Learn Welsh with Ceri
October 4, 2011 § 12 Comments
“I love Cadiz,
Cádiz reminds me of Wales;
I love the sea in Cádiz,
the sea reminds me of Wales;
I love the sunset in Cádiz,
I love the sunset over the sea in Cádiz,
the sunset reminds me of Wales;
I love the storms,
I love the storms in Cádiz,
I love the storms in the winter in Cádiz,
the storms remind me of Wales.”
They say what the son loses, the grandson seeks to regain. I’m ashamed to say I’ve learned more Welsh with Close Up Ceri in these last few days than in all the time I spent in my relatives’ farmhouses in the Land of my Fathers when I was too young to barely carry the lambs across the lush green grass for bottle feeding.
Welsh is a Celtic language, typically VSO, the red verbs come at the start of the sentence. “Dwi’n hoffi” means something in-between “I like”, “I love” and “I’m fond of”. “Mae” is a kind of third person verb tag of “to be”, both for singular and plural nouns, and here starts the sentences about reminding Ceri of Wales. Welsh is full of contractions and inflections, and the big grey “‘r” meaning “the” attaches itself to the red verbs. Despite being neighbours, English and Welsh it seems have substantially different grammars.
Ceri lives in Spain. Her poem, and with its strong repetition and parallelism I think it’s mesmeric, it must surely bring a tear to her eye, for growing up in beautiful Cádiz she knows what her children will have surely gained, but also what they will have surely lost.