SSi Forum

Baffling Welsh language things


Ok so I guess I made another bad post.
I am sorry - I never meant to imply that this is a hard-and-fast ‘rule’ or that these are the only ways to pronounce the word ‘the’ or that anyone who doesn’t do this is wrong or anything like that.
I don’t understand how I keep getting this wrong.
Anyway, please accept my apologies.


No problem, I said what I said in jest! I had not thought about it before at all. In listening to my mum, it was interesting to hear how she changed between the two and she was only talking about nouns starting with consonants.

Now I’m going to be listening to myself and trying to work out which I say when. That will slow me down a bit! It just shows, you can’t learn to speak a language with a list of rules and a lot of vocab!


Absolutely @Baruch ! When foreigners learning Italian ask me details about things their teachers told them, I usually have no idea of what they’re talking about! :joy:

And I see no reason why Welsh should be more complicated to learn than as first language as a child than any other language.

It’s not a scientific study, but from my own and still very limited experience:

  • when I saw names of towns and a few signs in Welsh while traveling on a train to Holyhead I thought it would be one of the most complicated, weird and…er…my apologies!..ugly sounding languages in the world. :grin:

  • year later, I heard a song that was clearly not in English and thought “What a nice sounding language and it sounds great on music, too.” Found out it was Datblygu, singing in Welsh, and I was “WHAAAAT? This is how those almost random sequences of letters actually sound? Amazing!”

However, I still thought that learning it would be a nightmare. Then I started SSiW and found out…it’s not!
I mean, of course I’m talking about the basics here, not higher academic level. But still, I’m surprised at how easy it is - considering how far it is from my own language (I found just a handful of words reminding me of some Latin origin so far and hardly recognizable when pronounced!).

In fact I guess SSiW it’s as close as you can get to the approach of learning a language as a child - leaving all the complications for later! :wink:


This sounds like Iestyn trying to decide what the southern version of the course should be - “I say it like this. Do other people in the south say it like this? Hang on a minute, DO I say it like that?” :joy:


:grinning: :grinning: :grinning:


I would argue there is no “british” accent…lot of complex history and political agendas how the word British became associated with anything English (before 1700s it was the complete opposite meaning - non-english)


Not anything English. Specific things English. Specific things to do with the myths the English establishment and its hangers-on had told itself.


But the valid point that @Welshead made was that there are two distinct pronunciations of this apparently simple word. I could not define what “rule” by which I use one or the other, but I’m sure I use both, quite naturally, without thinking about it.

One case where I can remember I usually use it is for emphasis, to distinquish from a thing and the (specific) thing (where I say “thee”).


One thing I love about learning another language is discovering all the subtle weirdnesses in one’s native language. :smile:


Good point Mike. I’m really sorry @Welshead if you felt I jumped on you about this. It just suddenly struck me that I didn’t even know that there was a ‘rule’ or generally accepted way of saying the word ‘the’ in different situations.

When I was listening to my mum talking, she was talking about dates when she could do something. She couldn’t do thuh 20th, but could do thee 21st and thee 22nd, so I suppose she was using it for emphasis.

I think it is usually ‘thee’ in front of vowels; when I have occasion to sing “Nellie the elephant packed her bags and said goodbye to the circus…” (fortunately, not often for everyone concerned!), I will always say thee elephant and thuh circus. As you say, @Welshhead, these are all the things that children pick up naturally, without learning rules.

I remember being on a train, many years ago, and I overheard someone saying something like ‘Tottenham for the cup!’. Being from London they pronounced cup as cap. I remember thinking that it was amazing that one simple little three-letter word could be pronounced in at least three different ways: cup, cap and coop!

English is so difficult!

Also, people tell me I have a problem saying the word ‘milk’ (apparently, the actor Michael Sheen found he had the same problem when he went to London). I have no idea how I pronounce it, because I can’t even hear the difference between what I’m saying and what everyone else says! Llefrith/llaeth - no problem! :wink:


I’m guessing that by “British” in reference to accents, Gisella simply meant she mistakes the Australian accent for one of the many accents / dialects of the English language spoken within Britain — not anything to do with the meaning of “British” vs “English” in terms of nationality, culture, politics etc.


Yes, exactly!

I tend to perceive two only main groups of accents: American vs British.

For various coincidences I spent more time talking to Americans (and in the USA) so can usually recognize their accents, while I’m rarely able to catch British ones right away. Therefore at first I can mistake any “unidentified” accent for one of them (although in Manchester once I wondered if they were actually speaking English or another language entirely!)


chuckle - That’s a favourite of mine to sing to my grandson! :slight_smile: I get up the Mandy Miller (original and best!) version on Youtube on our smart TV and we sing along. OK, well I sing, and my grandson puts up with it. :slight_smile: (I hope this doesn’t lead to his needing psycho-analysis in about 20 years time - our son will get half whatever we leave, but I’m not sure if it will cover psychiatrists fees… :slight_smile: ). I tried him with Laurel and Hardy’s “Lonesome Pine” and he started crying! Oh dear…


I think it’s true to say that Australian English is a bit nearer to British English than American English.

Obviously Australia still has close cultural and in many cases, personal ties with Australia.
(My own brother lived there for quite a long time, and many Brits emigrated there, and are still doing so, I believe, if not in quite such high numbers).

And they tend to use British spelling.

Having said that, Australian colloquial English is incredibly colourful, and quite different in “flavour” to standard British English. Hard to explain. You just have to listen. e.g. “Dame Edna”.


It is — quite a lot nearer, actually (I’m speaking as an Aussie who has lived in Britain for nearly 7 years now).

Does it… :wink: I assume you mean with Britain. Well, to some extent, but a lot less so than in the past. In the early to mid 20th century, probably the majority of white Australians were of British ancestry and visiting the UK was still very much thought of as “going home” even if your family had been in Australia for some generations. It’s very different now, as we’ve had immigration from many other parts of the world since WW2 and fewer of us have direct ties to Britain or any great sense that we should think of ourselves as British.

We do. The only words I can think of where we absolutely always use the American spellings are “program” for “programme” and “focused” for “focussed”. Otherwise, standard Australian spelling is the same as British (and we say zed for zebra, not zee for zeebra, too :wink: ).

Hello Possums!! :grinning: :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: (I can assure you, though, we DON’T all talk like that in real life.)


:slight_smile: Apologies, and memo to self: please do not drink and post! :slight_smile:

:slight_smile: I’m disappointed, not to say disillusioned. I thought all those who didn’t talk like Dame Edna talked like Sir Les Patterson…or possibly like “Vinegar Tits” from “Prisoner: Cell Block H” (the original version). :slight_smile:


Oh speaking of colourful…I don’t know how could I forget this, @mikeellwood and @Courtenay:

one of my (early) favorite bands was…Men at Work!
There was lyrics on the cassette inner sleeve and I had learned to sing along and tried to translate them, even though I had just started English at school. :joy:

There were a few things I wasn’t able to find in the dictionary. Starting from “Vegemite” really! :grin:


How did we get from Baffling Welsh Language Things to Baffling Aussie Culture Things?? :grinning: :grinning: :grinning:




I just think some terms can hide what was incredible variety…for example English dialects could differ hugely…as does Scots and Wenglish … so even the word “British English” does no justice … it simply seems to be a fabricated standardisation

No judgement on any comments here… just irked me growing up and I am being cathartic now :wink: