Place names consist of elements – the words people used to describe a place or their response to their environment.
Place names can consist of a single generic element, usually a noun (Bryn, Talwrn or Dinas), but most place names comprise more than one element with a linguistic relationship between the elements. The generic can be qualified by:
- an adjective (Bryn-coch in Powys, SH7602);
- an element defining the location in relation to a river (Brynaman);
- an archaeological site (Bryn-celli-ddu);
- a building (Bryneglwys in Denbighshire, SJ1447);
- a person (Brynsiencyn in Isle of Anglesey, SH4867); or
- vegetation (Bryncelyn).
Qualifying elements may, occasionally, precede the generic element (Gwynfryn in Wrexham, SJ2552). It is quite common for the definite article y to precede a place-name (Y Bala, Y Waun, Y Trallwng).
Learn more in our brief introduction to the Welsh language with reference to place names.