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To think that people should respond to a greeting in the language of the country?

(232 Posts)
Whitlandcarm Tue 11-Jul-17 21:32:42

I work in a place where we get lots of visitors popping in and out, part of my job is to say good morning/good afternoon as they enter.

The language of my workplace is Welsh. Every member of staff is fluent. The place in which I work is a place to learn about Wales.

I say "Bore da" with a smile, and get a "err hi" "morning.", or my fave, nothing.
Often with a face like I've just shit on their shoe. Perhaps sometimes even a hint of disgust.

AIBU unreasonable to expect people to answer me in Welsh? Then speak to me in English if they please afterwards?

Would you go to Spain and answer in English, if a shop keeper etc greeted you? Certainly not.

Even some Welsh seem to do this, but 99% of the time they are English.

Many Australians, Americans, Canadians, other Europeans put effort in and reply "bore da", "prynhawn da" etc.

DirtyChaiLatte Tue 11-Jul-17 21:37:15

If you said that to me I wouldn't have a clue what it meant and wouldn't know how to respond.

Sirzy Tue 11-Jul-17 21:39:10

Welsh is hardly a widely known language outside of Wales though so perhaps they simply don't know what your saying.

crocodilesoup Tue 11-Jul-17 21:39:36

Well I wouldn't know what the correct response was so if I was a one-off visitor I'd be umming with the rest of them. If I went there regularly I'd take the time to look it up. I suppose in any country it's good to say hello in the language, though I'm quite pleased if my poor pronunciation leads to them replying in English! OP if they reply to you in Welsh would you then carry on speaking in Welsh? That might worry them.

MrsHathaway Tue 11-Jul-17 21:39:41

I'd panic (linguist, first language English, no Welsh at all).

Given that Wales is a bilingual country I don't think it's unreasonable not to speak any Welsh if you have English.

A polite smile should be a minimum, though. Some people have no manners.

NellieFiveBellies Tue 11-Jul-17 21:40:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Liara Tue 11-Jul-17 21:40:47

They are probably just self conscious about attempting welsh and getting it wrong, and feel pressured by you into speaking it when they are not comfortable with it.

Other nationalities have no expectation that they should be able to so just go for it and don't care if they get it embarrassingly wrong.

scaryclown Tue 11-Jul-17 21:41:18

You are unreasonable to completely misread their reaction, and be like a pitchfork wielding yokel, rather than an open understanding promoter and encourager of Welsh learning.
That 'Er hi' with the face, if you ever bothered to try an empathise, is from the confused and uncomfortable state of knowing what one should say, and being unable to say it or feel comfortable trying to say it.
In language learning terms it's the utter weirdness of hearing in another language, understanding it, but being unable to project it verbally. These are separate aspects of language learning and though it's rarer you can find people who find projection easier than absorption.
You should know this, but instead you are blaming those who mean well but can't project comfortably yet.
This will dissuade them from projecting stl further. Well done.

EggysMom Tue 11-Jul-17 21:41:25

If I respond with 'Bore da' and you don't detect my slightly hesitant, English accent, then you might go on to ask me in Welsh whether/how you can help me. Then it becomes more embarrassing for me as I have to respond with "Sorry, I didn't understand, I'm English". So by responding to your initial 'Bore da' with 'Good morning' I am replying to your greeting but also setting the language for the ensuing conversation.

If I signed "Good morning" to you, should I expect you to reply in BSL?

orlantina Tue 11-Jul-17 21:42:00

Would you go to Spain and answer in English, if a shop keeper etc greeted you? Certainly not

Depends if I knew the language?

A smile goes a long way.

AHedgehogCanNeverBeBuggered Tue 11-Jul-17 21:42:00

Wales has TWO official languages so YABU. I get why you're disappointed though, Welsh is a beautiful language and it's sad that it's dying.

MJDinner Tue 11-Jul-17 21:42:06

I think most people wouldn't know what it was, and if they did, they wouldn't know how to reply.

Why don't you get a proper sign welcoming people in Welsh and give an example response? (Like the little signs that greet people in multiple languages at ports and stuff)

That would be more helpful and kick start conversations, better than sneering or getting annoyed. I'm not sure you're being reasonable here!

Redsippycup Tue 11-Jul-17 21:43:17

I wouldn't have the faintest idea how to say hello in Welsh, and if i walked in and you said 'bore da' i wouldn't know what it meant, even if i assumed it was 'hello' i wouldn't know if the right thing to say back is 'bore da' or something else.

I certainly wouldn't risk trying to repeat it on the first hearing if not expecting you to say it - I'd be worried I'd say something else / get it wrong and cause offence!

Temporaryanonymity Tue 11-Jul-17 21:44:45

Welsh isn't dying, if anything i hear it more now than I did 20 or even 10 years ago.

cottagecheesequeen Tue 11-Jul-17 21:44:46

Everyone who lives in Wales will surely know bore da or hwyl. They would have been taught it in school.

Regardless of Welsh being a dying language not used anywhere else your work colleagues are rude. Maybe send out a group email with a few basic greetings for people.

If your company operates in the medium of Welsh with Welsh speaking customers then this should be standard practice.

cragsandmountains Tue 11-Jul-17 21:44:50

I'm a fluent Welsh speaker and live in Wales. If I walk into a shop and somebody says "bore da", I still might reply "hi".

If somebody says 'good morning' in English, I'm likelier to reply 'hi' than 'good morning', too.

drspouse Tue 11-Jul-17 21:45:20

I think you are overestimating the language skills of your visitors.

orlantina Tue 11-Jul-17 21:47:33

Saying that, I will do 'Bonjour' in French or 'Guten Morgen' in German. Even 'hi' in Dutch grin

But in Wales? TBF - most times I've been to Wales, they've sussed out I'm English and speak English to me.

museumum Tue 11-Jul-17 21:47:39

I'm afraid I've no idea what bore da means. I can guess its hello or good morning or similar but I wouldn't be confident enough to say it back.
I would smile and nod at you.
It's not a Welsh thing, I'd be the same in pretty much any other country except those speaking French Spanish Italian and German.

Having tried to learn a bit of Gaelic I know first-hand that Celtic languages are very hard!

MaidOfStars Tue 11-Jul-17 21:47:42

Very naive question: are there people in Wales who don't speak English?

Whitlandcarm Tue 11-Jul-17 21:48:00

Interesting points and valid yes. I can pretty much tell if a person is a Welsh speaker, but you're right, you run the risk of misunderstanding.

Scaryclown- nice little rant there, thanks. I am not at all anti-learners! Infact I often have people stop to practise with me etc.

I once had a woman rant about what a waste of time Welsh was hmm and her standing in Wales.

SasBel Tue 11-Jul-17 21:48:03

Another one who is ignorant of Welsh! I would give it a go, but my accent would be painfully cleargrin
I agree that knowing you were happy to converse in English would be reassuring though.

Clayhead Tue 11-Jul-17 21:49:33

I'm English and have said bore da many times when in Wales. I also say it to the Welsh baker in our English town.

OnlyRose Tue 11-Jul-17 21:50:16

I would say an enthusiastic "Bore da, shwmae?" back. But then if you said anything else to me I would probably have to trot out the old "Sorri, dwi ddim yn siarad cymraeg". I miss living in Wales!

PuppyMonkey Tue 11-Jul-17 21:51:24

I think "hi" is one of those universally acceptable words though - like taxi and Coca Cola wink so YABU. The silence reaction is probably just people who haven't the foggiest what you're on about.

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