loudly that they will do it ‘NOW’, meaning later.

Sometimes, these words can be combined, and someone will tell you they will do something ‘now after’. By this, they mean later. An Indonesian equivalent of this might be ‘nanti dulu’, which is even stranger (‘later before?’). Another example is ‘now in a minute’, which is slightly more specific. This means soon, rather than later, but almost certainly not in a minute.

All this may appear confusing at first, but it is actually quite simple – everything happens later. Apart from going to the pub, that happens now.



It is said that the Innuit have 50 different words for snow. That’s nothing, there are at least double that for referring to rain in Wales. Here are some of them:

Picking to rain

Tiny single raindrops that may eventually turn into drizzle

E.g. 'Don't be daft, I'm not putting a jacket on, it's only picking to rain'

(daft - Wenglish for silly)


Tamping down

Very heavy rain

E.g. ‘I’m not going out in that, it’s tamping down!’


Raining old ladies and sticks

This one is a direct translation from the Welsh (Bwrw hen wragedd a ffyn); the English equivalent would be 'raining cats and dogs'.