It ain't Klingon, Mr. Dillon, it's Welsh.<BR>After reading this, all I can say is: <I>"Twll dîn pob Bengal!"</I>, <I>"Twll dîn pob Ratbird!"</I>, and <I>"Twll dîn pob Squeeler!"</I> And so on, and so on.
FORT GRATIOT, Mich. – Many years ago, before my great-grandmother passed away, she would occasionally leave me wide-eyed with a burst of language completely foreign to my young ears. It sounded like a slurring mixture of gibberish and Yiddish, an indecipherable patter lost on my uncomprehending ears.
The words were not without meaning. It was Welsh, the native tongue of my immigrant ancestors. Nearly a century ago they left the coal mines of northern Wales, the southern seaside towns lifted from a postcard, the lush green hills, for a new life in the New World.
For what it's worth, they ended up in Lorain. I suppose, on some level, that's an improvement over a coal mine …
Lost in the mad dash to become Americans was the history and culture of the Old World. And that's especially unfortunate in this case because the Welsh are a distinct minority in Europe, with a language that is more ancient than English. Very few people in Wales today speak Welsh, or Cymraeg as the few who do speak it call the language.
While Wales shares the same island as England and Scotland, the language shares only some similarities with what you and I speak today. For example, the Welsh alphabet has 28 letters – but they don't include J, K, Q, V, X or Z. It has plenty of strange letters like "ll" which is pronounced sort of like a "thl" sound. Say "thlool" and you're close.
It makes my head spin to think about. I'm trying to learn the language so I can send secret, dirty e-mails to people.
Wales today occupies only the tiniest corner of the collective world stage. The few Americans who know where the land is (go to England and turn left), know even less about the people – or care. A few know that Wales has produced a handful of famous folk – Anthony Hopkins, Tom Jones, Richard Burton, Dylan Thomas, Catherine Zeta-Jones – and that the national symbol is the leek, for whatever that's worth.
Perhaps the coolest and most recognizable thing about Wales is its flag, a rectangle divided into two fields with the top half white and the bottom green. Overtop the flag is a fierce, classical red dragon.
That leads us to a patriotic Welsh phrase: "Y Ddraig Goch ddyry gychwyn" or "The Red Dragon will show the way!"
Rather impressive, if unpronounceable.
While I still have great difficultly with the language, there are a couple of Welsh-isms I do know that can apply to our beloved Cleveland Browns.
First, in the face of what is sure to be a blistering dose of