Be' tisha gwybod?

by Suw on May 28, 2003

Weird day today. The interview with Irfon Jones from Radio Cymru was brought forward to today, which meant less time to prepare, but also less time to get nervous. I don’t really do nerves, though, not beforehand. I get kinda calm before something scary. Then I fall apart afterwards.

I have to say, Irfon was lovely. I wouldn’t have had a problem with doing an interview with him at all if it were in English. I’ve done a few during the last year and, whilst the first few wigged me out somewhat (I’m much more used to being the interviewer than the interviewee), I’ve started to get used to it. It’s a business thing. I need to promote my business, so I need interviews. Easy.

But the idea of doing radio in Welsh, well… That’s a whole nother ball game. There’s this lag… My comprehension isn’t perfect, so I hear the sounds and there’s a pause whilst my brain sorts them out into words. Then I have to figure out what those words mean. Then I have to think of a response and then I have to think of how to say that in Welsh.

Disappointingly, I was thinking in English and stumbling over my Welsh. Usually when I speak in Welsh I try to think in Welsh – and it makes a big difference. Today, I thought in English and spoke in gibberish.

And I giggled. Gah. I knew I would either corpse or freeze, and I corpsed.

Still, it wasn’t live, and Irfon was very sympathetic and promised that they could edit something together from the shite that pour forth from my gob. I think I would have been better if I’d known in more detail what they wanted to talk about. I was expecting the competition questions, but not the questions about me, and why I started learning Welsh, how I learnt, stuff like that.

It’s so hard to explain to someone why I started learning Welsh, because I don’t really know myself. It was almost arbitrary. I wanted another language, any other language and Welsh won out by default because, five years down the line, I’m still learning. I’ve tried Polish, Russian, Dutch, French, Latin, Cornish, Norwegian, Swahili… the list goes on.

It’s an accident that I now speak Welsh, not part of some grand design. But try telling that to people. They don’t understand that you can do something like this by accident. But the thing is, people kept emailing me in Welsh and I had to translate in order to reply to them. Learning was almost a side effect.

But anyway, apparently my Welsh is better than some Welsh people’s Welsh, so I guess it will be ok. I shall tape it tomorrow morning (it’s on before I get up), and hope that I don’t sound too much like a twat.

Anyway, like I say, I get really nervy after the event. I’ve always been like that. When I did stand up, I used to be really horribly calm beforehand, then just go to pieces afterwards. I did that today too. The only thing I could think of afterwards was to call J in Australia, just to hear his voice to calm me down. If he could have seen me, pacing round my flat, riddled with nerves, I think he would have pissed himself laughing.

Still, glad it's all over. I can get back to my Matrix obsession now, until it wears off, of course.

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