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English Mum wanting to speak Welsh on holiday

(24 Posts)
amigababy Tue 07-Jul-09 22:15:39

Hi, would like a bit of help please.

I'm English and am learning Welsh, purely through interest, and will be going to North Wales later in the year.
If I'm feeling brave and want to try speaking Welsh, how do I know if the other person (eg in a shop or bar) is a Welsh speaker or not - am I wrong to assume they are?
Will they realise I'm English, speaking Welsh badly (I will be 9 months into lessons so still pretty much a beginner) or think I'm Welsh speaking Welsh badly. Will it be appreciated for trying?
I went for the first time last year, that's what sparked my interest, and am fascinated how people switched between conversing together in Welsh, but ordered food etc from the waitress in English (though she was Welsh.) How did they know which language to use with her (maybe they were regulars there?)
I'm asking because it's a bit scary to try a new language and if I get met with blank stares I may lose a bit of confidence.

Any advice gratefully received, thank you.


edam Tue 07-Jul-09 22:19:25

If it's North West Wales then fair bet people will speak Welsh in bars and shops and pretty much anywhere else. If it's North East, near Chester/Liverpool, possibly less likely.

Well done for giving it a go - my Dad is Welsh and I spent all my childhood holidays with rellies there but sadly can only remember the odd word now. Enough to say 'hello' and 'thanks' and ask the way to a hospital but that's about it!

angelene Tue 07-Jul-09 22:23:45

You could say 'dw i'n dysgu Cymraeg' which is 'I am learning Welsh' if you get stuck.

Shwmae is a good one when you just go into a shop or whatever.

Good luck, enjoy smile

Yurtgirl Tue 07-Jul-09 22:27:46

I put my answer here a few days ago!

Just say Shw Mae, Bore da and you will soon find out who can and who cannot speak welsh!

I hope this helps

suwoo Tue 07-Jul-09 22:28:07

I was bought up in North Wales (Colwyn Bay) and do speak schoolgirl welsh. As Edam says, you will lucky to find any welsh speakers around there. If you are going to deepest darkest Wales, you might have more luck.

edam Tue 07-Jul-09 22:31:05

su - I had great-aunts and uncles around Wrecsam and Porthmadog, they used to have some heated conversations about road signs and use of the Welsh language. grin

suwoo Wed 08-Jul-09 07:27:04

My DH always laughs at the road signs- he was having a daft conversation with a welsh bloke online the other day and the only welsh words he could come up with were:

Araf (slow) - From the road markings
Heddlu (Police) - From the ever present welsh traffic patrols.

My mum and dad moved aborad, so haven't been back to Wales for a while now.

edam Wed 08-Jul-09 10:06:49

"Grid Gwartheg" were the first words I learnt to read. smile (At least I think it was Grid Gwartheg, is along time ago, but there was a cattle grid next to my Auntie's house and I loved going for a walk along her lane and trying not to fall in.)

Dysgu Wed 08-Jul-09 10:17:12

I always find more Welsh speakers in the north and more accent in the south.

In the villages almost everyone tends to speak Welsh if they are over a certain age hmm

As for swapping between the two - my family tends to begin conversations with strangers in English and then move into Welsh if everyone can!

Mammina Wed 08-Jul-09 15:29:50

Well done amiga for giving it a go!
It's strange, you'll find that within NW Wales, the main language spoken varies from village to village. If you go to Bangor for example, you'll probably find that a lot of shop workers' first language is English. Go a few miles down the road to Caernarfon and most people will speak Welsh.

This may sound strange but I can tell from looking at people in Wales whether they speak welsh or not - don't ask me how though!

Good luck. Let me know where you're planning to go and I'll try and give you some tips as to where to go

Out of interest, where are you based now?

amigababy Wed 08-Jul-09 17:30:11

Diolch yn fawr

to everyone who has helped so far.
I'm in W Yorkshire and we'll be going near Llanrug.
When we went last year we went to Betws Y Coed, and that's where it all started, I loved listening to people, and reading menus etc.
And as for the road signs.....

Mammina Wed 08-Jul-09 19:46:13

People in Llanrug will speak welsh - in the post office, shops & pubs (of which there are 2!), as will people in neighbouring (and prettier) Llanberis - although Llanberis attracts lots of climber types who aren't welsh, so not everyone in cafes/pubs will be welsh speaking but definitely give it a go.
There's a nice cafe in Brynrefail (by Padarn Lake) called the Caban, you might want to try there
If you are really hungry try Pete's Eats in Llanberis, but a lot of climbers go there so you may not hear a lot of welsh

Pob lwc!

Takver Wed 08-Jul-09 20:30:51

You can get little orange badges (at least here in Pembrokeshire you can) which let people know that you are a Welsh learner & would like them to talk to you in Welsh.

You could try asking at a Tourist Information where you are staying, they might have some?

frAKKINPannikin Wed 08-Jul-09 20:37:21

Really, Takver? I wish they'd had them when we holidayed when I was small. I've lost a lot of my Welsh through not practising despite having been in a Welsh medium primary school!

Good for you, amiga!

Takver Wed 08-Jul-09 20:47:10

I must confess that mine is hidden at the back of the drawer because it works too well blush

mejon Wed 08-Jul-09 21:11:00

Ah - my mother is from Llanrug! You'll have no problem there or in any of the surrounding areas. Migola's given some great advice. I'd probably try a "sut mae" or "sut 'da chi" rather than "shwd mae" which is more south-Walian though.

Pob lwc a mwynhewch eich gwyliau. smile.

amigababy Wed 08-Jul-09 21:51:24

Rydych chi'n garedig.

(would love a little orange badge, what a great idea.)

Thanks again, I'm feeling a bit braver now

Mammina Wed 08-Jul-09 22:06:03

mejon I'm wondering if I know you!! (or your mother), but I don't want to out myself!!

mejon Wed 08-Jul-09 22:14:02

Probably not Migola - my mum is 70 and moved away when she was 18 I think, though we have a lot of family up there. I was born and raised in Cardiff but recently moved from there to near Aber. Ti'n byw yn Llundain dwi'n meddwl yn dwyt? Dwi'm yn meddwl bod fi'n nabod unrhywun yno.

Mammina Thu 09-Jul-09 08:43:17

Mae'n siwr ein bod ni'n perthyn!! Yes I'm in London - there's a few of us Covvis around!

mejon Thu 09-Jul-09 12:46:04

Sorry for the hijack Amigababy. Migola - dwi'n gallu derbyn CAT os wyt ti isho cysylltu i gael gweld go iawn!

Mammina Thu 09-Jul-09 13:21:27

yes sorry amigababy. mejon newydd yrru CAT

mejon Thu 09-Jul-09 13:24:10

Diolch. Edrychai allan amdano fo smile

GetOrfMoiLand Thu 09-Jul-09 13:29:56

please look here for my take on the Welsh language

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