Sut mae, lovers!
What’s the first thing people who don’t speak Welsh ask you when they hear that you speak / learn Welsh?
One of the first things they always ask me is, “Can you say something in Welsh?” So I say, “What do you want me to say?” And the answer is, more often than not, “What is I LOVE YOU in Welsh?”.
Which is a sensible thing to ask.
“I love you” is a very useful phrase for comparing different languages. Almost as useful as the Lord’s Prayer really, but with one definite advantage: It’s so much shorter.
So what is “I love you” in Welsh?
The official, basic, one-size-fits-all version is: Rwy’n dy garu di.
If you prefer it more on the northern side, use a slight variation: Dw i’n dy garu di.
Note that “to love” is caru which is changed to garu because of the soft mutation after dy.
There is an oral short version of this, which is simply: Caru ti. Or: Caru chdi in the north.
Love matters in Welsh
The Welsh word for “love” is cariad (in literary texts you will come across another word: serch). Cariad is also the word for “boyfriend” or “girlfriend”.
Here are some useful expressions with cariad:
Oes cariad ‘da ti? (south) / Oes gen ti gariad? (north)- Do you have a boyfriend / a girlfriend?
syrthio mewn cariad – to fall in love
bod mewn cariad â rhywun – to be in love with someone
cariad ar yr olwg gyntaf – love at first sight
Note that in Welsh you are not “head over heels” in love but “head over ears”:
Mae hi dros ei phen a’i chlustiau mewn cariad. -She is head over “heels” (ears) in love.
So you’re all set now for the Welsh Valentine’s Day, Dydd Santes Dwynwen, coming up soon on January 25.
Gyda llawer o gariad,
PS: And as always, feel free to share and like (or even LOVE!) this post and to follow YmlaenWelsh. Diolch!
I’m Susanne and I teach Welsh (oh, and English!) in Wolfenbüttel, Germany.