Perceptions

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ambiwlans

Speaking Welsh
This blog has already mentioned on at least two occasions the phenomena of the Englishman who, on entering a Welsh pub, complains that the local pub-goers start speaking Welsh as soon as he enters, as if speaking Welsh were some kind of pastime we do on a whim to annoy outsiders. But this perception goes far beyond the "Englishman enters pub" example, and is one shared across the British Isles. I remember meeting an Irish couple who had once shared a holiday on a yacht with a Welsh speaking couple; They remarked that they themselves had learned Irish at school and could -if they were so inclined- be fully conversant in that language. Yet they complained that the Welsh couple spoke Welsh with one another all the time, as if to do so was to be over the top! They did not for an instance consider this to be a natural act of people speaking their mother tongue, because for them to do so was indeed something you did to show off your identity to the English (rather like a Scotsman wearing a kilt and brandishing a claymore in Basingstoke).

Colonisation
Try explaining to "outsiders" the threat posed by colonisation to Welsh speaking communities and 9 times out of 10 the response will be a shrug combined with such words as "Well, that's the way of the world." An easy sentiment for one who's language and quality of life is in ascendence, but hardly one that will secure the survival of our species, nor one that would have inspired social change in the past!

Silly Words
Ah, those quaint little Welsh folk, who take sound English words like ambulance and chocolate and change them to ambiwlans and siocled, how amusing. Well, if you find that amusing you'll find the Spanish ambulancia and the German Schokolade absolutely hilarious.

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