We were at a formal dinner last week, when I heard this nice (English) lady from Ceredigion say, ‘No, I don’t speak Welsh, it’s such a harsh language. Gosh, I hope there’s no Welsh speakers here’. Well, I might have had a drink. ‘Bois blydi bach! Be’ sy’n bod efo ‘chdi? Mae’n hen iaith hyfryd’, said someone who sounded a lot like me. It was like one of those old Western films where even the piano player goes quiet. After the initial shock, the poor lady had grasped the idea of some random Yorkie being able to manage a few Welsh words. We had a good conversation about the language, and she asked why I had a softer accent than Cardi. I told her that I bought it by the yard from Mr & Mrs Jones from Mynytho. It all went off well and the dear person took home a few handy bits of Cymraeg so she could be polite in shops. I love working under cover However, I did get a minor slapping from Mrs G for my trouble.
I know rural Ceredigion very well and have spoken Welsh there with locals (my family all live there). It is in my view quite a tricky accent to be fair to her, but I wouldn’t describe it as harsh. In many respects it’s softer than some northern dialects imo. I would say Cardi is the dialect I have the most trouble with actually, which is ironic because I found out recently I’m not only Merionnydd by descent but also a Cardi by descent! ;>)
Chwarae teg. I think the ‘harsh’ thing came about from feeling a bit excluded. It was amazing the speed of the turn around when we started to talk about why I started learning and how easy it is to make a start. A few words later and a ‘ffrog newydd’ joke about a friend wearing a kilt and we have a convert
I try not to give offence, these days. And then, there’s always my weapons grade Myfanwy. One thing, Louis, your idea of dropping Welsh into a conversation works really well for flushing out other speakers
Such a pity when people judge languages without first learning a bit. I speak English and Afrikaans, can understand a little Zulu, and Welsh is so different because of the attention to sound of phrases - i suspect part of the reason for mutations. When sung by a choir or soloist you realise why Welsh is so amazing. To me it is a language designed to be sung. It is a truly beautiful sounding language, and i so regret not learning it when i arrived here in 1995.
With inhibitions tuned down by drink something I’d normally chuck at y wyrion popped out. Of course, no-one understood a word but, on the good side, everyone spotted it was Welsh not Polish/Punjabi/Vogon neu rhywbeth