The Great Welsh Showdown – Day 1 – On my way to becoming a Welsh Scholar…

It took us about 3 hours to head from our hotel in London to our language class in Wales. How efficient can traveling be in Britain? Train from Paddington Station in London to Cardiff was just about 2 hours and all the taxi rides put together didn’t take more than 10 minutes. I think we spent longer trying to take group pictures.

Free tickets 🙂
The 6 travel bloggers and the 2 organisers who are paying for us 🙂

So….. Croeso i Cymru, Croeso i Caerdydd – Welcome to Wales, Welcome to Cardiff. And Welcome to Day 1 of Backpacking Ninja’s adventures in Wales.

You may think I am exaggerating when I am comparing learning a language to an adventure. But, hold on a sec. As an Indian, I am sure every one of us thinks learning a languge is a piece of cake just because we speak on an average 3 languages and can read more than 3 different scripts. Wait till you check out Welsh.

Our lesson focussed on learning Welsh Basics. The usual Hi, Hello, How are you, What is your name, Can I have a coffe please, can I have a beer please, Goodbye, Thank you and so on. When Delyth (our Welsh teacher) started by telling us this is all we would learn, I thought it sounded very simple.

Then, she spoke in Welsh – Shwmae! Shwd yeh chi? Beth yw’ch enw chi?
(Look at her… she is at ease when she is speaking)

Delyth – Our Welsh Language Teacher in action !

My picture is not worth putting up here. It was very pale and shocked. New language lightning struck me.

Shwmae! Shwd yeh chi? Beth yw’ch enw chi?
What the hell does this mean?

1. She had not said anything very complicated. That just means Hi, How are you?, What is your name?
2. The way it is pronounced is Shooo my, Should he key?, Beth you-gh e new key?
3. It takes around 15 repetitions before you get Hi, maybe 25 for How are you…. you get the drift.
4. All that resulted in temporary paralysis. Tri coffi did the job (3 coffees did the job).

Anyway, I don’t want to run you guys through the nuances, grammar, tenses, gender, conjugation et all. Instead, I’ll tell you the funniest facts about the Welsh language and why I think Indians could potentially be Welsh scholars. Here goes –

1. Only 25% of people in Wales speak Welsh. With 3 million population, thats just 0.75 million speaking Welsh. If even 0.1% of the Indian population learn Welsh, there would be more Indians speaking Welsh than Welsh and we can move to Wales to teach Welsh. Afterall, it is so difficult for Indians to get Teach English jobs, since Americans (who don’t even speak English) are given priority. There might just be hope for us in the British job market, other than opening Indian restaurants.

2. Good morning is Bore – da and Good evening is Prynhawn – da. As a South Indian who uses enna da, po da (Da is a fond way to refer to a friend in Tamil) and as a Bengali who uses Dada (Brother) all the time, we are almost there when it comes tousing the Welsh da. So, we should be able to pick up the language.

3. There is only 1 Television Channel in all of Wales, that is in Welsh language. Imagine that. With Indians potentially becoming Welsh teachers, there is a future business model for Star Welsh or Zee Welsh. Ekta’s new serial –  ‘Croeso i Cymru’ written as ‘Kroeso i Kymru’.

4. They say Welsh is complicated as it has alphabets like Ll (double l), which is pronounced as ‘thl’ rolling the tongue a bit. Hmmm, what about ksa, jna, tka, sra and so on in Hindi script to name a few.

And with hundreds more in all the other Indian languages, rolling the tongue would hardly be an issue. We can even speak full Welsh sentences with Laddoos stuffed in our mouth or Banarasi pans.

5. Who has heard of Gummiddipoondi and Jhumritalaiya. Those are small towns in North and South India. We love these complicated sounds, don’t we? Please check out this video, a trailer of the the most complicated town name in Welsh.

Yeah, the town is called Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.
It means The church of St. Mary in the hollow of white hazel trees near the rapid whirlpool by St. Tysilio’s of the red cave. Phew! In short, they call this town Llanfair. But, I still love the long name. Click here to go to the towns website.

Alls well that ends well. We had a blast indeed. Classes were done by 2 and we also managed to beat Brechdanau or lunch.As exotic as it sounds, it’s just sandwich. Look at those satisfied Welsh smiles. Grinnnnnn.

Welsh Scholars from Asia

So, are you convinced? If you are, you can start your Welsh lessons today. Since I am not back in India, I can’t start classes. For now, go to Google Translator (English to Welsh translation) and learn these three things –

1. I will plan a holiday to Wales very soon
2. I love Backpacking Ninja and will buy her free tickets to travel with me
3. Kyunki ek ninja bhi kabhi cubicle mein thi

…..a os gwel
wch yn dda….
(….. And please…..)

Once you are done with these basic lessons, drop in a comment in Welsh on this blogpost of mine and you may just be the one to receive a postcard from Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.

The Llanfair lessons

Hwy! Bye!
Go drink some Chai.

…. and for more Cardiff dope, keep checking here……

51 thoughts on “The Great Welsh Showdown – Day 1 – On my way to becoming a Welsh Scholar…

  1. WoW Aparna,I’m so glad to see you have continued amazing ‘ventures. I’m stoked to be a part of it if only through your blogs…I wish you luck on all your challenges, and learning welsh!I’m still trying with my portugues..beijos

  2. Good to see you learnt Welsh too!!! I am sure to go back there someday since I loved it out there so much. I am sure you will love it too. Expecting you to win this round now!!! Take care and enjoy the Welsh hospitality.

  3. this is suuch a nice blog… love it , and would seriously do this one day.. and waise i hate classes coz they make me sleepy.. i wud love backpacking ninja to come join me and have chai in wales mayb..

  4. Arall antur! Un o’r dyddiau hyn yr wyf yn mynd i tag ynghyd â chi ac yn dysgu sut i wir yn gweld y byd:) Cadwch y swyddi i ddod, maent bob amser yn hwyl darllen….ac yn awr yr wyf yn gwybod Cymraeg! Sweeet!And in English:Another adventure! One of these days I am going to tag along with you and learn how to really see the world 🙂 Keep the posts coming, they are always a fun read. …and now I know Welsh! Sweeet!!!

  5. your blog should be made a mandatory read to IT engineers,patients and depressants ,it serves as a wonderful anti-depressant (for a guy like me who is currently going through a nightmare in the call), and instead of getting fuming over the client, i read your blog (during the call 🙂 ) and was making really funny faces trying to pronounce your welsh words. i am sure your auto-biography/blog would replace our geography text books someday :)all the very best.spread a lot of axe

  6. “The church of St. Mary in the hollow of white hazel trees near the rapid whirlpool by St. Tysilio’s of the red cave” — I guess you won’t need a map or ever stop for directions to get there. Fantastic post! My dad’s first job in the UK was in Wales. I should show him this. Ac efallai y dylech gysylltu â Google Cyfieithydd fel ein bod i gyd yn deall y gweddill y sylwadau… (And maybe you should link to Google Translator so that we all understand the rest of the comments…)Have a blast while I get back to writing about elevated expressways :-)Much love as always, Apso, take good care of yourself

  7. super! pawb chennym i maes dyma yn cael bwff ddiolch atat. ‘n fawr yn cerdded a ddeisyf ‘ch pawb ‘r llwydd :)(super! all of us out here are having a blast thanks to you…Great going and wish you all the success :))

  8. Shwmae!I am already comparing WElsh to Spanish to make this super cryptic langauge easy to understand…Dwi yn caru ‘i..Allwn chwarae balog twister campau ag others siwrnai ach baciaCa Cellwair!cara

  9. hey nid oes yn cael eich tafod drawedig ag y peth Cymraeg. hyn yn swnio fel iaith seren rhyfeloedd.”hey there don’t get your tongue stuck with this welsh thing. this sounds like star wars language.”

  10. Hey Aparna,I loved reading this blog of yours..a very interesting and exciting trip !! :)have fun in your trip. sounds like a real toughie lang !! its great that you could learn it !!great going girl !! :)Cheers,Vidya B

  11. Oh my God! indeed it is an amazing experience. I would have fainted in scare but I know that you manage to pick up languages like the back of your palm. Welcome Welsh Scholar! Cheers! Love you.

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