Archive for the Category: Welsh

Torch carrying

The expression to carry a torch for someone came up when I was putting together this week’s mots de la semaine for the French Conversation Group. We talked about my experiences in Shetland, where lots of people were carrying flaming torches, and this got me wondering why you might say that you’re carry a torch […]

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Bangor Polyglots

Last night the Bangor Polyglot conversation group met for the first time. I’ve been wanting to set up a group like this for a while as a way to practice my languages and to meet other polyglots. Last month it finally started to come together: first I found a suitable place and time for it […]

Also posted in Breton, Cornish, English, German, Language Comments Off


This week I reached the half-way point in my Breton Assimil course (lesson 50) and have entered the ‘active phase’. So for every new lesson I also go back to an earlier lessons and translate the French versions of the dialogues and exercises into Breton. I also translate them into Welsh, just for fun. So […]

Also posted in Breton, French, Language, Language learning 2 Comments

Selective attention

The other day an English guy who has lived in Wales for many years and who doesn’t speak Welsh told me that when he listens to people speaking Welsh, he hears lots of English words, words derived from English, and words from French or Latin, so he believes that Welsh is made up mainly of […]

Also posted in French, Irish, Language, Latin 8 Comments

Seasons Greetings!

A multilingual Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all.

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Spench, spence and sbens

Recently a friend told me that in North Wales the area under stairs is know as the spench – I hadn’t heard it before and didn’t know how to write it so this spelling is a guess. I found spench in the Urban Dictionary, which defines it as “the area under the stairs (often a […]

Also posted in English, Etymology, French, Language, Latin, Words and phrases 3 Comments

Tête en l’air

Penn-skañv ac’hanout? Es-tu tête en l’air? Is your head in the clouds? Recently I came across the French expression (être) tête en l’air (‘(to be) head in the air’) which is given as the French equivalent of the Breton expression penn-skañv (‘light head’). I hadn’t seen it before and wasn’t quite sure from it meant. […]

Also posted in Breton, English, French, Language, Words and phrases 7 Comments


I went to an interesting discussion last night entitled cariad@iaith (love4language) which featured two English writers, Simon Thirsk and Mike Parker, who have lived in Wales for many years, learnt Welsh and written books based on their experiences. It was mostly in Welsh and was chaired by the Welsh author, Bethan Gwanas. Simon and Mike […]

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Sentence bank

I’ve decided to learn some more Breton and have found a very useful website – the Breizh-Llydaw Sentence Bank (y Cronfa Frawddegau Breizh-Llydaw / Ar gevredigezh Kembre-Breizh) – a bilingual corpus of sentences in Breton and Welsh from the magazine Breizh-Llydaw. I can understand the Welsh sentences and can more or less work out the […]

Also posted in Breton, English, Language, Language learning 3 Comments

Yezhoù, kanaouennoù ha sonerezh

The Breton couchsurfers arrived yesterday, with an Austrian friend, and we’re having a great time. They’ve taught me a bit of Breton, we’ve also talked in French, English, Welsh, Irish and German – I love having opportunities to use my languages like this. I’ve learnt more about Brittany and Breton and have shown them round […]

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