Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Flicking the F's

So last week, Sister in China, Junior, the Little Ducks and I were on our annual camping holiday here in Anglesey - joined at various times by Yummy Mummy and H, Mr. and Mrs. Panther Hunter and Cub, the Ginger One and Mr. Duck Senior.

At some point, the conversation turned to Welsh. Not literally - that would require a complete cultural transformation by the majority of the party and a few handy Babel Fish.

No - to the peculiarities and vagaries that constitute the Welsh language, consisting as it does of an alphabet of 28 letters and specifically to its unique pronunciation.

'We're in Benllech' - I explained.


No, Benlllllleccchhhhh - (rolling tongue and clearing throat)


'NO! Ok, try this - Llandudno'


No, Llllandidno

'But it's a u not an i'

As per my 45 Things #23, I felt bound to explain as follows:

'It's simple*. In Welsh i's are y's; u's are i's; au's are i's; y's are e's; dd's are th's; si's are sh's; ff''s are f's and f's are v's. Ll's and ch's have no equivalent whatsoever in English and just are. Easy!'

The faces of the gathering began to take on that bemused look you get in Tesco's when they rearrange all the aisles and you end up with Vanish In-Wash Stain Remover instead of streaky bacon to go with your eggs in the morning.

I decided to make it even simpler.

'In short, when Welsh people are pissed off they flick the F's instead of the V's.'

I demonstrated the gesture, which looks something like a shadow puppeteer doing a pair of Playboy bunnies** and walked off in despair, a trail of ll's and ch's drifting behind me.

*Check it here for clarification
** Do try this at home - the gesture, not the Playboy Bunnies, (although feel free if that's your thing, and Hugh Heffner can spare a couple).