Monday, February 11, 2008

Welsh is a piss poor language

Peter Briffa reports the news that some Big Brother conrtestant called Imogen is getting a boob job, at the tender age of 26, because "I’m feeling the older I’m getting the more my breasts are becoming out of shape."

However, watching the video that he posted, two things immediately struck me. First, young Imogen is a rather pretty lass: dark and fun.

However, what really struck me was what a piss-poor, half-arsed language Welsh is. Just listen to a few minutes and see how many English words you can spot being lobbed in to make up for the deficiencies of Welsh.

And they force all children in Wales to learn this language until the age of 16, I believe. It's a total joke...


Anonymous said...

I love the South Wales digs at their inability to understand the North Wales accent. Surely there were so many bloody English words in the conversation that you could get the gist?!

knirirr said...

I'll take a break from lies and corruption to point out that Welsh interspersed with English words is Welsh spoken by someone who doesn't speak it very well or is lazy.

Anonymous said...

Yeah and there are no French or Latin words in English you stupid ignorant pisspoor excuse for a cunt are there? God if you had a brain you might be dangerous. Twat.

Trixy said...

Oh come now, rabbit. Taxi? Rugby? Gat? Most welsh people I know think that this obstinate idea to make people learn welsh is silly, especially when people should be learning languages which will help them.

Poor lass, though. I'm only 26 and my breasts are fabulous.

Devil's Kitchen said...


I did wonder. But then, why do a programme in Welsh. Because there's funding for it, I suppose.

iain dale's rabbit,

For someone who has never posted anything intelligent on this blog, you really should watch what insults you throw around.


knirirr said...

Because there's funding for it, I suppose.

Indeed, but why is there funding?
It's a very strange thing that 500 years ago, and until fairly recently, the English (and later, British) state was trying to stamp the language out. Now the British state is trying to encourage it. The reason is always because they think that the result will be an increase in loyalty to the state, but as circumstances have changed so too must their strategy.
As you might guess, I am against the use of state power to either suppress or promote the language.


Most of the Welsh people I know speak it fluently (i.e. without throwing in English words that often) and also think it a good idea that people learn it. The attitude to the language and also Welsh nationalism varies by region.

Shug Niggurath said...


Coming from Scotland, it used to be quite funny watching the Gaelic programming and seeing how many words were simply accented English versions.


Most languages simply use imported words, so television is pretty much the word across Europe for a telly, computer for a computer, and so on. So it's not as simple as stating that a language must have it's own complete dictionary to qualify as a good one. And as a libertarian, surely the more things that make us individuals, the better.

Anonymous said...

I thought it was just that the Welsh language didn't have words for modern things like 'lingerie'...and 'confidence'...and 'job'....

Myrddin Wen said...

Bwytwch Cachu a Marw!


Anonymous said...

Too many vowels.

It's not~Welsh.

Anonymous said...


Eat shit and die.


It WAS/IS Welsh.

My Taid was known locally as Huw Satan.

He was fine with family.

Mark Wadsworth said...

The Welsh language was in fact invented as a giggle by bored code-breakers at Bletchley park who ended up with too many Ws, Ys, Cs and Ls. Not many people know that.

haddock said...

I quite often visit an area where welsh is the first language of the older people; a conversation say, about a tv programme, will go " gabble gabble gabble gabble fuckin brill-iant gabble gabble gabble gabble fuckin brill-iant...
why is it that the welsh forget what they are saying half way through a word..... on every polysyllabic word.
some welsh words are used in English, but they are cac.
word verification is in welsh

knirirr said... for a computer...

The only ones I know are some translation of "counting machine" or "counter", e.g. cyfrifiadur, rekenaar or ordinateur. Which is, of course, how it works in English.

Anonymous said...

About a third of English words are of Greek origin. The rest are a mix of Latinate (generally coming via Norman French) and Anglo-Saxon.

The English aren't in a good position to throw stones at people who borrow from other languages. In fact, linguistically speaking, unless you have mental language purists like those fucking psychos from the Academie Francaise, everyone borrows pretty heavily from everyone else. Welsh is the norm here rather than the exception.

Devil's Kitchen said...


Seriously, if you are unable to tell the difference between a language that has borrowed heavily from other languages in the past but which has mutated into a unique language in and of itself, and a language (as it is spoken in this video) in which sentences are lifted, wholesale and unadulterated, from another language, then you are, frankly, a bit weird.

Either that, or deaf.


Devil's Kitchen said...

P.S. Granted, as knirirr says, they may be speaking Welsh badly, but if people who are part of the only demographic to speak said language and they can't speak it properly, one does have to start asking what, precisely, the point is.


John Trenchard said...

i agree with the poster above - if you throw in English words into a Celtic language, its just a sign of being lazy, rather than a reflection on the language itself.

knirirr said... does have to start asking what, precisely, the point is...

The point would be to satisfy their desire to speak it. There could be many reasons to want to do so, for example as part of Welsh national identity, simple tradition or simply pleasure in the language itself.

I have studied non-English languages on occasion for no reason other than that I found them interesting. Unfortunately I was never much good at linguistics, but I have managed to use one of these languages successfully abroad. I note that it was in a country where I stood a very good chance of making myself understood if I had spoken in English, but it was more enjoyable to do otherwise.

Anonymous said...

He's only pissed off because we beat England at Rugby.

Ms Robinson said...

Three girls in the change room at the gym today had book jobs, all under 26 or so. And to think I have got this far with real ones. Hurrah

Anonymous said...

Personally, I think it a positive feature that the language has no phrase that means 'Big Brother'.
Are you, by any chance, still feeling sore about the rugby?

Devil's Kitchen said...

Um... no. How many times should I point out that I don't give too shits about sport? Perhaps I should make it my new tagline?

As it happens, I tend to support Wales during the 6 Nations because a) my mother is half Welsh and she supports them, and b) they play by far the best rugby.

So, no, I'm not sore about the English rugby team being utter shit.


Anonymous said...

's ok DK, I was only trying to wind you up, the same as you were only trying to wind us up.

We Welsh like to say there are only two teams worth supporting in any sport: Wales, and whoever's playing against England. But though we'd never admit it publicly (well, apart from me of course), if Wales isn't involved we all cheer on England in secret.

We do play attractive rugby don't we - running the ball is always better to watch than Forward play.

Anonymous said...

But since so many of the "English" words that are adopted into Celtic language are not, in fact, English words at all (e.g., television, telephone, verbs ending in -ise/-ize, most nouns ending in -ation, blah-blah-blah), how is it helpful to condemn the Taffies for doing exactly what the English have done for the past 1500 years? (viz., borrow from Greek and Latin)

When you fuckers start speaking Old Anglish, you can start talking about the sheep-shaggers being linguistically lazy.

Broon prevails!

Brian said...

ms robinson:
Does a book job entitle one to stare if one is not judging the cover?

Anonymous said...

Vi pensi Welsh estas stulta?

Folded at Dawn said...

Aww, how cute. DK is critical of the worthlessness of the Welsh language and all the nationalists roll out to attack him. Wales was never a country. Read your history books. It's just a county of England, like Yorkshire.

I found myself wondering this morning whether it isn't the EU responsible in part for all this nationalism from worthless proto-countries which couldn't possibly support themselves. The EU gives money to regions with dead languages, like Wales, Scotland and Cornwall, doesn't it? Doesn't it also do the same for Basque and Breton? Is the EU using proto-country nationalism to break down the nation states of Europe?

Hmm. Word verification: vivtepwg

That's Welsh for "This is the first time we have won a rugby match in ages, so we're going to boast about it like we've conquered the universe."

Gwenynen said...

Tell you what, when you speak a language that doesn't borrow heavily from several other languages (French, Latin, Greek, &c &c &c) then come and complain at us about Welsh "borrowing" words from English, yeah? It's funny how what is seen as a strength in English is derided as a weakness in Welsh. Welsh, just like every other language, also invents new terms for new things - I suspect English didn't have a word for television before the television was invented!
As it happens, she is actually speaking very bad, very lazy Welsh. Which is easy enough to do when there is such a superabundance of English in the media, in daily life, and all around.
Surely, wanting rid of something because you happen to think it's "silly" or "pisspoor" is just the sort of authoritarianism you profess to despise?

Devil's Kitchen said...


When did I say that I wanted to get rid of Welsh? Where, up there, in the post or in the comments, did I say that I wanted to get rid of Welsh.

What I was saying was that from the evidence of that video, Welsh was a piss-poor inadequate language.

I do think that it is utterly stupid that schoolchildren are forced to the learn the language, yes. I think that there are far better things that they could be doing with their time.


Devil's Kitchen said...

P.S. As for this kind of crap, "Tell you what, when you speak a language that doesn't borrow heavily from several other languages (French, Latin, Greek, &c &c &c) then come and complain at us about Welsh "borrowing" words from English, yeah?" from everyone, please don't fucking patronise me.

I am well aware of the etymology of English, thank you very much.

What is bizarre, of course, is that -- as a general rule -- English borrows from languages far older than itself and includes quite a few Celtic roots. Here we have Welsh, a language (the origins of which are far more ancient than English) borrowing from a more modern language.

As you point out, however, these people are speaking bad Welsh and this, you claim, is why entire sentences and large phrases are being said in English.

So, I ask you, if the Welsh cannot speak Welsh fluently, then what is the point of it? Does anyone in Wales speak Welsh fluently?

How many people who don't live on Anglesey even speak it as a first language? Is there seriously anyone who uses Welsh at all, unless they are being paid to do so?


VK said...

So what is the English for Piano? repartee? à la carte? MAYDAY? ballet? brunette? c'est magnifique!? cherchez la femme.? encore? coup de grâce? crème de la crème? cul-de-sac ? du jour? éminence grise? femme fatale? Grand Prix? haute couture ? bureau de change? haute cuisine? Je-ne-sais-quoi? maître d’? double entendre? Mardi gras? cause célèbre? ménage à trois? nouveau riche? pièce de résistance? papier-mâché? pot-pourri ? raison d'être ? RSVP? décolletage? sabotage? touché? unique ?

Sure, some of those have english equivalents - but are they used as frequently as the french? And some of them have no "english" equivalent eg. pot-pourri - what else would you call it?

And that is just the french, and nowhere near an exhaustive list. I could start on the German - or the Latin, or the Arabic we'll stolen and claimed as "english"

Devil's Kitchen said...

Sorry, you obviously didn't get the memo: don't lecture me on etymology.

Seriously, I don't want to be big-headed about this, but I was educated at a good prep school, and then Eton and then I spent a couple of years at university.

Do you think that I don't know this stuff? Do you think that it had not occured to me?

Question: have you watched the video? If not, I suggest that you do so before being a patronising cunt.

If you have watched and still don't understand what I'm getting at, then you are a moron and have no business lecturing me on anything.


Devil's Kitchen said...

P.S. "Piano" is Italian, being a contraction of pianoforte.


Anonymous said...

You know Welsh has no equivalent for "dirty weekend"? I think that's sweet.

Anonymous said...

It's far worse than making kids waste their time learning it until the age of sixteen. That's just the first step in the giant fucking con that is the Welsh language.
All designed to keep a small group of pointless cunts in jobs. S4C is the most expensive television channel in the world -- it's nothing more than a subsidized club for the children of Welsh language teachers.

I grew up in a town in the Rhymney Valley in South Wales. Clearly, "Rhymney" is a Welsh word. It didn't stop some officious cunts from the Welsh language board giving "Rhymney" a Welsh translation to "Rhymni".
I was born in Abergavenny. Which is apparently not Welsh enough, so it's also called "Y Fenni".
It's a fucking joke.
Much like English rugby.

Gwenynen said...

Ten years at university, and I'm doing my PhD on Welsh. And I speak it fluently, and out of choice, to my friends and my family. So perhaps it's you who should fuck off, you arrogant moron.

Keatonmask said...

I can't really hold back any longer here. DK you have met me and can attest to the fact that I am unmistakeably Welsh. Silly accent is hard to miss.

The English may not realise that the vast majority of the Welsh population agree that the language is fucking pointless. I was in the last school year for whom GCSE Welsh was not compulsory. I learnt Spanish instead and christ was that a lot more worthwhile.

Welsh is kept alive by a fucking pathetic bunch of inbred cunts who use it as a bizarre sort of old boys club. The arrogance one encounters as an English speaking Welshman is appalling. In the eyes of many Welsh speakers I am a 'defector', and certainly not really Welsh. The whole thing is pathetic.

I love Wales and I am proud to be Welsh, I love the history and the countryside, and in most cases the people.

But the language is shit.

Although DK, you will wind up plenty of gogs with this line of argument.

As an afterthought, Soddball, I would be more than happy to discuss your views on the welsh in general in person. London area preferred.

knirirr said...


I have a serious question related to Soddball's point, involving a comparison between Wales and Cornwall. The latter is very much an English county, the inhabitants having been defeated and subsumed by the expanding English nation. The Cornish language has also been eradicated.
If the Welsh language and associated cultural institutions (by which I mean stuff like this) were to disappear then what would define Wales as a distinct nation? Would it not be a region of England (or, perhaps, Britain) with some interesting history and local tradition, much like Cornwall now?

Anonymous said...

I thought this thread started out quite light-hearted and now it's just got nasty.


BTW, this:
Vi pensi Welsh estas stulta?

ain't no fucking Latin I ever heard of unless it's the retarded Latin spoken by Romans with Down's Syndrome.

Anonymous said...

Got to agree with anon immediately above.

I took it all as a piece of mutual winding up and piss-taking.

Some people take stuff far too seriously, even by my standards.

PS DK - I'm originally from Anglesey, and never mind people having Welsh as their first language (like my dad e.g.), when I was growing up I knew plenty of people who had Welsh as their only language. Codgers, admittedly.

Sean Jeating said...

:) 'The curtain down and all questions open.'
Hm, at least one.

Vk asked: "And some of them have no "english" equivalent eg. pot-pourri - what else would you call it?"

In German there are three possibilities: 1. Potpourri; 2. Ouodlibet; 3. Medley :)

Before anybody starts asking: I do speak German slightly fluently; at least much better than English.

Apropos "english": Since when would 'English' - or Welsh, Cornish, Irish - not have an initial?

Anonymous said...

"Ten years at university, and I'm doing my PhD on Welsh. And I speak it fluently, and out of choice, to my friends and my family."

10 years and a PhD in it? Can you tell me what "and would you like fries with that?" is, then?

Anonymous said...

Oh, Tim Almond! U so funny! That joke gets funnier and funnier and funnier and funnier and funnier every time I hear it.

It was super funny the first time I heard it in the early palaeolithic era.

Anonymous said...

You have proved, not that it was necessary, how arrogant products of your alma mater are. Did you make it to university after that? Even if you did, bet you did n't make it to Oxford like I did. In my parents day Welsh children were beaten for speaking their native language at school. Not that they hold a grudge against the English although perhaps they should. No, some of them who could not speak English when they went to school ended up serving in the Welsh Guards and getting blown up in the Falklands. You are an ass.


I still remember your post when you split up.

John Trenchard said...

the Milicunt is at it again wittering inanely about democracy

so when do we get a vote on the EU Treaty you cunt?

John Trenchard said...

DK - there is one enormous reason why Welsh should be preserved and encouraged.

its closely related to the original language of the Britons.

there was a "British" language during the time of the Romans.

Wikipedia link

so its not about the heritage of the Welsh - its about YOUR English history and heritage.

John Trenchard said...

bit despondent with the bickering going on above. i guess the centuries of English conquest followed by the decades of self-flaggelation with "p.c." has taken their toll, to such an extent that the English have forgotten that we dont need some Marxist council numpty telling us that we should be "vibrant" and "diverse" in our "multicultural" society.

Britain has ALWAYS been multicultural and diverse. just look at all the languages for christ's sake.

sarkese, manx, cornish, welsh, scots, irish, english, anglo-saxon, old english, cumbric.. to name a few..

not bad going for a small wet island in the north atlantic...

Anonymous said...

@ John Trenchard

You're quite right. Not only are we multicultural, we've also always been able to laugh at each other without it devolving into nationalistic bitterness. It's a wonderful part of the peculiar cultural alchemy of our little groups of islands that we have been able to bring together four different nations, with umpteen different languages and culture inheritances, and create what is clearly the best fucking country ever to grace the face of this sorry little planet - the United Kingdom.

However, the changes to the way our country is run, the growth of a leftist-inspired victim mentality, the left's non-stop promotion of extreme nationalism in the Celtic nations and the resulting English sense of grievance and victimhood (which is partly justified and partly not) have all combined to undermine our very Britishness.

It saddens me greatly to see DK's rather silly and, I think, somewhat tongue-in-cheek ribbing of the taffs get turned into the revolting fucking morass of vituperativeness that this thread has become. I see at work here competing strains of victimhood mixed with attention-seeking hypersensitivity. I can only respond by saying: for fuck's sake, everyone, get the fuck over it.

Broon prevails!
(p.s. that was me at 7:56 and 7:29)

Anonymous said...

I think I would like sex with Imogen!

Newmania said...

English has included the entire Latin vocabulary often more than once via Norman and later French imports as well as coined "inkhorn terms "

It has imported one Welsh word in a thousand years of being next door


Newmania said...

YOu`ve missed a trick here by the way the fijding and supprt for the Welsh language ( and the Cornish language) comes from EU satellite organisations and is designed to assist in breaking up the UK

Anonymous said...

I have noticed that whenever you see a TV out-take programme, the presenters always swear in English. It's "yadda yadda yadda fucking thing broken."

Are there no swear words in Welsh, or are the sort of people who get jobs in Welsh TV just English speakers who are on to a good thing?

Mulligan said...

How come Penguin is a Welsh word?

I thought they made them in Reading or Bournville.

Anonymous said...

3 points:
Firstly, I have lived in Wales within 1/2 mile of the english border for 15 years - and all my kids had to learn it at school - which was a complete waste of time.
Secondly, fluent welsh is very useful here in the county of "Wrecsam". A friend, fluent in welsh, applied for planning permission that should never have been granted. Because no-one in the planning departmet spoke welsh, they needed a welsh speaker from finance to provide translation. Permission was refused but subsequently granted following several further on-site meetings and an 80 page document (in welsh) submitted in the appeal process. I guess the council just gave up due to the cost and hassle of translating.
Finally, we'll all be grateful for welsh-speaking in the event of large-scale war. With the tossers in the government incapable of protecting sensitive data - if secure comms were a conducted in welsh - who cares who intercepts the transmission? No bastard in the world apart from the welsh and 17 patagonians will understand a word.

John Trenchard said...

the yanks did just that with their native american "code talkers"

wiki entry

even if you broke the code and deciphered the message, the message itself would have been in the Navajo Indian language.

Kim du Toit said...

Welsh? If you hadn't tipped me off, I would have thought they were Geordies...

knirirr said...

Are there no swear words in Welsh...?

As it happens, there are quite a few. Unfortunately for those who wish to swear in Welsh, these tend not to be taught by parents or teachers.

Anonymous said...

If you want to hear English spoken as it should be, go to Aberdeenshire. There, it's called Doric

Anonymous said...

A few years ago my step-siblings were in school in south wales.
Over the tannoy,(i paraphrase)
`Some big council nobs are visiting the school, would any pupil whos first language is welsh please report to the headmaster.`
No takers,
a few hours later,
`Would any pupil who speaks welsh as a second language please report to the headmaster.`
Again no result.
Tries again.
`Any pupil who can speak a few words of welsh please report to the headmaster.`
Upshot,one poor kid made to parrot inane pleasantries in a language
he couldn`t speak and didn`t want.

Big council nob,later at the tea and biscuits stage.`Could you tell me what the kid said? i don`t speak welsh`

Now i`m off down the pub for a pint and a game of pwl.

Anonymous said...

Here we go talking about that lovely Welsh language (Not!) i`ve seen the adverts...."I`m learning Welsh to get on in the World" yeah right son only problem is someone forgot to tell him it`s only wales that can speak it. Yeah i`m English and yeah for my sins i live in Gog country (not for much longer!) i`ve figured the locals know when you can`t speak welsh because whenever english walk into a shop they change straight to welsh...sign of ignorance. 5% of the people where i live are decent folk who don`t try at every turn to ram welsh down your throat but most of them wouldn`t give you the time of day...(oh sound like an English Nationalist!!) nope i`m not but just sick of the Welsh Nationalists,to be honest it`s about time England broke away from it`s links to Scotland,Ireland and Wales and become the independant country it should be.

Anonymous said...

Me again,everyone talks about equality but you don`t see it here in wales,if Welsh is not your first language in school your treated like some second class citizen and i`m not talking about just english either,i`ve known plenty of Welsh ppl who can`t speak a word of welsh and they are treated no better. Wales is indeed a beautiful part of the world but it has so many backward`s almost what i would call elitist! HK I hear Welsh spoken everyday and trust me there are very few English words spoken,you listen to anyone over 50 in this place and you really wouldn`t understand a word.

The point i was trying to make about England becoming independant was purely because of the fact that this country is SO divided now and no longer can you call it United so it`s time for a seperate English Parliment as Wales and Scotland have.

You`ll have to forgive my above rant but when you`ve been treated as i have here in Wales it makes you kind of bitter,as i said alot of welsh people are decent people but the ones i`ve come across in my time are bone idol,rude,arrogant and nothing but drunken layabouts,like i said not all welsh are like this as all english are not like me.

Hen Ferchetan said...

The point that no-one has seemed to make or realise is that Imogen is a first language English speaker.

English is t
the langage she speaks more often in and the language she is most comfortable in. She is appearing on a Welsh TV show and is therefore speaking in her second language.

The two things to pick up from thyat is:

1. People who speak Welsh in their day to day lives don;t use so much English in it

2. The girl is doing her best in her second language - who are we to call her attempts "piss-poor"?

As for the idiot who claimed that people switch from English to Welsh when he walks into a shop, they were talking Welsh before you came in son - get over it.

Anonymous said...

An Irishman, a Scot, an Englishman and a Welshman were on a train to America.
On the train, the Irishman threw a Shamrock through the window. 'There are plenty of these in Ireland' he said.
Then, the Scot threw a Kilt through the window. 'There are plenty of these in Scotland'. he said.
Next, the Englishman threw a rose out of the window. 'There are plenty of these in England' he said.
Last but not least, the Welshman threw the Englishman out of the window, and he said, 'There are plenty of these in Wales.'

haha. =L

Anonymous said...

I'm an Englishman and I don't speak Welsh, but I do speak Catalan and I know that when people throw in Spanish words in Catalan it's not because the language itself is "piss poor" but because the person speaking it has poor Catalan. Sometimes this is even the case with people who have spoken Catalan all their lives.

There are many reasons why this is the case (and I won't go into the details because you probably don't care) but I'm sure the reasons are exactly the same with English and Welsh (read up about the "Welsh not" if you are interested). This makes it all the more necessary for Welsh to be taught in schools, so the children can learn to speak Welsh properly.

Anonymous said...

Macaronic: the use of vocabulary from more than one language in a sentence. ALL bilingual people do it because - get this - THEY'RE BILINGUAL

Here endeth the lesson.

Anonymous said...

The poster of this article asked us to;

"Just listen to a few minutes and see how many English words you can spot being lobbed in to make up for the deficiencies of Welsh."

After doing so, two things struck me. Firstly, I agree, modern welsh is 'half-arsed' as you put it. But this is not due to the deficiencies of the language, but due to the deficiencies of its speakers. Modern borrowings are not used out of neccesity or out of language or culture contact in contrast to the borrowings of the past. They are being used because we have lost respect for and faith in our own language. This is due it's former status as an unrecognised and debased language. Resultingly, its speakers were socially immobilsed and the langauge became a source of scorn in Wales. Forty years of recognition will not reverse this.
Secondly, Welsh speakers should not defend these borrowings; to do so is misinformed. Rather, welsh speakers need to be made aware of the depth of the language and it's perfect adequacy for modern life as well as its rich oral literary tradition. It could easily be a source of self respect. Take as an example of this, the rapid revival of the Hebrew language in Israel during the 1930's despite its apparent redundency.

Finally, please be made aware that in the past, people have suffered and died for their affiliation with the language and it is a wonder that it has survived at all, in whatever spoken state. Generations of Welsh speakers including my own family have been unable to advance economically in their own country owing to it's lack of recognition. Your own attitude shows disrespect to this.

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