I’m currently in Bangor, Gwynedd in search of a new place to live – I plan to move here soon and will be starting an MA in Linguistics at Bangor University in September.
Bangor is one of the smallest cities in the UK and is an attractive place with views across the Menai Strait to Anglesey (Ynys Môn) and along the North Wales coast. Students make up a significant proportion of the population, at least during term time, and at least half of the permanent population speak Welsh as their first language, which is one of the reasons why I chose the course in Bangor.
Welsh has now ousted Mandarin as the dominant language (apart from English) in my head. Mandarin dominated for many years, even after I left Taiwan. Now when I try to say things in languages other than Welsh, they come out partly in Welsh, or with Welsh word order, which tends to confuse people. There aren’t many people around, as far as I know who can follow a Mandarin/Welsh mixed conversation. Well, I do know one person who could.
On the train on the way here today I heard some people talking in an unfamiliar language. As I usually do, I tried to work out which language it was. At first I assumed it was Spanish or Portuguese as I saw Iberia Airlines tags on their bags and they looked Hispanic. When I listened more closely, I realised it wasn’t either of those languages, though there did seem to be a few Spanish loanwords, which made me suspect it was maybe Quechua or one of the other indigenous languages of Latin America. Unfortunately I didn’t have a recording device to hand, otherwise I could have posted a recording here to see if any of you recognised the language. I suppose I could have asked the people what language it was, but where’s the challenge in that?!