UNIMPORTANT NOTE: If you see spelling errors in this post, it may or may not be because I have set my computer to British spelling. It automatically edits words that I have spelled the American way. I cannot be bothered to go back and fight spell check (a ruthless opponent, we all know) in order to preserve my American spelling. I figure it is better for me to practice British spelling anyway, since I will be expected to use it in all of my coursework.
Another week has flown by. Reading week was quite a success. I managed to visit the local castle, organise an ice skating afternoon with some sisters, and learned a bit more about Welsh history and culture. A local Welsh brother who recently joined our campus bible study helped me to practice my Welsh pronunciation too.
I’m a bit tired of not being able to give directions since most of the street names are in the Welsh language. Without understanding Welsh phonetics, Welsh names can look near impossible to say. Even if you do try to just hash it out as best as you can, you end up looking really silly:
and of course, let’s not forget, the infamous longest town name in Europe, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.
Apparently all Welsh children have one crazy primary school teacher who decides to teach the kids how to pronounce this mouthful.
Welsh is a phonetic language, so it shouldn’t be too hard to pronounce the street names correctly once I can get a handle on the different sounds.One key to not becoming daunted is to realise that in Welsh, Y and W are both vowels.However, some of the sounds are very difficult. Particularly:
DD – equivilant to TH in English
LL – this is the HARDEST one to get. You have to fold your tongue correctly at the back of your mouth and then blow through the sides.
W – Not a hard sound at all, like oo in zoo. I just always forget that it is a vowel in Welsh.
FF vs. F – Also not difficult sounds, I just tend to forget that F sounds more like V and FF sounds like an English F.
the rolling R – I’ve struggled with not being able to roll R since I started Spanish in elementary school. CAN ANYBODY PLEASE GIVE ME SOME TRICK TO LEARN TO DO THIS?
Anyway, Cardiff is an extremely anglicised city. English is used everywhere and hearing Welsh is a rare treat. I obviously don’t necessarily need to learn Welsh, but come on… it is a Celtic language still in use. It is on every sign and official document. And it looks like Elvish for goodness gracious… I am going to try my best to get the basics down.
Oh, but this video is so much funnier now than it was a month ago: