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I was browsing BBC Cymru this evening when a pop-up appeared asking if I had five minutes for a quick survey. Five minutes for a Welsh-speaker computes to at least fifteen for me, I thought, but clicked anyway. I got asked a total of three questions: age, sex, and place of residence. There was an individual option for every conceivable constituent of the United Kingdom and then some (How many Welshmen could there possibly be on Man?) plus a pull-down menu for "locations outside the UK"...which was entirely in English. As soon as I'd chosen "United States", I was politely thanked for my participation. Somehow I get the feeling that even the slowest Welshman wouldn't need five minutes to complete all that.
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When it came out in the course of conversation last night at Tupper's party that I had recently translated the first line of Die Verwandlung into Irish, he demanded to know what it would be in Welsh. Herewith my first approximation:
Pan ddihunodd Gregor Samsa o freuddwydion anesmwyth un bore, cafodd ei hun wedi ei drawsffurfio yn ei wely ym mhryf anferth.
I'm more confident about the choice of pryf to gloss Kafka's Ungeziefer than I am of míolra in the Irish version. After all, míolra is derived from míol, which in contrast to Ungeziefer could be applied to animals which were not unclean. But pryfed are unambiguously vermin. As for the overall register, it's not full-on literary by any means, but it's more formal than I would use in speech (notably in the use of cafodd instead of fe gaeth e, the general lack of circumfixed pronouns, and nasal mutation after yn).

(I should probably write more about the party at some point, but right now I'm still feeling a bit raw about what I feel was a certain lack of recognition of my contribution. A couple of guests asked me--as well one might--why "the guy on crutches is getting up and answering the door" and I had to find some polite lie to cover up the fact that some aspects of the evening the host had simply not thought through.)
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Apr. 9th, 2010 10:13 am

Trasnaeth

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Although I've been interested in both Irish and Welsh for a long time, it's only relatively recently that I've tried to write much in either. This is particularly true of Irish, so it wasn't surprising when I started to find myself suffering interference from Welsh. They're the only two languages I speak any of where the default word order is verb-first, so it was particularly noticeable when I'd go to start a sentence with and mae (or oes) would come out instead. Now that I've done more Irish, the reverse is at least as common--not to mention that I keep wanting to import the Irish copular construction into Welsh.

Another source of confusion is pre-verbal particles. Both languages have a leniting affirmative particle, but the usage is completely different. Welsh fe (mi if you're a Gog) can appear before any conjugated verb in any tense (except mae, presumably because this form is already distinctively affirmative). Irish do, on the other hand, is only used in the past tense. Both are optional (and do is practically obsolete in colloquial modern Irish), but I prefer them in certain contexts. Just recently, though, I've noticed myself occasionally trying to insert do were it doesn't belong--namely, before non-past verbal forms--which is something I can only chalk up to Welsh influence. Fe wela i di fory is perfectly acceptable Welsh; *D'fheicfead thú amáireach, not so much.

But, as I said above, the confusion goes both ways these days. Both languages have consonant mutation in prepositional phrases, but different kinds and in different circumstances. In Irish, all nouns preceded by the definite article get eclipsed regardless of gender. But for Welsh, the rules for definite nouns are the same as they are (in both languages) for the casus rectus: Lenition for feminine nouns only. So no problem in a case like ar an gcathaoir/ar y gathair "on the chair". But when you have a masculine noun like bwrdd, I find myself wanting to write *ar y fwrdd (or even *ar y mwrdd) under the influence of Irish ar an mbord.
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Ran into my hot bear coworker at Bear Night and my eyes were immediately drawn to his chest. And not just because of his eye-popping pecs this time either. No, it was the dragon-shaped logo, which combined with the dark red background sent the words "CYMRU AM BYTH!" coursing through my brain. I immediately surmised that it wasn't the jersey of the Welsh National Team due to the conspicuous lack of "BRAINS", but that didn't tell me whose jersey it was. He couldn't tell me either; seems a buddy from his days with the Gotham Knights had sent him a passel of old shirts when he cleaned up his apartment, and this was one of them.

Don't mock me, Cymrophiles, but when I saw the "DYFED STEELS" logo on the back, I thought I'd found the name of the team. Sleuthing the next day, however, determined that this was a merely a sponsor and the ruggers in question were the Llanelli Scarlets. (They dropped the "Llanelli" from their name to broaden their appeal when Wales was reorganised into four rugby regions a few years back.) Later I told another coworker about this and he asked me, "What are they called in Welsh?" I couldn't answer authoritatively, but I thought maybe "y Cochion". Wrong; sad to say but Welsh Wikipedia sez "y Sgarlets". At least the Cardiff Blues are the Gleision Caerdydd instead of "y Bliws". Rounding out the big four are the Ospreys/Gweilch and the Newport Gwent Dragons/Dreigiau Casnewydd Gwent, and apparently plans are afoot for a fifth major team based in Colwyn Bay.

Forgive my insufferable ignorance, but I'd never realised what a major sport rugby was in Wales. In England, at any rate, it's associated with the posher schools, football being the sport with the greatest mass appeal. I never realised how firmly it had taken root in the Valleys. I guess the next step is actually watching a game or two?

ETA: I don't know what it says about my typing skills or my linguistic confusion that every time I had to type the word "rugby" in this post, I began writing it the Welsh way (rygbi) and had to go back and correct it.
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Fe wn i dylwn i sgwennu yn Gymraeg heddiw o achos Gŵyl Dewi, ond does mo'r help 'da fi: does dim ar fy meddwl i ond Gwyddeleg.

Cad'na thaobh--i gcathair agus céad tigh tábhairne "Éireannach" inti--go bhfuil sé beagnach dodhéanta duine d'fháil agus an t-eolas aige conas a cuirtear amach gloine Guinness chuibhseach? Tá mo sháith agam. Tráthnóna aréir do chuireas ar ais den chéad uair praiseach de phionta agus--gurab Dia m'fhinné!--déanfad amhlaidh arís!
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Coming back on the drive last night, we saw a lighted display announcing the closure of the Bryn Mawr exit. Only on the sign the name of the street was spelled "BRYN MARW". Now some of you (i.e. anyone unfortunate enough to be within earshot of me when the subject's come up before) know that "Bryn Mawr" is a Welsh name meaning "big" (mawr) "hill" (bryn). As it turns out, marw is a Welsh word as well, one meaning "dead".
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There's a lot of cute things going on in this video--starting with the little bear who sings and wields a wild razor!

(If you can't understand what's being said, then it's a sign you need to work on your Welsh. Or your Russian. Or both.)
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y gath "cat"
y cwrcath, y cwrcyn "tomcat"
y gath fenyw "she-cat"
pws fach "puss puss!"
y côt "coat"
brych "tabby"
trilliw "tortoiseshell"
y cwt, y gynffon "tail"
y bawen "paw"
y wisgeren "whisker"
mint(ys) y gath "catnip"
y cibl "kibble"
y blwch tywod "sandbox"
mewian "mewing"
oernadu, gwrcatha "caterwauling"
hepian "catnapping"
disbaddu/ysbaddu "spaying"
llech-hela "stalking"
canu grwndi/crwth "purring"
anwesu "petting"
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Rw i wedi cael breuddwydion a ddalodd tameidiau o Gymraeg o'r blaen, ond dim byd fel yr un oedd gyda fi neithiwr. Ro'n i'n teithio mewn trên, ond ro'n i wedi methu f'arhosiad ac yn cerdded yn ôl tryw'r trên pan ddes i ar draws dau lanciau ac un lances oedd yn eistedd gyda'i gilydd ac yn sgwrsio yn iaith estron. Glywes i lawer o elliau a ddechrawodd rasio 'nghalon i.

Ro'n i'n eisiau deud, "Ydych chi'n siarad Cymraeg?" ond o'n i ffili cofio'r geiriau ac allwn i ddim ond gweiddi "CYMRAEG!". Ofynodd yr lances i fi, "Wyt ti'n siarad Cymraeg?" "Tipyn bach," meddwn i, "tipyn bach iawn!" O'n i'n ffili deall ei chwestiwn nesa, felly ddywedes i "Pam?" Chwerthinodd y dau lanciau. "I was asking what you thought of the air and the land," meddai hi a dangos y cefn gwlad tu fas i'r ffenestr.

(Oedd rhagor na hyn, ond aroses i'n rhy hir cyn ei rhoi ar glawr.)
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Welsh

  • y lle tân "fireplace"
  • y grât "fireplace; fire grate"
  • y blwch tân "firebox"
  • y simnai "chimney"
  • y ffliw "flue"
  • y caead "damper"
  • yr aelwyd "hearth"
  • y fantell simnai "mantel"
  • y silff ben tân "mantlepiece, mantelshelf"
  • y sgrîn dân "fire screen; fire guard"
  • y brigwn "fire-dog"
  • y gobed "andiron, cobiron"
  • y heyrn tân "fire irons"
  • y p(r(ocer "poker"
  • y fegin "bellows"
  • yr efel dân "fire tongs"
  • y coed tân "firewood"
  • y sbilsen "spill"
  • y huddygl "soot"
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'A lleddaist ti y Siaberwoc?
Tyrd yma, hapllon fachgen!
O jiwblus ddydd! Hwrê! Hwroc!'
Gan wenu arno'n llawen.

"Jabberwocky" in Welsh.
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Since I know [livejournal.com profile] rollick loves English mangled by reverse translation, here's a treat for her courtesy of Morfablog. Nic has a bone to pick with the Town Council of Barry for putting English text through an atrocious machine translator and slapping the resulting "Scymraeg" (pronounced "scum-rag") on their home page. To give the Welsh-impaired an idea of how awful this sounds, he's corrected the rendering of the first paragraph and fed it in through the Welsh-to-English side. The result:
Among things other, he will be the position this containing knowledge signs opportunities and resources available crookedly the bars, with contain the services that who ‘is heartburn have them prepare with Council the Town.
Mae'n ddigon clir, nag ydy? Sorry--I mean "He 'is being heartburn enough clear, nor he is being?"
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Last night, as I was getting ready to leave work, I saw a request on [livejournal.com profile] dysgu_cymraeg for a translation of "Talk dirty to me!" I had an idea what this would be in Welsh, but--as with anything this idiomatic--I wasn't certain, so I spent some time futzing with dictionaries and Googling around without finding anything definitive. (Where are the Welsh-language sex sites? I ask you.) Then it occurred to me:

Why don't I simply ask that native Welsh-speaker who used to be sex worker that I know?

P.S.: Because I knew you'd want to know: "Siarad â fi'n fudr!" ['ʃa:ɾada:'vi:n'vɨ:dɨɾ]
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[The following is my first ever mash note to a performer I saw live. Ah, the beauty of writing in a foreign language--I can't really hear how utterly naff I sound!]
Mike,

Oedd uchelbwynt Celtic Fest imi weld eich perfformiad byw. (Llall oedd gwrando ar Jon Langford efo'r gefnogaeth côr meibion Cymreig--gobeithio ti hefyd gest cyfle i'w clywed ychydig.) Dw i wedi prynu un o'ch CDs, ond oedd yn rhy hwyr i gael ei llofnodi. Efallai allet ti anfon llun llofnodedig ata i. Yn topless. (Dwi'n cellwair 'da ti wrth gwrs. Ond dim rili.)

Pob hwyl,

Un o'ch ffannau di-rif yn Sicago

P.S.: Unrhyw siawns byddwch chi'n recordio "Auntie Henrietta o Sicago" er ein mwyn ni fan hyn? Priti plîs?

P.S.: Ie, o'n i'n meddw pan sgwennes hwn.
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The somnilingual mind mockery continues! Last night it was--WELSH! Not a conversation this time, but a song I was listening to on the radio. I was jotting down bits of the chorus on an envelope so I could Google the lyrics later. The only scrap I remember is "gallu y dyn", which seems to represent some sort of hybridising of the titles "Gafael yn dynn" from Ffa Coffi Pawb and "Godro'r fuwch" from Y Tebot Piws, both of which are on the ol' iPod. From what I can remember of the tune, it was closer to the latter.

Yesterday, I mentioned my upcoming trip to a Chinese coworker and showed her the book I'm reading. She was very excited and said she might have some materials I would find useful. She brought them in today: 汉语文化双向教程 (Intermediate Chinese : a cultural approach) and a five-hundred page monster called 北京行. As the name of the latter suggests, it concentrate on teaching you how to get around Beijing. The former looks a bit more interesting, but it could be just the font. Maybe I could slip it underneath my pillow. (《北京行》I could simply use as a pillow.)
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Dydd Dewi Sant dechreuodd 'da un twrf. Tua hanner awr wedi tri naeth y storm ddeffro fi. Rhai munudau yn hwyrach weles i'r fflachiad disglair ac oedd y twrf dilynol mor uchel ysgytiodd y ffenestri. Mae hwn yn taranau a mellt blaena am y flwyddyn hon?

Ces i wahoddiad i ddathliad y Cambrian Benevolent Society ar ddydd Sadwrn nesa, ond arfaetha i ddim mynychu. Ffilmiau fampiresau mae'n ngalw i!
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Hapusrwydd yw...talu mwy na cant punt am wirodydd a mae dim ond un botel ar 'nhraul i fy hunan. Mae hi'n oude jenever a mae'n dra dda.

Translation: Happiness is...spending more than $200 on liquor and having but one bottle left for my own use. It's an oude jenever and it's pretty good.
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Mae fy ffrindiau hirymaros yn deall yr angen "pigiad" Cymraeg arna i. Oedd hyn yn prifreswm 'da fi dros mynd yn y gŵyl, yn y pen draw. Felly aethon nhw am dro tu allan (o leia [livejournal.com profile] bunj a [livejournal.com profile] snowy_owlet; sa i'n gwybod beth oedd [livejournal.com profile] prilicla a [livejournal.com profile] lhn yn gwneud) tra mod i'n ymgasglu mewn grwp o bedwar mewn swyddfa wag ar flaen y adeiliad. Oedd un yn ein mysg yn hollol dechreuwr, yr llall yn siarad tipyn bach (fel fi), ac y trydydd yn ddysgwr canolradd. Oedd gen y dyn 'na defnyddiau dysgu naeth e roi inni.

Hoffwn i allu weud nad oedd fy siarad i ddim yn hanner drwg, ond galla i ddim gweud yn arbennig o dda. Ro'n i wedi anghofio 'narostyngiad i 'da gwragedd o Fangor ac astudies i dipyn cyn i mi fynd. Oherwydd hyn ro'n i'n gallu gweud wrthyn nhw taw "llyfrgellydd" yw fi. Oedd arweinydd yn siarad fel Gog a chaeth e ei ddrysu gan f'acen Hwntw i.
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Ond pan ddaw diwedd y byd
Dw i eisiau bod efo ti
A phan ddaw'r byd i ben
(Dw i eisiau bod efo ti)
A phan ddaw'r dilyw mawr
Dwisho bod hefo ti
A phan ddaw'r awyr i lawr
(Dw i eisiau bod efo ti)
A drwy afonydd o dan cawn nofio
A phan ddaw'r byd i ben

Translation )
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Roedd y prynhawn yn y Canolfan Treftadaeth Wyddeleg-Americanaidd yn eitha hyfryd. Does dim llawer treftadaeth gymreig 'da ni (dim ond [livejournal.com profile] snowy_owlet all profi bodolaeth hynafiad Cymreig heb os nac onibai), ond o frwdfrydedd oes hen ddigon. Pan gyrraeddon ni roedd y dawnswyr yn gorffen yn fuan. Er hynny, daethon ni ddim yn rhy hwyr i ddysgu dawnsio! Fe ymafles i yn Cyw Dylluan fel cymares heb gwybod bod hi'n lawr mor dibrofiad â fi. Ta beth doedd dim ots, achos mod i ddim yn dawnsio 'da hi: Dawnswragedd o'r cylch dawns oedd 'nghymeriaid i'n. Dysgon nhw i ni tair dawns gymreig, ond dw i'n cofio dim ond un enw, "Nyth y Gog". Synnes i wrth weld [livejournal.com profile] prilicla ac [livejournal.com profile] lhn yn dawnsio'r dair i gyd 'da ni. Do'n ni ddim yn hanner drwg. (Fel wedodd [livejournal.com profile] snowy_owlet ar ôl i hen wraig greinio: "It wasn't one of us who fell down.")
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