Legal Alien: A Scotsman in Montreal


People sometimes ask me if I speak Gaelic, and I have to first of all explain the difference between Gaelic (Gay-lick: Irish) and Gaelic (Gahlick: Scottish). I think about 2-5% of Scotland can speak Gaelic, mainly because it became a crime to speak it, what with the Highlanders always trying to fight a war and so on (yes, Highlanders is a generalisation, but I'm not gonna get into Scottish History here). It's a bit of a shame really, as it is part of the Scottish heritage. It is still taught in primary schools and indeed the number of schools in the Central Belt teaching it is on the increase.

Wales on the other hand has it sorted. Everything is in Welsh and English, there are two schools in every district, one in Welsh, one in English, and so most kids have a fairly rudimentary grip on the language. Which is good, cos otherwise you wouldn't know where the hell you were. Y'see they change the alphabet slightly:

"W" becomes a u-sound
"Y" is a vowel
"LL" is introduced as a sort of hissing sound: the English turn it into "cl" but really, you have to put your tongue behind your top teeth and then sort of spit. It's tricky, you need to hear it really.

It took me a while, but since I went with a Welsh girl for 4 years, I picked it up, especially when she lived at Llwyn Fedw, Cefn Bychan Rd, Pantymwyn! And of course Wales also holds the world record for longest town name:


Try telling that to the cab driver when you're drunk!