Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Dau ddeg tri

Dau ddeg tri. Twenty three. Literally two-ten-three in Cymraeg.

That is how long the Amazing Spiderman and I have been married.

Friday was our 23rd anniversary so what did we do to celebrate?

Sat our welsh exam, of course! We have just finished 30 weeks of Cwrs Mynediad (entry level course) in Welsh, going faithfully to the college for three hours every Monday night and then working at home in our spare time on the homework for the next week. We covered two chapters a week and now are on our way to learning a new language. Bendigedig! (brilliant!)

Welsh (or Cymraeg as it is known) is a bit of a tricky language. Things mutate. Like zombies with a chesty cough, Cymraeg involves mutations and lots of guttural ch sounds like you are coughing up phlegm.  But we are getting there!

It is amazing after only deg mis (ten months) of living here how much we know and understand. The exam consisted of four parts--Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking.

The Reading portion had you read a series of adverts for things like concerts, classes and school fairs and then answer questions about them e.g. when does the concert begin? What is the class teaching you? Who will be teaching the class?  How much does it cost to get into the school fair? Then you had to read a dialogue between two people and answer questions e.g. How did they each get to work that day? What did they each do Saturday night? Where are they going tomorrow? Then you had to read a series of sentences and fill in the blank with the missing word. It was usually a grammar thing like subject/verb agreement or conjugate the verb in the past tense or write the word with it's mutation. like the word car meaning....duh! car, if you want to say my car  the word my causes a nasal mutation making car turn into fy nghar. That's right. The C turned into NGH.

Then the Writing portion where you had to write a postcard using five words such as beach, last night, tomorrow, rainy, hotel.  You didn't know what the words would be until the test. We were surprised with the words the sea and busy which we had ever encountered on past papers before, but we coped. I forgot to mutate the word for busy as I was trying to work out how to use it in a sentence but that will only lose me a half point.  Here is a sample writing using those words.

Annwyl ffrindiau,
Wel, dyma ni yn Sbaen. Wedi cyrraedd yn saff Dydd Sul. Mae'r gwesty yn fawr ac ar bwys i'r traeth. Roedd hi'n bwrw glaw ddoe ond mae hi'n heuog heddiw. Neithiwr, bwyton ni cawl a bara ac yvon ni win coch. Mae'r  gwin coch yn fendigedig! Yfory dyn ni'n mynd i'r traeth yn a bore a dyn ni'n mynd i'r cyngerdd yn y nos. Bydd hi'n heulog, gobeithio.  Gwela i chi wythnos nesa.

That translates to:
Dear friends,
well, here we are in Spain. We arrived safely on Sunday. The hotel is big and near the beach. It rained yesterday but today it is sunny. Last night we ate soup and bread and drank red wine. The wine was brilliant! Tomorrow we are going to the beach in the morning and a concert in the evening. I hope the weather will be sunny. See you next week.

It's not Shakespeare, but I can write it with ease and play around with the words.

The other bit is the writing test was writing in the third person from a picture prompt. So you wrote things like Nyrs yw hi (She is a nurse) and Aeth hi i'r sinema neithiwr. (she went to the cinema last night) Easy peasy.

Then the Listening test. You had to listen to a radio announcement about a variety of activities and write what time they started the price it cost to attend the activity. Then you had to listen to a dialogue and answer questions. The answers were multiple choice and had a picture clue for each one. A cool bit of trivia: English numbers their multiple choice as  A, B, C, D but Cymraeg numbers theirs as A, B, C, CH. Because that is the order of the letters in the alphabet. And yes, before you ask, CH is ONE letter. Then we had to listen to a weather bulletin and listen for what the weather was yesterday, today, tomorrow and next week.

Then it was lunch time.  Hoorah! We ate, stretched our legs, chatted with friends, quizzed each other from our flashcards for the oral exam.

Then it was the oral exam. We were called one at a time into a room with a very friendly lady who gave you plenty of time to silently read over the words before saying them aloud. First you had to read a dialogue with her. Easy. Then answer questions in the third person about a picture. Pretty much just like the writing test, but spoken. easy peasy.  Then answer some questions that she asked you. We had a list of 20 questions such as where do you live, what do you like to do in your spare time etc that we were able to prepare answers for--we just didn't know which questions it would be on the day. Lastly, ask some questions to the examiner. We were given a list of five words you had to use in your question. If you got the word byw (live) you could ask Ble dych chi'n byw? (where do you live?) if you got hoffi (like) you could ask Beth dych chi'n hoffi i wneud yn eich amser sbar? (what do you like to do in your spare time?) All in all, not too bad.

We did a great deal of eat and drink and be merry cyn ac ar ol (before and after) the test. Thursday we went out and had a delicious meal at the local vegetarian cafĂ©. Hyfred! (lovely!) Then Friday after the exam we were tired and could not be arsed to cook so we got Chinese takeaway which was also delicious. Da iawn! (very good)

Spiderman treated me to a pedometer --something I have been wanting for ages. Expect a blog post about my goal of walking 10,000 steps a day! I am currently at 9498 steps and it is only hanner awr wedi chwech (6:30) so I know I will make it today.

So I will say goodbye and goodnight! Hywl a nos da!


    (now I shall have to learn whether it is pronounced "ben-dig-e-dig" or
    "ben-digh-dig"). I think I can remember this one and use it.

  2. Wonderful! The testing sounds challenging and fun!

  3. happy anniversary love you both Anne Isbell