Mixing Welsh and English

I notice from watching S4C that quite often when programmes involve members of the public you’ll get the occasional word or two of English thrown into a sentence. Sometimes people will even suddenly throw in an entire sentence of English if they want to use a particular turn of phrase. These aren’t learners type programmes either. I’m curious to know, as someone who doesn’t live in Wales, how common this is in real life? Has it always been like that and would you say you’re more likely to come across this than ‘pure’ Welsh?

That is called code switching or translanguaging. It is a completely normal part of speaking between people who are multilingual and not a new phenomenon. It has probably happened for as long as there has been contact between the Welsh and English languages.

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It’s very common. You might not know the word in the ‘target language’, and not many people have the luxury, (or torment :wink:) of going to a Bwtcamp, where it is 100% Welsh. Better to let the language, communication flow than stop to have a think before continuing.

Speaking as someone who lives and works in Wales amongst first-language speakers, I can confirm it’s definitely the norm for everyday speech, and yes, you’d be more likely to come across it than ‘pure’ Welsh in most situations.

Yep - totally normal and everyday, and I can’t remember ever having a prolonged conversation where it didn’t happen.

This is the norm among bilingual people the world over. When you speak English, you use your whole range of language knowledge to express what you want to say. Bilingual people speaking to another bilingual person do the same, but they have 2 languages to choose from, so they pick and mix and use the most appropriate word to get their meaning across, often without even realising which language the word comes from.

As a learner, it’s more useful to stick to the target language that you’re learning as much as possible, to get it fixed in your head and flowing naturally for you, but don’t be afraid to throw in the odd English word, then keep going in Welsh :slight_smile:

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