The speaker provides local vocabulary relating to the house and home.
W.P-J. (b. 1910; male; farm labourer)
C1314/01/07 © Survey of Anglo-Welsh Dialects


Transcript for Botwnnog

Rob: You see on the door there?

Mr W. P-J: Yes.

Rob: What do you call the uprights at the side?

Mr W. P-J: The posts.

Rob: Just the posts?

Mr W. P-J: Yes.

Rob: OK.

Mr W. P-J: Or the frame of the door.

Rob: Right.

Mr W. P-J: Ffrâm1 in Welsh, ffrâm drws2, frame of the door.

Rob: OK then.

Mr W. P-J: Yeah.

Rob: So, what do you call the things on which the door turns – down there and up there – what are they called?

Mr W. P-J: Oh, hinges.

Rob: Hinges?

Mr W. P-J: Yeah.

Rob: OK.

Mr W. P-J: And there’s the English and the Welsh word just the same there.

Rob: Same

Mr W. P-J: They call them hinges, and a hinge, isn’t it.

Rob: Yes, That’s it. What would you have called the old-fashioned W.C.?

Mr W. P-J: Well, uh, there are many words for that.

Rob: Uhuh.

Mr W. P-J: Yes. In Welsh or English?

Rob: In both.

Mr W. P-J: Uh, closet and, uh, some call it tŷ bach3.

Rob: Yes.

Mr W. P-J: There’s another word, an old word – petty.

Rob: Petty?

Mr W. P-J: Yes.

Rob: Yeah.

Mr W. P-J: That’s an old word.

Rob: Yeah.

Mr W. P-J: Yes.

Rob: Is that English or Welsh?

Mr W. P-J: Oh, Welsh, I suppose, perhaps it’s both, isn’t it, I don’t know – petty.

Rob: Yeah.

Mr W. P-J: Yes.

Rob: Yeah. What would you use yourself? The old-fashioned type of thing.

Mr W. P-J: Oh, oh closet, I suppose.

Rob: Closet?

Mr W. P-J: Yes.

Rob: And all those things are outside

Mr W. P-J: Yeah, well, y

Rob: in the garden, or down, down the path?

Mr W. P-J: Yes, yes in the old times, isn’t it. Often they’re, uh, in and outside today, aren’t they?

Rob: Uhuh.

Mr W. P-J: Yes.

Rob: And what would you call, again this is in times gone by really, the place outside where you’d put your cinders and other stuff that you throw away?

Mr W. P-J: Well, uh, on a farm you put them in the, in, in, in the muck heap, isn’t it, you know. Tomen4, tomen, in Welsh, tomen.

Rob: What about someone who doesn’t live on a farm where would they have put them?

Mr W. P-J: Well, uh, I don’t, don’t know which, which word would you use there? Rubbish dump I should say.

Rob: Rubbish dump?

Mr W. P-J: Yeah.

Rob: And, I want an ordinary word here, the general word for the worthless stuff you throw away.

Mr W. P-J: Oh, oh I see now, uhm, for the rubbish.

Rob: Rubbish you’d use?

Mr W. P-J: Yes.

Rob: And that’s all?

Mr W. P-J: That’s all, yes, uh, I don’t, I don’t know for a Welsh word you call it rubbish. I know we don’t speak everything in Welsh. Rubbish and uh, uh.

Rob: Well, it is

Mr W. P-J: Or, or, or, c, in Welsh, carthion5.

Rob: Carthion?

Mr W. P-J: Yes.

Rob: Yes. OK.

Rob: Now these days, where, what do you call the place where you keep your coal?

Mr W. P-J: Uh, there are different words – bunker, coal house

Rob: Yes, yes

Mr W. P-J: cwt glo6 and

Rob: What about in the old days?

Mr W. P-J: Cwt glo, cwt glo.

Rob: And where would that be then?

Mr W. P-J: Oh, the, uh, oh, oh by the house, a, a small, small hut by the house, you know, a sink most likely, just by the house that we’d got a bit, or in the cegin7. Some called it cegin.

Rob: Yes, yes, in the kitchen.

Mr W. P-J: Kitchen outside of course. Cegin allan8, of course, not the kitchen of the house, cegin allan, you know, outside kitchen.

Rob: Outside, yes. Now could, could you explain the difference between

Mr W. P-J: The kitchens?

Rob: the two kitchens.

Mr W. P-J: Yes, uh, the, uh, the, one kitchen is in the house where you do your, your cooking and the other is, uh, outside and then, uh, you keep, uh, a bucket to, the brushes and the coal and things like that, the, uh, outside kitchen.

Rob: Uhuh, uhuh. Does, do most houses in this area have

Mr W. P-J: Uh, they used to be but they’re all gone, aren’t they.

Rob: Yeah.

Mr W. P-J: And now they’ve got the bunkers and the, coal bunkers and everything like that.

Rob: What about today? What would you mean by if you used the word kitchen today what’d, what would that mean?

Mr W. P-J: What would kitchen mean?

Rob: Yes.

Mr W. P-J: Cegin.

Rob: Yes.

Rob: And what would the kitchen today be used for?

Mr W. P-J: Oh, uh, for just, uh, well, kitchen today, for, for the, for the cooking and the, and some are eating there, aren’t they.

Rob: Yeah. And in, in the old days would you eat in, in the kitchen?

Mr W. P-J: Oh yes, yes in the inside kitchen.

Rob: But not the outside?

Mr W. P-J: No, not the outside ki, in the outside.

Rob: OK.

Mr W. P-J: To keep the things that they don’t want to put, to keep in the house, but they also used them in the house, most of them, the brushes and the things like that you know.

Rob: Ahem.

Mr W. P-J: Yes.

Rob: Now, could you describe for me the inside of an old-fashioned type house? What each room would be called.

Mr W. P-J: Yeah, oh yes, the cegin, well and, uh, they had the fire there and the oven and, uh, the tables and you hadn’t got the sink or anything there, nothing there in that time, isn’t it,

Rob: Yes, yes.

Mr W. P-J: in the old time.

Rob: So, there’d be the kitchen.

Mr W. P-J: Yes.

Rob: What would, what would you call the other rooms in the, in the house?

Mr W. P-J: Oh, well the parlwr9.

Rob: Yes.

Mr W. P-J: Parlour.

Rob: Yes.

Mr W. P-J: And the, the house where I was born there wasn’t only, only the kitchen. There was no parlour there.

Rob: Yes, that’s the best room is it?

Mr W. P-J: Yes.

Rob: Yes.

Mr W. P-J: Yes. We used to live and the cooking, everything in this room. There wasn’t only one and there was a bedroom downstairs and the one up under a loft they call it – and they used to go there with a, with a ladder, you know

Rob: Uhuh

Mr W. P-J: to, it was very near the, the roof, wasn’t it?

Rob: Yeah.

Mr W. P-J: And you couldn’t only stand in the middle of it or else you’d hit your head. If you moved to the sides, isn’t it.


1 ffrâm is Welsh, for ‘door’.
2 ffrâm drws is Welsh for ‘doorframe’.
3 tŷ bach is Welsh for ‘W.C.’ or ‘toilet’.
4 tomen is Welsh for ‘heap’ or ‘pile’.
5 carthion is Welsh for ‘sewage’.
6 cwt glo is Welsh for ‘coal house/hut’.
7 cegin is Welsh for ‘kitchen’.
8 cegin allan is Welsh for ‘outside kitchen’.
9 parlwr is Welsh for ‘parlour’.

Commentary for Botwnnog

Linguistic Fieldwork

This extract gives us a fascinating glimpse of the methodology employed in dialect surveys, such as the Survey of Anglo-Welsh Dialects. The fieldworker uses a series of questions to elicit specific vocabulary, carefully avoiding influencing the informant’s choice of word or pronunciation. This part of the interview focuses on vocabulary describing the home and the fieldworker skilfully prompts the informant to expand on exactly how he uses certain words and to explain the relationship between Welsh words and their English equivalents.


Mr P.-J. is typical of speakers in bilingual communities in that he uses Welsh and English words interchangeably to the point where the difference frequently becomes blurred. In this passage he switches naturally between using cegin and kitchen or parlwr and parlour, for instance, and admits to being unsure whether the word petty is Welsh or English. In fact petty has been used in regional speech in a number of parts of the UK to refer to an outside toilet and is actually probably derived from the French word petit ('the little room'). It is, however, clearly present both in the Welsh and the English spoken in Gwynedd.

Welsh influence

There are other aspects of Mr P-J's speech that are characteristic of bilingual Welsh/English speakers in this part of Wales. Above all his accent shows a number of signs of phonological interference – the use of pronunciation features from his mother tongue, Welsh, in his other language, English. Listen, for instance, to the very distinctive <r> sound he uses in the following words: frame, perhaps, rubbish, different, bunker, brushes, they’re all gone, everything, room, bedroom, very and roof. While most speakers in England produce an <r> sound by raising the tongue towards the roof of the mouth with the sides curled upwards, he uses a uvular 'r' – a sound produced at the back of the throat. This is not unlike the <r> sound we associate with French and some German accents and is the usual pronunciation of <r> in the Welsh spoken in North Wales. We can clearly hear this articulation when he uses Welsh words featuring an <r> sound, such as ffrâm drws ('doorframe') and parlwr ('parlour').