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Thursday, October 13, 2005

Brother Tongue

Oh yes. Having whisked around the world on my mini-world tour the last couple of weeks, I've got quite used to the oral vagaries of strangers. How rough the Spanish tongue is, and how interesting is a New York twang to roll around the mouth.

But none more curious to me than the Welsh language, which I was plunged into last week. It uses all the same inflections, accents and sounds of English, but with the noises in the wrong order. Why, when I was stationed in the very luxurious offices of TV's 'Doctor Who or Whom' the week gone, my tiny window looked down upon the outside set of 'Pobol y Cwm', the Welsh soap opera that appears to be like our perennial favourite EastEnders, but with more mining and TB. The day wasn't complete without the Welshy translated sounds of someone shouting "You slaaaaaag!" drifting up to my steamy portal.

They're very proud that the whole thing is in their native language; a klaxon went off one afternoon while they were filming and we were all evacuated from the BBC into the car park. Half the people thought it was a fire alarm, the rest thought it was because someone had accidentally said something in English.

I'd like to learn more dialects, though it's something I show no natural affinity for. As I'm sure you know, dear reader, my grasp of the English language is more of a tortuous stranglehold, so trying to get by in France, the next country along, is sheer hilarity in itself. For some reason, all my words come out as feminine. So I'm in constant awe of people from the backwater of the world who manage to find themselves in good old Blighty with a nice grip of the lingo. Although slightly suspicious too; certainly after being followed around a discothèque by an Iranian who didn't know the English for 'I have a boyfriend', yet could happily announce 'You have a nice cock' when he suddenly appeared at the next urinal along.

Although you can explain that; I have, in my time, managed to pick up a little Hungarian thanks to some of the Gentleman's Recreational Videos I have acquired over the years. Though it's hardly conversational, it will get you some ice from a hotel porter, and I do know how to get my plumbing looked at.

Both with hilarious misunderstandings.
 

6 comments:

Jay said...

it's true. The only French Lee knows is from Lady Marmalade...

Lee said...

Oh yes.

Voo-Ley Voo Cuushay Aveck Mwah Se Swah.

Michael Leahy said...

We used to watch Harlech TV from across the pond in... Dublin (on a clear day we could see the coast that was broadcasting to us). All I can say, "Cymraeg y bawb".

Spaceminx said...

The only Welsh I know is Blyth Drwg and *deep breath* Llanfairpwyllgwyngyllgogerychwynllantisilliogogogoch.

Spaceminx said...

Sorry, that should read Llanfairpwyllgwyngyllgogerychwyndrobwyllantisilliogogogoch.

I wonder what a spellchecker would make of that?

Lubin said...

I went to Cardiff for the first time ever last weekend and the accent is still going around my head...