Friday I spent the day in a Welsh exam--9:30 to noon written and listening comprehension, followed by a 2:20 20-minute oral exam in which I had to speak for 3 minutes and then answer questions about my monologue, answer some other questions that tested my comprehension/use of passive, conditional, and emphatic constructions, and then answer ten questions with 'yes', in Welsh. The last thing seems silly, right? But they don't really say 'yes' or 'no' directly very much in Welsh. They do the following:
Are you going to the store? I am.
Do you have children? I do.
Will he make breakfast? He will.
Should we build a hot tub? You (pl) should.
Will I be able to help you? You will be able to. (oh yes. that one's fun)
This means there are about 20 million (give or take) ways to say 'yes' and 'no' in Welsh.
Then there's the tricky ones:
It's cold today! It is.
Mae hi'n oer heddiw! Ydy.
You can see that there's not really any 'ydy' looking thing in the sentence. This is what makes Welsh 'fun' by the way. It also means that often conversations go very slowly with folks like myself:
You: It's cold today!
Me: [pause, think, pause, think] er [pause think] Ydy?
Welsh also simplifies your life by using the singular of verbs even when you're talking about multiple things. This means you don't have to really use as many verb forms, which for me is lovely. But one of the fill-in-the-blanks on the written section was:
Were the pictures good?
except in Welsh it's actually: Was the pictures good?
You'd think the answer would be: they was. But no, when you use the pronoun 'they' you must then conjugate the verb properly. So the answer is: they were.
Oedd y lluniau dda?
And on. Or at least I hope it was.
Welsh is fun! Good thing I'm learning this language that will serve me so well when I move to the mid-Atlantic in a few weeks. Sigh.