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Travels in an Old Tongue: Touring the World Speaking Welsh
by Pamela Petro
The idiosyncratic and witty travelogue of a young Welsh-speaking woman who travels the globe in search of Welsh communities.
Paperback, 336 pages
Published October 16th 2009 by Flamingo
(first published August 4th 1997)
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Readable from the beginning it drew me in. The author decides that her Welsh language skills will be better improved by total immersion, no fallback to English likely in different countries, where Welsh speakers have language associations and whose other language differs. In one country they might speak Spanish, Japanese in another, but she visits the Welsh speakers and soon finds the improvements needed, and works on them, having little choice. It's told with humour and insight which an ...more
This book grew on me and I suspect I will remember it for awhile. This is a true example of someone following their passion even when it makes no rational sense and in the end coming up with some valuable insights into diaspora, language and national identity. It also functions as an entertaining armchair traveler read with an impressive number of diverse countries visited. The Japan section might be my favorite just because it showed how Japanese culture has a fascination and repulsion of the ...more
You are not going to learn any Welsh -- even a little bit -- from this book. As a travelogue, it is somewhat limited: the author talks about being hosted by Welsh speakers in various countries, and time after time neither host nor guest is able to muster more than a few words of Welsh anyway. But the Patagonian section at the end somewhat redeems the book: The very landscape seems to have overwhelmed the author into a level of inspired gloom and hopelessness that feels, for the first time, ...more