In early January, @Nicky had announced:
Saturday 2nd February 11:00 a.m. - The Riverside Cafe, Tregaron
The Official 13 month anniversary of “Clonc-edigion”
(Because yearly birthday parties are over-rated)
We’re on the Forum where this all started, so most people have probably heard of Clonc-edigion. But for those who haven’t, here how Nicky himself had described the idea:
“Clonc-edigion is a group of friendly Welsh speakers of all abilities (from total beginners to fluent speakers) that meet monthly to make new friends, share stories, practice Welsh out and get out there and experience what Ceredigion and the surrounding areas has to offer.”
Today, snow and ice on the roads, and the Riverside Cafe closed due to weather doesn’t sound like a promising start. But participants from Ceridigion, nearby counties and faraway lands are determined to overcome adversity. Luckily for us, there’s another suitable location, in Tregaron: a broadcast of warning messages allow us to meet at 11 at Cafe Hafan.
@Deborah-SSi is giving a lift to @Ingrid.L and me. Quite a peculiar lot, in this car, now that I think about it: one German, one Italian and one infiltrate from the Pacific Ocean area driving them to a remote location in Wales, while the Government is busy sorting out the Brexit mess. In other times, it would have been enough to raise suspicion, I guess. What’s really going to be discussed at this Clonc-Ewrop-edigion?
But of course, how to get Welsh language to conquer the world!
Most participants had met in person before. And the few of us who are new, and from different countries, have talked before on SSiW Forum. So now it’s a bit as if we all knew one another already. Magic of the Internet, when used wisely!
Cymraeg is the magnet that attracted us all here, and obviously the one and only official language in the group and with the staff - who’s happy to speak Welsh with us. However we all know we can use a little bit of English, if we need to.
But what if we had no other language to fall back to? All of a sudden, I remember my first time in England, when our group of Italian students got off the coach and each one left with their host family. Mine, really nice and welcoming, and with a Brummie-Geordie mix of accents. Goodbye Received Pronunciation, Queen’s English and school practice, hello real world! And no matter what accent, English was the only common language - well, sort of - so I had no choice but try and understand as much as I could and just try and say things. The first days were embarrassing and exhausting, but I remember I had a great time and when I came back, I was able to have a conversation in a foreign language. In Wales, unfortunately, it’s easier to get lazy and find excuses.
In this International clonc, a few guest idioms are exceptionally used: German, Italian and also the lesser-known Beaufortese and Datblyguan. What? You’ve never heard of them? The first appeared in the Forum when @HuwJones named Carini’s as best Italian Ice Cream in the world (and childhood favourite). I got curious and found a video featuring Marco Carini - son of Giacomo “Jake” Carini, who had come from Italy with his brothers in search of work in the early 20th century, opened a cafe and started making ice cream in Beaufort. Mister Carini speaks English with an awesome accent, that I had never heard before. Huw identified it as authentic Ebbw Vale (later renamed Beaufortese) and promised he’d speak some at the clonc for me. As for Datblyguan, I will explain shortly.
Sgwrs tend to wander through a variety of subjects.
like @BronwenLewis summed up: “Well, that was fun! Topics included the anomalous expansion of water, a helpful Radio Cymru tip on cleaning your toilet brush and a lively debate on the best decade for British music (the 60s, obvs). We only mentioned the B word (Birthday) briefly, in order to wish everyone Penblywdd Hapus for Cloncedigion’s 1st birthday. And to remember our Founding Father - sorry you couldn’t be with us, Nicky.”
Debates may continue in the Forum:
@Isata: I think you must have blacked out for a moment when we voted, Bronwen. It was definitely the 70s.
@Ingrid.L: def agree with you Isata!
While the Eastern section of the table was discussing the anomalous expansion of water (if I’m not wrong, started by @helenlindsay) , the Western side seemed to lean towards more trivial matters, like music:
@Isata: I’ve discovered that I did know at least one track by Datblygu, which they play on Radio Cymru a lot. Now, thanks to Macky and Gisella, I’ve discovered a few more, including the one that Gisella is fluent in. I like this band!
@Macky: “Hollol hollol hollol…diddorol. Amazing story and reason for learning Welsh from Gisella. Has to be one of best learning stories I’ve heard thus far”.
At school, trying to remember poems by rote in Italian was a nightmare - even though I was equipped with fresh neurons and synapses
As I started learning Welsh because I liked the way it sounded in a few songs, I thought reading lyrics along might be an enjoyable way to learn to pronounce words right. After a while I just ended up remembering them, without even meaning to! One in particular is basically spoken and I’m able to tell it like a story - as it actually is - effortlessly and smoothly.
I did so, at the Clonc and my giggling audience said that if someone asks me what languages I’m fluent in, I should answer: “Italian, English, French and Datblygu” I will, but to avoid confusion I’m going to call it Datblyguan. So remember: call Huw for Beaufortese, me for Datblyguan.
Note: I’ll be back on Day 3 part 2, with Day 5 (and last), in visit Ceredigion mode. For now I’m going to just close with this because it seems a fine introduction to Day 4, coming next.
To read previous installment
([Tour diary - Day 2 p.2 - Caerfyrddin] Roaming around Wales, speaking Welsh)
To find out more about it or keep updated about next Clonc-edigions, see here:
(Clonc-edigion - The Touring Ceredigion Meet Up)