I’ve just completed challenege 20, Level 1, and have recently been tentatively using some of my Welsh in the big, wide world. Should I worry that I’m going to offend people by using ti, when I should be using chi?
I’m guessing I’m just using that as an excuse for my nervousness, but I’d fee better knowing for sure if that is a ‘thing’ I should be worried about.
The SSiW advice is ‘Don’t worry about it’. I find I use ti and chi fairly randomly (and fo and hi too!) and no-one has seemed mortally offended yet. Most people can spot that you are a learner are a usually very forgiving. Maybe for more mature people at least attempt to stick to chi.
As I understand it, some of the older generations (around 60+) can sometimes be offended, but most younger people shouldn’t be. If all else fails, just remind them that you’re still learning and that you don’t mean any offence. If they’re still offended after that, that’s their problem.
There are a fair few people (however many that is) from the older generation (whenever that starts) who wouldn’t use ‘ti’ and ‘chi’ interchangeably, and might feel a little uncomfortable to some varying degree with people using it with them- but who would be used to other people, especially the younger generation doing it, and wouldn’t be offended by a learner doing it. Very few would actually be offended.
In the unlikely event anyone is offended, just explain you are a learner and switch to “chi”.
I think I am now old enough (74+) to get away with ti to anyone except a very fierce-looking ex-serviceman!!
I am in Scotland, but I get very uptight about belng addressed by my given name by bright young things in the health service! If you are under 30 and serving someone of over 70, I recommend ‘Mr’, ‘Mrs’ and ‘chi’!!! I was delighted to tell one really sweet ward orderly to call me ‘Jackie’ and she appreciated it as a complement for her kindness!
Basic guidelines with Coleg Gwent
Ti - when you are talking to children, someone younger than you, someone you know very well as a friend, when you have been given permission to do so by the person concerned.
Chi - when you are talking to a person you do not know, a person older than you, your parents, grand parents, aunts and uncles, persons in positions of responsibility.
However the distincion between them has almost vanished in some cases and on a programme on S4C in some cases children often addressed their parents as ‘ti’
Many people are not worried if you use ti or chi but it is worth using the correct form until told to do otherwise to prevent offence.
A bit like English where the difference between thee and thou has virtually vanished.
I agree with Henddraig - I detest telephone calls from people I have never met using my christian name.
Absolutely. I think the right to call someone by their first name should never be assumed in those sort of situations.
I get the impression that (among people who use Welsh regularly), the level of formality is generally a little higher than in everyday English (in England). More old fashioned, you might say, but also more respectful.
I don’t know how representative it really is, but on Rownd a Rownd, for example, the children address parents as “chi”, and of course address teachers as “chi”.
And their token “older person”, Mr Lloyd, is never anything but “Mr Lloyd”, and is addressed as “chi”.
Most of the other adults who know each other well are on “ti” terms, but casual strangers would merit a “chi”.
No, you shouldn’t
You’ve had some good guidelines in here about when/which/etc, but the likelihood of you meeting/talking to someone who is actually offended by ti instead of chi (from a learner) is vanishingly small…
Can I just check something else - it is chi if it’s more than one kid isn’t it. If not I’ll have to go and hide under a rock somewhere.
Thanks all - all good advice and makes sense, and completely what I would expect too. I think for now, I can do some basic questions using chi, but when it comes to saying some things I’d be struggling not using the ti, so think it would be ok, as an obvious learner to use ti, in those situations - it’s got to be better than speaking english I’m sure
Btw, we move to just outside Crymych tomorrow, and I was in the local farm supplies shop and it was great to hear everyone speaking Welsh! I’m not quite at the point where I can ask for the things I need in Welsh but it’s a great motivation for getting there!
Btw - what’s ‘can I have’ and also ‘do you have’ in Welsh? Or the equivalent, relevant phrase that might be used in a shop scenario?
Diolch - I like the way they all say ydyn back in unison- a school thing no doubt
Easiest one for “can I have” is simply: “ga i [something]?”
(Literally: “do I get [something]?”)
“Do you have?” - NORTH: Oes gynnoch chi [something]?"
SOUTH: “Oes [something] gyda chi?”
(Both mean literally: “Is [something] with you?”)
I hope that’s right anyway; if not, should be close enough.
In a shop situation, I think “chi” form would always be safest bet.
Thank you for the response. Sorry for my slow one - just got internet again after moving house.
In the meantime I decided to ask (in Welsh) a couple sitting next to us who were speaking Welsh what I would say for those situations. In response I got;
Gallai i’ gal - Can I have?
Oes Genny - Do you have?
I’m guessing as in all languages there’s various ways of saying those things.
Think you might have mis-heard the second one - you’d need either ‘oes gen ti’ for a friend or ‘oes gynnoch chi/ganddoch chi’ for a formal usage…
Alla i gael would certainly work - you’ll also often hear ‘Ga i’…
It’s possible, but I even asked her to spell it so I could write it down! I thought it was a strange spelling. It’s not a peculiar West Walian slang? Oes gen ti/gynnoch chi, would seem safer and makes more sense. And I’m probably mistaken then on oes genny - but I’m 95% sure that’s what she said to me!
‘Oes gen i’ would be ‘Do I have?’ so very unlikely to exist as slang for ‘do you have?’ anywhere - I’d say that the missing ‘t’ sound in there is a neat fit for your 5% uncertainty…
haha! Ok, now I might concede… It might be actually that she thought I’d asked, what’s 'do I have?" instead of 'do you have?" - anyway now I’ve got nearly the full range for that verb so can’t complain! And I hadn’t quite used it yet in a shop, and now can do with confidence and without them being confused!!
An update on this age-old question, from the BBC - Ti neu Chi 25/7/2017
For anyone struggling, it may help to realize that this article is written for Welsh speakers, who obviously have just as much trouble deciding sometimes.