I started using SSIW a few weeks ago having been inspired by some friend’s son who goes to his local Cymraeg toddler group and his Mum who is learning at evening class. During previous forays into learning Cymraeg inspired but my own Welsh ancestors I’d found that courses were always labelled as being North or South and this time I went for North as that is where my friend’s are living.
However when I started looking for a Cymraeg picture book for the boy’s first birthday I realised that these don’t mention anything about the dialect used. Is the Cymraeg used in picture books less dialect specific (as I guess is the case in English) or is the difference just very clear to more experienced Cymraeg speakers?
Personally, I find that children’s books tend to be fairly standard with any dialogue usually fairly “standard” Welsh with a northern tinge. There are definite northern leanings in things like Alun yr Arth, but there are some more southern books, particulary things like “Bili Boncyrs”.
Generally, though, you will have more trouble with Welsh books that rhyme (they’ll have to use all sorts of linguistic tricks to get the lines to rhyme and scan) than with different dialects, I suspect, at least going on my experience with Slovak / French children’s books.
There’s a lot of children’s books - your choice is one of them by the look of it - that include the English, either on the same page, or at the end of the book, which will help with your understanding. Again, though, if the Welsh in the book rhymes, and the English rhymes, then they are highly unlikely to be true translations, so be aware of that.
Reading books in a second language is quite challenging (don’t be fooled into thinking that children’s books are simple!) and immensely fun. It might be worth your friend putting some words and sentences into www.IVONA.com (choose the Welsh option, obviously!) to hear them if you’re not sure of pronunciations etc.
BTW, if you haven’t already bought it, you might like to look it up on Gwales - the Welsh books council website. You’ll probably get the same price as on Amazon, you may get cheaper (and/or quicker) delivery, and you can be assured that the Welsh books councli aren’t working any elaborate schemes to avoid paying taxes…
Ivona is great, but you have to avoid one pitfall (obvious once you know, but …) which is to make sure you choose one of the “Welsh Welsh” voices, and not the “Welsh English” (i.e. English spoken in a Welsh accent) - the latter definitely does not work if you input Welsh to it!
I’m sure they don’t, but wouldn’t it be nice if they could “hypothecate” (try saying that without your teeth in…) it to be spent in Wales.
Thank you both for the great advice especially IVONA which I hadn’t come across before. I did purposely go for a book without rhymes. This is based on the wheels on the bus so the different animal noises or actions just repeat rather than rhyming. There is English but only as a crib sheet of all the text on the last page and some text on the covers. To be honest the pictures are good enough that the only animal I couldn’t make out without help was the bush baby. Thanks again
Having thought more about this (in the early hours of the morning naturally!) Does anyone know what a bush baby would say (as in 'what does the dog sweetheart?) in any language?! Also and probably more usefully does anyone know what a Welsh duck ‘says’?
And since I have a tendency to corrupt toddlers of my aquaintence by suggesting this when they are sitting in stony silence while an adult comes out with a whole string of different ‘say such an such sweetie’ sentences… How do I say “Say ‘I’m not a performing monkey’” yn y Gymraeg?