Siarad Cymraeg

My ancestral heritage is a complex mix of Celtic ethnicities, but my father was very proud of his Welsh background and his ability to sing choral music and so keep up the reputation of the Land of Song. I am not sure that he ever visited that land, but when I moved to Wales he was keen to ask relatives where in Wales his grandfather had lived. The answer was Cardiganshire (nowadays known as Ceredigion), but I think he hoped that the answer would be North Wales, where I had moved for work purposes. More precisely, I had moved to North East Wales, which is a very English speaking area, although not quite as English speaking as South East Wales.

Living in an English speaking area limited my progress in learning my ancestral language, as there were limited opportunities to speak Welsh. The one exception was the tradition of tipyn bach, which is a common courtesy that English speakers in North East Wales show to Welsh speakers. The idea is to speak a few words of greeting to someone you know who prefers speaking in Welsh, but to quickly end any attempt at a full conversation with the words, "Tipyn bach." That little phrase is Welsh for "a little bit" and is shorthand for "I only speak a little bit of Welsh, can we please switch to English now." So outside the classroom the Welsh words I dared to use were confined to diolch (thanks), mae'n ddrwg gen i (sorry), os gwelwch yn dda (please), fantastic (bendigedig), and of course tipyn bach. Welsh speakers from other parts of Wales would realise that I had moved to North Wales, as those are distinctively North Walian ways to say sorry and please. Although because both contain four words for the one word in English many North East Walians use the English loan words sori and plîs.

This website will contain articles about Cymraeg (the Welsh language) and maybe begin to explore the words I would have learnt had I moved to my ancestral county of Ceredigion, rather than Clwyd. Although I must confess that the original reason for buying the domain siarad.net was to give myself a Welsh sounding email address. Siarad is the Welsh word for talk, but when combined with Cymraeg it forms the shorthand way of asking if someone speaks Welsh, "Siarad Cymraeg?"