Pride comes before a fall and making mistakes!

Just wanted to share this because I thought of all the threads where people have mentioned they are nervous of speaking in Welsh, and thought that as it doesn’t get much worse than this you never need to worry again!

I spent the weekend in Aberdaron. Mrs a-jay and family are now used to me insisting on speaking to everyone in Welsh. The day started well… we went for a coffee in the rebuilt bakery in Aberdaron (worth a visit as very smart and friendly). The man behind the counter spoke to me in English’ I answered back in Welsh. He apologised and said he thought I was English (which I am). I knew what he meant so I was buoyed by the back-handed compliment! We had a good chat about why I was learning etc.

We then visited Porth y Swnt , the National Trust Visitor Centre in the village. I have done the audio tour fairly often so this time I asked for it in Welsh. I understood about half and was pleased. When we were leaving I had a lovely chat with the National Trust lady. My son is also really trying to learn and he had the confidence to say hello in Welsh too.

I left the centre on a ‘high’, perhaps dangerously so…… In the middle of the car park was the Plaid Cymru election candidates ‘Battle Bus’, the candidate and her entourage…. Mrs a-jay sensed danger… and retreated to the car … I marched across the Car Park thinking, “If I can talk Welsh to the ex-MP of the area then I have pretty much nailed this.

I shook her hand warmly and explained I was a learner… I then proceeded to tell her where I was from and that I didn’t like the English!!! At least I think that is what I said…. I am pretty sure it is what I said…. :-S

I had meant to explain that I was learning because when I first visited the area I had felt sad that I was hearing so much English (amongst other things), and that it was the final push I needed to start.

She remained calm and gracious in spite of me rambling like an idiot; reached into her car, gave me an election leaflet and told me she was originally from London…… :-s By now I was desperately trying to think my way out of the mess but it too late. We shook hands and she got into the car and I left very red-faced.

What did I learn ….?

  1. The prospective candidate for the area is a lovely lady from London.
  2. I shouldn’t tell people I don’t like the English when it is not true!
  3. Pride comes before a fall!
  4. Look before you leap!

On Sunday, I decided to get ‘back on the bike’ and had some really good conversations when I could have let it put me off; so please don’t worry if you make mistakes, they happen I lived to tell the tale…

If anyone on the forum knows Liz Saville Roberts please tell her from me that I am not a lunatic, and I most definitely do like the English!!!


What you actually learned was what I still haven’t learned in over 70 years!!
“Think before you speak in any language!!!”
There was nothing wrong with your Cymraeg, you just jumped to the conclusion that any Plaid Cymru member must be anti-English, which is not a valid conclusion!!! A desire for your country to be a self-governing nation doesn’t naturally make you hate the colonial power!!!

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I did mean to say that I didn’t like hearing English in the area, not that I didn’t like the English. But agree, thinking before you speak is always a good idea! :smile: No assumption that she wouldn’t like the English, just very poor Welsh… :wink:


That exchange just shows that people can misunderstand in their mother-tongue!! Either I didn’t read what you’d written carefully or you didn’t express it well, or…??? :blush: :smile:
Oh dear I’m still learning how to do smileys!! I only meant to put one!!


Two are good! :smiley:

Hmmm … that was really unwise (my own composition of the word I think). I sensed “dangerous” bit the same second I’ve read that however you’ve learnt the lesson. Going in other parts of the World with the same problem (to Balkan for example) you wouldn’t be that fortunate. This is why I strongly (if possible) avoid political debate in any cays. That’s why I once said to @Iestyn on twitter that language and its matters are the only things I’m interested in. (and you didn’t even meant to sound political, I know).

The lesson which I have to learn yet too is: you better tell what you like in not too enthusiastic way then what you don’t in too enthusiastic one.

And yes @henddraig if it conforts you, I didn’t learn that lesson yet too and I also didn’t learn the one maybe most important one - don’t always be too honest or you’ll pay for it. (as I do the whole of my life)

No politics intended at all, just poor Welsh when passing comment that I was learning because I was sad that the language was not as common as I thought it would be.

Yikes, two misunderstandings already. I must be VERY bad at expressing myself. :blush:

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I’ll pass that on the next time I see her…:wink:

In the meantime, here’s the really dangerous territory for you - you were in Aberdaron and didn’t call by for a panad? You’ve got some explaining to do…:wink:


Nope. I undrstood the matter VERY WELL so no bad feelings please. That’s why I’ve written above

Sometimes it’s hard to talk about language not to sound a bit political so it’s all right.

At least you didn’t have the situation I had when in early 90s one lady started the arguing upon the same word being spoken equally and having the same meaning in both languages I speak mixture of. (Serbian and Croatian). That was missunderstanding upon all which I never want to live to be a part of again and wich lead to breaking our friendship by that lady.

[quote=“tatjana, post:6, topic:2440”]
(and you didn’t even meant to sound political, I know).
[/quote] Oh dear, this has not gone well! I was trying to be encouraging and allow people to laugh at my mistakes!

Thanks Tatjana :smile:

Aww, I knew you had just finished Bootcamp and didn’t want to bother you! :wink: Glad to read it went so well, Will give you a shout next time we are over :smiley:


Sorry, my missunderstanding, however I felt there’'s nothing to be laught about.

@aran’s comment leads to more jolly matter I feel so, thank you @aran for denying my seriousness a bit. :slight_smile:

And, you’re welcome (although I’m not sure what I could be thanked about) :slight_smile:

Perhaps a telegram to the Prince of Wales will cover it


Just a polite note that I think this is getting dangerously close to our forum rules of being obviously nice to everyone. I understand you were not trying to offend a_jay, but I think telling people they were unwise is unhelpful in and of itself, but combined with saying it was unwise to use Welsh in the wild it’s exactly the wrong message. A little slip in the middle of what sounds like a lot of very successful Welsh use sounds like a much better thing than avoiding using Welsh for fear of getting something wrong.

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Sorry if I offended anyone but that “unwise” was related to saying not to liking English (what setence I actually quoted) and not that about using Welsh in the Wild. Missunderstanding on both sides however for mine part I oppologize to @a_jay and others who might be offended or discouraged. That was surely not my intention as it wasn’t to break the rules of this forum. I’m sorry but in country in which I live “unwise” word isn’t treated as (such) offensive one so let me (hopefully) be excused.

Thank you.


O BOY! I’ve just seen what I’ve done!

The word was put wrong by me. I actually didn’t know this “unwise” word really exists and is more my composition of it which was not meant to be offensive. .

And yes, in that concept thsi word is offensive in our country too. I feel really bad …

FOR EVERYBODY’S SAKE I’M SORRY! (I always do things wrong when I shouldn’t). :frowning:

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Please don’t worry, Tatjana, it’s clear Andy wasn’t upset, so Kev’s just trying to make sure other people reading this understand that we’re keeping it friendly :sunny:


Certainly a cringeworthy moment, a_jay, but good on you for trying - and thanks for sharing!

I can certainly understand your disappointment at not hearing more Welsh spoken in Aberdaron. I’ve visited Wales numerous times on short holidays over the past few years, and have tried to see as many different parts of the country as I can. I love the sound of Cymraeg and everywhere I’ve been, I’ve eavesdropped on people’s conversations in public places hoping to hear some natural spoken Welsh.

The result was disappointing, to say the least. Almost everyone seemed to be speaking in English, wherever I went. I can remember only FOUR occasions when I actually heard Welsh!..

  1. At a bus-stop in Caernarfon (no surprise there)
  2. In a pub in Machynlleth
  3. In the post office in Abergwaun (Fishguard)
  4. On a bus between Porthmadog and Bangor

Otherwise, zilch. I came back from each holiday convinced that Welsh is a language people speak only in private, not in public!

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It was, and thanks for sharing the pain! I do have Welsh roots but was born in Chester. However, I got quite cross several years ago when I re-visited the area for the first time since I was a little and heard visitors just ignoring the fact that the first language in the area was Welsh and making no attempt to even say hello in Welsh.

I felt the same when we were in Majorca a few years ago. People just walked into pubs and restaurants and spoke without any attempt to recognise that locals might not speak ‘our’ lingo!

Actually, lots of Welsh is spoken in Aberdaron, but not to tourists or vice-versa. Full marks to the owner of the Eleri Shop in the village who seems to thank everyone with a cheery “Diolch yn Fawr” what ever their nationality.

PS. My other big moan is that every menu in Wales should be in Welsh, then people would have to learn!! :


You reminded me on something when I was in Lloret de Mar 21 years ago. It’s not related to Cymraeg but is mindblowing and shows how speaking language whatever you know of it can make your day in deed.

It was vice-versa thing and I literally was blown off with that.

We (me and my (that time future) husband) walked around Lloret like every single afternoon sight seeing peering into the street shops to see what we might buy. Walking and talking along in Slovene we passed by one shop which seamed their owner is “hiding” somewhere in there but when we almost walked by I’ve heard the voice saying in pure Slovene “Bi mogoče kaj kupili?” (Would you maybe buy something?) I thought I was tricked by someone or I was dreaming. I can remember I even turned back to that shop and said “Čakaj malo, ali sanjam ali kaj?” (Wait a minute, am I dreaming or what?) Then I’ve seen the woman comming a bit more to the sight from the shop smiling. It was obvious by her physionomy that she’s not Slovene. I’ve asked in Slovene snice I’ve asumed she can say more than what she just said: “Ali vi govorite slovensko?” (Do you speak Slovene?) and she replied in back in pure Slovene again. “Ja, ker je tu toliko Slovencev, sem se že morala naučit, ali ne?” (Yes, since here are so many Slovene (tourists) I jsut was obliged to learn it, don’t you think so?) The conversation was running in pure Slovene for quite 10 or so minutes and we even bought something from her.

It was all mindblowing! In the middle of mostly English and German crowd of tourists (we hardly saw any Slovenians except of those who were in a group with us travelling to spend holidays there) the woman felt obliged to learn Slovene and she spoke better then many of us living in Slovenia.

So, you all are right. We, who learn languages, no matter which one, should really use them when comming into area where native speakers are no matter how little we know. Equally as I was blown out by this lady speaking my language, she would probably be too, hearing me speaking Spanish. But that part of the story came later on when I was encouraged exactly with this happening not to be afraid of speaking any language I’ve learnt. Not that I can speak Spanish any good but I at least orderred cerveza, sangria and café in Spanish every day not to mention using their famous “hola” greeting whenever in the day. That was fun and all Spanians were amazed by that. :slight_smile:

(woops, I can tell a positive story! Acheavement! Success!) :slight_smile:


Llongyfarchiadau mawrion mawr a-jay! Firstly, for getting stuck in and instigating conversations in Welsh. And secondly, for having exactly the right attitude when it comes to mistakes: learn from them and don’t let them drown out the positive achievements (of which you had many!). The fact that you went straight back at it the following day tells me that you’re going to be a very successful siaradwr Cymraeg! Da iawn ti! :slight_smile: