Y Gwyll.

Wikipedia sez:

Y Gwyll (English: The Dusk), known in English by the name Hinterland, is a police detective drama series broadcast on S4C in Welsh and later in English on BBC One Wales. When it was aired on the BBC in 2014, it was the first BBC television drama with dialogue in both English and Welsh.

I hadn’t heard of it until the wonderful Charlotte Mandell sent me a link to this nine-minute clip, which features Richard Harrington doing, as she says, some interesting code-switching; he’ll be rattling along in Welsh and suddenly say “like a duck to water” in English. Thanks, Charlotte!

Comments

  1. There’s an Israeli series called “avoda aravit” (“Arab job”, a double entendre, one meaning being derived from a Hebrew expression meaning “a botched job”). Its main theme is interaction between the Israeli Arab minority and the Israeli Jews. The Arabs in the show speak authentic Israeli Arabic – that is, one richly intermixed with Hebrew for words and expressions such as “computer”, “streetlight” and “social security”.

  2. I was thinking of Avoda Aravit as well. It’s hilarious, even if you don’t get all the inside jokes. Some US libraries have English-subtitled DVDs. Highly recommended.
    In one scene, the Arab parents of the protagonist switch to Yiddish so he wouldn’t understand them. A pretty obvious but effective knee-slapper, like the Jeffersons switching to perfectly-accented Cantonese.

  3. gwenllian says:

    I saw it last year when it was first shown in Welsh. I didn’t like it at all, but I still watched the whole thing, just for the language. To my ears, Welsh is one of the most pleasant sounding languages out there. Too bad demographic trends mean it’s pretty much doomed.

    It’s kind of interesting to note that Harrington is not a native speaker. He’s from SE Wales, and learned Welsh through Welsh-medium schools. Welsh-medium schools seem to usually produce competent Welsh speakers, in contrast to the situation with Gaelscoils in Ireland. Well, at least they do so now, who knows if that will last as the share of native speakers dwindles.

  4. It’s kind of interesting to note that Harrington is not a native speaker.

    Thanks, I wondered about that!

  5. It’s a shame that clip has no subtitles, because I have watched all four episodes of Y Gwyll now in the Welsh version and would have loved to know what he’s saying about it. Or am I missing something?

  6. Off topic: Kvæld is one of the words for evening in Danish and looks related to gwyll. My limited access to etymological resources imply that it’s not a real cognate in the back-to-PIE sense, so I wonder if it’s a loan? Old English seems to have a cwieldtid which means evening too.

  7. The Svensk Etymologisk Ordbok at Project Runeberg, s.v. kvӓll, attributes this to PIE *gʷel-, but the only non-Germanic reflex listed is Lithuanian gălas ‘end’. There are two possibly relevant *gʷel- roots in Pokorny, one for ‘stab’ (English quell, kill, quail ‘cower’) and one for ‘throw’ (lots of Greek forms in -ball-, -bol-). I don’t know how, if at all, these link up with ‘evening’.

  8. Trond Engen says:

    Bjorvand & Lindeman see this as “the day’s death”, i.e. from the same root *gʷel- as Eng. quell et al. and No. kvele “strangulate”. The IE meaning of the root is “endure, take”.

  9. Trond Engen says:

    “Suffer”, of course. Thinking of it, some of the oldest attestatations are from compounds meaning “evening work, nightshift; hard work”. Could it actually be a back-formation?

    What is the etymology of gwyll?

  10. On the etymology of “gwyll”: Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru (http://geiriadur.ac.uk/gpc/gpc.html) says “? yr un elf. ag a welir yn _tywyll_ ” (“? the same element which is seem in _tywyll_, “dark”). They don’t seem very sure, and they don’t cite any potential cognates…

    For what it’s worth, _tywyll_ (in its entry) is compared with various Cornish and Breton forms, some of which (temoel, tenval) show evidence of a medial ‘m’. As far as IE background is concerned, GPC says: “o’r gwr. IE *temə- ‘tywyll’, cf. Llad. temere ‘yn fyrbwyll’, tenebrae, Sans. timirá. ” (“from the IE root *temə-, ‘dark’, cf Latin temere ‘rashly’, tenebrae [darkness], Sanskrit timirá”).

    I’m not really sure how you would get ‘gwyll’ from ‘tywyll’, though I am not an expert on Welsh etymology. If you ignore this suggestion and assume an independent word, you could be looking at etymologies starting with *wi- at the Proto-Celtic level.

  11. Just to add: the entry for ‘gwyll’ is dated 1976, and is probably in need of an update (the one for ‘tywyll’ is from 2002).

  12. I watched Y Gwyll when it was originally on S4C in Welsh but didn’t stick with it. “Mathias” was the original title of the Welsh series named after the eponymous main character DCI Tom Mathias while “Hinterland” was always its English language title. I imagine it had its Welsh name changed to “Y Gwyll” to tie-in with the recent popularity of the “Nordic noir” Scandinavian crime fiction TV shows ‘The Killing’, ‘Wallander’ etc. as it actually states on (Cymraeg) Wicipedia regarding Y Gwyll being broadcast in Denmark that:

    “Cred DR y bydd tirlun Cymru yn apelio at wylwyr Danaidd.” – DR (Danish TV) believes the Welsh landscape will appeal to the Danish viewers.

    I’m not saying this is the case regarding Richard Harrington’s code-switching in the interview link but idioms often come as a stumbling block especially if you’re a second language speaker not readily knowing whether you’ve calqued a uniquely English idiom into Welsh or vice versa which has a differently worded equivalent?

    “To take to something like a duck to water” in Welsh is either:

    cymryd at rywbeth fel hwyaden at ddu?r (take to something like a duck to water.)

    cynefino â rhywbeth fel hwyaden â nofio (accustom with something like a duck with swimming.)

  13. Just wondered if “gwyll” was a contraction of “godywyll” (go + soft mutation tywyll) ‘somewhat dark’?

  14. Welsh-medium schools seem to usually produce competent Welsh speakers, in contrast to the situation with Gaelscoils in Ireland.

    Fascinating — what accounts for the difference?

  15. David Marjanović says:

    Reportedly, Irish is traditionally taught like Latin…

  16. marie-lucie says:

    I wonder if they are teaching Modern Irish the way Old Irish might be taught in universities, that is, like Latin or Greek, which are not meant to be actually spoken by the students.

  17. Reportedly, Irish is traditionally taught like Latin…

    Not in the primary or secondary schools over the last 30 years or so. My experience with a perfectly normal English-medium education in Ireland was that the genders and declensions are mentioned but not taught very seriously, the focus was on saying something (with the appropriate word order and verb conjugation) rather than getting those exact.

    Primary school has far more hours per week of Irish than does secondary school, and primary school teachers in general have more exposure to the language. Then in secondary school (with the exception of the gaelscoileanna) there are fewer hours of Irish per week, as is appropriate, and there seems to be less expected from pupils. Plenty of people finish primary school (at 12) with better Irish than they have finishing secondary school (at 17).

    Talking to people in university who had come from gaelscoileanna, their command of the language was good as we started, fluent if that word has meaning, and then it atrophied over the four years of English-speaking university so that they weren’t comfortable in the language anymore. Now, that situation may have worsened in the seventeen years since I started my first degree, but at that point, children attending gaelscoileanna were the only children in urban areas with a fluent command of the language.

  18. Late 19th century Ottoman empire had quite a number French schools for children of rising Ottoman middle class.

    Contemporary observers report that teaching of French in these schools had quite peculiar, but very efficient method.

    Students were forbidden to speak any language, but French. Disobedience in uttering any non-French word was punished by spanking.

    So for the first year in school, poor Turkish schoolboy who had not a single word of French, would have to remain mute and silent to avoid punishment.

    But from the second year on, he would inevitably start speaking French, progressing very fast.

  19. Students were forbidden to speak any language but French

    That was Mme. Ruegg’s stern rule in my high school French classes, and as a result I can still speak French with a reasonable accent almost half a century later.

  20. We had a good old-fashioned French education: dictées, Ronsard, Racine, Corneille, Pascal, the works. I can’t tell you where Port-Royal was or what the Jansenists believed, but I still remember that Port-Royal was full of Jansenists.

  21. marie-lucie says:

    Irish students becoming fluent in Irish: this reminds me of the “immersion” French classes in Canada. Many students come out fluent but not very accurate, in both pronunciation and grammar.

    Port-Royal: Last summer my sister and I went to the site of Port-Royal des Champs (P-R in the fields), a lovely place, West of Paris, far from the beaten track even now. The original building has long disappeared, but a more recent one has been converted into an interesting museum, surrounded by the original park. The original Port-Royal convent was located in Paris and had become more like a women’s pension (boarding house) than a religious institution, but when Angélique Arnauld (from a Jansenist – very rigorous, Calvinist-like – family), who had been named the abbess while still a child, was considered old enough to assume her functions, she imposed a return to a strict rule and soon moved to the isolated country spot with those of the nuns who agreed with her, including a younger sister. The whole Arnauld extended family was involved with the religious movement and the new convent, including her father and brothers and some of their friends and associates, who built “les Petites Maisons” on the convent property where they spent a variable amount of time away from Paris. Pascal was one of them. In this religious and intellectual retreat they farmed, studied, meditated, wrote a great deal, and also ran a boarding school for a while. Eventually the Jansenist “heresy” was condemned by the Church, the convent ordered closed and the nuns transferred back to Paris. I think that Jansenism pretty much expired with the Arnaulds.

  22. Students were forbidden to speak any language but French

    We didn’t receive a caning for a transgression, but the mores of the place and time (Toronto, late 50s-mid 60s) dictated that only French was spoken in French class.

    I can still speak French with a reasonable accent almost half a century later.

    So can I — as long as I’m reading it aloud from a newspaper, book, etc. A conversation at all but the simplest level is impossible. My vocabulary’s not bad, but verb tenses, gender and other grammatical niceties are next to non-existent.

  23. fluent but not very accurate

    That doesn’t affect French as a whole, because L1 French is not threatened. But with the tradition of L1 Irish basically broken, the way in which Irish is spoken as an L2 will become the way it is spoken, period.

    I can’t tell you where Port-Royal was

    Ironic, because the Port-Royal Grammar, written there anonymously in 1660, was the first work in the tradition of universal grammar, at least according to its chief promulgator in the 20C, You-Know-Who. See the WP article on Cartesian linguistics, which really should be just called ‘rationalist linguistics’.

    (I also resent his appropriation of William von Humboldt, the Humanist without Portfolio.)

  24. The difference between Welsh-medium schooling and Irish gaelscoils might simply come from the fact that Welsh is a more widely-spoken language, and it’s easier to find competent, and even native, speakers to teach it in unilingually anglophone areas. Gaelscoils (gaelscoileanna) have to make do with what’s available. Well, that’s just the simplest explanation that comes to mind. There might well be other problems with the gaelscoil system, ones that could actually be solved. At first I was going to mention that there’s also much more music and media available in fluently-spoken Welsh, but I think I remember reading a survey or study showing that those resources are rarely introduced by teachers and almost never sought out by the students themselves.

    Which ties in to my regret that Y Gwyll it wasn’t shown on BBC in Welsh with English subtitles. I understand that they’re aiming at a broader audience and commercial success, but it just seems like such a missed chance in light of the whole Scandinavian subtitled drama craze. It would have been nice to have a wider audience exposed to a drama in Welsh, even though the Welsh-only Aberystwyth of Y Gwyll is as absurdly unrealistic as the Wales where people only speak Welsh to be rude which exists in so many prejudiced people’s minds.

  25. Aidan, no doubt gaelcoileanna students’ Irish is much stronger than that of those who attended English-medium schools, but research indicates that most gaelscoileanna students’ Irish is lacking, and that there are serious communication problems between them and mother tongue speakers. I haven’t heard of such problems posing a pressing concern in Wales, even though Welsh-medium education there is much more widespread than the gaelscoileanna system in Ireland.

    I think there’s little hope of remedying the problems of gaelscoileanna Irish at this point, when recent research indicates that many of the children still being brought up in Gaeltacht Irish don’t have the command of Irish one would expect of L1 speakers.

    irishtimes.com/news/education/early-exposure-to-english-is-damaging-the-standard-of-irish-among-gaeltacht-young-1.2025774

    Irish is on its deathbed. Welsh is much healthier, but that’s not (as commonly believed by language enthusiasts in Ireland) because of better language policies, but simply because the percentage of native speakers never fell as much as it did in Ireland. But the steady decrease of native speakers in Wales has never stopped, and they’re the ones who really matter for the survival of a language. Welsh will be around for quite a while yet, but the direction it’s headed in is depressingly clear.

    Speaking of French and Canada, I’ve been doing a lot of reading on the French-speaking minorities in English Canada, and what most struck me was that it was possible to find young people from tiny, isolated, shrinking French-speaking communities whose English, while excellent, is obviously not at L1 level. I found that fascinating, because you just don’t see that in Wales (let alone Ireland) except in very small children. Can anyone account for the difference?

  26. The difference between Welsh-medium schooling and Irish gaelscoils might simply come from the fact that Welsh is a more widely-spoken language,

    Can you explain further? Wiki gives 1.7 million speakers for Gaelic and 562,000 speakers for Welsh.

  27. I’m guessing they’re counting anyone who’s ever taken a course in Irish, which is not what matters and not what gwenllian is talking about. The idea that there are 1.7 million actual speakers, who use the language in their daily life, is laughable.

  28. David Marjanović says:

    what most struck me was that it was possible to find young people from tiny, isolated, shrinking French-speaking communities whose English, while excellent, is obviously not at L1 level

    I know two colleagues from not quite tiny places in Québec who only began to learn English when they turned 20 and transferred to an English-speaking university. Do you mean places surrounded by English-speaking territory instead?

  29. gwenllian says:

    You’re right. Not everyone who took a course is counted (if they were, almost the whole native-born population would be reported as Irish-speaking), but it is a laughable affair. People are supposed to fill in the question based on self-assessment, but in practice, of course, many answer based on what position they take on the contentious issues of compulsory Irish education and official bilingualism, no matter what their level of Irish is.

    David, yep, I mentioned in my comment that I’m referring to the French minorities of English Canada. To be even more specific, I mean places not only outside of Quebec, but also outside of eastern Ontario and northern New Brunswick. Places far away from any larger, compact French-speaking territory. I just wouldn’t have expected any such communities to have any remaining adult speakers who couldn’t pass as L1 English speakers, based on what I know about the gaeltacht and North and West Wales. There’s probably an obvious explanation, but I haven’t been able to come up with one on my own that would actually convince me.

  30. young people from tiny, isolated, shrinking French-speaking communities whose English, while excellent, is obviously not at L1 level

    In what respects? If it’s merely phonological, that’s not a big deal, it just means that a new accent of L1 English has been created. The whole of anglophone Wales and Ireland speaks with accents that would have been called foreign during the bilingual period, but now are just native accents. Other than that, the obvious factor is Canada’s official bilingualism and the fact that worldwide French is a language with high prestige.

  31. marie-lucie says:

    JC, the worldwide high prestige of French is of no concern to most rural inhabitants of English Canada, either French or English speaking. Only so-called “Parisian French” has high prestige in Canada, not local rural varieties. There is also still a certain amount of anti-French bigotry in some places.

  32. m-l: Sure. My point is that isolated francophones can’t just be given the message “Your language is bad, you shouldn’t speak it” with any conviction, as was done with Welsh and Irish. They know it’s a national language of their country and one of the great culture-bearing languages of the world. “Your dialect is bad” as a message would only work if the surrounding anglophones knew one kind of French from another. So such francophones can maintain French, their French, as an act of defiance.

    Of course, this idea might turn out to be all rubbish, but at least it seems like a possibility.

  33. gwenllian says:

    John, it’s not just phonological, I’ll try to look for an example.

    I thought of your explanation, but then I thought of what marie-lucie says. Quebec French has lost a lot of its stigma, but the non-Quebec varieties still seem very stigmatised, among anglophones, Quebec francophones and their own speakers alike. And Quebec as a place of opportunity is very far away and in most of those francophones’ minds a place where they’ll be openly mocked for their French (I have no idea whether that fear is completely justified or somewhat based on exaggerations).

    You’re right about most anglophones not knowing one kind of French from another, but that matters little when there are centuries of stigma attached. Canada’s anglophones all know about common negative French attitudes to Quebec French, and they all know about common negative attitudes among Quebecers’ to other kinds of French in Canada. Many anglophones just accept and repeat those attitudes unquestioningly, and many among them accept those attitudes so much that they believe that they can differentiate between all kinds of continental French and Canadian French, based on quality or beauty or somesuch concept, regardless of whether they speak any French themselves or not. Another stigmatised aspect of Canadian French, especially that outside of Quebec, are anglicisms. There’s a lot of intra-francophone tension about them, and their use is commonly ridiculed by anglophones. So the common message seems to be not so much “your language is bad, you shouldn’t speak it”, but “your dialect is so bad that you don’t really speak the language you claim to, just give it up already”. ,

  34. Fair enough. But this message is apparently not internalized. External oppression can be defied.

  35. You’re right. Not everyone who took a course is counted (if they were, almost the whole native-born population would be reported as Irish-speaking), but it is a laughable affair. People are supposed to fill in the question based on self-assessment, but in practice, of course, many answer based on what position they take on the contentious issues of compulsory Irish education and official bilingualism, no matter what their level of Irish is.

    What would you give as more plausible figures for fluent speakers of Gaelic and Welsh? Because now I am actually curious about this and I am seeing wildly different numbers all over the place for Gaelic. The 500k number for Welsh is also self-reported.

  36. per incuriam says:

    You’re right. Not everyone who took a course is counted (if they were, almost the whole native-born population would be reported as Irish-speaking), but it is a laughable affair. People are supposed to fill in the question based on self-assessment, but in practice, of course, many answer based on what position they take on the contentious issues of compulsory Irish education and official bilingualism, no matter what their level of Irish is

    The Wikipedia article is misleading but the underlying figure (from the census of population) is perfectly plausible. The question asked is simply “can you speak Irish?” i.e. yes or no. That 40% or so would choose yes as a more accurate answer than no seems hardly surprising, given the amount of contact most people have had with the language, particularly through school.

    The idea that there are 1.7 million actual speakers, who use the language in their daily life, is laughable

    There is a follow-up question on daily use and the result there is also entirely plausible: 1.8%.

    research indicates that most gaelscoileanna students’ Irish is lacking, and that there are serious communication problems between them and mother tongue speakers

    It sort of depends on what you mean by “Irish”. In Ireland, strange as it may seem, native speech is not universally acknowledged as the gold standard. There are complaints, for example, about the “thick” Gaeltacht accents heard on Irish-language TV.

  37. Er, defied. And that was my fingers, not any sort of auto-correct. Just too many years now writing “define” in programming contexts.

  38. Fixed!

  39. gwenllian says:

    Fluent speakers, native or not, anywhere in Ireland? Difficult question. There’s a huge amount of scholarship on the state of Irish, and different experts have come up with wildly different figures. Based on what I remeber of the different studies, I’d go with no more than 70 or 80 000 reasonably fluent speakers in Ireland, easily less, but it’s been quite a while since I’ve pored over the data, and I’d hate to mislead you. Probably for the best to compare the different studies and decide yourself. I’ve always found the Gaeltacht speakers the most interesting (and the only important ones for the survival of Irish as more than a hobby language), and things are looking grim for them: less than 1000 primary school aged native speakers in all of the Gaeltacht,according to the recently published Analysis of Bilingual Competence: Language Acquisition among young people in the Gaeltacht. Even grimmer when one remembers the Gaeltacht is not a single territory, but tiny, isolated pieces of land on opposite ends of the island.

    The situation in Wales is much easier to gauge because there’s less of an issue with overreporting. That is, the self-reported numbers, across areas and age groups, align pretty well with what would be expected from the demographics trends, migrations, Welsh-medium school enrolment, previous census results, the linguistic situation in those areas as reported and studied by experts etc. It might have to do with Welsh only becoming a compulsory subject in English-medium education in Wales in 1999 (in contrast to the 1920s for Irish), and thus it missing out on the culture of overreporting that arose in Ireland over the years. There was a spike of school-aged Welsh speakers at the last census, apparently parents reporting English-medium students as Welsh-speaking because of the compulsory Welsh classes, but the anomaly was mostly gone this time around. Even just going to north or west Wales, or looking at twitter or youtube, it’s easy to see that it’s in a much healthier state than Irish. But the Welsh-speaking areas are places of little opportunity and high housing prices, from which Welsh-speaking youth scatter in search of a job, and are replaced by non-Welsh-speaking pensioners. The writing is on the wall.

    http://www.comisiynyddygymraeg.org/English/Publications%20List/A%20statistical%20overview%20of%20the%20Welsh%20language.pdf

    per incuriam,

    I don’t think there’s that much semantic wiggle room with the “do you speak Irish” question. The vast, vast majority of people who self-report as Irish-speaking cannot actually speak the language. Most would probably have a rudimentary understanding of written Irish, and many would likely have some understanding of the spoken language, but they definitely aren’t able to speak it. This commercial was a hit in Ireland because it resonated so much:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTNBmFveq2U

  40. Thank you. This discussion prompted a lot of googling and I ended up watching the No Béarla documentary on youtube.

    In Ireland, strange as it may seem, native speech is not universally acknowledged as the gold standard. There are complaints, for example, about the “thick” Gaeltacht accents heard on Irish-language TV.

    Wow. That’s truly awful.

  41. It sure is.

  42. It’s just part of the “talking like an illiterate” cultural syndrome. The only difference is that instead of there being one or a few accents that are Good and the rest Bad, they are all Bad, since none of them closely resembles the standard written form.

  43. gwenllian says:

    I loved No Bearla! There was, unsurprisingly, some controversy about it at the time, as some in the language movement felt that showing things as they really are was discouraging to learners and ultimately hurt the language. There’s a nice short (available on Youtube) on the dissonance of Irish being Ireland’s first language and the reality on the ground, Yu Ming is ainm dom.

    John, those attitudes in Canada are internalised to an extent. Even in Quebec, there is still a huge amount of insecurity. Outside Quebec, speakers report such high levels of unease with their dialects, that some refuse to speak to Quebecers or other French speakers at all. Prejudice against dialectal variation is by no means unique to French, but it does seem to be an especially bad case, at least among the languages I know enough about to compare. And being a language minority doesn’t help. Still, the situation is not bad enough that those non-Quebec francophones wouldn’t pass the language onto their children – most do, as long as they marry another francophone. In linguistically exogamous families, rates of transmission of French are extremely low, but it’s hard to know how related that is to stigma or lack of prestige or any such factor. I suspect that mostly it’s simply out of convenience. Which is why any pro-Frech activism or awareness-raising campaign is pretty much in vain anywhere outside of northeastern Ontario and northern New Brunswick.

    And speaking of the Celtic languages, another interesting and even more clearly doomed Canadian language preservation project is that of Scottish Gaelic in Nova Scotia. It’s such a commonly repeated myth that there are more speakers in Canada than in Scotland, but in reality there are only a few hundred remaining. So it was a surprise to me just how many there used to be – almost 70 000 in Nova Scotia in the second half of the 19th century! That was more than double the number of Nova Scotia francophones, but the francophone numbers first grew and then kept steady over the following century, and the Gaelic numbers kept falling continuously, even though they lived in similar, often adjacent, rural communities. Did Gaelic speakers arrive to NS with much higher fluency in English? Wouldn’t the francophones also have arrived from years of exile in the 13 colonies? Was anti-French prejudice much higher than anti-Gaelic prejudice? Is it just a result of the French speakers being Catholic and Scottish Gaels mostly Protestant, with Gaelic speakers mixing more with the mostly Protestant linguistic majority? Or was it all of the above?

  44. Excellent questions all.

    There’s a nice short (available on Youtube) on the dissonance of Irish being Ireland’s first language and the reality on the ground, Yu Ming is ainm dom.

    YU MING IS AINM DOM.

  45. David Marjanović says:

    they are all Bad, since none of them closely resembles the standard written form

    Standardization: damned if you do, damned if you don’t?

  46. Interesting book on the Celtic languages (though I can’t say I share its optimistic outlook), with a graph of Scottish Gaelic speaker numbers over time on page 368:

    http://books.google.com/books/about/Rebuilding_the_Celtic_Languages.html?id=wia5nginsawC&redir_esc=y

  47. Greg Pandatshang says:

    Has anybody figured out how to watch the Welsh version of Y Gwyll in the United States? The “bilingual” version streams on Netflix, but I watched the first episode and it was entirely in English. I found it to be passable boilerplate British crime drama. The guest stars gave solid, if scene-chewy performances. I was not as favorably impressed with the regulars. Not something I watch regularly if it’s not actually in Welsh.

  48. marie-lucie says:

    gwenllian: Quebec French has lost a lot of its stigma, but the non-Quebec varieties still seem very stigmatised, among anglophones, Quebec francophones and their own speakers alike. And Quebec as a place of opportunity is very far away and in most of those francophones’ minds a place where they’ll be openly mocked for their French (I have no idea whether that fear is completely justified or somewhat based on exaggerations).

    The reason that Quebec French has lost a lot of its stigma is that since the 1960’s the provincial government has put considerable effort into French language education for francophones, including promoting bien parler, meaning adopting an “international” French close to the European standard, something that used to be the privilege of the upper class only, the majority of the population being barely literate. Also, there have been waves of immigration of largely Standard French speakers, not so much from France as from former French colonies, ingluding at first “Pieds-Noirs” (European colonists and Jews) from Algeria who were not very welcome in France, and also more recently Haitians and Africans, many of them educated in Standard French. As a result of these circumstances, educated Quebec French is quite close to educated “French French” and has received constant reinforcement in the direction of the standard. Outside of Quebec, most francophones have had little access to such education or to such international contacts. In addition, francophone areas tend to be interspersed with anglophone ones, and to have developed dialectal differences due to their isolation from each other.

  49. marie-lucie says:

    The Pieds-Noirs were not all of French origin, many were descendants of Spanish and Italian immigrants who ran farms, small buisnesses, etc. They, as well as Jews, had long ago been granted full French citizenship on a par with people born in France, while Muslims had a separate, second-class status. As a result, many Pieds-Noirs did not have family members or other long-term affiliations with people in France, and in spite of having attended French schools in Algeria they had a different culture. The French government made efforts to resettle them throughout the country so as not to create ghettos, but many of those people eventually chose to emigrate, many to Québec, where they were considered both as representative of French culture and as not-quite-French, like the Québécois.

  50. pleavin says:

    Greg Pandatshang,

    I cannot find for the life of me a version of y gwyll in welsh, and having missed out on its showing on S4C I doubt I will.

    If anyone manages to get a hold of one let me know.

    Cheers

  51. Chris McG says:

    If you can play Region 2 DVDs (i.e., you’re European and have a regular DVD player, or are non-European and have a universal or unlocked DVD player) then you can just buy the DVD from Amazon (or wherever else) – the English version and Welsh one are sold separately though, so be careful to buy the right one (the Welsh one is “Y Gwyll (Hinterland)”, the English “Hinterland (Y Gwyll)”).

  52. La Horde Listener says:

    About the ” ? yr un elf. Ag a welir yn _tywyll_” ( “? The same element which is seem in _tywyll_ , “dark”).” “They don’t cite any potential cognates… ” I think I can guess at that one. “You are an elf, a being that resides and operates in the sort of twilight zone of reality.” Folklore paints the elven race that way in many stories, right? How very poetic, saying someone’s A Being Apart, constituted of the equivalent of the spooky time between day and night, neither fish nor fowl, ape nor angel, *sigh*… I don’t know the name for the term when a word is nearly a cognate though not quite, like “crocodile” in English and “cocodrillo” in Spanish, but like that: Tywyll = twilight. “?”

  53. David Eddyshaw says:

    “elf.” is an abbreviation for “elfen” “element,” a Latin loan utterly unrelated to English “elf.” The resemblance is pure accident (as is that between “tywyll” and “twilight”.) It’s quite different from “crocodile” and “cocodrillo” which ultimately both come from the same Greek word.

  54. David Eddyshaw says:

    The derivation of tywyll from IE *tem- looks convincing. You’d expect -v- (f in modern orthography) rather than -w-, but there are plenty of other examples of original -v- weakened to -w- by Middle Welsh.

    I imagine the proposed connection with gwyll is meant to be with the second component of tywyll, ie ty[f]-wyll, suggesting that this would be a compound of the *tem- element with whatever etymon underlies “gwyll.” AFAIK there’s no regular noun-forming prefix ty-.

    The g is not problematic of course; basically Welsh has w for IE w after original vowels (often long lost), gw elsewhere.

    I can’t say any IE cognates spring to mind for a supposed *wesl- or the like, meaning “dusk, twilight.”

  55. David Eddyshaw says:

    Ah. *wes-per-, as in “vesper” “hesperus” and “West.”

  56. David Eddyshaw says:

    And indeed (if Hofmann’s Greek etymological dictionary is to be believed) вечер.

  57. Vasmer calls that derivation probable (вероятно) but discusses various influences and possibilities; he includes Old Irish vescor ‘evening,’ but Thurneysen considers this a borrowing from Latin vesper (since Irish did not have a /p/ at that time).

  58. La Horde Listener says:

    Ooooh. A tip o’ the, uh, HAT, to you, D.E.

  59. On вечер: Also related to English “west”, as argued in this article by Piotr Gąsiorowski .

  60. Thanks, Peter is the gold standard as far as I’m concerned!

  61. J. W. Brewer says:

    Is this a sufficiently-active Welsh-related thread to post this story about transcending the binary English/Welsh divide: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-33479808?

  62. Sure!

  63. Er, I mean “jang vIDa je due luq.”

  64. David Eddyshaw says:

    Evidently there is no Klingon word for “devolved.”
    Figures – after all, a people are either conquered, or not. There can be no half measures.

  65. I watched the 9-minute clip, and about halfway through there is an extended metaphor about English, Welsh, and train carriages. What’s that all about, anyone? I have no Welsh.

    The Klingon, by the way, is utterly ungrammatical gibberish, the product of Bing Translator. Here’s an interlinear:

    Ø-jang vI-Da je due luq.
    3sg-answer 1sg.3sg-act.in.the.manner.of and “due” of.course

    ‘ach ghot-vam-‘e’ QI’yaH devolved Ø-qaS.
    but person-this-TOPIC motherfucker! “devolved” 3sg-happen

    Note that due and devolve are English loanwords, and QI’yaH is the strongest of Klingon curses.

  66. gwenllian says:

    I think he’s talking about working in Welsh being harder for him, because he has to really focus. He says in English the words just flow out, while in Welsh he has to think about it, because to him Welsh (as his second languge) doesn’t come as naturally. And something about it being frustrating when his mind would just go blank. I’m not sure what he says about the carriages, but the first part about the train is “in English, the train comes, and the words flow out”.

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