— Domani Spero
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Matthew Barzun, our Ambassador to the Court of St. James’s will soon get royally slammed for suggesting undiplomatically that he can’t stand British lamb. The New York Daily News writes that “you don’t need to be fluent in the King’s English to predict the outrage.” Uh-oh!
Okay, so before you all get mad about the lamb, he also did try to learn a few sentences of Welsh in preparation for the NATO summit this week. So he gets points for that. Let’s hear it from Wales Online who is “delighted to see Mr Barzun having a go” at learning Welsh:
US ambassador to the UK, Matthew Barzun, wasn’t shy about sharing the more painful moments of his attempts to learn his first few sentences in Welsh – despite taking nine attempts to master saying “Helô”.
Mr Barzun, who was appointed as ambassador to the UK last year after previously being ambassador to Sweden, posted the video of his Welsh attempts, which also included the essential “Croeso i Gymru, President Obama”, the very useful “dwi’n hoffi coffi” (I like coffee) and a very impressive beginner’s pronunciation of the famous Anglesey village Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyll-llantysiliogogogoch.
But he also displayed some knowledge of Welsh popular culture and one of our most famous export – confessing in Welsh that the three words of the language that Americans know are “Catherine. Zeta. Jones.”
We don’t know if they teach Welsh at FSI; though probably not. In any case, here are the outtakes:
One of the commenters on WalesOnline writes, “Welsh is a really difficult language to master, even for the Welsh people !! The fact that you have made the effort , is such a compliment.”
We imagine that Ambassador Barzun will probably impress most Welsh folks with his attempts to speak even a few phrases of their language. We’d be really impressed if the ambassador also gets to visit the Cardiff Rift that runs through Roald Dahl Plass, a public plaza in Cardiff Bay, and takes a selfie with our favorite Captain Jack Harkness. Captain Jack is there somewhere, somebody fiiiinnnnd hiiiiim and bring him back to the telly!
Oh, pardon me … what about the lamb? Those suggested recipes may have to wait until after the Summit, but the ambassador already realized he’s in a lamb stew of sorts:
. @WilliamSitwell Realize I got myself in a bit of a stew, feeling a little sheepish now.
— Matthew Barzun (@MatthewBarzun) September 2, 2014
* * *
- Watch US Ambassador Matthew Barzun’s attempts to get to grips with Welsh language ahead of Nato summit (walesonline.co.uk)
- Nato Summit 2014: ‘Barack Obama’s visit will be another profound moment in the history of US and Welsh relations’ (walesonline.co.uk)
- Matthew Barzun in line to be new US ambassador to London (guardian.co.uk)
- Ambassador Matthew Barzun goes anglophile (standard.co.uk)
- Ambassador Matthew Barzun is socking it to them (standard.co.uk)
- The TImes Diary (TMS): Boris chases £7.2 million unpaid bill (thetimes.co.uk)