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    Diolch yn fawr Very Much, Part Dau

    | Deiniolen, Wales, UK | At The Checkout, Language & Words

    (I am on about my third shift as a new employee at a petrol station. I am currently the only day-staff member who speaks Welsh, and many customers, it seems, have never met the store’s Welsh-speaking night staff. As I live and work in a very Welsh-speaking area, my ability to use the language seems to be something of a novelty for the regular customers).

    Customer: *in Welsh* “So nice to have a true Welsh-speaking Welshwoman on the staff here, even if you’re not local.”

    Me: *in Welsh* “Well, thank you for the compliment. There are actually two ‘true Welsh-speaking Welsh’ staff members, but I’m afraid I’m not one of them!”

    Customer: *in Welsh* “Sure you are. I mean it’s obvious you’ve come up from, like, [Mid Wales Town] or somewhere to study at [Nearby University], as your manner of speaking is a bit more polite than us lot. We do like to yell at each other, you know.”

    Me: *in Welsh* “Well, you’re right about me studying at [Nearby University], but I’m actually from [Southern England town]. I’m polite because I am working in a shop and I’ve been trained to always treat customers with care and respect.”

    Customer: *in English* “No f****** way! You can’t be English. Your Welsh is too good!”

    Me: *in Welsh* “I assure you, I am English. I’ve had 3.5 years of Welsh lessons, and plenty of friends who’ve encouraged me to practice the language so that I’m comfortable using it in a work situation. I am flattered that you felt my Welsh was good enough to count me amongst born-and-bred Welsh speakers, though.”

    Customer: *in English* “So you could understand everything I was saying to you just now?”

    Me: *in Welsh* “Well, weren’t you of the impression I was from [Mid-Wales Town]? We sustained a conversation in Welsh.”

    Customer: *in English* “I just can’t get my head around being able to talk in Welsh to an English person. I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to talk to you in English. I can’t deal with talking to you in Welsh. It’s too much.”

    Me: *in Welsh* “Whatever makes you more comfortable. Would you prefer it if I also switched to English?”

    Customer: *in English* “Oh God, no! It’s about time you lot learned our bloody language!”

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