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dai



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

But in the verb-noun in Welsh there seems to be no way of saying " NO ! " to any questions put by The Democrats - ?
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marianneh



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 9:30 am    Post subject: verb noun Reply with quote

I keep coming across references to verb nouns in dictionaries and text books but have never been able to undertand the meaning of the term. Is it when you answer a question with 'ydy' or 'nag ydy' or 'oes' or 'nag oes'?

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marianneh



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 10:19 am    Post subject: the god of hellfire Reply with quote

I had thoughts of going out and doing other things on Tuesday but Byron had a migraine. He agreed to come out the next day.

I felt guilty as I know he inherits migraines from me and my real mother, but I was freed to support Dafydd as king of the underworld in the Hallowe'en play put on by Richard and the ususal cast at the museum in Pontypool.

One officious lady didn't even think I should be allowed into the building before the show started as I was not a member of the cast. But I said I was Dafydd's make up artist or PA or something.

I have often heard of Richard but don't recall meeting him before. He said, ''You can speak Welsh. You can be in the play.''

I was to be the witch wielding a broomstick prettily wrapped in festive paper. For some time I also led around the Mari Lwyd by her reins as she could hardly see anything. The blue electric eyes flashed eerily in her skeletal head and her bony mouth opened and closed creepily, the teeth rattling.

But between scenes, she took the head off and talked about the economy which temporarily spoilt the effect. Richard didn't know yet that my grasp of Welsh is a work in progress.

I was supposed to follow Jonathan as Pwca and rush at the visitors being taken in batches through the darkened museum, brandishing the broom and shouting or chanting, ''Adref, adref am y cynta! Hwch ddu gwta a gipio ola!''. This is a tradition from Pembrokeshire, 'Homeward, homeward with the foremost! A short black sow will catch the hindmost!''

I have mastered it now when it's too late. But at the time all I could remember to say was ''Ymlaen! Ymlaen!'', 'Onward! Onward!'' Perhaps my demeanour in my garish costume and cosmetics made up for my inability to remember the traditional verse, for I was invited to be a permanent member of the cast.

No one could make the same complaint about Dafydd. Several times he greeted the visitors from his throne, ''What! Puny mortals in my kingdom!'', with apparent indignation, then as they were brought forward individually, ''Puny mortal! What is your deepest and darkest desire?''

None of them answered, but just giggled nervously. Perhaps it's just as well.

I know Dafydd's lines went something like this: ''I am the teardrop in the eye of the sun. I am the stag in the midst of the forest.''

Dafydd and Dai also enjoyed the old tradition of shouting at each other about the gear stick all the way to Pontypool. Dai was glad we were enjoying ourselves, but wandered off to look at something of historical and cultural significance, rather than throwing himself into the drama.


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dai



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 6:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Neither the dramatics nor the crowds appeal to me - I went for a limp to stand on the mountain to watch the fireworks alone last night to avoid these : I was not in the cast and so was cast out of the museum on Halloween to wander the highways and byeways and ... The next small town over is Trevethin and this was the home to yet another bunch of Lawrences besides mine ( more bunches dotted around in places like Pont Lawrence ) ... I have never properly looked into it but it turns out that I was wrong to think that they were very wealthy and built the grotto and the folly and that is what I went to look at in the dark - or would have but a large black bull loomed out of the ground beneath me and I thought better of crossing the field so I limped back to Pontypool and got something to eat and had a half in a pub because I needed to rest this useless limb i.e. my leg not ... and then limped back in time to see you finish - just in time to avoid being challenged to speak in Welsh : that part of my brain is locked up with music and the key has been misplaced or rather displaced by now years of misery.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folly_Tower,_Pontypool

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shell_Grotto,_Pontypool

A bit of vanity now - not close relatives to my familiy -

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geoffrey_Lawrence,_1st_Baron_Oaksey

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Lawrence,_2nd_Baron_Trevethin

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Lawrence,_1st_Baron_Trevethin

" Lawrence was the eldest son of David Lawrence, a surgeon, of Pontypool, Monmouthshire, and Elizabeth, daughter of Charles Morgan Williams. He was educated at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, and was called to the Bar, Middle Temple, in 1869. ... In April 1921, aged 77, he was made Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales. He was admitted to the Privy Council at the same time and in August of the same year he was raised to the peerage as Baron Trevethin, of Blaengawney in the County of Monmouth. However, he only remained Lord Chief Justice until March 1922, when he resigned. ... Lord Trevethin married his cousin Jessie Elizabeth, daughter of George Lawrence, in 1875. They had a daughter and four sons, of whom the eldest, Hon. Alfred Clive Lawrence, predeceased his father. ... "

[ I hope that they are distant relatives - perhaps given the near incest there and the recurrance of " David Lawrence-s " all over the place this might explain some of my mental imbalances - ? ]
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marianneh



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PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 1:32 pm    Post subject: gregg-tourettes Reply with quote

People are upset because someone in a Gregg's shop,said that Welsh sounded like Tourette's Syndrome, a curious reversal of the idea that there are no swear words in Welsh. Airheads are always making these foolish remarks about languages and cultures they don't respect.

When new immigrants talk like this about English or even Dutch or French, the natives shrug it off insouciantly because they are in a position of strength.Perhaps Welsh really is in such a fragile position that any thoughtless remark could influence the gullible, and spell its death sentence.

My feeling is that the language is vulnerable, but it's not that vulnerable.

Is this single silly remark very important? Wouldn't it have been better to ignore it, rather than give it the oxygen of publicity? Oops, I've done it now! We should have self respect but not be uptight.

I would have delivered a one line put down, and left it at that if the fool didn't persist. If it is said with obvious malice, you can try this:

''Yes, I suppose that is how it sounds to a shallow, undeucated person who has no interest in culture.'' Say this slowly and consideringly with a cheery smile.

If not, just laugh and say, ''How funny of you to think that! Oddly enough, when I first heard English spoken, I thought it sounded like a constipated and egg bound owl shrieking in agony as it tried to deliver its load.

''But since doing an A level and degree in the language, I appreciate the beauty of English and have really fallen in love with it. I love French and American literature too. Have you ever heard of ' The Murders in the Rue Morgue'?''
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marianneh



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 5:34 am    Post subject: orange utane Reply with quote

In 'The Murders in the Rue Morgue', ear witnesses - they can't be called eye witnesses - to a murder report that the murderer was shouting in some barbarous language,perhaps something from the Balkans. Didn't Squire Weston's sister in 'Tom Jones', say ''Brother, you are a true Croat!''? It was no compliment.

Witnesses believed they heard shouting in a language of a national group that they personally despised or distrusted. It was a different language for each person, depending on their subjective sensibilities, but what they could really hear was the angry chattering of an orang utan. The orange primate was the culprit.

Boz who has been described accurately by an occasional visitor to this site as 'as mad as a fish', picked up the impression that there was a theory that Jack the Ripper was an orang utan, obviously a distorted echo of 'The Murders on the Rue Morgue.'

Tim Saunders and I agreed that this was not feasible, partly because orang utans were rather scarce on the streets of Victorian London. And perhaps more compellingly, an orang utan might or might not be able to kill you with a knife, but it probably wouldn't remove your kidneys with great precision.


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marianneh



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 10:02 am    Post subject: plwto Reply with quote

Somebody wrote to the Western Mail to complain that Welsh was being imposed on us in Wales. He seemed to think that it was not our native tongue but an obstrusive foreign import from Pluto or some far off ungodly place like that.

A nice person took the trouble to explain that it is our native language. But just recently, a Robert Ian Williams has written to the Western Mail again to complain that Welsh is being forced on the people of Wales. Can people really be so cut off from their roots that this sort of ignorance sounds like a reasonable statement?

I'm afraid so. This may be one of those canards that will always be resurrected, however often you explain its fatuity, along with 'Hitler was an atheist', and 'evolution can't have happened, because half an eye is useless.'

It's such a curious reversal of the truth that English was imposed on us historically by the use of the Welsh Not and other oppressive measures, that it is easy to get the impression that the speaker is exhibiting what psychologists call 'projection.'

But I don't think it is even that. It is just abysmal ignorance.
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marianneh



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 11:48 pm    Post subject: nia Reply with quote

When I arrived at the Welsh class this morning, the tutor was proudly displaying the award certificate we'd won. He also showed us pictures of himself shaking hands with Nia Parry as she gave him the prize.

He did look happy. He was grinning from ear to ear. So was Nia of course. She always does. She has a smile like a gate.

From a language tutor, Nia has become quite a legendary figure on S4C. Elke from Germany said today that she had done so much to keep the Welsh language alive.

Nia is going to translate some books into Welsh. She wants our class to proof read them and offer suggestions and constructive criticism before they are published. We are blissed out at being thought worthy.

We have also been awarded a £15 book token. We are going to raffle it, each of us putting in a pound. At Elke's suggestion, the proceeds will go either to the air ambulance charity or Shelter Cymru.

I said to Elke that I'd seen many more people sleeping on the streets in Newport and Cardiff in recent times than formerly. Had she noticed it too?

She had. The tipping point came in 2010, after the election of David Cameron.

I wondered aloud about the first series I'd seen of 'Cariad@Iaith' with Nia Parry. She was always literally barefoot and pregnant. Why?

It's not the recipe for making babies that is a mystery to me. It was why she was always barefoot.

Elke said, ''It [pregnancy] makes your feet swell.'' That's one symptom of pregnancy I'd always been spared, and I'd forgotten that it ever happened.

I really thought there was a mystical reason for it. Nia refused any anaesthetic when giving birth. Elke said, ''You can breathe your way through it.''

I suppose I did continue to breathe as I gave birth but I was so busy screaming that I didn't notice. Nia and Elke must have been blessed by the gods, while I have been cursed by Agrawn, king of Hell.
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dai



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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aaaaah - but did you scream yng Nghymraeg ?

I do not know how to scream yng Ngyhmraeg but I suspect that given their native tongue women - and men - have different intonations to scream with in the same way that cats meow differently in various languages ...

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/what-does-a-cat-say-in-japanese-in-french-in-greek.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/03/30/does-your-cat-have-an-accent/

" Meow " is translated by Google into Welsh as " Meow " but I swear that my first cat had a Kaerdiff accent and said something like " Miyowowlike " and valley cats " Mowyee." Gog cats ... " Miaw " ... ?

I had a rare experience this evening : Ba had a spare ticket for The Oyster Band ... no - she was lumbered with three tickets at £17.50 having bought four thinking that others had promised to come and I feel guilty about it having gone along and not even really noticed the music because I continued to be trapped in vicious bouts of rumination throughout and people screaming in Scottish do not really float my boat ... I think that you will concur that even when subsidised by Cardiff City County Council these events are for people more affluent than ourselves - but what about the provision for evening classes to distract us using an even bigger subsidy - or indeed The Public Library which I frequent not to really read so often as to use a printer once in a while without breaking open a £20 cartridge to print one sheet and then find it dried out the following week ...

http://www.oysterband.co.uk

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=29PKMMNBHEk
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marianneh



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:11 am    Post subject: the primal scream Reply with quote

That's a nifty use of the nasal mutilation ...er, mutation. Naddo, do'n i ddim yn sgrechian yng Nghymraeg. A bit of folk music is like a tiny dose of the love poetry of the silver poets of the Renaissance. It's tolerable, even fun. But two hours solid will get you climbing the walls, screaming.

Animals other than giraffes have regional accents. Dafydd knew a cat who meowed in Serbo-Croat.She was the haughtiest, most objectionable creature!

We all know or ought to know that Russian dogs say, ''Naff naff.'' My Welsh wasn't up to much when I was actively fertile, but I've now temporarily stopped reading for pleasure in English except on the net, and thrown myself into Cymraeg.

In 'Y Nant' by Bet Jones, a novel we've just started in the Newport class, a residential weekend class for improving spoken Welsh goes badly wrong. There is so much sinister stuff in people's pasts too. A Patagonian Welshman is extremely upset to hear the British state or Margaret Thatcher spoken well of, or any casual references to the Falklands war. His father was on the Belgrano.
He was murdered by 'Gran Bretagna'

Professor Timothy Starling is vibrant and outgoing. His grey downtrodden wife Mary is always in his shadow. I think we're going to find out something very sinister about Timothy. An undercover policeman on the course is interested in his voyeuristic tendencies.

His villainy is established straight away when his poor wife makes a courteous remark in English, and he slaps her down, saying sternly, ''Na Mary! Dim Saesneg! Popeth yn Cymraeg!''.


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marianneh



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:30 am    Post subject: dim saesneg Reply with quote

It's rather amusing that the words 'Dim Saesneg' are used to establish perfidy.Somebody who has been suffering from clinical depression has accused me of self pity as expressed in moaning about uncongenial people on Welsh courses, not to mention recounting times when I've encountered violence form unreasonable individuals.

He thought I was fishing for pity. In fact, I hate being pitied. Don't most people?

I did mention Nansi who was a disgrace, like an unpleasant child, but not in order to wallow in self pity about what a bully she was. I just used her to illustrate the point that you mustn't allow yourself to be bullied on an adult education programme.

It's true that it became standard policy by common consent, to tell me off every time I prattled away in English for my own convenience. The words, ''Dim Saesneg, Marianne!'', constantly rang through the room.

It's had some success as it's driven me to work much harder at Welsh. The staff and other people on the course may have been genuinely exasperated. But they were not being bullies. I didn't mean to imply that they were. This method has often been successful in the past.
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dai



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that pity lubricates social relationships i.e. not being preoccupied with and caught up in one's own point of view especially when it is having a negative effect or indeed affect upon others or when others are at a disadvantage in a situation. This is not the same thing as when looking down at others with something bordering upon scorn but with a supposedly sympathetic twist yet excluding them because they are witless. My dad for example might have considered my not speaking Welsh with a kind of pity but his two attitudes to it were that I was somehow supposed to teach myself Welsh from some books lying around if I were interested and that if I made any progress he might help me - as if a child could educate themselves like an adult out of a book - but he would not volunteer to teach me because it was a useless language irrelevant to my life if not his : he had to resort to using Welsh again when his mother in her old age retreated into talking Welsh to herself and ignored those around her speaking English. I suspect that my anxiety about Welsh - and other languages - as well as my interest in it has its origins in this situation. Presently I am having difficulties with English also : I find myself staring at words on the page and in the air both knowing their meanings but also finding them as meaningless as if they were foreign to me e.g. what does " English " denote ?
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marianneh



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 10:51 am    Post subject: witless Reply with quote

There is such a thing as respectful compassion. When I recounted some witless and oppressive behaviour by the people who brought me up, I was not offended when Liz Jones breathed, ''I feel really sorry for you, having parents like that!''

But then there is cheap sentimental pity which makes the person feel worse than ever, that weakens them. I even wonder if it is done with malice aforethought. Also when a person says, ''I feel sorry for someone who could throw a flame thrower into a disco'' , it usually means ''I despise the person'', but sounds more polite.

I don't know if I should sympathise with you about your father. From previous posts, I had the impression that he could be rigid and unnecessarily principled about things that didn't need to be a matter of principle, taking no account of a child's perspective and developmental stage.

He obviously had a bit of double think about Welsh which was not helpful, or perhaps it is what psychologists call the double bind, ''Go and learn to swim but don't go near the water.''

I'm afraid I may be headed for dementia as I keep forgetting words in English, but I don't think that's what's happening when you look at a word like 'English' and ponder its meaning. It's more of a philosophical or existential question.


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marianneh



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 10:58 am    Post subject: my father's guru Reply with quote

As you know, I'm deeply fascinated by linguistics and etymology although my knowledge of the subjects is a bit undeveloped. So when I find someone on a course who is an expert on these subjects and also has an engaging personality, I look up to them to an extent that is almost disturbing.

I'm sure Jeffrey Masson would agree that there is something absurd about wanting to 'sit at the feet of Gamaliel'. It is at war with my basic egalitarianism.
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marianneh



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 11:31 am    Post subject: no hate Reply with quote

Since 1997, we've heard of 'Cool Cymru.' Richard Dawkins has praised our little nation for secularising faster than the rest of the UK. But there are loads of Non -Conformist chapels left from the days before organised religion went into free fall.

They had a valuable function. They provided the poor and distressed with social support. The emotional choral singing was wonderful.

But they also encouraged a puritanical suspicion of pleasure, and a petty attitude to other people, not to mention promoting nonsense like Sabbatarianism. Few people would have contradicted Caitlin Thomas when she wrote that 'the Welsh are very narrow.'

But that was a phase we went through between the 1700s and some time in the twentieth century. When I was growing up in Llanelli, chapels were ubiquitous, but you didn't really notice them. They were obstacles that you had to walk around, decaying remnants of a bygone age;chapel architecture erased itself.You took one look at a chapel, and immediately dismissed it from your mind.

Of course there are Non-Conformist ministers and Non-Conformist minsters. There are urbane and entertaining philosophical types like Richard Gillion who came to our Welsh course until recently. And then there are chuckle headed prating gobshites.

I'd been embarrassed by the archetypal narrow minded, pious Welsh characters who appeared on 'Rising Damp' and 'Coronation Street' in the 70s. I thought that was the past.

But I'm wondering now if some unhelpful memes inculcated by the chapels are still in circulation, at least among the older generation. I had been thinking that someone on the weekend Welsh course was joking when he told me off for taking the Lord's name in vain. But I fear now that he really meant it,and I've upset him in other ways as well.

I'd been saying how great everyone on the course was since I've managed to shake off Nansi. But I am beginning to feel a bit uneasy. Another woman was trying to impress the oracle who comes to the Saturday groups.

Or perhaps, she was just making a plain statement of fact.She told him that she had no truck with hatred. She wouldn't let it lodge in her mind for a second. That would be wrong.

This may be a cultural thing that is often expressed in Non-Conformist circles. How I wish Richard Gillion the Methodist minister was still attending the classes so I could discuss the subject with him. But he has decamped to a preaching post in Bangor.

If she had said it to me, I would probably have responded lamely, ''That's nice.'' But I actually found it disturbing.

I do not take on board uncritically the psycho-analytic view of human functioning, and there are several things in the books Robin Skynner co-wrote with John Cleese that I strongly disagree with.

But I am afraid Skynner was probably right when he said that when people said they didn't experience certain emotions, what was really happening was that they found them too troubling to cope with, so they 'put them behind the screen' as he put it.

John Cleese asked, ''Why not put them behind the screen?'' Skynner replied, ''Ah..because the screen doesn't work very well.''

I thought she was suppressing feelings of hatred, which might not be a very healthy strategy. But Roger said that when people talk like this they are simply lying, albeit to themselves.

My meek and etiolated onetime acquaintance Dodo once demanded agitatedly, ''But Valerie, surely you are not capable of hatred! Surely, you are not capable of having hateful thoughts!''

I replied that of course I was, and anyone who said they weren't, was lying.Dodo was an extreme pacifist who believed we should let fascist dictators walk all over us. He also admired dictators and believed in putting cripples down as they were not real people in his view. He went from pacifism to Nazism in two easy steps.

So I feel a bit uneasy about this woman. She may not be very tolerant.


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marianneh



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 12:43 pm    Post subject: dwi'n cyhuddo Reply with quote

I was quite worried to find out a friend had been reading C S Lewis's piss poor work of Christian apologetics, 'Mere Christianity', and that he was impressed with his chapter on pride. Dafydd and I had read the book.

We thought it was terrible. In my view, the pride chapter was the worst of all.

Of course, when you meet someone like Brutus, whom we have discussed on Page 9 of 'The Primal Wound', someone who can't take criticism or disagreement at all, you understand why a psychologist said that 'pride is a deadly sin because it stops you changing.' I would say it stops you developing.

But Lewis didn't know the difference between arrogance and self esteem. He damned the whole package as pride. He gloated sadistically about people who say, ''I'm too proud to get involved in a pub brawl.''

He cackled, 'The Devil laughs! You will be damned for your pride!' He thought people who had too much personal dignity to join in a punch up in a pub, would be consumed by the crackling flames of hell for no other reason.

My prospects for picking up wings and a harp have never looked brighter. Not only have I been a central figure in a pub brawl only months ago, but I wasn't too proud to let people know about it.

But perhaps at least one person who comes to the weekend group and who doesn't approve of taking the Lord's name in vain, was far from impressed. It has obviously got back to him that I do nude life modelling too. He delivered a sharp put down to me on this score last Saturday, when I merely inquired if we were going to mark Armistice Day at 11 o' clock.

It's amazing how many people think life modelling is disgraceful and indecent.
Dafydd was recounting to Roger in a pub in Cardiff about the accessories he used when life modelling. Sometime he was Poseidon, god of the sea. He didn't know that a woman behind him, was glaring at him in disgust.

I thought that to the pure, all things were pure. I was obviously wrong. Shortly after I took this rebuff on the chin - because I couldn't think of a retort quickly enough- people including the woman who does not hate, began to wonder what the Welsh for 'accuse' was.

I told them helpfully that it was 'cyhuddo'. I said it quite softly and meekly as I was feeling deflated. It was as if I didn't exist.

They kept wondering what it could be. I kept telling them, and it was as if I was invisible and inaudible.

Finally they consulted the revered oracle Gwyndaf - his name is not Gandalf as I previously thought. He gestured towards me, and they were totally astonished.

''You didn't believe me, did you?'', said I. ''We thought you weren't sure, yourself'', said she who does not hate.

He who disapproves of me, demanded rather bullishly how I had become acquainted with the word. The subtext was that it must have been when I was given a bilingual print out of my rights after being arrested for loitering with intent or having thick lips in a public place.

Determined to inject some personal dignity into the situation, I said brightly in Welsh, that I had been reading a book that had just been translated into Welsh. It was by Emile Zola. It was called, 'Dwi'n Cyhuddo'!

As far as I know, 'J'accuse' has not been translated into Welsh and it is not a book but an extended letter to the editor of a newspaper. I haven't read it in any language.

Nobody challenged me. Gwyndaf made jocular allusions to Jack Huws, who was, I think, Captain Dreyfus's cousin. Isn't Huws a very common name in Alsace?

He then asked me seriously if I'd read Zola's novel, 'Germinal'. I did know it is set in a grim coal mining community, but I have never read anything by Zola.

I've heard of calculus but I don't know anything about it, and I'm almost as clueless about Zola. What a tangled web!


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dai



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So much there to mis-remember ... On that business of feeling sorry for the perpetrators of hideous crimes what comes to mind is Lord Longford being sympathetic to various criminals ... I think that it is akin to feeling sorry for a rabid or otherwise vicious animal : it is possible to pity someone that messed up but not wise to think that they can be dissuaded out of a lifetime's conditioning by a few soothing words ... There was a Radio 4 programme recently where a sociologist who was studying confidence tricksters was horrified to find herself agreeing with them and their opinions of their victims and had to withdraw from direct contact with them in order to regain her sense of reality.
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dai



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To get back to the subject I am sat at Daf's reading " A Mouthful of Air " by Anthony Burgess and he quotes - on page 339 - David Lodge " it is not so much man that speaks language as language speaks man ; not so much the writer who writes narrative as narrative that writes the writer."

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/0099224011/

Anthony Burgess - The Mouthful Of Air : Language and Languages, Especially English

A survey of the English language, how it operates now, how it reached its present situation and how it will develop in the future. Burgess writes on Shakespeare's pronunciation, on English newly-generated abroad, on low-life language and on the place of English in the world family of languages.
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marianneh



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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 7:15 pm    Post subject: the handbagging of Dai and Marianne Reply with quote

Perhaps I'm getting over sensitive after all. He who I thought disapproved of me, was so polite on Saturday morning that I thought I'd been imagining it, or maybe he's been advised to be more neutral. But I could have done with manning up for what lay ahead.

Dai, Dafydd and I had quite an interesting talk on linguistics in Dafydd's house in Cardiff, partly inspired by Anthony Burgess's book. I admitted I didn't know what a verb noun was in Welsh.

We then drove to Pontypool for the banquet for those who had been in the Hallow e'en play in the museum. All the time, Dafydd and Dai were shouting at each other about the vexed subject of driving, or rather Dafydd was shouting at Dai.

In his evocative poem on the event, Dai wrote that I 'seemed possessed of peace of mind.' I was too.

We had several nasty moments on the motorway, but I reasoned that if we were going to die in a pile up, it was already too late to worry about it. I just hoped it would be instant, and that we would not have to live with injuries.

After being wound up on the road, Dafydd wasn't taking any prisoners. Later research has convinced me that what is called a verb noun in Welsh and other Celtic languages could more helpfully be called the radical form of the verb.

So for 'laugh', we have 'chwerthin'. That is the verb noun. But 'he laughed' is 'chwarddodd.'

On the journey, we became distracted about verbal nouns in English. I suggested that 'crowbarring' and 'handbagging' were verbal nouns. Dafydd burst out impatiently that they were nounal verbs. He did concede that 'the sinking of the General Belgrano' was a verbal noun.

I remarked that thinking was hard work, and I was going to stop. '' It would be nice if you started!'', was Dafydd's explosive rejoinder.

A verbal noun in English refers to taking an apparent verb with 'ing' at the end of it, and setting it in a sentence in such a way that you can put 'the' in front of it.

Every line of the chorus in 'The Holly and the Ivy' is a verbal noun, although the 'the' is left out in the final line:

'The rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ
Sweet singing in the choir.'


Last edited by marianneh on Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:33 pm; edited 4 times in total
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marianneh



Joined: 30 May 2013
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:56 pm    Post subject: croeso Reply with quote

Last year Della set me the task of producing a personalised Welsh phrase book for her ahead of the Eisteddfod in Abergavenny. I should have refused,and not just on the obvious grounds that I wasn't up to it.

Della would have these abortive fads all the time. At one time she was dragging friends round Swansea and Cwmbran on her quest to find a pet dog.She almost certainly wouldn't have been allowed to keep a dog in her flat. I suspect she was aware of this all the time.

If you explained to her about pronunciation of consonants in Welsh, she would attempt to repeat your words of wisdom. She invariably said the opposite of what she had been told.

Nevertheless when she asked me how to say 'welcome' when we were in a pub with a captive audience, I was not sorry to have a chance to air what I'd picked up from Dafydd.

The word 'Croeso' is emblazoned outside Tesco in Abergavenny in big friendly letters, but she hadn't noticed that. I said it was easy to remember that 'croeso' was welcome. It was obviously derived from 'croes', cross.

But it isn't obvious if it is because you are:

making the sign of the cross in blessing or

holding out your arms in a cross shape before giving the welcome person a big hug or

allowing the welcome person to cross the threshold.

Dafydd notes that 'croeso' was traditionally spelt 'croesaw.'

He urged me to solve the above conundrum by asking 'your Gandalf.' But perhaps the origins are lost in the mists of time, and no-one knows.
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