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26 July 2007

Achaglachgach

The names of the villages and families are difficult to understand and to pronounce.

In Wales, we found ourselves in a completely different country. Once we were there, we went to see our first contact, an old lady who lived in a lovely place in one of the valleys east of Aberystwyth. We were talking to her in English as she got a phone call. It clearly was from somebody in the neighborhood, and they spoke in their native language: the old Gaelic.

Nothing to understand here. But absolutely nothing.

I have also experienced this in parts of France, where there are still people who speak this same language. It is one of the oldest European languages and it was common all along the coast, from Galicia in Spain’s northwest, all the way up to Normandy; across the North Sea to the south of England around the corner to Wales; again across the Irish Sea to the South of Ireland. This land was part of the mainland before the last Ice Age.

2 comments:

borzoj said...

I live in the UK now and I've been to Wales. I met teenagers speaking Gaelic in a pub amongst themselves. Apparently there's a Gaelic revival in Wales and the language is now more common among the young generation.

Bert Teunissen said...

Because Gaelic is a true language (like the Fries in the North of Holland) I think it will be there for centuries to come. What is disappearing though are the dialects. They suffer from an uncool image; many youngsters who want to find decent jobs (in the cities) don't want to be recognized by the accent of their native dialect. So they try to get rid of that accent by not speaking their dialect anymore.
Despite the big popularity of local bands who sing in their dialect, it still is not very cool when you can hear it where you come from (the country side) when you talk.