Welsh Language

People always ask me why I study Welsh. What real world application does this cool, but strange, and almost useless language have? I mean, not event the Welsh speak Welsh all the time. They all know English.

Well, I’m a historian.

To me, it’s fun rediscovering an endangered language. When I went on the Welsh Study Abroad in Summer 2010, we visited Tintagel in Cornwall. We spoke to a few of the shop keepers, trying to see if they knew any Cornish, which is a closely related language to Welsh. They didn’t–Cornish has gone extinct. By learning the language, I am helping to preserve it from becoming another dead language.

Welsh is a gorgeous language. To the beginner and non-speaker, it sounds like guttural, Germanic elvish. Which, it pretty much is.

Welsh is a Celtic language. The Celts originated from the Rhineland, then migrated to the British Isles. There is a lot of “ch” (guttural hhkkkhhhh sounds–think Hanukkah), there is a weird LL sound (saying “th” and lah at the same time).

But, it is also “elvish.” Not only is it one of the numerous languages that Tolkein used to create his Middle Earth languages, but it is also an old language, the language of the druids, the language of the bards. Both of these were high revered social positions. They were the entertainers, the praisers, the heralds, the propagandizing politicians, the seers, the prophets.

The Welsh language, spoken correctly, and by natives, is a beautiful language. It is known for its poems. Ever since medieval times, there has been a national festival every year celebrating the culture and language of Wales. It is called the Eisteddfod. This is a major celebration, and I went to it in 2010. Poets from all over Wales come to compete in Welsh poetry–which is FAAAAAAAAAAAR too complicated to explain! (You thought English poetry was hard, try writing good, publishable Welsh poetry.) The highest honor is to be in the  Gorsedd of the Bards–meaning you are as good as the Medieval bards.

I love to listen to Welsh singers–their songs are astoundingly beautiful. You might recognize this song:

I have already decided I am going to sing lullabies to my babies in Welsh.
However, the main reason I am learning Welsh is BECAUSE I am a historian. I want to be an Arthurian specialist, as well as a Medieval Britain specialist. Most Welshmen spoke fluent Welsh at the time and the bards most definitely wrote and sung in Welsh. Thus, knowing the language will be of use to me.
 Besides, it is just a gorgeous language, full of mystery and history.

Daunting

I have this thing: when I learn a new word and like the sound of it, it becomes a “phase” for me to continually say it as often as I can. However, there are a few words that just stick with me for the rest of my life.

My first, and most important favorite word is…..
Daunting.
Dictionary definition: fearful and intimidating.
I first learned this word in 7th grade English. It was part of our weekly vocabulary. Only, this week, we had to make mnemonics on flashcards to study for them. When I looked up the word in the dictionary, I understood it easily–it’s an easy word. And, it sounds like “haunting”–which is spooky! Thus, I came up with mnemonic. On the front side of the notecard was the word daunting with a tombstone and a ghost. On the otherside was the definition. 
From that day on, I loved using the word daunting.  
Daunting, daunting, daunting.
Daunting
Daunting
And, since I learned the word in Virginia, with a teacher who most definitely had a Southern accent, it became 
Dhaaaaaaauuuunting. 
A long drawn out sound, a gasp, a sigh of fear, of giving up. More meaning to the word.
So, if you hear me say “daunting,”  you know it is my favorite word.

The Toothpick and the Toe

So, I promised to tell you the story of the toothpick and the toe in this blog.

One day, when I was a freshman and 14 years old, I was chasing my brother around the house. At the time, he was only 7, but we loved to chase and tickle and wrestle and sword/lightsabor fight each other. Around and around we went, from the kitchen to the dining room to the living room to the hallway back into the kitchen. I was catching up to him. Then, suddenly in the kitchen, I felt a prick on my toe–a sharp prick. I let out a short, “Ow!” I hobbled over to the stairs to sit, expecting to see a safety pin or a tack stuck in my sock (if it had stuck on).

Boy was I in for a surprise.

Staring straight back at me, through my fuzzy, green frog-eyed socks, was a toothpick. Ok. A toothpick was stuck through both the top and the bottom of my sock. It must have grazed my toes and was caught between them. I began to pull it out–but it wouldn’t budge. AND I felt a rough tugging.

I screamed.

The toothpick was IN my toe.

Mom rushed in, Dad behind her. I explained the situation to them, mom worried, dad hiding his expression.

“How did you get a toothpick stuck in your toe?”

“I don’t know dad, but it hurts, get it out!”

He sat down on the stairs beside me and tried to pull it out–that hurt. By this time, I was freaking out. I had read stories of people having nails and the such speared through their foot, with the pain, and the bleeding, and the infection, and the ER. I wondered if my toe was severely bleeding under my fuzzy green sock. I wondered if I had to go to the ER. I started to get light-headed and started crying.

“How did you get a toothpick through your toe?” my dad asked again. This time laughing. “I understand about a nail, but a toothpick?!? I mean, was it just standing straight up?” He laughed.

“It’s not funny!”

Dad couldn’t pull the toothpick out with the sock on, but since it was through my sock, he had to cut my favorite pair of socks off. And there it was. My second toe on my right foot with a toothpick through it completely.

“It doesn’t look to have penetrated bone,” Dad said, as if that made it any better.

Dad held onto my foot with one hand, and took the toothpick in his other hand. With a quick yank, it was out. No blood, no swelling, a tiny hole were it just was.

I was a little sore for the next few days, but just fine. There is no scar from it. But, it scarred me nonetheless. For months afterward, I watched the kitchen floor as I walked. Whenever we used toothpicks, I personally made sure all of them were escorted to the trash can.

But, to this day, I trump all.
Some have pierced their skin with a safety pin, pinning it on a layer of dead skin.
Some have stapled their belly, or their fingers.
Some may have even been stabbed by a small nail.
But, I have had a toothpick go all the way through my toe.

“A toothpick! How did you get a toothpick through your toe?????”

Saint David's Day

So, in my Teaching Writing class, we have a challenge to blog everyday the month of March…I guess its our version of March Madness. But, I guess I was having too much fun being Welsh and drowning in leek soup yesterday to blog. So, today you will get a double dose–a post about yesterday and then later, a post about today to make up for it.
Yesterday, March 1st was Saint David’s Day.
Dafydd (David) is the patron saint of Wales.
Its pretty much the equivalent of St. Patrick’s Day (and he is Welsh too! But that is a post for another day). It is a huge day of celebration for Welsh.
And, besides beer, which I don’t drink, nor is allowed on campus, Welsh celebrate with leek soup!
It sounds disgusting, but it is actually really, really delicious! And, the Welsh professor, Tom Taylor and his wife always make leek soup.
The reason they are holding leeks up to their lapel is because in medieval times, the Welsh would pin leeks to their lapels during battles to tell themselves apart from their enemies. However, as you can see, leeks are huge and stinky. So sometime or another, they switched to daffodils. Which, in Welsh is pretty close to leek, anyway.
Leek=cennin
Daffodil=cenhinen Bedr

So, yesterday, I wore my Welsh dragon earrings, my Welsh flag tshirt, and a felt leek on my shirt.
Hapus Dydd Sant Dafydd! Cymru am byth!!!

11X11

So, I got “tagged” in a post; therefore, I have to follow the rules. Thanks, Danica!!

Here are the rules of the challenge:
1 – you must post the rules.
2 – post eleven fun facts about yourself on the blog post
3 – answer the eleven questions the tagger set for you in their post
4 – create eleven new questions to ask the people you’ve tagged
5 – tag eleven people and link them on your post
6 – let them know you’ve tagged them!
11 Fun Facts About Me!
1) Last night, when Justin asked me what movie I wanted to watch, I said I wanted to watch “Live Free or Die Hard.” His face was one of surprise, but excitement.
2) Zucchini is probably my favorite vegetable ever! I try to find ways to incorporate it in all my dishes.
3) I have been working on the same fantasy novel since 7th grade. I promise SOMEDAY it will get finished and maybe even published.
4) I think that interviews are the scariest things ever. I may seem calm and relaxed, but I am always freaking out on the inside, no matter what the interview is for.
5) I have lived in 11 different houses during my life.
6) I am currently watching my first soap opera ever–Twinkle Twinkle–it’s a Korean comedic soap opera.
7) I can hold my own in video games against my boyfriend and his friends.
8) Besides being on campus for class and work, I think I spend more time at my boyfriend’s apartment than I do my own.
9) I never thought I’d ever consider dating someone with a lot of scruff…but now that I am, I have to say, I like it.
10) I love to rollerblade, I haven’t done so in more than 5 years. =(
11) Researching is actually fun for me–I love learning about new things.
Danica’s Questions:
1) 
Last book you read?
 Mockingjay–the last book in the Hunger Games trilogy. It is soooooo intense, I love it!!!!
2) 
Favorite song right now?
Just a Kiss – Lady Antebellum. It is OUR song.
3) 
Favorite place to shop?
Wet Seal. Over Thanksgiving Break, I spent over $100 there on cute clothes. They have amazing stuff. However, Papaya also has cute, cheap clothes on its clearance rack.
4) 
Best purchase ever?
Plane ticket to Wales two years ago for study abroad. That is also where I met Danica!
5) Most embarrassing moment, please.
When I was 14, I had a tankini. I felt very mature wearing it. My family and I went to an indoor pool resort-type place. I decided to try the boogie-board wave ride thing. However, I fell off, and the waves caused me to have a wardrobe malfunction!!!!!!!! YIKES!!!!!! I have never worn a two-piece since then.
6) 
First kiss story. May NOT be the same as #5.
I was 16. It was the last day I was going to see him all summer, so me, him, and my two best girlfriends (who were also close friends of his) watched the entire Bourne trilogy. Then, as my mom came to pick me up, the two girls rushed up the stairs in front of us, winking at him. It was awkward, but we pecked. That was our first and only kiss while we dated.
7) Grossest food you’ve ever eaten?
Danica can probably attest to this–black pudding. YUCK!!! Congealed blood made into a pudding-type cookie. DISGUSTING!!! We tried it in a pub in Cardiff.
8) 
What is your next vacation? What are your plans?
Going to Georgia with my boyfriend after finals in April. My plans are to meet his family and enjoy myself.
9) 
Favorite blog that you follow?
My darling Tashya’s hilariously drawn blog: Those Weird Heims.
Danica’s inspiring blog: Library Ninja
10) 
Celebrity you’d most like to punch in the face?
Probably any recent Disney Channel star– Selena Gomez, Miley Cyrus, even those like Lindsay Lohan and Brittany Spears. What have they done to the children of this day and age but teach them to be sluts and brats at such a young age. So disappointing.
11) 
Something you LOVE that you’re embarrassed about?
FAIRIES!!!!!!! I love fairies. At home, I have  a collection of fairy figurines. Here, I have a couple of fairy posters. I have seen all the Tinkle Bell movies, and going to Pixie Hollow at Disneyland was the best day ever.

And……I tag:
1) Natashya: A princess and my best friend ever!
2) Harley and Jane: An old roommate and her friend (they are fashion bloggers)
3) Justin: Best boyfriend ever!!
4) Savannah: A fellow historian and writer
5) Marzipan: Friend from sophomore year
6) Tim: Fellow historian and geek
7) Lexi: Roommate
8) Angelica: Roommate
9) Lauren: Dear cousin
10) Josh: Boyfriend’s ninja artist roommate
11) Ale: One of the best roommates ever

My 11 Questions:
1) What are the different boards you have on pinterest, and if you don’t have a pinterest, what boards would you have?
2) Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
3) If you could travel to any time period, when would it be, and why?
4) What was your favorite Christmas present this year?
5) How/why did you chose your major?
6) What is your favorite kind of icecream?
7) What is the worst book you’ve ever read?
8) How many friends do you have on facebook?
9) What is your favorite classical painting? Show us what it is. Either post the picture or post a link to the picture.
10) Which movie character would you love to date?
11) What actor would play you in a movie about your life?
Thanks, all!