Helen (heleninwales) wrote,

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Reading Welsh

I managed another two paragraphs of Harry Potter a Maen yr Athronydd this morning. Fortunately the first book of the series isn't as fat as the later ones, or at this rate I'll be reading it for the rest of my life. I'm hoping that I'll eventually speed up as I stop having to look up one word in every sentence.

Half the time, it's the borrowed words that floor me. Until I read them aloud, that is. I've taken to reading like a 5 year old again, muttering aloud and tracing the words with one finger. But there is no way that I can read silently yet. I was on the point of looking up friffces when I finally got the pronunciation right and the meaning clicked. It's just "briefcase" spelt in the Welsh manner ("briffces") but with the first "b" mutated to "f" because of what it was following. Similarly "ddreif" is "drive", as in "the front drive of a house", but not the verb, which is "gyrru".

It happened once in a Welsh class. We were talking about housework and answering questions from the book. As you do, I had counted down and worked out which was my question. The problem was, I knew everyone else's vocabulary, but I didn't recognise the activity I was supposed to talk about. It came to my turn. "I'm sorry," I said in Welsh, "but I don't know the word 'hwfrio'... Oh, yes I do!" because the moment I said it aloud, I realised it was just the British English verb "hoover" (meaning "to vacuum") Welshified by adding the ending "io". Doh...

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