As an English person living in Wales life can be slightly confusing sometimes. I don’t speak Welsh and know very little of it other than the basics.
I could wish you a good morning or a good night but that would be about my lot.

I settled in Wales in 1997 after I married my husband. He was brought up here from the age of 3. Hence he was brought up bilingual speaking both Welsh and English.
My children learn Welsh as they go through the school system but we don’t speak it at home other than occasionally.

We live in an old market town and it’s not unusual to hear Welsh spoken daily but it’s not usually a struggle to be understood in English.

The circles I move in we largely speak English. I’ve never been inclined to want to learn Welsh although it would be easier for me if I wanted to get a job here.

I suppose this is because I’ve always hoped that we would move away at some point. Due to various factors I don’t want this to be our forever home although it’s very nice.

Just occasionally not being able to speak the language of my children’s births is awkward and makes me feel an outsider.

The last couple of months I’ve been caught in a couple of situations where 2 Welsh speakers have carried on a conversation in my presence and I’ve not had a clue what they’re speaking about. I don’t think they’re being rude. They’re just talking the language of their birth and they don’t have a problem with me speaking English.
It does make me wonder though whether it would be worthwhile me learning the language.

Ironically enough my Grandfather was Welsh.

Fortunately where we live speaking Welsh is not a big issue but there are some villages in Wales where being an English person goes against your success with regards to jobs.

By the way there’s an old joke that says Welsh will be the language of Heaven, that’s because it will take an eternity to learn!


20 thoughts on “The language of Heaven?

  1. This struck a chord with me for some reason. I always vowed that if I moved away to another country, that the utmost respect for that country would be to learn their language. Do what you can. Always:) Languages are difficult!

    1. I suppose if I hadn’t just gone over the border or over the bridge I would have made more effort. I think it boils down to the fact I still think of London as home.

  2. You got me at ‘ not being able to speak the language of my children’s births’ – while you have dealt with it gracefully and with confidence, that one line really made me ache. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I know one word in Navajo. It is Ya Ta Hey (sounds just like it is spelled but with emphasis on a deep throat sound which is very short) Ya’ Ta’ Hey’ (Means: Hello! or: Hello Friend!)


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