Photo: Daniel M Ernst/Shutterstock

How to Piss Off Someone From Wales

by Georgina Young Feb 27, 2014
Suggest that Wales is part of England.

Here are some facts:

  • The UK is a country made up of four countries. Only one of which is England.
  • England and the UK are not synonyms. They never have been.
  • If you refer to a Welsh person as English, the UK as England, or say that “Wales and England are basically the same,” a Welsh person will definitely punch you in the gob.

While we’re on this point — England, we’re looking at you — Wales is a country and not a principality. You can check Wikipedia and everything.

Try pronouncing Welsh words you saw somewhere once.

I’m not even going to start on people saying the Welsh language is an unattractive glottal minefield of nasal mutations and missing vowels. Because while it may sound like your mongrel dog is being sick on the carpet again, Rover is our mutt, and we’re trying damn hard to keep the bastard alive.

If you speak Welsh, I applaud you. We need more people like you. On the other hand, if you haven’t studied it, been forced to speak it by nagging relatives, or been plagued by bilingual announcements every day of your life, then you probably are not very good at pronouncing our native tongue. If you still pronounce “Pontypridd” as “Pontyprid,” “Cathays” as “Cathys,” and “Cymru” as some mess of sounds similar to “Psymeroo,” then please don’t even try. You’re impressing no one.

But here are some hints for you: The ‘dd’ is more like an English ‘th,’ the ‘ch’ is a bit like that noise that Donald Duck makes when he’s angry, and the ‘ll’ is the hiss your cat Babwyn makes when you try and put him in the bath.

Point out the Welsh minute.

In Wales, everything that ever has, is, or ever will happen, happened / is happening / will happen “now, in a minute.” Please don’t point out to us the grammatical contradiction in that something can’t happen now and also in a minute, for you mere mortal do not understand the Welsh minute.

The Welsh minute is somewhere between immediately and within the next year. For example, you can be eating your scorching hot Welsh cakes “now, in a minute” (immediately while scalding your mouth), take out the recycling before the binmen come “now, in a minute” (sometime this evening probably), and also go on that long-awaited weekend away to Tenby that Gwyn recommended “now, in a minute” (in August), for the Welsh minute is not limited to your flimsy perception of what 60 seconds really is. The Welsh minute is infinite, it is eternal.

While we’re at it, we know our coats and jackets can’t be “hanging” on the floor, but we just like to think of them as such.

Criticize the Welsh accent.

Sadly, this one may just be about me. With three years at university in England, three years spent living abroad, plus an English father (we don’t like to talk about him), my accent has morphed and changed as the years go on. However, whenever I’m home, and I speak with my sister in particular, my accent goes back to what it always was, virtually incomprehensible to anyone from outside where I grew up.

I’m from Cardiff. While many Welshies would argue this isn’t ‘proper’ Wales, I would urge you to accept me as one of your own. I, after all, went through 12 years of Welsh language education like the rest of you.

When you, Welsh and non-Welsh folk alike, tell me my accent isn’t Welsh, I hasten to point out that we can’t all have that delightful sing-song dialect of the valleys. Unfortunately, some of us have this sort of throaty, chavy Cardiff / Newport accent and others, even more unfortunately, have that nasal North Walian drawl. But we all do have Welsh accents. It’s just not the one you’re thinking of.

Quote Gavin and Stacey

Oh, how we laughed when James Corden was angry about onion bhajis, or when Ruth Jones implied she’d fingered herself, or something like that. Okay, is this where I can safely admit I’ve never even seen the show? Despite being proud of Ruth Jones’ achievements as one of our nation’s best comediennes, she did unwittingly destroy a little part of being Welsh for me. Even nearly five years since the finale aired, the show’s traumatizing legacy lingers in the hearts of its fans.

I have to admit that while I was curious to watch a show labelled as one of the best things to echo Welsh life since Twin Town, and had people wetting their pants even just reminiscing about past episodes, I never even dipped in a toe.

So no, sorry, I may be Welsh, but I’m not called “Bryn,” I am not flattered when you tell me that, as a fairly unreserved woman, I am “just like Nessa,” and finally, and I think above all, I don’t know “What’s occurring?” But I do know what will be reoccurring if you ask me that question, and that is a fist meeting your face over and over again.

Say, “My mom is Welsh.”

Oh, really? Where did she grow up? Because if it wasn’t somewhere within the Welsh borders then, I’m sorry, but she does not belong to the Land of our Fathers and neither do you.

We don’t give a flying fuck if you have some sort of Welsh ancestry somewhere way back when, or how you’re distantly related to some Welshman you don’t even know the name of. I’m sorry, but we just don’t.

Assume England is better than Wales, mainly because it’s bigger.

Sitting atop Mt. Snowden, in one of Wales’ beautiful national parks, trying to spot the world-famous railway station Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch in the distance, popping a couple pills I got free on prescription, admiring the degree I got for free after studying at my Welsh university, my cariad (sweetheart) and I drink Brains as we idly chat about the fun we had at our childhood Eisteddfods, our last two Six Nations wins, and how proud we are that Bale refuses to play for England, and I ponder the question, “Is England better than Wales?”

The answer is simply, no. Because no country is ‘better’ than any other country.

Arguing that England is better than Wales just because it’s bigger and has more people and more money is really just reaffirming our belief that the English are cultureless morons. If bigger always meant better, we’d still be carrying around those comically sized phones from the ’80s.

Wales is not better than England, and England is not better than Wales, but if you were going to ask me which country I’d prefer to live in, I would have to pick the one that warms my heart, and fails to destroy my soul. I would have to pick Wales.

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