Englishman goes into a pub in Wales

In @Nicky’s hangout this week, we happened to discuss the Dim Byd sketch about the old chestnut of how everyone starts speaking Welsh when an Englishman enters the pub. Serendipity, then, that I’ve just come across this in the Daily Post (N.Wales newspaper) - https://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/customer-complains-locals-speaking-welsh-14813370


I’m always suspicious when this old chestnut comes up in Welsh sources (though I’ve certainly heard it trotted out plenty here in England!). The Trip Advisor ‘review’ (now conveniently deleted, I notice!) was, if it existed, almost certainly either a wind-up or a feed-line, rather than a serious complaint…it is surely SO ridiculous that it is frankly too good to be true, and I suspect was posted simply to provide the feed for the devastating response.

Don’t you think? :wink:


yes, inclined to agree with you there Gareth :relaxed:

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… hence getting the name of the pub in the paper as headline news. What better way for some free advertising?


There is also that story of a woman on a bus in Wales, who looks as though she might well be an immigrant. She sounds as though she is speaking some “exotic” foreign language.

A very rude person says to her something like: “hey, we speak English round here”.

Someone leans over and says “actually, she was speaking in Welsh”.

(Sorry, if I have missed some critical part of the story; but if you’ve read it before, you will know the one I mean).

First time I read it, I thought, gosh what a great story, and what a great put down.

But then quite some time later, I read it again, as though it was supposed to be a recent event, and I got suspicious. Now I’m wondering if it was completely made up - like a sort of parable - possibly with good intentions, but passed off as a true story.


Yes @mikeellwood - I was thinking of that very example myself as I was responding to the pub one.

It was certainly posted somewhere as a specific incident that the poster had witnessed earlier that day on the bus - he even (foolishly) specified the number and time of the bus. And then - oh dear - someone else joined the discussion who had actually been on that bus, and reported that no such incident had occurred.

These ‘anecdotes’ and ‘stories’ usually have a political agenda, and are not to be trusted, in my view.

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Yes, these stories are apocryphal and international. The same stories turn up in many language versions.

My own experience is walking into the Post Office at Llangollen or somewhere near there and everyone stopped speaking Welsh as soon as I spoke English.


Ha ha. In my experience, it’s the other way around: me trying to open a conversation in Welsh and the answers all coming back in English. I know that it’s just politeness, and also a difficulty with accents and pronunciation (mine is very mixed, even in English) and also the background noise. In my case, usually on a roadworks site that could be anywhere in Wales or beyond.

Just to mention true stories from when I was in Harrogate of people not understanding Yorkshire English and me and friend in trouble for pronouncing ‘Leven’ like seven rather than ‘Leeven’! Lad who worked with us got very miffed if folk on holiday didn’t understand him! Mind, I often didn’t understand him!

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Ok, I had to search that one out, as I would have thought “Levven” as well, until I put “Loch” or “Inver” in front of it. So, its Lìobhann, from Pictish for flood? Llif in Welsh :slight_smile:

Was it the one with the niqab wearing lady on the rail replacement bus between Newport and Cwmbran?

(The newstateman have a write up where they reckon it probably wasn’t true, but hope it was…

I remember the story when it first came up, and Network Rail said that there wasn’t a replacement bus service at the time. But, for those of us romantics who hope it’s true

  • There may be only 1000 or so niqab wearers in the UK (according that NS article), but at least one’s in Newport from time to time. Well, Newport Wilkos at least. Next time I see her I’ll have to try a boreda.

  • I was told a lovely story by a chap waiting for a bus in Cardiff about a head scarf wearing lady who joined in with his Welsh conversation - she’d learned because her children were going to a Welsh school. Perhaps they live in Cwmbran…


I remember starting to dabble in Welsh when first in London 40 yrs ago and went to a Welsh chapel (it has closed since) and being introduced, in English, to a fluent Welsh speaker called something like Amir. I didn’t at first think about his relatively dark skin so said that I had never heard that Welsh name before and carried on talking about all the other Welsh names I had been hearing recently that were new to me. He politely pointed out to me that he was half Algerian but was brought up speaking Welsh at home with his mum.


I had one of my first Welsh in the wild conversations with a stand holder in the Cardiff Christmas Fair who looked of Asian descent. I had my “Dysgu Cymraeg” badge on and he greeted me in Welsh and we had a little chat. I decided on the spot that I would never assume someone didn’t speak Welsh just because of their appearance or accent when speaking English … after all, when I speak English with my Kiwi accent, a lot of people would assume I can’t speak Welsh!


And when you speak Welsh with your kiwi accent you sound magical. (Well done on Heno last week btw, really good interview even though they were cutting you short sometimes.)

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Until you can prove that the landlord made the whole thing up in order to sell more beer, I’m inclined to believe it. The visitor to the pub (if indeed he named the right pub) must have known he was in a Welsh-speaking town, and anyone can learn to ask for a pint in Welsh if they take the trouble.

What was more distressing was the bigotry of comments section. Always the same whenever the LDP has an article on the Welsh language.

Fine…and I’m inclined not to.

How on earth could one ‘prove’ that, anyway? He’d simply deny it! :slight_smile:

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I suspect it’d take a really trained ear or a spectrograph to reliably distinguish between
“Peint o Felinfoel, plîs”
“Pint o’ Felinfoel, please” :slight_smile:

Ga i beint o’ Felinfoel, os gwelwch yn dda?

I think it comes out as Felling Foil in English…