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shopping tips

Postby karengo » Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:52 pm

There are two fears that have held up my attempts at shopping in Welsh, but no more! They're both silly and both quite common I suspect, so let me get rid of them now. Perhaps it will help someone.

The first fear is of being unable to understand the reply. We have a few useful phrases for asking people to slow down a bit and so on, and that's great if they're on the tip of your tongue when you're at your most flustered. Mine usually weren't. What I've found is that mentally giving myself permission to use English for this if I ever need to has taken away that fear and the Welsh has flowed a lot better as a result. I used to have an either/or mindset about English and Welsh, as if each conversation "should" be either one or the other, but I've come to realise that to my bilingual neighbours, the change between languages is not the big deal I made of it at all. in real life it is perfectly ok to say, "Sorry that was way too fast for me!" and then immediately switch back to Welsh. At any rate, it works much better than a frustrated silence. So dropping the all-or-nothing target of making the entire exchange Welsh leads to more relaxed Welsh (and more sentences of it).

The second fear is of not having enough vocabulary. It's a challenge to get a point across with limited vocab but I'm starting to wonder if there are actually any limits to what can be done. This morning I needed a new 18cm 13W fluorescent tube for under-cabinet lighting in the kitchen. Could I ask for one of those in Welsh? No, but... I did walk into the shop, wave the dead tube and ask, "Oes gynnoch chi un arall fel hyn?" and it worked! Actually the woman in the shop spent some time rummaging among the boxes muttering about each one being too short, too long, too thick, too thin, all of which I was secretly delighted to follow. I said "fel Goldilocks" and we laughed. Then she called a young assistant over and talked to him in English. He found the right one at the bottom of the pile, then she turned back to finish the transaction with me in Welsh again. I was very chuffed.

SSiW folk tend to be pretty creative, I know, and I'm new to this business of using Welsh "in the wild." What little shopping triumphs have you celebrated, or what tips would you share?

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Re: shopping tips

Postby SJ » Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:04 pm

Brilliant post Karen! One for the weekly newsletter I think (hint @Dee :D) It sounds like you're rapidly becoming a Welsh speaking member of your community :llongyf:

Learners do have a tendency to think that they have to stick purely to Welsh when attempting a coversation or they have somehow failed! I've been there and done that too. As you've quite rightly said, there's no harm in using the odd English word, or even using an English sentence if it helps the conversation to flow and the conversation is the most important thing not worrying about delivering a grammatically correct sentence!
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Re: shopping tips

Postby dreamsofwales » Thu Feb 07, 2013 4:10 pm

I loved your post too Karen - great tips!
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