Thursday, 10 June 2010

Though I once lived on a street called 'Szyszko-Bohusz'. 10-3.

Talking of supermarket signs, I'm in Wales at the moment, and very much enjoying the language.


That's a twelve letter word with a single vowel. You've got to admire a language that can do that. Even if you count the ys it's a 9-3 walkover for the consonants. 'Beer' is cwrw - a 4-nil whitewash! I gather, from the extremely tiny bit of research I just did, that actually w is a vowel in Welsh (damn), and so cwrw is pronounced something like 'cu-roo'; but as I first tried to pronounce it to myself, in my ignorant English way, it came out very much like the noise our dog used to make when puzzled.

That extremely tiny bit of research also told me that Welsh does not have the letters J, K, Q, V, X or Z. What extremely low-scoring Scrabble games they must have. Though apparently they do sometimes borrow these letters for words that originate from other languages, with the excellent result that the Welsh for zoo is 'zw'.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

The lack of the letter J is most obvious when a Welsh person asks for Jam. It is said with so much anger and resentment at using this extra letter, that it is usually shouted as 'JOM'

John Finnemore said...

Thank you. I will now make it the mission of my remaining time in Wales to engineer a situation whereby a Welsh person has to ask me for jam. If possible, whilst addressing me by name.

Ross Bennett said...

It's probably not much fun inviting groups to sing "Dyohn Djacob Dyingleheimer-Schmidt," then.

So that picture of the cereal aisle...would that be pronounced "Grown food?"

Anonymous said...

I have a fondness for the word 'snwcr'. If not for the game itself.

Ross Bennett said...

Also, was this later in life, or were you a Szyszko kid?

Richard O. Smith said...

Ensure you're first down for breakfast in your B&B then collect all the mini jams from the other tables and place them on yours. And wear a name badge. Should work.

Also request the waiter asks chef if they’ve any jaffa cakes, jelly, jersey cream, Jacob’s crackers and jerusalem archicokes.

Ross Bennett said...

Good idea covering all the other Js. Just in case the rule is "Jam tomorrow and jam yesterday, but never jam in Wales."

Anonymous said...

Ah, now we know where you got the funny names in Cabin Pressure. If you had lived on boring streets like Owens Avenue you might be an accountant now.

Ows said...

"Cwrw" is actually pronounced "coo-roo".
"Grawnfwydydd" (Cereals) is pronounced "grahoon-vohyd-ith".

It really is a lot easier to learn the language before trying to mangle a translation though!

NoisyJones said...

It's particularly perplexing that my Welsh greatgrandfather was Evan-Jones. Maybe that's why he fled to England.

Anonymous said...

Still, it could always be that W and Y are vowels in Welsh. Though not all of the time. so it only looks odd if you're expecting it to obey the same laws as English. Which is terribly colonial of you.

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