"Well, there is only one piece of advice I can give you," said the wisest of wise men. "The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon."



('The Alchemist' Paulo Coelho)




Friday, July 20, 2012

Cymraeg again

On Wednesday, I was very brave. I went to a welsh conversation group at the local hostelry. One of the tutors runs it every Wednesday evening through the school holidays, so, as my tutor was going, I decided to go too. As it happened, I was the only 'first year' there. The others were fourth or sixth year, so well ahead of me, albeit very friendly and encouraging.
However, I did find myself doing my 'rabbit in the headlights' act quite a lot. This is because, whenever someone said something to me I had to:
  1. mentally translate what they had said
  2. decide what my answer would be
  3. translate said answer into welsh (vocabulary knowledge permitting)
  4. check that I had any mutations right
  5. if a 'yes' was needed, decide which  was the appropriate one. (welsh has quite a few).

On the plus side, listening to the general conversation, I did manage to understand/guess most of what was being said, so not all bad.
And I have agreed to go again next week.
Ever the glutton for punishment!

6 comments:

  1. Just how many words do the Welsh have for yes? I've mostly encountered 'no' as in 'can I get a drink on Sunday?' or 'can me and my girlfriend have a double room?' although this was some years ago.

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    Replies
    1. Quite a lot and I haven't met all of them yet, but for every 'yes' there is an accompanying 'no' And some change according to the subject of the sentence! :)

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  2. Sounds like when I began to learn 'real' French, 40 years ago.

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  3. I found Latin based vocabulary relatively straightforward to accumulate, learning to structure it into speaking terms was a little more complex. There is more than one way of saying yes and no in these tongues. Other languages may be more of a challenge, including the Celtic ones, especially when you have to use a mutation of a perfectly good English language word to suit something modern that does not have a Celtic equivalent.

    The Gaelic tongue uses English words where none other exists, (from what I have heard on TV programmes) with an accent, an accent that would exist anyway. Copying it would be interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I think knowledge of Latin is a really good foundation for learning other 'romance' languages and, initially, that was a bit of a problem with welsh. Aside from a few words which have a French influence, there wasn't really anything to 'hang' this new vocabulary on. I am pleasantly surprised that I am learning and assimilating the vocabulary pretty easily. The 'borrowing' of english words is more widespread in the south than the north I think and I don't think it happens to the same extent with gaelic and gallic, although I could be wrong there.

    ReplyDelete

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