And finally

I’ve met several people who are under the impression that Welsh is a revived language in the sense that Cornish and Modern Hebrew are: that people stopped speaking it, but some sort of campaign managed to get it started again.

Not true. The only ‘revival’ is that Welsh has (probably) stopped declining. It’s been in very much continuous use for as long as history’s been aware of it.

Oh, and what’s this crap about Welsh not having words for modern things?

Just a few examples:

awyren: aeroplane
maes awyr: airport
cyfrifiadur: computer
cyfrifianell: calculator
rhyngrwyd: internet
cyfalafiaeth: capitalism (admittedly not terribly modern)
pel droed: football (also not very modern)
lawrlwytho: download

Admittedly Welsh has borrowed some words (like comiwnyddiaeth for communism and tren for train), but there is something extremely laughable about English speakers starting to accuse other languages of borrowing lots of words. The amount of times I’ve heard people laugh about the Welsh phrase ‘Dim parcio’, which means ‘no parking’. Yes, we admit it, Welsh has no native word for parking. Nor does English! It’s from French!

‘Yeah, well, I bet they don’t really use them. I bet they really say “internet”‘.

Often, yes. Bilingual speakers code-switch all the time, mixing English and Welsh in the same utterance. I’ve heard people come out with sentences like ‘Dw i ‘di bod yn ringio’r bells ‘ma am twenty-two years’ (I’ve been ringing these bells for twenty two years/dw i ‘di bod yn canu’r clychau ‘ma am ddwy flynedd ar hugain).

I’ve also heard people say ‘Well that’s just twp, isn’t it’. Twp means stupid. Would you interpret from this evidence that English has no word for it?

And finally: I just have to mention the point that ‘Those native words are just made-up’.

First of all: you can’t have it both ways. If you feel that a language can be criticised reasonably for either borrowing words or making its own words up, choose one or the other.

And anyway, where else do you think words come from?


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