I spent yesterday with [livejournal.com profile] markrowland which was great & should be done more often. Our conversation covered an assortment of topics but this blog post is about the 'how' of the conversation, its medium, for it wandered between Welsh & English. Given the trope of 'they were all speaking English until we walked in' l thought it would be interesting to reflect on why & when we switched.


It wasn 't classic code switching as described when I was an undergrad because it did not depend on the topic of the conversation.


We met at Cardiff Central station & spoke Welsh on the train apart from the odd word here and there. When we arrived in Bristol we popped into my flat & then went for coffee/ brunch white was still predominantly in Welsh though the conversation about whether Americano is black is in English in my memory. Wondering round Bristol was still in Welsh lthink , but then we went to Mass in English & there was conversation with others so English. Then I had to work & Mark went for Iunch. When he returned after l'd finished someone I knew was around so I was speaking English. As we started up to the roof I conciously switched back to Welsh. We stuck with Welsh until we went for afternoon tea where exchanges about brownies meant we were using English. We went back to church for Mark to have a go on the organ. I offered to pop back to my flat to grab Mark's pannier and remember thinking 'why are we using English?' When I got back Mark spoke in Welsh and we continued in Welsh until somewhere up the slipway to Temple Meads when we slipped into English. This is the one I can't explain; the other switches to English were triggered by interacting with non-Welsh speakers but we didn't do that. I think the trigger was me quoting conversations which were in English.


So using English was triggered by interacting with others on the whole while Welsh has become our default. In Cambridge we tended to speak English & write Welsh. Speaking English was because we'd often have been interacting with non-Welsh speakers as we met. Since Mark left Cambridge, we had increasingly used Welsh but as Tres day showed flow in & out of the two.



July 2017



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