The other week I was trying to buy an ebook from Gwales, and they had some problems on the website, and I sent them a quick email in very ar llafar Welsh to ask if it hadn’t been issued in that format yet, or if there were problems. Evidently there were issues, because later in the day it became available; but a couple of days later I got a nice reply in very proper, formal written Welsh – the contrast between my do’n i ddim yn medru prynu (I wasn’t able to buy) and their anhawster i osod archeb (difficulty in placing an order) was quite noticeable. And it was real nigh-on Biblical Welsh – full of rydym and hyderwn and things with not a ni in sight – I felt very much the bumpkin, but then I noticed how I was clearly starting to internalize some of the traditional prejudices about what constitutes proper Welsh, so I was also quite amused at myself.
But anyway: this leads on to two questions. The book I bought, even though it’s post-apocalyptic teenfic aimed at, say, 15 year olds, makes a very clear distinction between dialogue and narrative, with the narrative being much more ‘written Welsh’ i.e. it uses what looks like the conditional all the time to mean oedd hi’n (arfer) X and things like that. So I was slightly surprised, when other teenfic I’ve read so far (Prism, Pluen) has used the device of a first-person narrator to keep everything in more natural, spoken Welsh. What is the effect for a Welsh (say, teen, mamiaith) audience of this kind of formal language?
And the second question is simpler: I know nobody speaks literary Welsh as such, but there must be formal occasions, and things like when we saw Kylie in Llio’s class on Rownd a Rownd reading aloud rather hesitantly, when people say literary forms out loud. So, where does the stress go on rydym? Because the forms we’re used to, like dan, all seem to go back to the second syllable, I’ve been reading it in my head as rydým, but should it be rýdym like practically everything else in Welsh?
Oh, and there’s actually a third question: how does one say “post-apocalyptic teenfic” in Welsh ?