Last night I had a dream that I met a Catholic cardinal and found myself asking him why he felt I should abandon my protestant upbringing and become a Catholic (other people dream falling or having to give presentations whilst wearing only a thong, but in my dreams various faiths and denominations vie for my soul).
The cardinal got a twitchy little smile on his face; he was overjoyed by this question. This was a question he was confident he could answer, a question that he was going to knock out of the park. Of course, he didn't answer the question, though -- because he existed only in my head and I don't have the answer. Instead he started in with an anecdote about pickup trucks that bored me into waking up.
But at its heart I think mine was a sympathy dream -- an attempt to identify with a friend of mine who recently told me he was interested in learning a bit of Welsh and asked if would I be willing to help. Why would he do that? I don't know. But he did and I promptly inundated him with learning materials.
This morning, I was thinking about other things I could send him and I had one of those "I'm walking through a forest and I've just run smack dab into a tree and been strangely surprised that I would find a tree here" moments of realising that Welsh is at times a bit complicated. It is especially so when it does not need to be. For example: "I am."
"I am" is a pretty basic concept. One can imagine that it was among the reasons that language developed in the first place: "I am hungry," "I am being eaten by a tiger."
In the English language, there aren't a great number of ways to say "I am" beyond simply "I am" and "I'm." But in Welsh, the ways to express such a simple statement are multitudinous. Off the top of my head, here are a few:
- Yr wyf
- wyf i
- Yr ydw
- Rydw i
That's just silly, yo. And rather hard to teach.